The following thoughts are the translated extracts from the chapter on the life of Maharshi Vedavyās by Shri Pandurang Shastri Athavale. His discourses on ten most significant contributors of ancient Indian literature are published in the Marathi book 'Rishi-Smaran'. I am going to make an effort to update this 'Understanding Mahābhārat' series with the thoughts of various thinkers and historians about this great epic in subsequent episodes. Given the nature of this portal, I will not be able keep the posts in this series continuous. So I have created a link to this series from where all the articles will be accessible to the reader along with the course of publishing the posts. The link is put on the side column.
Maharshi Vedavyās wrote purān and Mahābhārat. But unlike purān, Mahābhārat is a historical document. The vast document and its events have mesmerised the whole world. Dr. Winternids says, "No literature produced in this world is a match for Mahābhārat." If I state the same, you will say that a brahmin will certainly endorse another brahmin. Here it is not me but it is a statement by Dr. Winternids. He says, "We will not find any event in the history of universe that will match the enormity of Mahābhārat."
The history documented by Vedavyās has positivity and spontaneity. Take a case of Bhishma, or of Krishna or even Draupadi. None retracts from his or her chosen path. Every one is strong willed. In this document, the author has chronicled the lives of people who have not lost balance even when their life is in enormous danger. Nobody's mind sways in difficult situations nor anybody dishonors his or her word. Incredible! Mahābhārat is full of lives spent while enduring pains and sorrows. Maharshi Vālmiki's Rāmāyan too has pain and sorrow in it. But his portrayal is more divine or godly. It sounds less human. Whereas, the depiction of pain and sorrow by Vedavyās in Mahābhārat is human.