The Spitzer Manuscript is the oldest surviving philosophical manuscript in Sanskrit, contains one of the earliest dateable table of content sequentially listing the parva (books) of the Mahabharata, along with numerals after each parva. This list does not include Anusasanaparva and Virataparva.

Chapter 135 of Anushāsanaparva contains Vishnu Sahasranama (verses 14 to 120).

As per Spitzer Manuscript, if Anushāsanaparva is not a part of original Mahabharata, then Vishnu Sahasranama, which is a part of Anushāsanaparva, must be a later day addition.

Can we conclude so?

  • 2
    This looks like a self-answered question. What kind of answer are you expecting to this question? "Can we conclude so?" - if one just writes an answer saying "Yes." will you accept it? – sv. Mar 26 '20 at 18:27
  • I had expressed my question. If you have answer, contrary to my perception, you can post it, backed by scriptural based. Even for saying Yes, there should be corroborating evidence. I know many members in this site will have knee-jerk reaction for this type of questions and opt for closing :-) @sv. – Srimannarayana K V Mar 26 '20 at 22:48
  • Majority of the active members of the site at this juncture belong to only 2 categories. 1) people belonging to one particular Sect, and 2) atheists moving in the guise of rational thinkers. Broad-minded members, who have inclination for discussion, can be counted by fingers :-) @TheLittleNaruto – Srimannarayana K V Mar 26 '20 at 23:09
  • 'Even for saying Yes, there should be corroborating evidence' - you cited the evidence (Spitzer Manuscript) yourself, what more do you need? Still not clear what you are asking here. – sv. Mar 27 '20 at 0:26
  • You can quote BORI version or some other scriptures, which mention Mahabharata, in the same manner as Ramayana was mentioned in Mahabharata @sv. – Srimannarayana K V Mar 27 '20 at 1:44

According to the introduction to K. K. Shastri's The Jaya-Saṃhitā (The Ur-Mahābhārata) much of the Mahābhārata story we know today including the Bhagavad-gītā is a late addition to the text. He writes:

A puzzling problem before us is of godly or super-human characteristics of Kṛṣṇa and Śiva. It is quite easy to find out that wherever such narrations come, they are easily discardable, and their absence is very much helping us in restoring the flow of the narration. They are all inserted at later dates when both of them were established as supreme gods after the expiry of the old Upaniṣadic period.

As for Bhagavad-gītā (23 to 40 adhyāyas in the Bhīṣma-parvan) we are not in a position to include it wholly, or its any part, not only in the Bhārata but perhaps not even in the Mahābhārata.

As for Śānti and Anuśāsana parvas, he says:

In the old text of the Mbh., further additions and interpolations were made up-to the time, when, still, Northern and Southern recensions were not afoot. Though the first entry of Yudhiṣṭhira is found at the end of the 14th adhyāya of the Aśvamedika-parvan, the full achievement of the victory is definitely at the end of the Aśvamedha sacrifice, after which Yudhiṣṭhira enters the city as a samrāṭ. Here it is quite clear that Śānti and Anuśāsana parvans have no place in the Bhārata, most of the matter being of didactic as well as pauraṇika nature as told above.

  • This is what I have been expecting from you. Up voted. @sv. – Srimannarayana K V Mar 27 '20 at 23:53
  • 1
    The purpose of my posting this question has been served, though it was closed. I learnt what I have been searching for . Thanks to all, who have opted for closing it. And, to you for providing apt information @sv. – Srimannarayana K V Mar 28 '20 at 10:39
  • So if flow of narration and the now discarded "vedic vs non-vedic God's" forms the basis, then why stop at Anusasana parva.. might as well extend to every other text – Carmen sandiego Mar 28 '20 at 23:46
  • I think we are not in a communicable frequency. That's why I am witnessing this outburst from your side. Anyways, I am open for discussion, if it results in learning something or broadening our thinking, but not interested in useless arguments @Carmensandiego – Srimannarayana K V Mar 29 '20 at 3:09
  • @srimannarayana kv - I have just extended the argument put forth in this answer. Too bad you find it useless – Carmen sandiego Mar 29 '20 at 3:17

As per the comments in the wiki link,

According to Indologist and Sanskrit scholar John Brockington, known for his Mahabharata-related publications, the table of contents in the Spitzer Manuscript includes book names not found in later versions, and it is possible that the parvas existed but were with different titles. The epic known to the scribe of Spitzer Manuscript may have been in the form of a different arrangement and titles.

So there were parvas with different names in place of Anushasana and Virata and were very likely the same according to 'scholars and indologists'.

  • Even to say YES or NO, a corroborative evidence should be quoted please – Srimannarayana K V Mar 27 '20 at 2:12
  • IMO if there is sufficient reason to believe that parvas existed with different titles then it negates the basis of the question @srimannarayana kv – Carmen sandiego Mar 27 '20 at 5:17
  • Please read answer again. It says it is possible that the parvas existed but were with different titles.. So there is no certainty @Carmensandiego – Srimannarayana K V Mar 27 '20 at 5:22
  • 1
    I mentioned a quote from a Scholar and Indologist. Is such a quote not enough? @srimannarayanakv – user1952500 Mar 27 '20 at 6:24
  • 3
    @srimannarayana kv - Seems that the point is getting lost. The onus is for the non-believers to prove that Anusasana parva is an interpolation in light of the fact that Spitzer manuscript talks about other titles that don't exist . The absence of reference to Anusasana parva in Spitzer manuscript in no way proves that it is an interpolation unless they come with content corresponding to the titles – Carmen sandiego Mar 27 '20 at 10:33

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .