असित-गिरि-समं स्यात् कज्जलं सिन्धु-पात्रे।
सुर-तरुवर-शाखा लेखनी पत्रमुर्वी।।
लिखति यदि गृहीत्वा शारदा सर्वकालं।
तदपि तव गुणानामीश पारं न याति।।
Pushpadant in his Shiv Mahimna Stotra has written this Shlok for the Lord. It translates thus:
O Lord! Even if we make paper of the land mass present on earth and ink from the water of her oceans, use the trees as a pen and if Saraswati, intelligence personified, sit backs to write about you for the time infinite, then too, it’s a mammoth and daunting task to describe all your qualities.
Today is Vyas Poornima. People celebrate it as Guru Poornima. Indian culture / civilisation personifies God in the form of a Guru. To lead and follow a spiritual life, a guru is needed. Kabirji in one of his doha’s (couplets) describes the importance of guru thus
गुरु गोविंद दोऊ खड़े, काके लागूं पाय।
बलिहारी गुरु आपकी, गोविंद दियो बताय।।
Both the Guru and the Lord are standing in front of me and am confused whom should I bow down to first?.
The next line can be translated in two ways:
1. As you, my Guru, have shown me this form of the Lord, I bow down to you first
2. You being my Guru, pointed to the Lord saying, bow at His feet first.
It’s such a beautiful feeling that Kabirji has expressed stating that both the interpretations can be right. As they both, the Lord and Guru are no different.
Ved Vyas is the son of Rishi Parashar and Satyavati, a fisherwomen. The story goes that Rishi Parashar was in a hurry to reach a “Yaag” and had to cross a river to reach the other side. At that time, it was Satyavati who helped him cross the river. In lieu, Rishi Parashar gave her a mantra to beget a son. He also told her that the son would be very intelligent and no one would compare to him in intelligence. Satyavati at that moment invoked the mantra and conceived a child. The boy when born was called “Krishna” as he had black skin. The child was born on an island so was known as “Krishna Dwaipayan” (Dwaipayan – island born). [There may be other stories about the birth of Vyas, and I leave it upto my reader to decide which they like, but one thing is a fact that he was a son of Parashar and Satyavati].
As Krishna grew into an adult, he left Satyavati and promised her to return whenever she needed him. He gained knowledge from the four Kumar’s, Muni Narad and Brahma, Himself. After acquiring his education, he took upon a great task of bifurcating the Veda mantras.
Till then, the Vedas were all one. Krishna took upon him the task of understanding each mantra and started dividing them into Rigved, Yajurved and Samved. Rigved has all the mantra’s invoking Mother Nature and the Gods. Yajurved has mantra’s describing rituals and the technical modalities of performing them. Samved has the same mantra’s of Rigved (a few are different), but they are written in a meter and so can be sung.
It is easy for me to describe in three sentences the work he has done. But to be fair and to give you, my readers a fair idea about the volume of work, am just quoting one figure. Rigved had 12/13 shakhas of which only 2 are available today. The available 2 shakhas have more than 10000 mantras. It was a mammoth task. Also it was Krishna, who with a large heart accepted Tantra and Medicine as Vidya and clubbed them together to make a fourth Ved, Atharvaved. It covers many topics from the duties of the king to a common house holder. (Courtesy – Kanhaiyalal Munshi) The contribution of Krishna Dwaipayan cannot be put into words but due to his effort, people started calling him “Ved Vyas”. (One who has bifurcated the Vedas). He is considered by many as the incarnation of the Trinity, of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh.
अचतुर्वदनो ब्रह्मा द्विबाहुरपरो हरिः ।
अभाललोचनः शम्भुर्भगवान् बादरायणः।।
(He does not have 4 heads yet He is Brahma, He has just two hands yet He is Vishnu, He does not have a third eye, yet He is Shiv, He is none other than Bhagwaan Badrayan)
After his work was complete, which includes the writing of many Upanishads, he has written the 18 Puranas of which Bhagwat Puran is very famous and known to us. He wrote these Puranas as he realised that what he has written is difficult for a common man to understand. So he has written all the thoughts of Vedas and Upanishads as short stories. This is the height of intelligence when one starts thinking about all this mammoth work.
The one thing I should also mention is about Brahma Sutra. A collection of 555 sutras (aphorisms) in which is said to have compiled the whole philosophy of life. Brahma Sutra is associated with Badrayan as Vyas is also sometimes addressed as. It is said that the island in which he was born was covered with “Badara” (ber/ Indian Jujube) and so the name.
Last but not the least, Mahabharat. It is said to cover every relation and emotion under the sun. It has always attracted researchers from every field, be it historical, social, pshycological, archaeological and many more. It is said that when Vyas invited Ganesh to write the Mahabharat, Ganesh put forward a condition that Vyas will not stop when dictating the story. To which Vyas replied that he will not, but Ganesh too will first understand what is being told and then write. And so was written the Mahabharat of which Shreemad Bhagwadgeeta was the heart.
The Prasthantrayi of Upanishads, the Shreemad Bhagwadgeeta and the Brahmasutra is a gift to this world from Ved Vyas. All the Acharyas have written their commentaries on the three. The Trayi holds a very pious place in the Vedic culture.
It is very difficult to write all the work, in one blog cause as a point is written, a new thought arises which can be written about Ved Vyas. So on this auspicious day, believed to be his birthday and also the day when He completed and gave to the world the 4 Veds, I just bow down to Him with humility.
One last thing I wanted to share with my readers some of whom are my students too. I know that we all feel indebted to our school and tution teachers, rather we all should. But today is not the day to wish them. For them, in India, we celebrate 5th September as the Teacher’s Day. Today is a day to bow down to those teachers (guru) who have taught us how to lead a good and humane life and who leads us onto the path of spiritual development. The wishes should be “Guru Poornima ke Namaskaar” or “Bow down to you on this auspicious day of Guru Poornima”.
Let’s end with the Namaskaars to Lord Krishna as he is Jagadguru in the words of Ved Vyas, himself,
“Vasudevasutam Devam, Kansachaanuramardanam, Devaki Parmanandam, Krishnam Vande Jagadgurum”