Bhagawan Veda Vyasa
Whenever we remember the cultural and literary history of Bharat, the name of Maharishi Veda Vyasa will be among the foremost mentions. He was not only a treasure house of knowledge but was also creator and a protector of our ancient culture and traditions. He was one of the greatest seers with utmost wisdom and insight of the 'Dwapara Yuga'. Even today when we take his name we feel the adrenaline rush in us, shows his importance and greatness. Such was his personality.
'Veda Vyasa' was not his own or original name. It was a title given to him out of respect. His original name was 'Krishnadvaipayana'. He was born on an island in the Yamuna river and was dark skinned (Krishna) and hence the name. A few years after his birth he started to live the life of an ascetic in the forests. Though he was living the life of an ascetic, he had to return to normal life owning to the request from his mother wife of to his help the widowed brother,
Vichitraveerya, to bear a male child and continue the lineage. Hence he was not only the progenitor of Dritarashtra and Pandu but also of Vidura. Veda Vyasa's father was the famous Maharishi Parashara and Satyavati. Duly Krishnadvaipayana was also at times called Paraasharya (son of Parashara) and Satyavati Suta (son of Satyavati). Since he undertook penance and 'tapasya' in the Badarikashrama in the Himalayas for long years, he also came to be known as 'Baadaraayana'.
His immense insight into the culture, traditions and conditions of those days, he observed that the knowledge of the great Vedas was dispersed and scattered. Hence he took up the huge task of re-arranging and organizing the Vedas and classified them into 4 Vedas, now famous as Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Saama Veda and Atharvana Veda. Being a self-driven man with immense knowledge and foresight, Krishnadvaipayana was not satisfied with the fame he had gained with the classification of the 4 Vedas that were disorganized and agglomerated. He further re-organized each of the Vedas and divided them into 4 categories 'Samhita', 'Brahmana', 'Aaranyaka' and 'Upanishad'.
'Samhitas' contained the metrical (mantra) text of each of the Vedas, 'Brahmanas' contained commentaries detailing the performance of the rituals, 'Aaranyakas' contain the mantras relating to the mental conditioning of the people in Vanaprasthashrama(ascetics) and 'Upanishads' contain the knowledge of 'Brahman' and philosophical musings on the nature of 'Brahman'. The Vedas also contained the 'Upasanas' that describes the systematic practice of meditating and attaining the all-pervading 'Brahman'. The humongous task of classifying the Vedas into 4 and each in-turn into four purposeful categories which was undertaken by Krishnadvaipayana, earned him the sobriquet of 'Veda Vyasa'. 'Vyasa' literally means people who classify and hence he was the one who classified the Vedas appropriately he came to be known as 'Veda Vyasa'. This has been an unparalleled and tremendous achievement. 'ििििििि िििििि ििििििि ि ििििििि िििििििि ििििििििि’ | As a result of this achievement Veda Vyasa was respectfully called as 'Bhagawan' Veda Vyasa.
Even after such a huge accomplishment and service rendered by the classification of the Vedas, Veda Vyasa thought that he had not done enough towards the growth of 'Dharma' in the society and common people. The reason being, the Vedas were not perceivable by all and was not in the grasp of each and everyone in the society. He thought that the Dharmic principles would be easily perceivable and apprehensible to all if it was in the form of stories. Hence he conceived and wrote the Puranas in Sanskrit, which were more in the
form of stories than verse. This was easily understandable by people of all sections of the society. Veda Vyasa is credited as the author of the eighteen Puranas and another eighteen Upa-Puranas, even though a few of them might have been written by other authors under his guidance. The Puranas have played a major role in bringing the common people into the Dharmic fold and make them adhere to the principles of Dharma. Among the eighteen Puranas, the 'Bhagawata' Purana has been respectfully called the 'Purana Ratna' or the 'Jewel among Puranas'.
Bhagawan Veda Vyasa, out of his sheer love for humanity and due to his selfdrive, brought together the abstruse and inscrutable philosophy in the Vedas in the form of 'Sutras', which are a collection of aphorisms in the form of a manual. Probably such a task would not have been possible by anyone else other than Veda Vyasa, the reason being his vast knowledge coupled with his concern for the world and vision for the common man. By authoring the Vedanta Sutras, a commentary on the philosophy espoused in the Upanishads, Veda Vyasa has done tremendous service to mankind. His Sutras, also known as the Brahma Sutras, are counted as one of the three canonical texts of Hindu philosophy known as 'Prasthanatrayas', other two being the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita.
work of Bhagawan Veda Vyasa. Even though the epic is mainly about the duels between the Pandavas and the Kauravas, it has been dubbed as the ‘Panchama Veda’ or the fifth Veda owning to its importance. Considering its relevance and humongous importance it is called an ‘Udgrantha’ or a closely knitted text.
It is an approved fact by the scholars that the Mahabharata is an epic nonpareil, not only among other Sanskrit texts but also in the world literature. The epic contains thousands of stories, tales, subordinate narratives and episodes that are so closely knitted that it is nothing but a historical epic poetry. Even if the great epics of the Greek literature, Iliad and Odyssey, are put together eight times over, it will not be sufficient to match the Mahabharata. The narratives with regards to the true nature of things, their meanings and explanation of Kama (desire) and Moksha (salvation and liberation) are considered to be an apotheosis. Critics are of the opinion that there is no subject that has not been mentioned in the Mahabharata. ‘िििििििि िििििििि ििििििििििि ि ििि ििििििि |’ This roughly translates to ‘there is no parallel to this work anywhere’, is not quoted out of pride but self-confidence. Even the great ‘Bhagavad Gita’ is a part of this epic. Hence one noble soul had commented thus: ‘ििििििििििि ििििििि ििििििििि िििििििििििििि' | िि ििििििििििििि ििििििििििििििि ििििि ||’ Translates to ‘I prostrate before the author who gave us the Krishna’s nectar of life (Bhagavad Gita), my salutations to Krishnadvaipayana’. Another noble man praised Bhagawan Veda Vyasa as: ‘िििििििििििि िििििि िििि िििििििि िििि | ििििििििििििििि िििििि िििििििि ||’, ‘Badarayana or Veda Vyasa is the incarnation of the four-faced Brahma, Hari and Shambhu(Shiva)’. Finally, the greatness of Veda Vyasa can be gauged by the following ‘sloka’ or verse: ‘ििििििि िि िििि ििििििििििि िििििििििििििििििििििििि | ििि ििििि ििििििििििििि ििििििििििि िििििििि ििििििि ||’ ‘I salute thee O’ Vyasa, one who has extensive knowledge, who is a visionary, you have the complete knowledge of Bharata, you are a lamp that glows the light of knowledge’.