Maha-bharata, Adi Parva, Anukramanika Parva, Adhyaya 1, verses 6-21

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Adhyaya 1
Questions by the sages

Seeing that he had comfortably seated and observing that he had some rest after the fatigue, one of the Rishis started the conversation, saying, – 6

The Rishi
Where you come from, O Kamalapatraksa, and where did you spend your time? Tell me, who ask you, in detail. – 7

The Rishi asked Sauti the particulars of his travels. They were all anxious to know because what a saint does is always spiritually interesting.

Sauti, who had eyes similar to the lotus flower.


When the accomplished speaker Sauti was thus questioned, he gave before that great assembly of contemplative Rishis a well and proper reply in words becoming their nature. – 8


Sauti said:
I have heard the sacred and wonderful stories composed in his Mahabharata by Krishna-Dvaipayana, and which were recited in full by Vaisampayana at the snake-sacrifice of the high-souled royal sage Janamejaya, the son of Pariksit. – from 9 to 11


He was one of the main disciples of Vyasadeva, together with Asita, Devala, Sumantu, Jaimini, Paila and some others.

This is Janamejaya’s genealogy from Visnu: Brahma – Atri – Candra – Budha – Pururavas – Ayus-Nahusa – Yayati – Puru – Janamejaya – Pracinvan – Pravira – Namasyu – Vitabhaya – Sundu – Bahuvidha –Samyati – Rahovadi – Raudrasva – Matinara – Santurodha – Dusyanta – Bharata – Suhotra – Suhota – Gala – Garda – Suketu – Brhatksetra – Hasti – Ajamidha-Rsa – Samvarana – Kuru – Jahnu – Suratha-Viduratha – Sarvabhauma – Jayatsena – Ravyaya – Bhavuka – Cakroddhata – Devatithi – Rksa – Bhima – Pratica-Santanu – Vyasa – Pandu – Arjuna – Abhimanyu – Pariksit – Janamejaya. He was the son of Pariksit by his wife Madravati. Vapustama, daughter of Suvarnavarman, King of Kasi, was Janamejaya’s wife. Two sons, Satanika and Sankukarna were born to them. We’ll learn a lot more during the study of this book, as he is one of the protagonists.


After that I have wandered about, visiting many sacred waters and holy shrines, and journeyed to the country venerated by the Dvijas called Samanta-pancaka where formerly was fought the battle between the sons of Kuru and Pandu, and all the chiefs of the land ranged on either side. – 12

Twice-born, initiated into Vedic wisdom.

We’ll give more information on Samanta-pancaka later in this book.


And where in the days of yore the sons of Kuru and Pandu had fought a deadly battle, in which all the Chiefs of India joined one side or the other. – 13

Being anxious to see you (all), I have now come before your (august) presence. 0 Revered sages, to you who are all to me as Brahma to you who are greatly learned and highly blessed, who shine with the fire of the Sun in this holy place of sacrifice, who are pure by sacred ablutions, who have performed and finished the deep meditation, who have kept up the sacred fire, who are beyond all cares, to you, O twice-born ones, what shall I speak? – 14, 15

Shall I repeal to you the sacred stories of the Puranas, bearing on religious merites and worldly prosperity, or shall I recount to you the wonderfill deeds of the great sages and saints and the sovereigns of mankind? – 16

The Rishis replied
The Purana which was told by the great Rishi Dvaipayana and which was greatly esteemed by the celestials and Brahmarshis when they heared it, – 17


The word Rishi refers to a particularly powerful sage, capable to foresee the future.

Those who have seen, or understood, the transcendental truth.


And which, being full of various dictions and divisions, is (undoubtedly) the most eminent narrative (amongst all narratives) that exist, containing (as it does) subtle and logically combined meanings, enriched with (the essence of) the Vedas, is a sacred work. – 18

It is composed in beautiful language and it includes all other works. It is explained by all Shastras and contains the sense of the four Vedas. We desire to hear Bharata, the sacred history that drives away all fear, the holy composition of great Vyasa, just as it was beautifully narrated in the great Snake-sacrifice of Raja Janamejaya by Rishi Vaishampayana as directed by Krishna Dvaipayana himself. From 19 to 21


We find in the Maha-bharata many philosophical principles found in the Vedas. So the Rishi here is saying that it is enriched with the essence of the Vedas, who are the original books of transcendental wisdom. They are four: Rik, Sama, Atharva and Yajus.

Bharata is another name for the Maha-bharata



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