Episode # 6 – Introduction to MAHABHARATA – Part 6 – How and from where did it all begin?

In the previous episode, we had witnessed how Sage Vyaasa authored the Mahabharata text. His initial work was segregating the Vedas into a readable and a comprehensible format. After this great work, Sage Vyaasa thought that he should simplify the Vedas into a text that is more understandable for people of future generations. With this in mind, he came up with the next work called “Brahma-Sutra”. After authoring the “Brahma-Sutra”, Sage Vyaasa wasn’t very satisfied with himself. He still felt that this “Brahma-Sutra” is also quite complicated and is going to be difficult for future generations to read and understand. This is where he thought that he should come up with something simpler and thus, the Mahabharata was born. We had also witnessed that this “Mahabharata” text was authored keeping in mind that people from all four “Varnashrama Dharmas” should be able to understand the content. Even women and children should be able to comprehend what is there in the text. Thus in this way, Sage Vyaasa achieved a milestone by authoring this important Mahabharata text. 

Thus the point here is that, whatever we cannot comprehend from the Vedas, Brahma-Sutra and the Upanishads, can be easily comprehended and understood from the Mahabharata, and this is the sole reason why this text is revered and respected as the “Fifth Veda”. Moreover, Sage Vyaasa himself proclaims that if we search for any aspect related to “Dharma”, we would find it quite easily in the Mahabharata. If we’re unable to find any aspect of “Dharma” in the Mahabharata, we wouldn’t be able to find it anywhere in the world. The Mahabharata text is a complete package of “Satya” (Truth), “Dharma” (Righteousness), “Kaama” (Desires) and “Moksha” (Ultimate Salvation). This text clearly paves the way for us to attain “Moksha”. During our previous projects too, we’ve witnessed many excerpts from the Shrimad Bhagawad Gita, which is also part of this great Mahabharata text only. In this, we’ve witnessed how Bhagawan Krishna Himself narrates the clear path and direction for a “Jeevatma” to attain “Moksha”. If Bhagawan Himself is chalking out the path, what more do we require? This is why we say that the Mahabharata is an ocean of knowledge, which is divine and spiritual in nature. This knowledge is extremely essential for all “Jeevatmas” to attain Bhagawan. 

Thus till now, we’ve witnessed the significance of the Mahabharata text and the author of this text – Sage Vyaasa. We’ve also witnessed the family lineage of Sage Vyaasa in due course. As we know now that Sage Vyaasa is none other than the son of Sage Paraashara, who had authored the great “Shri Vishnu Puraana”, Sage Paraashara himself talks high of his son to Sage Maithreya. Sage Paraashara explains thus, “Oh Maithreya! There is nobody in this world other than my son, Vyaasa, who can author the Mahabharata! Nobody in this world has the level of intelligence, patience, perseverance, etc. to compose such a highly revered text!” Normally we would see in our Sanaatana Dharma literature, or even in our daily life as well that no father would celebrate the significance of his son. In fact it should be the other way round – The son would celebrate the significance of his father. In other words, ideally Sage Vyaasa should celebrate the significance of Sage Paraashara. But the situation is vice-versa here. Why is that so? We should understand the inner meaning here – Sage Paraashara is celebrating the significance of Sage Vyaasa not because Sage Vyaasa is his son. It is solely because Sage Vyaasa is a “Bhaagawatha” and a “Bhakta” (Ardent devotee) of Bhagawan Vishnu. If such is the case, where is the space for a father-son relationship? If we see all people around as “Bhaagawathas”, the worldly relationships that we might possess with them would automatically stand to be vanished! Thus, all of us would be “Bhaktas” of Bhagawan and we would all become sons and daughters of Bhagawan Krishna. This is exactly what Sage Paraashara is trying to convey here. 

Now we’ve to witness how this Mahabharata is going to be propagated to the world. There was a great Sage by the name “Romaharshana”. This great Sage Romaharshana” had a son by name “Sootha-Pouraanika”. He was also equally a great Sage by birth. It is through this Sage “Sootha-Pouraanika”, the Mahabharata gets propagated to the world. At the auspicious place called “Naimishaaranya”, there was a group of great sages including Sage Shounaka who had assembled, along with Sage Sootha-Pouraanika. All of them were extremely interested and eager to learn and understand the contents of this Mahabharata text. We’ve already witnessed the significance of this place called “Naimishaaranya” earlier too. This place is also considered to be the birthplace of Shrimad Ramayana too. Naimishaaranya can be worshipped today too in the north-Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, some 100 kilometers from the city of Lucknow. This was the same way in which Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana was propagated. We’ve witnessed this in our previous project on Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana too. 

Thus, for today, let us understand this important point that the propagation of this Mahabharata text started from Naimishaaranya, through the divine discourse given by Sage Sootha-Pouraanika. In our upcoming episodes, we shall slowly start witnessing the content of this great text in detail. Stay tuned! 🙂 

Published by Dr. Jeayaram

Holds a PhD in Management Psychology from Universite Paris Saclay, Paris, France. Also an Asst. Professor of Human Resources management at International School of Business & Media, Pune, India. A professional South Indian classical musician (singer) performing concerts. Through this blog, I'm trying to bring out the richness of Indian culture & values and I request your support and feedbacks in making this humble effort a success!!

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