Episode # 13 – Sage Vyaasa lists out key contents covered in the Mahabharata text!!!

In the previous episode, we had commenced Sage Pouranika’s lengthy accord on the Mahabharata, upon Sage Romaharshana’s request. As Sage Pouranika begins, he gives a short accord on how Sage Vyaasa authored the Mahabharata text. He explains how Bhagawan Brahma visits Sage Vyaasa’s ashram at Maanaa near Badrinatha-Kshetra amidst the Himalayas. This is precisely the same sequence of events that took place with Valmiki Bhagawan as well, wherein Bhagawan Brahma had visited Valmiki Maharishi’s ashram at Bittur, to bless him with the divine “Gnaana Drishti” wherein he can see through the entire Ramayana in front of his two eyes. Similarly here also, as Bhagawan Brahma arrives at Sage Vyaasa’s ashram, Sage Vyaasa welcomes Bhagawan Brahma with all the required oblations and prostrations. As Bhagawan Brahma arrives, the first thing that Sage Vyaasa did was to stand up from his “Aasana” and pay respects. 

We’ve discussed this earlier as well – If an elderly or a senior person visits us, the first thing that all of us should do is to get up from our seat and pay respects to him or her. It is believed that as a senior person comes towards us, automatically our “Praana-Vaayu” (Oxygen that we breathe in) goes upwards in respect to that person. If we get up along with the direction of our “Praana-Vaayu” and pay respects, we’re saved. Else, we can imagine what would happen to us – When the “Praana Vaayu” goes up and we’re not getting up, it would escape out of our mouth, and eventually we’re equal to dead bodies. This is why we should always pay respects to senior people (both in terms of age and knowledge) by getting up from where we’re sitting. Thus, Sage Vyaasa too gets up in respect to Bhagawan Brahma, offers all the spiritual oblations to him. 

As both of them settle down after the oblations and respects, Sage Vyaasa submits to Bhagawan Brahma thus, “Oh Bhagawan Brahma! I’ve got in mind a great text in which I’ve packed all important aspects of “Dharma” as mentioned by various sages and Bhagawan Himself. I require your blessings to propagate this text to the whole world, so that all people can understand “Dharma” and follow it properly!” As Sage Vyaasa submits his query to Bhagawan Brahma thus, Bhagawan Brahma asks a counter question here – “Oh Sage Vyaasa! I know you would be having great things in mind, and that is why I came to visit you in person directly. Now tell me what is so special that you’ve got in that great text that you’re talking about? Why don’t you share it with me in detail, so that I shall guide you as to how this text should be propagated to the world?” 

This is just a small question that Bhagawan Brahma is asking. But the answer to this question would run into pages and pages if we start looking into what Sage Vyaasa replied. This is quite similar to the question that Arjuna asked Bhagawan Krishna during the tenth “Adhyaaya” of the Bhagawad Gita. Arjuna asked a simple question thus, “Oh Bhagawan! What all things in this world consist of your property?” For this, when Bhagawan Krishna started replying, the entire tenth “Adhyaaya” got over! We shall imagine the depth to which Bhagawan would have answered the question. Bhagawan Krishna starts thus, “Oh Arjuna! You’re asking me what is the estimate of my property, isn’t it? Let me tell you one thing – You should re-frame the question a bit. You should have instead asked me as to what is not part of my property in this world? Everything in this world is mine!” Saying thus, Bhagawan Krishna details out how He exists as Bhagawan Shankara (Shiva) amidst the “Rudras”, how He exists as Snake Vaasuki amidst the group of great serpents, how He exists as the Himalaya mountains amidst the great mountains in the world, how He exists as month “Maargazhi” amongst the twelve months of the year, how He exists as “Silence” amidst the huge list of “Rahasyas” (Secrets), etc. By saying so, Bhagawan Krishna completes the entire tenth “Adhyaaya” by explaining that He is so and so amidst so and so, isn’t it? Similarly here too, for just that one question Bhagawan Brahma asked, Sage Vyaasa is going to detail an enormous answer. 

Now that Bhagawan Brahma has asked the question, Sage Vyaasa starts replying thus, “Oh Bhagawan Brahma! I’ve packed in this text, all what is said in the Vedas and Upanishads! However, having said thus, I’ve packed everything in a very simple form so that all can understand. I’ve explained all the contents narrated by great sages including my father, Sage Paraashara! Having said that, I’ve ensured that all the contents are narrated in the form of beautiful storylines, so that people can easily understand and comprehend!” This is an important reply from Sage Vyaasa. If for instance, we’re falling sick and the doctor is prescribing a medicine to take every day – We wouldn’t like the medicine because it might be bitter in taste. However, if that same medicine is packed into a “capsule” having a strawberry or a chocolate or a mango flavor to it, we would be very liking towards that same medicine, isn’t it? Similarly here too, if contents of the Vedas and Upanishads which are like medicines, are narrated directly, nobody would be able to accept and digest it. However, if the same content is given in the form of a beautiful story, which is like a capsule of chocolate flavor, people would be able to understand and comprehend! This is exactly Sage Vyaasa’s exceptional significance. 

Continuing thus with the next point, Sage Vyaasa explains to Bhagawan Brahma, “Oh Bhagawan! I’ve also packed into the text, the past, the present and the future! I’ve explained what has already happened in this world with regards to Dharma and Adharma, what is happening currently in this world wherein Dharma is having a downfall and Bhagawan coming to rescue it, and also the future as to how Dharma would again start diminishing once Bhagawan Krishna goes back to Vaikunta.” We should understand here that Sage Vyaasa is a highly realized person who can witness all the three aspects – Past, present and future in front of his two eyes. Sage Vyaasa continues thus, “Oh Bhagawan Brahma! Along with the past, present and future, I’ve also outlined in detail as to how people would fall into the trap of “Adharma” quite easily and if they are trapped, what is the solution for them to come out of it. In other words, I’ve spoken about various aspects such as happiness, sorrow, death, fear, etc. that people would undergo and what they should do to come out of all this, thereby paving the way for them to attain Bhagawan in the end! Also, I’ve spoken about “Karma” in detail and how people get entangled into various types of “Karma” – Both good and bad. I’ve also spoken at length about the “Varnaashrama Dharma” and how people from the four categories should conduct themselves in society. Moreover, I’ve also spoken about the various duties one should perform when he is in the four different “Ashramas” namely, “Brahmacharya-Ashrama”, “Grihasta-Ashrama”, “Vanaprastha-Ashrama” and “Sanyasa-Ashrama”. I’ve also outlined how spiritual offerings and oblations should be given to Bhagawan and various “Devatas”. I’ve also outlined what is “Karma Yoga”, what is “Gnyaana Yoga” and what is “Bhakti Yoga”. I’ve also spoken about “Sharanaagati” (Complete surrender to Bhagawan) and how should one approach it. Moreover, I’ve also explained what is “Naama-Sankeertana” and what is the significance of chanting Bhagawan’s divine names! Apart from this, I’ve also spoken about the concert of “time”, how the world began, who are the Devas, Yakshas, Dhaanavas, Raakshasas, etc. I’ve also spoken about how eclipses happen, and what is the time calculation for the same!” 

Saying thus, Sage Vyaasa lists out all what he had in his mind when it comes to the Mahabharata text. For today, I’ve just mentioned very few of what Sage Vyaasa has said. Upon reading this itself, I’m sure that all of us are going to have our heads whirling in all directions! With this, we can understand the enormity of what Sage Vyaasa has done, isn’t it? So for today, let us understand upto this point, and let us take it forward in the next episode! 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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