Episode # 8 – Introduction to MAHABHARATA Part 8 – Sage Vyasa curses River Saraswati!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed that the Mahabharata is nothing but a detailed conversation between Sage Vaishampayana and King Janame-Jaya. We’ve witnessed that King Janame-Jaya was the son of King Parikshit, who engaged with a pivotal conversation with Sage Shukaachaarya, that resulted in the great “Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana”. King Parikshit, as we might know by now, is the grandson of Arjuna, who is one amongst the five “Paandava” brothers. Thus it is the conversation between Sage Vaishampayana and King Janame-Jaya is Sage Veda-Vyaasa documenting as what is called the Mahabharata. We’ve also witnessed in due course of yesterday’s episode that this entire text originally had 60 Lakh slokas in total. However, what we have today is only around 1.25 lakh slokas. Probably in due course of the 5000-6000 years that had passed by, we might have missed many slokas. This is one theory that floats around. However, what we’ve to understand here is that, the Mahabharata is a very extensive work that is done by Sage Veda-Vyaasa and we’re getting ready with all these introductory episodes to get to the crux of it. 

Moving on further, we shall now continue to witness how Sage Vyaasa sat down to write the Mahabharata text. Of course, just like Valmiki Bhagawan, Sage Vyaasa had the “divine vision” to witness the entire conversation between Sage Vaishampayana and King Janame-Jaya right in front of his eyes. With this, Sage Vyaasa is sitting inside a small tunnel amidst the great Himalayan mountains. Even today we would be able to worship this sacred place, some two or three kilometres above the revered Badrinath amidst the Himalayas. This is an extremely serene place and if any of us get an opportunity to visit, we should definitely do so. Thus, Sage Vyaasa sits down at this place to start writing the Mahabharata text. At a very close proximity, the river Saraswati was flowing with a great speed and sound. As the river was generating tremendous sound, Sage Vyaasa got disturbed and with this, he got angry as well! He thus turns to River Saraswati and curses her thus, “Oh Saraswati! What are you doing in this place where I’m sitting and doing something important? Don’t you know that you’re disturbing me? Hence I’m cursing you right away! From today onwards you would become invisible beneath the ground. Nobody would be able to see you as they see the River Ganges and Yamuna!” 

As Sage Vyaasa utters thus, immediately the River becomes invisible and goes under the ground. Thus, even today we wouldn’t be able to see this river right from its origin until the place called “Prayagraj” in Uttar Pradesh, India.  Many of us might be familiar with this place called “Prayagraj”, isn’t it? It’s old name is Allahabad. This is the place wherein three rivers come and meet, which is also referred to as the “Triveni-Sangamam” (Meeting point of three rivers – River Ganga, River Yamuna and River Saraswati). Thus, we should understand here that it was due to the curse of Sage Vyaasa, River Saraswati is invisible even today. 

Hence, we shall understand here that it was at this Badrinath Kshetra wherein Sage Vyaasa is sitting down and writing the Mahabharata text. This place can be visited only for six months in a year. During the rest of the year, this place is completely covered with snow and is quite inaccessible. It is only at this place did Sage Vyaasa sit for three continuous years to author the Mahabharata text. We can see the willpower, spiritual sanctity and the power of “Tapas” that Sage Vyaasa had. On one hand we’re witnessing that this place is completely inaccessible for six months of the year due to heavy snowfall. We can imagine the freezing cold temperatures that this place would experience during these six months. On the other hand we’re witnessing that Sage Vyaasa sat in this freezing cold and was writing the Mahabharata continuously without a break for three years. This shows clearly that Sage Vyaasa wasn’t an ordinary person by nature. He is thus an incarnation of Bhagawan Krishna Himself and thus, the Mahabharata is revered and respected as the “Fifth Veda” in our Sanaatana Dharma literature. 

Moving on thus, we should next understand whom does this Mahabharata talk about. Every story would have someone in the limelight and the entire work would revolve around this particular person, isn’t it? We’ve witnessed that in the Shrimad Ramayana text, Bhagawan Rama and Mother Sita were the two important people who were in prime focus. The entire Ramayana story revolves around these two people. Similarly, who is / are the main focal element(s) in the Mahabharata? Let us wait for the next episode to find out! 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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