Kids’ Org. : DEVOTED SCRIBE
Sage Ved Vyas had just completed the elaborate work on the four Vedas i.e. Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda and the Atharva Veda when another thought came to his mind , as extensive as the Vedas, and which could in some ways be considered as the Fifth Veda, since it would speak of right and wrong, and how to make the choices which decide the path we take. It was with this thought in mind that Vyas decided to write the Mahabharat.
Mahabharat was originally called Jaya, then it was called Vijaya, then Bharata and finally Mahabharat. Jaya had about twenty five thousand verses while the final form had over one hundred thousand verses. Jaya was about spiritual victory, Vijaya was about material victory, Bharata was the story of a clan and Mahabharat included also the wisdom of the land called Bharatvarsha. What began as an auspicious idea, ended up becoming a massive documentation of realities that frightened the common man. Many modern scholars, writers and playwrights, exhausted and overwhelmed by the maze of stories of the final version of the epic, are convinced that the Mahabharat is only about the futility of war. But this is not the truth. The Bhagavadgita which is honoured all over the world as a book of wisdom forms a part of the Mahabharat. The Mahabharat is the longest epic of the world, written in Sanskrit and consisting about 1,00,000 shlokas and 1.8 million words.
Besides its epic narrative of the Kurukshetra War and the fates of the Kaurava and the Pandava princes, the Mahabharat contains philosophical and devotional material, such as a discussion of the four “goals of life” or purusharthas. Among the principal works and stories in the Mahabharat are the Bhagavadgita, the story of Damayanti, an abbreviated version of the Ramayan, and the Rishyasringa, often considered as works in their own right.
Maharshi Ved Vyas was an eye-witness to the happenings in the Dwapara Yuga. Many years after the Mahabharat War, one day Lord Brahma came to Badarikashram. Vyas received him with due regard. They chatted for some time. Then Vyas said, “What brings you all the way to my hermitage?” “There is something only you can do,” Sage Brahma said. “What is that?” “You have witnessed the Mahabharat war, you knew intimately all the heroes who lived in those days. You knew of everything that happened. It will be an excellent thing if you write the story of the Mahabharat.” “That is true… But I need somebody who can take down the story. I wonder if there is any one who can do it. Can you think of some one?” Vyas asked.
“How about Lord Ganesh? I think I can persuade him to accept the job.” Vyas agreed and Lord Brahma left in great joy. Sage Vyas wanted somebody to write the epic Mahabharat. The longest epic in the world was not the job for an ordinary scribe. As he would be thinking and reciting it at very high speed a very able and exemplary writer was required to write it. So sage Vyas asked sage Narad to suggest somebody to write the Mahabharat for him. Sage Narad too suggested Lord Ganesh , the Elephant God also known as Ganapati to write the epic as he was a versatile person and was the God of education and literature.So Vyas went to Lord Ganesh , also known as “Lord of knowledge” and requested him to write his epic. Lord Ganesh agreed to this task and made one condition for writing Mahabharat. He told Vyas that he would write but Vyas should not stop in between and should continuously recite and if he stopped in between he would stop writing and go away. To ensure himself some time for thinking, Vyas accepted Ganesh’s condition with a witty reply, “Sure, but please do not write without understanding it.”
Lord Ganesh smiled and agreed to this. Vyas started reciting Mahabharat sitting next to Lord Ganesh. While reciting Mahabharat Vyas purposely inserted difficult verses to get time to think as Ganesh took time to understand the intricacies of the verses.
After some days of writing of Mahabharat the stylus used by Ganesh broke and as he could not stop writing he broke off one of his tusks and started writing with it. This symbolically explains that any amount of sacrifice is not too much to gain knowledge. Thus did the Mahabharat got written, and Ganesh also came to be known as Ekadanta – the Lord with the single tusk.
Why Sage Vyas chose Lord Ganesh only?
Sage Vyas picked up Ganesh to write Mahabharat because he wanted Lord Ganesh to bless the manuscript by making it everlastingly understandable. Also, he wanted Ganesh to bless his future readers by eliminating probable obstacles from their minds, a task Ganesh is known for. If the remover of all obstacles himself transcribes a book, no mental (or spiritual) impediments can emerge, at least in the minds of devotees, who read with preinstalled faith in the Divine. And this is exactly what happened. Besides removing obstacles to popularity, worth, and clarity, Lord Ganesh blessed the epic with auspiciousness and even the potential to liberate the reader.