In the previous episode, we had witnessed Sage Romaharshana commencing the narration of the Mahabharata text to Sage Pouranika and other disciples who had gathered together at the sacred “Naimisharanya Kshetra”. Amidst the banks of River Chakra and amidst a beautiful and a serene environment, all of them have assembled eagerly to listen to Bhagawan Krishna’s divine “Leelas” from the mouth of Sage Romaharshana. Readers need to be very careful and clear here, not to get confused as to who is narrating the Mahabharata text to whom. I shall give some clarity on this as we move on further. Readers should understand that the Mahabharata was first narrated by Sage Vaishampayana to King Janame-Jaya as the “first voice” of the text. Subsequently, it was Sage Vyaasa who documented this entire conversation as the “Mahabharata” text, with the help of Bhagawan Ganesha and Devi Saraswati. It is this Mahabharata text composed by Sage Vyaasa, is Sage Romaharshana sharing with all the sages who have assembled here at Naimisharanya.
As Sage Romaharshana commences thus, let us now look into what he is going to narrate. Sage Romaharshana commences the series of events with the first event wherein King Janame-Jaya is organizing a huge “Sarpa-Yaaga” at his kingdom. It is for this “Sarpa-Yaaga” did Sage Vaishampayana come and take part. At this stage, Sage Romaharshana conveys an important reference. He says that he had just been to a place called “Samantha-Panchakam” and is coming to Naimishaaranya directly after visiting this place. All of us know that “Panchakam” means five. This Samantha-Panchakam” is a very spiritually sacred place for a reason. It is this very place wherein Parasurama killed twenty-one generations of great “Kshatrya warriors” and drank the blood of each and every one of them. It is believed that all the blood of these dead “Kshatrya” warriors was stacked up in five different “ponds” and it is from these five ponds that Parashurama drank all of it! We might be wondering where this “Samantha-Panchakam” came into existence all of a sudden! The very same place called “Kurukshetra” where the Mahabharata war took place is referred to as “Samantha-Panchakam”. Readers should remember this very carefully.
As Sage Romaharshana and his son, Sage Pouraanika thus take their seats, Sage Romaharshana says to the audience thus, “Oh great Sages! I’ve got two stories to tell all of you! You can choose either one of them, based upon your interest. One story is about some great sages, Indra and Devas, etc. and how they attained prosperity over the years. The second one is the Mahabharata text, which talks in detail about various aspects of “Dharma” in this world and how Bhagawan Krishna used many people as instruments to establish and re-establish the “Dharma” in this world! Based upon your choice, I shall narrate whatever you prefer!” If we’re given a choice between two cups of sweet-tasting “Payasams” (A sweet drink made out of milk and other ingredients), it would be a tough choice to make, isn’t it? Whereas, if we’re given a cup of sweet-tasting “Payasam” and another cup of something that was made 2 days ago, what would we choose? Obviously the first option, isn’t it? This is exactly what is happening here too – Sage Romaharshana is giving them an option of choosing between stories of some Devas, Indra, etc. and the great Mahabharata! This prompts the sages to collectively opt for the Mahabharata text, rather than listening to some sages and Indra. Any time, listening to Bhagawan and His divine Leelas are much better than listening about some sages and Indra, isn’t it?
As the sages convey their choice to Sage Romaharshana, he points to Sage Pouranika and says thus, “Oh Pouranika! You’ve been a direct recipient of the great Mahabharata text, isn’t it? So why don’t you start proceedings?” As Sage Romaharshana requests thus, Sage Pouranika replies, “Oh father! With all my prostrations to you and to Bhagawan Krishna, I shall take over and narrate whatever I heard from Sage Vaishampayana. I was very much present amidst the crowd when Sage Vaishampayana narrated this Mahabharata text to King Janame-Jaya, during the “Sarpa-Yaaga”. I shall share with all of you, the excerpts of that important conversation!”
As Sage Pouranika commences, he first starts with how Sage Vyaasa authored the Mahabharata. We should always remember this – The main author of this entire text is Sage Vyaasa and reference should be made to him isn’t it? This is exactly what Sage Pouranika is doing here. As he commences, he narrates how Sage Vyaasa composed the text. One fine day, Sage Vyaasa was sitting at a place called “Maana” near to the Badrikaashrama amidst the Himalayas. He had finished all his regular “Nitya-Anushtaana” and is ready to commence the writing. Of course, as mentioned earlier, it is not Sage Vyaasa who is “writing” the text. It was Bhagawan Ganesha who is doing it. Sage Vyaasa is dictating the text and Bhagawan Ganesha is documenting it. This is how the Mahabharata was born. However, if Sage Vyaasa has to narrate the text, he should first sequence the entire set of events in his mind before starting to narrate, isn’t it? Just like how Valmiki Bhagawan had the entire Ramayana on the “virtual screen” in front of him, Sage Vyaasa too had the entire Mahabharata in front of him on the “virtual screen” called “Gnyaana Drishti”, courtesy, Bhagawan Brahma! With the divine grace of Bhagawan Brahma, he gets all events going one after the other on the “virtual screen”! As Sage Vyaasa sees it as a sequence, he starts dictating! The dictation is going on with a great speed and Bhagawan Ganesha is documenting it at an equal speed!
Thus, it all starts from how Sage Vyaasa composed the Mahabharata text, and continues with the “Sarpa-Yaaga” that King Janame-Jaya. Sage Pouranika commences with this, but we should understand why King Janame-Jaya performed the Sarpa-Yaaga. We should also understand why Sage Vaishampayana came there. Lets wait for the next episode to commence! Stay tuned! 🙂