When Brahmaji reminds Vyasa Maharshi to remember Shri Ganesha to help him write the voluminous epic Mahabharata, Veda Vyasa remembered Him. In an instant, Ganesha who is the fulfiller of the wishes of devotees appeared, narrated Sauti, the story teller of the Mahabharata. His audience are the great rishis engaged in fire sacrifices headed by Kulapati Shaunaka.
After receiving and worshipping Ganesha, Veda Vyasa requested Him to be the scribe for the verses. Ganesha did agree, but on one condition: “My pen should not stop a moment!” That was a tough condition indeed, for Ganesha is a god who did not need any water, food or washroom breaks, while Veda Vyasa needed to stop in between. Vyasa was not to be left behind.
He agreed to the condition, but placed a counter-condition and said, “Do not write until you have understood what you are writing.” “Om,” said Ganesha. This is the word in ancient Sanskrit and even Tamil, which means “yes”. He began to write as Vyasa started dictating ceaselessly. He brought in some verses with very deep meanings and knotty expressions to take a break in between his dictations.
Sauti said there were 8,800 such intricate and tough verses the meaning of which he knew; Shuka, the son of Veda Vyasa, knew; and maybe Sanjaya, the minister and guide of the Kaurava monarch Dhritarashtra, knew. None today are able to decipher the meaning, he said.
Even though Ganesha was considered to be all knowing, he too had to ponder over the meaning of those verses for a while before he penned them down and in the meantime the most illustrious Veda Vyasa Maharishi composed more verses for dictation. The Mahabharata is like the thin stick with which women apply black kajal for the eyes to purify them.
The tale removes the dark clouds of ignorance that cover the sun of clear perception. The song of Vyasa is in praise of the four goals of human life, dharma or righteous existence, artha or striving towards achievements, kama or fulfilling desires, and moksha or liberation of the mind. The darkness of the minds of humans are cleared with the bright sun called Bharata.
Just as the lily opens up gracefully in the presence of the full moon, the human intellect opens up beautifully in the presence of this full moon called the Mahabharata. The covering of delusion is removed by this narrative and lightens up the womb of this world completely to enable humans to have a direct perception of the divine in this world. The Sauti continues to explain about the great tree called the Mahabharata.
The author is Acharya, Chinmaya Mission, Tiruchi; firstname.lastname@example.org