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I have listened to various version of the Mahabharata where various people are said to be listening to the Bhagavad Gita along with Arjuna, like Hanuman, Barbarika, etc. But this count varies. So what is the real count? How many people listen to it with Arjuna?

  • Hanumaan ji also listened geeta .. because hanumaan ji seeted on arjuna's rath – user3473 Aug 8 '15 at 17:09
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The following is given for thought which is based on Vyasa Bharata,

1) Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna, by boon to Sanjaya and Dhritarashtra: Nobody talked on Bhagavad Gita at any other time except by Arjuna who wanted to hear again but the request was rejected by Lord Krishna! (Mahabharata, Book 14: Aswamedha Parva, Chapter 16, Anugita Parva). Lord Krishna felt sad on this forgotten aspect. But instead Lord Krishna gave one Anugita. http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m14/m140...

Lord Krishna gave Srimad Bhagwad Gita only to Arjuna and the entire world was in suspended animation at that time. Only exceptions were Sanjaya and through him Dhritarashtra.

The Bhagavad Gita portions are in fact a live running commentary by Sanjaya to Dhritarashtra. The author Sri Vyasa in Mahabharata gives Bhagavad Gita to us through Sanjaya only. 2) Barbarika, son of Ghatotkacha;

Barbarika name and the episode is not mentioned in Mahabharata. This may be from some other version or from a folk base. In Rajasthan, he is worshipped as Khatushyamji, and is believed to have been sacrificed before the Mahabharata war to ensure the victory of his grand-fathers, the Pandavas. In return for his sacrifice, he was deified by a boon given by Krishna. There is paradox here. He wanted to fight for the loosing side and took his life for the victory for the Pandavas. 3) Aravan's (son of Arjuna) sacrifice:

Aravan or Iravan or Kuttantavar (கூத்தாண்டவர்) name and episode is not available in Vyasa Bharata.

The first account of Aravan's sacrifice is found in Parata Venpa—the earliest surviving Tamil version of the Mahabharata—by Peruntevanar (9th century). The tale is later retold by Villiputuralvar in his 14th-century Makabharatam and by Nallapillai in the 18th century. The legend is also mentioned in the text Khoothanvar Sthala Purana, associated with the shrine of Kuttantavar. In modern interpretations, Aravan's head symbolizes not only self-sacrifice but also regeneration and continuity, because of his ability to see the war after his sacrifice.

If Aravan's Head is alive, can this be taken as full sacrifice for the victory of Pandavas? 4) Hanuman in the flag;

Lord Hanuman need not be brought to the human level by saying that along with Arjuna and Sanjaya. Hanuman is beyond the level of hearing Gita as His concentration is fully devoted to Lord Rama and Rama Nama. Lord Hanuman is beyond and above the level prescribed by Bhagavad Gita. If Hanuman in the flag can hear means the Omniscient, Omnipotent, Omnipresent Bhagavan Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva, Lord Brahma, Lord Ganesa, Lord Subramanya, Maha Sakthi, Sun God, Trikala Gnanis like Narada could have heard the Bhagavad Gita then!

5) Summary:

Based on the Vyasa Mahabharata and only from Vyasa Mahabharata,

Three contemporaries plus one divine Vedav Vyasa were the listeners:

One (Arjuna) listened Srimad Bhagavad Gita directly in front of Lord Krishna. One with divine vision (and ear, both given by Vedav Vyasa) at the Hastinapura palace also listened (Sanjaya). One more heard the running voice commentary through Sanjaya (the king Dhritarashtra).

Those three were the listeners of Bhagavad Gita when it was delivered.

Sage Vyasa (who knows the past, present and future) became the author of Mahabharata (Vyasa Bharata) by remembering everything later!

Source:

A better answer is here

Lord Krishna gave Srimad Bhagwad Gita only to Arjuna and the entire world was in suspended animation at that time. Only exceptions were Sanjaya and Dhritarashtra.

Nobody talked on Bhagavad Gita at any other time except by Arjuna who wanted to hear again but the request was rejected by Lord Krishna!

1) Three contemporaries plus one divine Vedav Vyasa were the listeners:

One (Arjuna) listened Srimad Bhagavad Gita directly in front of Lord Krishna. One with divine vision (and ear, both given by Vedav Vyasa) at the Hastinapura palace also listened (Sanjaya). One more heard the running voice commentary through Sanjaya (the king Dhritarashtra).

Those three were the listeners of Bhagavad Gita when it was delivered.

Sage Vyasa who knows the past, present and future and later to write Mahabharata (Vyasa Bharata) could have recalled later!

2) Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 4, Verse 3:

स एवायं मया ते ऽदय यॊगः परॊक्तः पुरातनः भक्तॊ ऽसि मे सखा चेति रहस्यं हय एतद उत्तमम

"sa evayam maya te ’dya yogah proktah puratanah bhakto ’si me sakha ceti rahasyam hy etad uttamam"

"That very ancient science of the relationship with the Supreme is today told by Me to YOU because you are My devotee as well as My friend and can therefore understand the transcendental mystery of this science."

3) Bhagavad Gita Visvarupa Darsan:

Mahabharata, Book 6, Chapter 33, Verse 9): (Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 11, Verse 9:

"संजय उवाच एवम उक्त्वा ततॊ राजन महायॊगेश्वरॊ हरिः दर्शयाम आस पार्थाय परमं रूपम ऐश्वरम"

sanjaya uvaca evam uktva tato rajan maha-yogesvaro harih darsayam asa parthaya paramam rupam aisvaram

Sanjaya said: O King, speaking thus, the Supreme, the Lord of all mystic power, the Personality of Godhead, displayed His universal form to Arjuna.

Sri Sridhara Swami's Commentary:

Having bequeathed the supernatural eyes of illumination the Supreme Lord Krishna exhibited His almighty, omnipotent, transcendental visvarupa or divine universal form. The description of this universal form is what is being described in this verse and the next five verses by Sanjaya, who was also given divine sight to see it by Vedavyasa.

(Sanjaya narrated the the whole incident to Dhritarashtra. Dhritarashtra only heared the running commendary given by Sanjaya).

One link more to give you a more idea

History of Bhagawat Gita

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    This comment is nicely researched well sourced, but the answer is not clear. Can you please summarize your findings at the top in bold text? – cheenbabes Jul 8 '14 at 20:46
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Two people, Arjuna and Sanjaya. Sanjaya narrated the whole Gita to Dhritrashtra but he did not listen to the verses directly. So in short Arjuna and Sanjaya listened to the Gita in first person.

Some of the information contained in this post requires additional references. Please edit to add citations to reliable sources that support the assertions made here. Unsourced material may be disputed or deleted.

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Sanjaya and Dhritrastra are listening as well. See Bhagavad Gita 1.1 This brings the total count to 3 people.

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    Sanjaya was seeing but Dhritrastra was listening the commentary of Sanjaya. – Mr_Green Jul 8 '14 at 5:47
  • and even there were many others too.. which I forgot. – Mr_Green Jul 8 '14 at 5:48
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Yes, logically Arjun, Sanjay and Dhritarashtra are the people listening. But noticing further we find Lord Hanuman residing on the flag of Arjun' s chariot (His chariot was called Kapidhwaj), so in a way he can also be said to have heard the Gita. However this count varies according to different historians and researchers.

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I am not sure but Ved Vyas ji and Ganesh ji also listened.

Because Ved Vyas is the person who gave us Mahabharat, and Ganesh ji wrote Mahabharata while Vyas ji was narrating.

Some of the information contained in this post requires additional references. Please edit to add citations to reliable sources that support the assertions made here. Unsourced material may be disputed or deleted.

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    While Ganesh certainly would have to have heard the Bhagavad Gita in some context, this question is asking about people who were present during the original delivery of the Gita from Krishna to Arjuna. I'm pretty sure Ganesh wasn't present then. – senshin Jul 8 '14 at 11:01
  • So Arjuna, Sanjay, Hanumanji & Ved Vyas? – Kiran Jul 8 '14 at 11:03
  • That seems like it might be right (as mentioned in the other answers). I don't know enough to be sure, though. – senshin Jul 8 '14 at 11:07

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