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Does the Bhagavad Gita really have 745 shlokas?

Even Chapter 43, shloka 4 of the Bhishma Parva of the Mahabharata says that the Gita has 745 slokas:

षट्शतानि सविंशानि क्ष्लोकानां प्राह केशवः । अर्जुनः सप्तपञ्चाशत्‌ सप्तषष्टिं तु संजयः ॥ घृतराष्ट्रः क्ष्लोकमेकं गीताया मानमुच्यते ।

This Gita has 620 Shlokas said by Lord ShriKrishna. 57 shlokas said by Arjuna, 67 shlokas said by Sanjay and 1 shloka said by Dhritarashtra.

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In his Introduction, pages xvii-xviii, to his translation of the Bhagavad Gita (Bhagavad Gita with the commentary of Sankaracarya), Swami Gambhirananda writes:

According to the recension of the Gita commented on by Sankaracharya, the number of verses is 700. But there is evidence to show that some old manuscripts had 745. The Gita published in Srinigar, Kashmir, with the annotation of Abhinavaguptacarya, contains the same number of verses. Other manuscripts have been discovered with variations both in the number of verses and in the readings. Pusalker is of the opinion that 'the additional stanzas effect no material addition; nor do they create any differences in the teaching or argument.' (Studies in Epics and Puranas, p. 144.) He further remarks that 'Sankaracarya's testimony for the text of the Bhagavadgita is earlier than that of any other MS or commentator.' (ibid. p 147.) However that may be, after Sankaracarya wrote his Commentary, the Gita has taken a definite form with 700 verses, so far as least the general public is concerned.

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No, it doesn't. The verse you quoted and a whole bunch of other verses following the Bhagavad-gītā upa-parva of Bhīṣma Parva are not present in BORI's Critical Edition (CE) of the Mahābhārata, so, it must be a late addition to the text.

On GRETIL's website, which hosts the CE, you can see the verse prefixed with an asterisk (*) meaning it did not make it to the CE:

06,040.074   saṃjaya uvāca
06,040.074a  ity ahaṃ vāsudevasya pārthasya ca mahātmanaḥ
06,040.074c  saṃvādam imam aśrauṣam adbhutaṃ romaharṣaṇam
06,040.075a  vyāsaprasādāc chrutavān etad guhyam ahaṃ param
06,040.075c  yogaṃ yogeśvarāt kṛṣṇāt sākṣāt kathayataḥ svayam
06,040.076a  rājan saṃsmṛtya saṃsmṛtya saṃvādam imam adbhutam
06,040.076c  keśavārjunayoḥ puṇyaṃ hṛṣyāmi ca muhur muhuḥ
06,040.077a  tac ca saṃsmṛtya saṃsmṛtya rūpam atyadbhutaṃ hareḥ
06,040.077c  vismayo me mahān rājan hṛṣyāmi ca punaḥ punaḥ
06,040.078a  yatra yogeśvaraḥ kṛṣṇo yatra pārtho dhanurdharaḥ
06,040.078c  tatra śrīr vijayo bhūtir dhruvā nītir matir mama

06,040.078d*0111_01  bhagavadbhaktiyuktasya tatprasādātmabodhataḥ
06,040.078d*0111_02  sukhaṃ bandhavimuktiḥ syād iti gītārthasaṃgrahaḥ
06,040.078d*0112_01  ṣaṭ śatāni saviṃśāni ślokānāṃ prāha keśavaḥ
06,040.078d*0112_02  arjunaḥ saptapañcāśat saptaṣaṣṭis tu saṃjayaḥ
06,040.078d*0112_03  dhṛtarāṣṭraḥ ślokam ekaṃ gītāyā mānam ucyate
06,040.078d*0113_00  vaiśaṃpāyana uvāca
06,040.078d*0113_01  gītā sugītā kartavyā kim anyaiḥ śāstravistaraiḥ
06,040.078d*0113_02  yā ceyaṃ padmanābhasya mukhapadmād viniḥsṛtā
06,040.078d*0113_03  sarvaśāstramayī gītā sarvadevamayo hariḥ
06,040.078d*0113_04  sarvatīrthamayī gaṅgā sarvavedamayo manuḥ
06,040.078d*0113_05  gaṅgā gītā ca gāyatrī govindeti hṛdi sthite
06,040.078d*0113_06  caturgakārasaṃyukte punarjanma na vidyate
06,040.078d*0114_01  bhāratāmṛtasarvasvagītāyā mathitasya ca
06,040.078d*0114_02  sāram uddhṛtya kṛṣṇena arjunasya mukhe hutam

06,041.001   saṃjaya uvāca
06,041.001a  tato dhanaṃjayaṃ dṛṣṭvā bāṇagāṇḍīvadhāriṇam
06,041.001c  punar eva mahānādaṃ vyasṛjanta mahārathāḥ


So, if you go with the Critical Edition, the Gītā has exactly 700 verses. It begins at Chapter 23 of Bhīṣma Parva and ends at Ch. 40.

Section Sixty-Three

Bhagavad Gita Parva

This parva has 994 shlokas and twenty seven chapters.

Chapter 874 (14): 13 shlokas
Chapter 875 (15): 75 shlokas
Chapter 876 (16): 46 shlokas
Chapter 877 (17): 39 shlokas
Chapter 878 (18): 18 shlokas
Chapter 879 (19): 44 shlokas
Chapter 880 (20): 20 shlokas
Chapter 881 (21): 17 shlokas
Chapter 882 (22): 22 shlokas
Chapter 883 (23): 47 shlokas [BG STARTS HERE]
Chapter 884 (24): 72 shlokas
Chapter 885 (25): 43 shlokas
Chapter 886 (26): 42 shlokas
Chapter 887 (27): 29 shlokas
Chapter 888 (28): 47 shlokas
Chapter 889 (29): 30 shlokas
Chapter 890 (30): 28 shlokas
Chapter 891 (31): 34 shlokas
Chapter 892 (32): 42 shlokas
Chapter 893 (33): 55 shlokas
Chapter 894 (34): 20 shlokas
Chapter 895 (35): 34 shlokas
Chapter 896 (36): 27 shlokas
Chapter 897 (37): 20 shlokas
Chapter 898 (38): 24 shlokas
Chapter 899 (39): 28 shlokas
Chapter 900 (40): 78 shlokas [BG ENDS HERE]

This section is so named because it includes the Song Celestial or the Bhagavad Gita, the teachings of Krishna to Arjuna. The section begins with the dramatic news that Bhishma has been killed. When Sanjaya tells Dhritarashtra this, Dhritarashtra (and the reader) is astounded, wishing to know how this came to be. After a description of the arrangements for war, the rest of this section is the Bhagavad Gita.

(Debroy, Bibek. The Mahabharata: Volume 5)

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The most widely used Gita is the one which was commented by Shankaracharya and is probably the oldest and has 700 verses. Even if we consider 745 Shlokas for the sake of argument, Majority essence of Gita is already covered in 700 Shlokas and rest Shlokas hardly give any additional meaning or change context. I will just quote few Indologists now.

Indologist Bhattacharya in his "Original Bhagavadgita Complete with 745 Verses" on page 21-22 says -

The message conveyed by Bhagavadgita is authentic and not very much different from original version with 745 verses except that the later has missing verses and there are some minor alterations in words here and there.

Dr Pusalker in his work "Studies in Epics and Puranas", on page 144 says -

It is indeed curios how the Bhagavad-Gita presents such a relatively fixed consistent text without any noteworthy variation for the last 1200 years. The current text contains 700 stanzas, there being to other texts with 714 and 745 stanzas. The additional stanzas affect no material addition; nor do they create any difference in the teaching or add any new topic or argument.

Scholar Upadhyaya in his work of 1998 page 10-122 says -

Variant manuscripts of the Gita have been found on Indian subcontinent. Unlike enormous variations in remaining sections of surviving Mahabharata manuscripts, the Gita manuscripts show only minor variations and meaning is the same.

Robert N Minor in his "Bhagavadgita : An Exegetical Commentary", 1982 says -

The current text of Bhagavad Gita is well preserved with relatively few variant readings and none quite serious. This is remarkable in light of numerous variants for the remainder of the Mahabharata, some of which are serious. Secondary insertions are found in individual manuscripts of Gita but they are clearly secondary. The number of Stanzas in Gita is 700, a number conformed by Shankara and possibly deliberatly chosen to prevent interpolations.

TMP Mahadevan in his "Original Bhagavad Gita" says -

Unless clear and unmistakable evidences are forthcoming, there is no justification for regarding any verse of Gita as interpolation.

SC Roy in his "The Bhagavadgita and Modern Scholarship", 1941 says -

The text of the Gita has remained substantially unaltered in spite of numberless interpolations that have taken place in other portions of Mahabharata and hence theory of Interpolation in Gita is without any foundation.

The questioner showed that Mahabharata at one time mentions that Gita has 745 Verses. But this verse wasn't found in the critical edition of Mahabharata.

Lin Yutang in his work of 1964, in page 45-46 criticizes some of western bias and criticism of Gita. He says -

Any attempt by Western critics to separate serval strands of belief from one another in the song and restore the original text is bound to be foolish and ridiculous. Certain scholars have attempted foolish task of determining Gita's original composition.

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Yes. This numerical difference is due to the arrangement of the different vedic manusrcipts of the Vedic literature as per modern numerical methods of arranging the Scriptures. At many places we find that the verses seem consolidated. For example, we find few verses bigger than the others in the sanskrit text. Not only in the Gita, other Vedic codes like the Vedanta and other Upnishadas we find some difference in numerical arrangements of the scriptures, for the same reason.

It has to be noted that earlier than Lord Vedavyasa-Ganapati writings, the Vedic literature was not available in the Script. The Vedic knowledge was conveyed as non-written form, from the Acharyas (Guru) to Shisyas (disciples) in the vedic era due to the powerful human memory at that time. The best example is that, even Lord Vedavyasa started conveying the eternal knowledge to His Son/Disciple (Lord Sukadeva) through His disciples as oral communication, the knowledge which was not completed due to Lord Shiva's anger on Lord Sukdeva, as the divine parrot.

As per the first modern (kaliyuga) Jagat-Guru, Adiguru Shankaracharya, famous for His Gita shastra "Tataparya" and "Mahatamya", we have accepted His grace's suggested numerical arrangement as final proof for printing the ancient text.

According to His grace, the Gita has been arranged in 700 verses (Krishna-575 divine verses, Ajuna-84 questions, Dhritrashtra- 1 query, Sanjaya- 40 replies).

The numerical pegging of the Vedic verses was not a criterion at the time of their original revelation. This pegging makes it easy to locate and retrieve a diamond of knowledge from the ocean of eternity.

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*The printer himself is not cofindent about what he has printed in this text of five verses. The authenticity of the source has been disclaimed by the printing press. So, first it has been noted as "above five verses, not available" and then said as "available" in a few prints. why?

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  • Means that sloka is wrong – Pasham Vishnu Vardhan Goud Mar 7 at 6:11
  • yes ! But the publication/compiler is not considering the accuracy as per the accuracy of the document. – user30612 Mar 8 at 13:18

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