In the previous episode we had witnessed the commencement of our second mega-project – Leadership lessons from the Mahaabhaarata. We had also seen a small introduction about the two great epics that comprise the crux of our “Sanaathana Dharma”. In that, we had already had the divine opportunity to explore one of the two epics – Shrimad Ramayana in detail. Now as we move on, we are about to start our exploration into our second important epic – The Mahaabhaarata.
But before we enter into the actual text of Mahaabhaarata, it is our bound duty to appreciate the significance of it’s author, the great Sage Veda-Vyaasa. Subsequently we also had a discussion in the previous episode as to why should we appreciate the significance of sages such as Veda-Vyaasa. In a nutshell if we’ve to understand the reason – Sages such as Sage Vishwaamithra, Sage Vasishta, Sage Vyaasa, etc. have totally dedicated their entire lives into contributing something that would be beneficial for the whole world in the forthcoming future. If we happen to explore the life history of each of the sages, all of them would have lived for thousands of years in this world and would have propagated innumerable aspects of “Dharma” (Righteousness) to this world and hence it becomes our bound duty to remember and appreciate our great sages who had descended in our “Bhaarata Desha” (India). In fact, we should be proud of ourselves that we are living/associated with this great country called “India” or “Bhaarata Desha” in some way or the other, because we are fortunate to be associated with these great sages of yesteryears, who had given us this treasure of “Dharma”, in the form of Vedas, Upanishads, Puraanas, Ithihaasas (Epics), etc. Thus having said that, in this episode, let us together pay our humble tributes and respects to Sage Veda-Vyaasa by analyzing his significance.
As we progress further, I shall start by outlining the significance of the Mahaabhaarata – As all of us might be knowing by now, our Vedas are divided into four sects – Rig, Yajur, Saama and Atharvana. There is a popular description about the Mahaabhaarata as follows:
“Bhaarathah panchamo vedaha!!”
The above sentence means that the Mahaabhaarata is the fifth sect of the Vedas along with the Rig, Yajur, Saama and Atharvana Vedas! From this we can understand how significant is Mahaabhaarata in our Sanaathana Dharma literature. All of us would also know that it might be extremely difficult for us to understand and comprehend the four sects of Vedas in the current day, given our innumerable limitations with respect to scholarliness, awareness, concentration/focus, etc. Hence, to understand the crux of our Vedas, the Mahaabhaarata is an easy solution!
However, having said that, this Mahaabhaarata in itself is too huge! It comprises of around one lakh twenty five thousand (1,25,000) slokas categorized into eighteen “Paruvas” (Parts). In the previous project, we witnessed that the Ramayana comprises of just around 24,000 slokas and we found even that to be difficult to comprehend the whole package! Thus, if we compare the Ramayana and the Mahaabhaarata, we can understand that the Mahaabhaarata is way too huge as compared with the Ramayana.
As all of us know, the Mahaabhaarata was authored by the great Veda-Vyaasa.
“Vyaasam vasishtanapthaaram shaktheh pouthramakalmasham!
Paraasharaathmajam vande shukathaatham thaponithim!!”
This is a very common sloka as part of our “Vishnu Sahasranaama”, which many of us chant. This sloka narrates Sage Vyaasa’s ancestral history – Sage Vyaasa is none other than the great grandson of Sage Vasishta, the grandson of Sage Shakthi and the son of Sage Paraasara. Thus the family lineage is, Sage Vasishta – Sage Shakthi – Sage Paraasara – Sage Veda-Vyaasa – Sage Shukaa (Sage Shukaa is the son of Sage Veda-Vyaasa). From this family lineage itself we can understand the importance of Sage Veda-Vyaasa. The entire lineage is full of great Sages who had dedicated their lives completely into spirituality, Bhakthi (Devotion) and propagating the “Dharma” to the earth!
“Vyaasaaya Vishnu roopaaya vyaasa roopaaya vishnave!
Namovai brahma nidhaye vaasishtaaya namo namaha!!”
The above famous sloka explains to us that, this immensely significant Sage Veda-Vyaasa is considered to be another incarnation of Lord Vishnu himself! It is this great Sage Veda-Vyaasa who was born during the “Dvaapara – Yuga” and was also instrumental in splitting and categorizing the whole Veda text into the four sects – Rig, Yajur, Saama and Atharvana. Previously, the Vedas was a single text that was as huge as an ocean! However, for the easy understanding of the Vedas for people like us, Sage Veda-Vyaasa took it upon himself to split the Vedas into the four important sects, further dividing them into different smaller chapters/parts, paragraphs, sentences, etc. for our easier understanding and comprehension.
In fact, his name in itself suggests the same – “Veda-Vyaasaha” – The word “Vyaasaha” means “Separating”, “Categorizing”, etc. Thus the phrase “Veda-Vyaasa” means, the person who had categorized the Vedas into smaller parts. It is this same Sage Veda-Vyaasa who was instrumental in authoring the fifth Veda, which is nothing but the Mahaabhaarata. With this, his significance doesn’t end. After the Mahaabhaarata, Sage Veda-Vyaasa also further authored the great “Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana”.
Thus, today we’ve discussed the significance of the great Sage Veda-Vyaasa. In the next episode we shall witness the significance of the great text of Mahaabhaarata and shall see how Sage Vyaasa authored this text! Stay tuned!