Vaishmpayana was a disciple of Vyasa. He
attended on his master with devotion. He listened to the story while Vyasa dictated it to
Ganesha. It occurred to Vaishampayana that it was a beautiful story; it was a story; all
mankinds should hear.
King Janamejaya was ruling over Hastinavati at the time. He was Arjuna's
great-grandson. He learnt that Vyasa had
Witnessed the Mahabharata War. He was eager to hear the story of his mighty ancestors
from him. But it was too much to expect Vyasa to go to Hastinavati just to narrate the
story. How was the king to get the sage to his capital? He consulted his ministers and
decided to perform a great 'yaga'. No 'rishi' would ever refuse to attend a 'yaga'.
Janamejaya sent his chief priest to invite Vyasa. He arrived in Hastinavati with his
disciples. Hundreds of 'rishis' assembled from many corners of the country. It was a great
and holy occasion.
When the festivities were over, the king persuaded Vyasa to stay for a fem days.
One day Janamejaya said to Vyasa, "Master, you knew my ancestors. You know their
stories. I beg o you, tell me
The story of the Mahabharata."
"Yes, son; Vaishampayana will narrate the story," answered Vyasa, and asked
his disciple to narrate the story in detail. The disciple repeated it exactly as he had
heard it from the master. Janamejaya listened to the story in rapt silence. Among the,
listeners was a 'rishi' called Ugrahrava. Some days later there was a yaga in a forest
known as Naimisha. Ugrahrava recited the story before an assembly of 'rishis' there. Thus
the story travelled from mouth to mouth.
You know that it was Vyasa who classified the Vedas into four branches - Rig,
Yajur, Sama and Atharva Vedas. Formerly, it formed a single body of knowledge. Vyasa had a
number of disciples. The four great 'rishis' called Vaishampayana, Paila, Jaimini and
Sumantu took the Vedas to people in different corners. Some people may find the Vedas
difficult to understand. So Vyasa wrote the Brahmasutras in order to explain the meaning
of the Vedas. To explain the mean background of the Brahmasutras he wrote the eighteen
Puranas; in these he wrote about the great men connected with Brahmasutras and also told
moral tales. At the end of it all, Vyasa wrote the Harivamsha, the history of Lord
The Mahabharata story had been composed a little earlier. It is an ocean of knowledge.
It is called the Fifth Veda. It is also known as Jaya. The Bhagavadgita which is honoured
all over the world as a book of wisdom forms a part of the Mahabharata. Thus Vyasa has
left a rich legacy of knowledge to our country.
Vyasa is one of the mightiest of the mighty personalities in our mythology. He wanted
nothing for himself. Selfishness andhatred were unknown to him. He radiated wisdom like
the bright sun. He witnessed the rise and fall of seven generations from Shantanu to
Janamejaya. He lived among gigantic heroes like Lord Krishna, Bheeshma and Yudhishthira.
He spoke tenderly to the grief-stricken. He gave clear warning to those who erred. He
spoke encouragingly to the good and the pious. He was himself an example to others and his
life was as pure as fire. The stories of such great men shed light on our path.