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vyasa Krishna Dwaipayana Vyasa, also referred to as Vyasadeva or Vyasa, is the literary incarnation of Lord Krishna and is known as the father of all Vedic literature. Originally, the Veda, meaning “truth” or “knowledge”, was one doctrine that was passed down through oral tradition in India. Vyasadeva put the Veda into written scripture and divided it into four parts, collectively known as the Vedas. For this reason, he is also referred to as Veda Vyasa.

Vyasadeva appeared as the son of the sage Parashara and his wife Satyavati. His mission was to make the Vedas more understandable to the society at large. Aside from the original Vedas, he wrote almost all the other major Vedic texts including the Puranas, Vedanta-sutra, and the Upanishads. Aside from the original doctrine, the term “Vedas” also refers to any literature authored by Vyasadeva or any other literature based on his works.  His most famous work is the Mahabharata, also known as the fifth Veda. The Mahabharata means “great India” and contains the history of India revolving primarily around the Bharata War which took place some five thousand years ago. The Bharata War involved two families, the Kauravas and the Pandavas. Vyasadeva was the grandfather of Arjuna, the Pandava’s most prominent warrior. The Mahabharata contains many conversations and stories by various sages and touches on many subjects of Vedic wisdom, but the hidden jewel of the work is its inclusion of the discussion between Lord Krishna and Arjuna that took place on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. This conversation is known as the Bhagavad-gita and contains the essence of all Vedic knowledge.

After having written voluminous works on Vedic teachings, Vyasadeva was still not satisfied. At the insistence of his spiritual master Narada Muni, he then wrote the Bhagavata Purana, also known as the Shrimad Bhagavatam. Unlike his previous works, the Bhagavatam doesn’t touch on material subjects but instead deals primarily with Lord Krishna and His activities. The Bhagavatam clearly states that Lord Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and that devotion to Him is the highest form of religion.

Vyasadeva was the perfect spiritual master. He committed all his works to memory and he taught his disciples to recite them in public. When reading the Puranas in their current form, one will find that they are usually just transcripts of recitations given to an audience by one of his disciples. At the end of the recitation, the poet will usually inform the audience that they originally heard the story from Vyasa. In this way, all the important Vedic texts are attributed to him. He is the original spiritual master, and devotees worship him on the appearance day anniversary of their spiritual master, which is known as Vyasa Puja.

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