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Encyclopedia > Krishna Dwaipayana Vyasa

Krishna Dwaipayana Vyasa was the great sage who authored the great Hindu epic Mahabharata. He was also known as Dwaipayana, (the island-born), Veda Vyasa (the one who divied the Vedas) or simply as Vyasa. He was called Krishna, because he was black skinned, compared to the people with whom he interacted. (All ancient people with the name Krishna, were dark skinned, including Vasudeva Krishna and Princess Krishna the wife of Pandavas.) The Mahabharata (Devanagari: महाभारत, phonetically Mahābhārata - see note), sometimes just called Bharata, is one of the two major ancient Sanskrit epics of India, the other being the Ramayana. ... The Vedas (Sanskrit: वेद), collectively refers to a corpus of ancient Indo-Aryan religious literature that are associated with the Vedic civilization and are considered by adherents of Hinduism to be revealed knowledge. ... Krishna was the son of the Yadava chief Vasudeva and his wife Devaki. ... The Pandavas were the five sons of the king Pandu. ...

Contents


Authoring of Mahabharata

Vyasa authored only the core of Mahabharata consisting of 25,000 stanzas. He gave the name Jaya to his work. It later grew to 100,000 stanzas, probably due to the contribution of many authors including Vyasa's disciples like Vaisampayana, Jaimini, Paila and Suka. Now it assumed the name Bharata. In the final phase, the epic grew to more than 150,000 stanzas. This was due to a few generations of authors like Ugrasrava Sauti, contributing to it anonymously, attributing their contribution to Vyasa. In this final phase it was called the Mahabharata. The Mahabharata (Devanagari: महाभारत, phonetically Mahābhārata - see note), sometimes just called Bharata, is one of the two major ancient Sanskrit epics of India, the other being the Ramayana. ...


Vyasa's Jaya

Vyasa's Jaya, the core of Mahabharata is structured in the form of a dialogue between Dhritarashtra (the Kuru king and the father of the Kauravas, who opposed the Pandavas in the Kurukshetra War) and Sanjaya his minister and well-wisher. Sanjaya narrates each incident of the Kurukshetra War, fought in 18 days, as and when it happened. Dhritarashtra sometimes asks questions and doubts and sometimes laments, knowing about the destruction caused by the war, to his sons, friends and kinsmen. He also feels guilty, due to his own role, that lead to this war, destructive to the entire Indian Subcontinent. In Mahabharata Dhritarashtra was the son bore by Vichitraviryas first wife Ambika from Vyasa. ... The term Kaurava is a Sanskrit term, that means the descendants of Kuru, a legendary king who is the ancestor of many of the characters of the Mahabharata. ... The Pandavas were the five sons of the king Pandu. ... The Kurukshetra war was perhaps one of the most important battles fought in ancient India and forms an essential component of the Hindu epic Mahabharata. ... Sanjaya is a character from the Hindu epic Mahabharata. ...



In the beginning Sanjaya gives a description of the various continents of the Earth, the other planets, and focuses on the Indian Subcontinent and gives an elaborate list of hundreds of kingdoms, tribes, provinces, cities, towns, villages, rivers, mountains, forests etc of the (ancient) Indian Subcontinent (Bharata Varsha). He also explains about the military formations adopted by each side on each day, the death of each hero and the details of each war-racings. Some 18 chapters of Vyasa's Jaya constitutes the Bhagavat Gita, the sacred text or Bible of the Hindus. Thus, this work of Vyasa, called Jaya deals with diverse subjects like geography, history, warfare, religion and morality. This article is about the Hindu religion; for other meanings of the word, see Hindu (disambiguation). ...


Vaisampayna's Bharata

The growth of Jaya into Bharata, was probably the work of Vyasa's disciple Vaisampayana, along with many unknown authors. It is structured as a narration of the history of kings of the Bharata dynasty by Vaisampayana to Janamejaya the grand-grandson of the Pandava, Arjuna. Jaya is embedded within it ! Janamejaya, was the son of Arjunas (Mahabharata)grandson Parikishit. ... In the Mahabharata, the Pandava are the five acknowledged sons of Pandu, by his two wives Kunti and Madri. ... Krishna to Arjuna: Behold My mystic opulence! Artwork © courtesy of The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust Arjuna (Sanskrit: अर्जुन, arjuna) is one of the heroes of the epic Hindu Mahabharata. ...


Ugrasrava Sauti's MahaBharata

The final phase of Vyasa's work culminated as Mahabharata, structured as a narration by Ugrasrava Sauti, who was a professional story teller, to an assembly of sages like Saunaka. Bharata is embedded inside it, and within it Jaya !


The myth of writing down of Mahabharata

Within Mahabharata is contained a legend in which Vyasa wishes to write down or inscribe his work.


The Myth

The Grandsire Brahma (creator of the universe) comes and tells Vyasa to get the help of Ganapati for his task. Ganapati writes down the stanzas recited by Vyasa from memory and thus the Mahabharata is inscribed or written. Ganapati could not cope up with Vyasa's speed and he misses many words or even stanzas.


The possible reality

During the time of Vyasa, writing was unknown or at least unconventional or a new technology. If at all it was written, that text is no where to find. The only scripts available today, believed to be close to that period is the Indus Script. The myth probably originated during later period, when people found missing words and stanzas in Mahabharata, as it passed through generations through oral traditions. Mahabharata was written down, after it passed thousands of years orally, probably around 500 AD in Brahmi and Devanagari Scripts. However it suffered only minimum information loss, during its existence as an oral recitation, because of excellent preservation techniques employed by the ancient Indian authors. The phonetic-letters of the recitation is binary coded (called Guru (1), Laghu (0) Maatra system of binary coding) which is known to the reciters. Thus, the information content in Mahabharata is well preserved, with only minimum deteriorations and additions. (Vedas were the most preserved ancient Indian texts, in oral traditions, with even lesser deterioration, though they are older than Mahabharata, but much smaller in size than Mahabharata.)


Who was Ganapati who wrote down Mahabharata ?

The difficulty faced by Ganapati in writing down Mahabharata as described in the myth, could be real, and was most probably faced by those people who first attempted to write it down as some reciter recited it continuously. This is because, the reciter, will not be able to stop the recitation, in the middle and resume it, as the lines are committed to his memory as a continuous recording !


The name Ganapati, was used in ancient days, to denote the head of a republic. In ancient India, there were kingdoms ruled by kings or Rajas as well as republics ruled by elected heads or Ganapatis. Kambojas were a republic. To some extend Dwaraka had republican style of rule. Ganapati who wrote down Mahabharata, probably was one this republic chiefs, well educated in the art of writing or inscription. The usage of the name Ganapati and Ganesha to the elephant-god Ganesha of Hindus, could be a later phenomenon. This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Dwaraka Capital : Dwaravati (near Dwarka, , Gujarat) Dwaraka was a new country founded by the Yadava clan of chiefs who fled from the Surasena Kingdom due to fear from the king Jarasandha of Magadha. ... Lord Ganesha In Hinduism, Ganesha (Sanskrit: गणेश or श्रीगणेश ( (help· info)) (when used to distinguish lordly status) (or lord of the hosts, also spelled as Ganesa and Ganesh, sometimes also referred to as Ganapati) is one of the most well-known and venerated representations of God (Brahman). ... This article is about the Hindu religion; for other meanings of the word, see Hindu (disambiguation). ...


Vedic studied of Vyasa

Mahabharata was not the only work of Vyasa. He was a great Vedic scholar. He introduced the system of studying Vedas in four ways. The Rig Vedic System, focused on the knowledge aspects of the Vedic Hymns. Yajur Vedic System focused on the practical application of the Vedic hymns in the context of a Vedic ritual. Sama Vedic System focused on the recitational aspects of the Vedic Hymns, converting thems to songs, and attributing musical properties to them. Atharva Vedic System focuses on the Vedic hymns that deal with the physical aspects of human life, like human health and well being. The Vedas (Sanskrit: वेद), collectively refers to a corpus of ancient Indo-Aryan religious literature that are associated with the Vedic civilization and are considered by adherents of Hinduism to be revealed knowledge. ...


Later these four system of Vedic studies, newly introduced by Vyasa, and experimented among his disciples, became very popular. People began to study Vedas in one among the four ways. In later period the Vedas, studied in these four different ways began to get refined independent of each other. Thus Vyasa became known as the divider of Vedas, who divided the Vedas into four parts. The name Vyasa means divider or distributer, in Sanskrit.


Vyasa and Puranas

The 18 Puranas were attributed to be authored by Vyasa. However it seems that he played a direct role in the authering of only one of them viz the Bhagavata Purana, the largest among the Puranas. It deals with the life of Vasudeva Krishan, who lived contemporary to Vyasa. Sage Vyasa was highly influenced by the personality of Vasudeva Krishna, who was similar to him in many ways. Both were born in middle class, low status families. (Vasudeva Krishna among the Yadavas, who tended cattle and later rose to the status of Kshatriyas or vice versa, and Veda Vyasa among the fishermen community.) Both were dark skinned. Both were well versed in Vedas and champions of Vedic way of life. Apart from this Veda Vyasa was a sage and Vasudeva Krishna, a warrior. Though Vasudeva Krishna was a warrior, an excellent charioteer and a statesman externally, he was a sage and a teacher from within. This traits attracted Veda Vyasa and prompted him to author history of Vasudeva Krishna. It was added as a supplement to Mahabharata with the name Harivamsa and later seeded the Mahabhagavata Purana. The Puranas (Sanskrit पुराण, purāṇá ancient, since they focus on ancient history of the universe) are part of Hindu Smriti; these religious scriptures discuss varied topics like devotion to God in his various aspects, traditional sciences like Ayurveda, Jyotish, cosmology, concepts like dharma, karma, reincarnation and many others. ... The Bhagavata Purana (sometimes rendered as Bhagavatha Purana), also known as the Srimad Bhagavatam, written c. ... The Harivamsa (Skt. ... The Puranas are part of Hindu Smriti; these religious scriptures discuss devotion and mythology. ...


Personal Life of Vyasa

Vyasa was born to Satyavati, a member of the fishermen community, before her marriage with the kuru king Santanu. Vyasa's father was a Brahmin, by the name Parasara, a sage in the lineage of Vasistha. Shantanu is a king of Hastinapura in the great epic of the Mahabharata. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ...



Vyasa was closely related to the Kauravas and Pandavas, so much as that he perpetuated their race in the line of the Kuru king Vichitravirya. Both Dhritarashtra and Pandu, adopted as the son's of Vichitravirya by the royal family, were born from him. Thus he was the grandfather of the Pandavas and Kauravas. This kinship enabled him to know much about the happenings in the royal family, ultimately enabling him to author their history in the form of Jaya. The term Kaurava is a Sanskrit term, that means the descendants of Kuru, a legendary king who is the ancestor of many of the characters of the Mahabharata. ... The Pandavas were the five sons of the king Pandu. ... In Mahabharata Dhritarashtra was the son bore by Vichitraviryas first wife Ambika from Vyasa. ... In the Mahabharata epic, Pandu is the son of Vichitravirya and his second wife, Ambalika from Vyasa. ... The Pandavas were the five sons of the king Pandu. ... The term Kaurava is a Sanskrit term, that means the descendants of Kuru, a legendary king who is the ancestor of many of the characters of the Mahabharata. ...



He lived in Kurukshetra, in a forest, very near to the battle field, enabling him to know considerable details about the Kurukshetra War, as it took place in frond of his eyes. The Kurukshetra war was perhaps one of the most important battles fought in ancient India and forms an essential component of the Hindu epic Mahabharata. ...


See Also

Historic Figures of Ancient India


References

  • Mahabharata of Krishna Dwaipayana Vyasa, English translation by Kisari Mohan Ganguli

 
 

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