Why are there two versions of Chapter 1 - Verse 8 of Bhagavad Geetha?


In his footnote to this verse, Swami Gambhirananda writes in his translation of the Bhagavad Gita (p 14):

Asvatthama, son of Drona: Mention of Asvatthama before Karna's son Vikarna, and others, as also the mention of Drona before Bhisma and others, was for pleasing Drona.

Saumadatti: King of Balhika (of Punjab), son of Somadatta; known also as Bhurisrava because of his preeminence. Jayadratha: (some editions read tathaivaca in place of jayadrathah) King of Sindu (modern Sindh). The first line of the verse ennumerates the four principal leaders; the second verse names those next in status.

The recension of the Gita that uses Jayadratha is the same recension that was commented on by Sankara, but there are recensions with the alternative wording. In his introduction to his translation, Swami Gambhirananda writes (pp xvii-xviii):

According to the recension of the Gita commented on by Sankaracarya, the number of verses is 700. But there is evidence to show that some old manuscripts had 745 verses. The Gita published in Srinagar, 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 the readings. Pusalkar 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 at least as the general public is concerned.

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