The story of how Vyasa got inspired to compose Bhagavata

Bhagavata Purana written by the great sage and poet Vyasa is a rich text conveying very profound philosophy through simple stories. There are numerous stories – some well known and some not so well known. I would like select a few stories at random and narrate them here. I will try to highlight certain insights which I might have gathered from the stories.
I will start the series with a short story on Vyasa himself.

We all know that the great sage vyasa wrote Bhagavata purana. Many of us may not ,however,know what prompted him or motivated him to undertake this great mission. It is an interesting story worth narrating.

Before writing Bhagavata,Vyasa had codified the Vedas and divided the same into 4 parts.
Being a great enlightened sage,the story goes, he could see the past,present and the future of humanity. At once he realized that in the following ‘yuga’,people would be dull witted(‘durmedhaan’)and devoid of any faith in moral values(‘ashradhaan’). He passionately wanted to do something for the unfortunate future generations.(‘Durbhagyascha janaan veeshya munirdivyena chashusha;sarva varnashramaanaamyadadou hitamamogh drk”).
Therefore,out of compassion for the humanity of the future generations, he first codified the Vedas and divided them into 4 parts. This enabled specialization of each Veda by a certain Rishi who propagated the same from generation to generation.
Then realizing that women and castes other than Brahmins would not be permitted to recite vedas and derive benefits,Vyasa composed the Mahabharata,which was filled with several discourses on righteousness(Dharma) woven around an interesting story. He genuinely believed that this would uplift the ignorant masses steeped in ‘Ajnana’. But even after completing such a great epic,he was not happy and in fact was frustrated.
At that time the great sage Narada happened to visit Vyasa. Seeing his plight,the Narada wanted to know the reason for his unhappiness. Vyasa tells Narada “O,Narada! I myself do not know the cause of my frustration – As you can easily see through the minds of beings due to your spiritual prowess – pray,tell me what might be causing this dissatisfaction with myself”. Hearing this, Narada advises Vyasa, “Although you have codified the Vedas and written the great Mahabharata,you have not sung the glories of the Lord of the ‘Vaikunta’ sufficiently in these epics. That is what you need to do now to get over this feeling of frustration”.
Narada eloborates further as follows:”O,great sage! You have committed an error in narrating a story(of Mahabharata) which is so full of wickedness. It is a story in which people have committed so many immoral acts. People reading such an epic are likely to be misguided to think such acts are sanctified,while totally ignoring the teachings contained in the great work. Not having tasted the sweet names of the Lord Hari,the ignorant would fall into the trap of diversity and miss the Oneness or Unity of the God-principle. Therefore,there is a need to write a story which directly chants the glories and the glorious acts of Sri Hari. This will have to be done through another monumental work”.

Prompted and inspired thus by the sage Narada ,Vyasa composes the great epic Bhagvata purana.

The story has several interesting messages.
Firstly,one should realize that there is no achievement big enough in one’s life to lull one into a sense of complacency and eventual retirement from active life. The purpose of life is to keep scaling new heights/peaks.
Secondly,it is important to note that our mission in life should be guided by demands of greater good to humanity(at least to the majority of people around us). The great mission undertaken by Vyasa was prompted by his love and compassion for the entire humanity – past, present and the future. And most importantly,great as he was,Vyasa still believed in seeking advice,suggestions and blessings from another great sage Narada. This is humilty of the highest order.

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Amazing explanation.
    Hats off

    Thanks

    • Thanks.


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