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 which is now in Nepal. His father was Parasara Maharshi and mother Satyavati who belonged to Sudras, fishermen community. The Sudras treated the lowest community in those days. Even he born in the lowest community, studied all four Vedic literature and became Brahmana by profession. In ancient India the caste system was not in existence, by the professions only everyone treated as Kshatriya, Brahmana, Vaisya and Sudra. Later Satyavathi married Kuru king Santanu who was the father of Bhishma and the forefather of Pandavas and Kauravas. So Veda Vyasa had a close relationship with the Kuru kings and fathered to four famous sons Pandu, Dhritarashtra, Vidura and Sukhdev.
Vyasa Maharshi Wrote Mahabharatha
Veda Vyasa had a tremendous command of Vedic knowledge, he thought himself those four Vedas only not give guidance to the people to lead a fruitful life. Then Veda Vyasa wanted to give a valuable literature which understandable not only to the educaters but also to the peasants also. Already his father Parasara Maharshi and his forefather Vasista Maharshi played the role in classification of the Vedas. So he wanted to create something unique by himself. At 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 the moral values among the people ever, so he created the epic called Mahabharata 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 contained all the knowledge of Vedas, morals which are relevant to the present world, the characters which resemble every man of the society at present also. It contains practical Dharma-Sasthra which has been guiding to the society. His creation of Mahabharata became very popular and it has been treating as fifth Veda.
Maharshi Vyasa becomes as Veda Vyasa
Vyasa means who divides and classifies, and another meaning is straightforward. Before him, the Vedas were not divided and difficult to teach them to the disciples very difficult. So Vyasa profoundly studied the Vedas and divided them into four branches as Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva Veda. This division made very easy to understand to Gurus and can teach the theme of the vedas easily to the disciples easily. So that he became very famous as Veda Vyasa. He not only classified the Vedas but also other knowledge books like Puranas. He worked on philosophy, religion astronomy, geography, and history; in every subject, he gave a lot of knowledge to the present generations also.
According to the ‘Vishnu Purana’:
In every third world age (Dvapara), Vishnu, in the person of Vyasa, in order to promote the good of mankind, divides the Veda, which is properly but one, into many portions. Observing the limited perseverance, energy, and application of mortals, he makes the Veda four-fold, to adapt it to their capacities; and the bodily form which he assumes, in order to effect that classification, is known by the name of Veda-Vyasa. Of the different Vyasas in the present Manvantara and the branches which they have taught, you shall have an account.
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 Contribution to astronomy and geography
Veda Vyasa not only focused on the work on Mahabharatha but also on astronomical and geographical knowledge. He interested in those subjects because his father Parasara also an astronomer, who had written astronomical texts like Parasara Samhita. Probably Vyasa got interested in astronomy and may guide by his father Parasara. He observed the positions of stars, planets and recorded the observations and the crucial incidents of Mahabharata. Those same observations helped the present day historians to date 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 shows us the unity among other kings. Mahabharata is not only an epic to the devotees but also a historical book. He visualizes the whole of India and in describing the whole geography and 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 described pilgrimage journeys of main characters of Mahabharata.