Saturday, July 26, 2008

Why did Ved Vyas request Lord Ganesha to transcribe his Mahabharata?

When Rishi Ved Vyas, on Lord Brahma’s recommendation, requests Lord Ganesha to write the first copy of the Mahabharata at his dictation, Ganesha accepts the proposal on the condition that his pen should not stop even for a moment during the writing process. To ensure himself some time for thinking, Vyas accepts Ganesha’s condition with a witty reply, “Sure, but please do not write without understanding it.”

In this short divine play, does Ved Vyas need something more than transcription from Ganesha? Is there a deeper meaning behind his imposing the condition of “understanding” on Ganesha, who, being the Lord of knowledge, can comprehend everything even before a poet utters it? Vyas knows that the Mahabharata is destined to guide humanity for ages and a section in it, the Bhagavad Gita, is to be recognized as the most authoritative text in Sanatana Dharma. Supposedly, Vyas’s idea is to obtain some blessings for his prospective readers. He wants Ganesha to bless the manuscript by making it everlastingly understandable. Also, he wants Ganesha to bless his future readers by eliminating probable obstacles from their minds, a task Ganesha is known for.

Because humans read what they want to read and can always miss the author’s conclusion in books, particularly scriptures, even the work of a divine author can face obstacles in the form of distrust and ambiguity in a reader’s mind. Such mental obstacles, to make things worse, are hardly noticeable. If the remover of all obstacles himself transcribes a book, no mental (or spiritual) impediments can emerge, at least in the minds of devotees, who read with preinstalled faith in the Divine. And this is exactly what happened. Besides removing obstacles to popularity, worth, and clarity, Lord Ganesha blessed the epic with auspiciousness and even the potential to liberate the reader.

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