In the previous episode, we had witnessed a brief on the structure of the Mahabharata text, which was authored by the great Sage Veda-Vyaasa. We’ve witnessed that the Mahabharata comprises around 1.25 lakh slokas, fit into 18 “Parvas”. Under the ambit of each “Parva”, there would be innumerable “Upa-Parvas”, which would come to around 99 in number. Inside each “Upa-Parva” there would be many “Adhyaayas” and if we again take a count, it would come to around 2000 “Adhyaayas” in total. Such is the enormity of this great Mahabharata text, which encompasses all the important messages that one needs to understand if he / she wants to lead a spiritual life with ultimate peace of mind in this world. It is for this reason, the Mahabharata is revered and worshipped as the “Fifth Veda” apart from the traditional four Vedas of Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharvana. Of course, the readers should remember here that these are approximate numbers. For instance, if we say that the Mahabharata text comprises 1.25 lakh slokas, it would not be exactly 1.25 lakh. It might be a little less or more here and there. Similar is the case for other texts too. Even in the Shrimad Ramayana, if we say that the text comprises 24,000 slokas, it would not exactly be 24,000. It might be 24,015 or 23,800 or the likes.
Thus, as we move on from here, we’ve to also understand how Sage Vyaasa played an important role in segregating the Vedas into the four different sects. We’ve seen the importance of Sage Vyaasa in this way, and since he has also condensed the entire Vedas into the Mahabharata text, we’ve to understand how exactly Sage Vyaasa went about doing all these. It is believed that during the previous Yugas of Krita, Tretha and Dvaapara, the Vedas were just one in number. It was a huge integrated text without any divisions. It is only towards the end of the Dvaapara Yuga did Sage Vyaasa incarnate. We’re going to witness how Sage Vyaasa played an important role in the Mahabharata story too in the future episodes. During every “Chatur-Yuga” there would be one “Mahatma” who would incarnate and eventually attain the “Vyaasa-Padhavi” (Unique and distinguished position that Sage Vyaasa holds). We’re now passing through the 28’th “Chatur-Yuga”. I’ve detailed this during our previous Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana and Shri Vishnu Puraana projects. Readers who are continuously reading through all our episodes might remember this description wherein we spoke at length about “Time” and how “Yugas”, “Chatur-Yugas”, etc. are calculated. Even during our “Sankalpa Mantra” we say the following:
“Shweta varaaha kalpe… Ashtaavimshati tame… Kali yuge… Prithame paade…”
Thus, if we look at the calculation, it is in this same “Chatur Yuga” that we are currently in, Sage Vyaasa also incarnated. He was the son of Sage Paraashara. Sage Vyaasa is also referred to as “Krishna-Dvaipaayana”. It is the same Sage Vyaasa who was living through the last stages of the Dvaapara Yuga. Prior to this, Sage Paraashara was enjoying the “Vyaasa Padhavi” two “Chatur Yugas” back. Thus, during this particular “Chatur Yuga”, Sage Vyaasa had the important task of classifying the Vedas. “Brahmakam”, “Ashtakam”, “Samhika”, etc. were the different classifications which Sage Vyaasa designed for the Vedas. As we’ve already discussed earlier, since it would be a mammoth task for someone to even open the book and read through the vast Veda text, Sage Vyaasa took it upon himself to convert the Vedas into a “readable format”, so that many future generations of people can benefit out of it.
Many of us might know Sage Vyaasa’s family lineage. We’ve discussed this earlier too, however, given the context, we shall recollect it once again. I shall touch through this point in brief. The lineage starts from Bhagawan Brahma. Bhagawan Brahma’s son was Sage Vasishta. Sage Vasishta’s son was Sage Shakti. Sage Shakti’s son was Sage Paraashara, who authored the Shri Vishnu Puraana. Sage Paraashara’s son was none other than Sage Veda-Vyaasa. Sage Vyaasa’s son was none other than Sage Shukaachaarya who authored Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana. Thus, we can see here the enormous significance of this entire family lineage! It is only because of this one family, our entire “Sanaatana Dharma” literature has so much richness in content. Thus, Sage Vyaasa who had incarnated in this world as one of the most important incarnations of Bhagawan Vishnu had taken up the unique responsibility unlike anybody else to structure the entire Sanaatana Dharma literature single handedly. Of course, there were important contributions from his father and son too, however, the impact which Sage Veda-Vyaasa created was enormous and unimaginable. This is the unique significance of Sage Vyaasa.
Thus, for today, we’ve understood the importance of Sage Vyaasa in a bit more detailed way. Hence, let us first pay our oblations and respects to Sage Vyaasa, as we commence our mega project on the “Mahabharata”. We’re paying respects to the author here because if this huge text should enter into our mind with clarity, we need the divine grace of the Guru (The spiritual master). Only with the grace of the “Guru”, we would be eligible to obtain the grace of Bhagawan Krishna. Thus, paying our respects to Sage Vyaasa, who was a great spiritual master assumes enormous significance at this point. So for today, let us bow down to Sage Vyaasa and let us wait till the next episode to continue further! Stay tuned! 🙂