Veda Vyasa – Writer of Puranas
Veda Vyasa Birth
Veda Vyasa was a great Vedic scholar and a sage. He was born over 5000 years ago in Damouli of Tanahi, now in Nepal. His father was Parasara Maharshi, and his mother was Satyavati, who belonged to the Sudras fishermen’s community. The Sudras treated the lowest assembly in those days. Even though he was born in the most down community, he studied all four Vedic literature and became Brahmana by profession. In ancient India, the caste system was not in existence; by the occupations, only everyone was treated as Kshatriya, Brahmana, Vaisya and Sudra. Later Satyavathi married Kuru king Santanu, the father of Bhishma and the forefather of Pandavas and Kauravas. So Veda Vyasa had a close relationship with the Kuru kings and fathered four famous sons, Pandu, Dhritarashtra, Vidura and Sukhdev.
Vyasa Maharshi Wrote Mahabharatha
Veda Vyasa had an excellent command of Vedic knowledge; he taught himself those four Vedas only did not give guidance to the people to lead a fruitful life. Then Veda Vyasa wanted to provide valuable literature understandable to the educators and the peasants. Already his father, Parasara Maharshi and his forefather Vasista Maharshi played a role in the classification of the Vedas. So he wanted to create something unique by himself. In the meantime, he studied the history of the Kuru kings and passionated the Kuru Kings’ life stories. The stories had a lot of stuff to bring moral values among the people, so he created the Mahabharata epic, which gives us the entire life, sacrifice and struggles between the Pandavas and Kauravas. Every character in this book is a lesson to the present generation also.
It contains all the knowledge of the Vedas, morals relevant to the present world, and the characters that resemble every man in society. It includes practical Dharma-Sasthra, which has been guiding the community. His creation of Mahabharata became very popular and has been treated as the fifth Veda.
Maharshi Vyasa becomes Veda Vyasa.
Vyasa means who divides and classifies, and another meaning is straightforward. Before him, the Vedas were not separated and challenging to teach them to the disciples. So Vyasa profoundly studied the Vedas and divided them into four branches: Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva Veda. This division made it easy for Gurus to understand and teach the Vedas to the disciples, so he became famous as Veda Vyasa. He classified not only the Vedas but also other knowledge books like Puranas. He worked on philosophy, religion, astronomy, geography, and history; in every subject, he also gave a lot of knowledge to the present generations.
According to the ‘Vishnu Purana’:
In every third-world age (Dvapara), Vishnu, in the person of Vyasa, to promote the good of humanity, divides the Veda, which is properly but one, into many portions. Observing the little perseverance, energy, and application of mortals, he makes the Veda four-fold to adapt it to their capacities, and the bodily form he assumesffect that the name of Veda-Vyasa knows classification. You shall have an account of the different Vyasas in the present Manvantara and the branches they have taught.
Twenty-eight times have the Vedas been arranged by the great Rishis in the Vaivasvata Manvantara… and consequently, eight and twenty Vyasas have passed away; by whom, in the respective periods, the Veda divided into four. The first… distribution was made by Svayambhu (Brahma) himself; in the second, the arranger of the Veda (Vyasa) was Prajapati… (and so on up to twenty-eight).
Vyasa’s Contribution to astronomy and geography
Veda Vyasa not only focused on the work on Mahabharatha but also on astronomical and geographical knowledge. He was interested in those subjects because his father, Parasarawas, an astronomer, had written astronomical texts like Parasara Samhita. Probably Vyasa got interested in astronomy and may have been guided by his father, Parasara. He observed the positions of stars and planets and recorded the observations and the crucial incidents of Mahabharata. Those same observations helped present-day historians to date the Kuru war. Vyasa also narrated the geography of ancient India, about several kingdoms, provinces, lakes, rivers, and mountains with their full names.
Veda Vyasa Vision on United India
Veda Vyasa thought about the unity of India thousands of years ago. He did not only write Mahabharata and other Puranas; internally, he showed us unity among other kings. Mahabharata is an epic for the devotees and a historical book. He visualizes the whole of India and describes the geography, different people, and their kings. Mahabharatha means the Great Empire of Bharata, and Bharatavarsha means ‘the domain of the Emperor Bharata, his sons, descendants and his people. Thus the ‘Mahabharata’ is the same as the ‘Bharatavarsha’. He described the whole of ancient India, with its kingdoms, rivers, mountains, lakes, cities and villages, with their complete information. He also told the pilgrimage journeys of the main characters of Mahabharata.