Sanjaya was the son of Gavalgana. Sanjaya was a Suta. He was the charioteer of Dhritarashtra and the first one who narrated the Bhagavad Gita other than Sri Krishna himself. He gave a blow-by-blow account of the war to Dhritarashta.
The magical part of the Mahabharatam tells us that Sanjaya was given divine vision by Veda Vyasa and that is how he knew what was going on in the war even though he was always at Hastinapur (old delhi), with Dhritarashtra.
Sanjaya himself says :
“Having bowed down to thy father (Veda Vyasa), that (wise and high-souled) son of Parasara, through whose grace, (through whose boon bestowed onme,) I have obtained excellent and celestial apprehension, sight beyond the range of the visual sense, and hearing, O king, from great distance, knowledge of other people’s hearts and also of the past and the future, a knowledge also of the origin of all persons transgressing the ordinances, the delightful power of coursing through the skies, and untouchableness by weapons in battles, listen to me in detail as I recite the romantic and highly wonderful battle that happened between the Bharatas, a battle that makes one’s hair stand on end”
However there are some practical lines in the Mahabharatam which have not been lost to time :
“Vaisampayana said,–”Possessing a knowledge of the past, the present and the future, and seeing all things as if present before his eyes, the learned son of Gavalgana, O Bharata, coming quickly from the field of battle, and rushing with grief (into the court) represented unto Dhritarashtra who was plunged in thought that Bhishma the grandsire of the Bharatas had been slain.”
From this we gather that Sanjaya had been way for ten days and rushed to meet Dhritarashtra with the terrible news of Bhisma’s death.
Also, Sanjaya starts the narration from the point of Bhishma’s death, and it is Dhritarashtra who questions him about what happened in the beginning, how the armies were arrayed … and then finally that famous line
“In that arena of dharma, in that arena of the kurus, when were gathered, eager to fight, the sons of mine and of Pandu…. what did they do O Sanjaya! ?” which today we recognise as the first line of the Bhagavad Gita.”
It could have take Sanjaya about 3-5 hours to cross the distance from Kuruskshetra to Hastinapur on Chariot. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horse_gait)
If it was a daily narration, then why start dramatically with Bhishma’s death and what was Sanjaya doing for ten days? Why does the narration jump from a description of Bharata Varsha to the fall of Bhishma?
Authorship and Copyright Notice : Satya Sarada Kandula. All Rights Reserved.
“Resembling the great Indra himself in bravery, and Himavat in firmness, like unto the ocean itself in gravity, and the Earth herself in patience, that invincible warrior having arrows for his teeth, that bow for his mouth, and the sword for his tongue, that lion among men, hath to-day been slain by the prince of Panchala. That slayer of heroes, beholding whom when addrest for battle the mighty army of the Pandavas, unmanned by fear, used to tremble like a herd of kine when beholding a lion, alas, having protected that army (of thine) for ten nights and having achieved feats exceedingly difficult of accomplishment, hath set like the Sun. He who like Sakra himself, scattering arrows in thousands with the utmost composure, daily slew ten thousand warriors for ten days, even he slain (by the enemy), lieth, though he deserveth it not, on the bare ground like a (mighty) tree broken by the wind, in consequence, O king, of thy evil counsels, O Bharata.”
You can see the episode of Bhishma’s fall here if you can bear it..