In the previous episode, we had witnessed the continuation of Sage Vyaasa’s significance and how his own father, Sage Paraashara talks highly of him. Readers might be wondering as to why are we giving so much of emphasis on Sage Vyaasa’s significance. In fact, we’ve spoken about Sage Vyaasa for the past six episodes in some way or the other. The answer to this is very simple – Even if we spend a thousand episodes talking about Sage Vyaasa’s significance, it would be too little time, considering the enormity of the work that he has done. Moreover, since the Mahabharata is a huge text by itself, Sage Vyaasa’s significance is equally huge, isn’t it? In the course of yesterday’s episode, we witnessed how this great text was propagated to the entire world. Thanks to Sage Romaharshana and Sage Pouranika, the Mahabharata was inculcated into various other great sages, who in turn propagated to various other people, and the chain continues till date.
It all started at the auspicious place called Naimishaaranya in the north-Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. This was the very place from which various other sacred texts like the Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana originated too. Even the most sacred Valmiki Ramayana was born in Naimishaarya Kshetra. We’ve witnessed in our Ramayana project how Bhagawan Rama was at this very place when His sons, Lava and Kucha came along singing the Ramayana text which was taught to them by Valmiki Bhagawan himself. Thus, the place assumes enormous significance. If we get an opportunity to visit Naimishaaranya Kshetra, we should grab it with both our hands. It is mandatory for us to visit such places which had given us these important treasures that we’re cherishing today, isn’t it?
Now continuing from this point further, readers should understand one important point here – We should first understand the significance of Sage Romaharshana and Sage Sootha Pouranika as we move forward. Now who was Sage Romaharshana? Sage Romaharshana was the son of Bhagawan Brahma Himself. When Bhagawan Brahma scratched His hair with His fingers, Sage Romaharshana was born as a resultant of that scratch. It was this same Sage Romaharshana who had sat along with King Parikshit to listen to the Shrimad Bhaagawtha Puraana directly from Sage Shukaachaarya. Sage Pouraanika was the son of Sage Romaharshana. This Sage Pouranika had the divine opportunity to sit along with King Janame-Jaya to directly listen to the entire Mahabharata text that was narrated by Sage Vaishampayana. Readers must understand this part very carefully here. As I had mentioned earlier as well, every point that we’re discussing in this Mahabharata text is extremely important and readers must take down notes for better understanding and comprehension.
For the sake of readers’ understanding, I’m summarizing this point once again – Sage Romaharshana was the son of Bhagawan Brahma, who had the divine opportunity to listen to Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana directly from Sage Shukaachaarya. Sage Romaharshana’s son was Sage Pouranika, who had the divine opportunity of directly listening to the Mahabharata text along with King Janame-Jaya from Sage Vaishampayana. From this, we can infer one point very clearly – The first narration of the Mahabharata text was by Sage Vaishampayana to King Janame-Jaya. This is quite similar to the one that we’ve seen during our Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana project wherein Sage Shukaachaarya narrates the entire content to King Parikshit. Now we should understand the relationships carefully. King Janame-Jaya was the son of King Parikshit. All of us know who this King Parikshit is. For readers’ recollection, King Parikshit is the grandson of Arjuna, who is one amongst the five “Paandava” brothers. Arjuna’s son was Abhimanyu. King Parikshit was Abhimanyu’s son. All of us know how King Parikshit was born with the divine grace of Bhagawan Krishna.
Thus if we look at the sequence of important conversations, the conversation between Arjuna and Bhagawan Krishna resulted in the Bhagawad Gita. Similarly the conversation between Bhishmachaarya and Bhagawan Krishna resulted in the Vishnu Sahasranamam. Similarly, the conversation between King Parikshit and Sage Shukaachaarya resulted in the Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana. Finally, the conversation between Sage Vaishampayana and King Janame-Jaya resulted in the great Mahabharata text. Thus, Sage Vyaasa’s job here was to document this entire conversation between Sage Vaishampayana and King Janame-Jaya. When Sage Vyaasa documented this conversation, he made it into a 60 lakh-sloka-document. But now, we only have around 1.25 lakh slokas. If we actually take a count of what we have today, it would only come to around 84,000 slokas. Probably in the course of thousands of years, we might have lost a few slokas in the middle. Or, maybe if we include the slokas that explain the “Hari-Vamsa”, we might get to that one lakh figure. However, we should know here that the original Mahabharata text that Sage Vyaasa had documented had 60-Lakh slokas in it.
So for today, let us understand these points clearly. I’m going a bit slow in the beginning episodes, just for the sake of readers’ understanding. As mentioned earlier, these initial points are extremely important and readers are advised to take down notes as they read through. We shall wait till the next episode to continue further. Stay tuned! 🙂