Sage Vyasa is the foremost of our preceptors, believed to be an incarnation of the Lord. This incarnation celebrates the literary greatness of poetry and prose through Vyasa’s prolific contributions which are also a record of the spiritual and cultural tenor of our nation, Sri N. Devi Prasad said in a lecture.

He was born as Krishna Dvaipayana to Sage Parasara and Satyavati owing to divine Sankalpa. The epithet Vyasa was subsequently attributed to him to hail his role in arranging and classifying the unwieldy mass of the Vedas into a comprehensive format. The Vedas are indeed infinite. The saying Anantho Vai Vedaha describes their limitless nature, in content and form, and the credit goes to Vyasa for presenting their essence in comprehensible terms.

His enunciations inspire mankind to search for higher truths and goals. Though the Lord’s incarnations as Matsya, Kurma, Varaha, etc., are known to many, it is Vyasa’s detailed accounts of them in the Puranas that make known the Lord’s infinite grandeur and His commitment to establish dharma whenever there is threat to it.

He has spoken in detail about the goals of mankind, Purusharthas — dharma, artha, kama and moksha — and has laid emphasis on dharma as the most indispensible goal for every being. In the Mahabharata, Vyasa establishes beyond doubt that the way to salvation is only through the path of dharma. This is a very valuable text, and as Vyasa records the historical events faithfully in the Mahabharata, he also emphasises the subtle aspects of dharma that governs human life.

It thus captures the essence of the teachings of the Vedas, and while the Vedas themselves are not easily accessible to all, the Mahabharata continues to impact a wide audience till date. The main story illustrates that all misdeeds have their source in the desire for material gains and that the quintessence of life is pursuit of dharma. Sorrow and joy are not permanent. Even Yudhishtira is unhappy after gaining the kingdom. Life is anithya since the body succumbs to old age, disease and death. But dharma alone is permanent. To gain salvation bonds of attachment have to be transcended. These are indeed messages to lift the culture of humanity to a higher plane.