In his previous life, Vyasa was the Sage Apantaratamas, who was born when Lord Vishnu uttered the syllable “Bhu”. He was a devotee of Lord Vishnu. Since birth, he already possessed the knowledge of the Vedas, the Dharmashastras and the Upanishads. At Vishnu’s behest, he was reborn as Vyasa. Sage Parashara was the father of Vyasa and the grandson of Sage Vashistha. Prior to Vyasa’s birth, Parashara had performed a severe penance to Lord Shiva. Shiva granted a boon that Parashara’s son would be a Brahmarshi equal to Vashistha and would be famous for his knowledge. Parashara begot Vyasa on Satyavati. She conceived and immediately gave birth to Vyasa. Vyasa turned into an adult and left, promising his mother that he would come to her when needed. Vyasa acquired his knowledge from the four Kumaras, Narada and Lord Brahma himself.
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Story – When Shiva granted a boon that Parashara’s son (Vyasa ) would be a Brahmarshi equal to Vashistha
Satyavati was a fisherwoman who used to drive a boat. One day the sage Parashara was in a hurry to attend a yaga. Satyavati helped him cross the river borders. On this account, the sage offered her a mantra which would result in begetting a son who would be a sage with wisdom and all good qualities. Satyavati immediately recited the mantra, and thus Vyasa was born. She kept this incident a secret, not telling even King Shantanu.
In the first book of the Mahabharata, Vyasa asks Ganesha to aid him in writing the text, but Ganesha imposed a condition that he would do so only if Vyasa narrated the story without pause. Vyasa replied with a counter-condition, that Ganesha must understand the verse before he transcribed it. Thus Vyasa narrated the entire Mahabharata and all the Upanishads and the 18 Puranas, while Lord Ganesha wrote. Vyasa is supposed to have meditated and authored the epic by the foothills of the river Beas (Vipasa).
Vyasa’s Jaya, the core of the Mahabharata, is structured in the form of a dialogue between Dhritarashtra and Sanjaya, his adviser and charioteer. Sanjaya narrates the particulars of the Kurukshetra War, fought in eighteen days, chronologically. Dhritarashtra at times asks questions and expresses doubts, sometimes lamenting, knowing of the destruction caused by the war to his sons, friends and kinsmen. Sanjaya, in the beginning, gives a description of the various continents of the Earth and numerous planets, and focuses on the Indian subcontinent. Large and elaborate lists are given, describing hundreds of kingdoms, tribes, provinces, cities, towns, villages, rivers, mountains, forests, etc. of the (ancient) Indian subcontinent. Additionally, he gives descriptions of the military formations adopted by each side on each day, the death of individual heroes and the details of the war-races. Eighteen chapters of Vyasa’s Jaya constitute the Bhagavad Gita, a sacred text in Hinduism. Thus, the Jaya deals with diverse subjects, such as geography, history, warfare, religion and morality.
Kritavarma was an important and one of the bravest Yadava warriors and chieftain, and a contemporary of Krishna. He finds mention in several ancient texts. He was born in the most fearless Andhaka clan of the mighty Yadavas, and son of Hridika. Though he is depicted as a devotee of Krishna in the Vishnu Purana, apparently he was not on good terms with Krishna, and was one of the conspirators who plotted to kill Satrajit, Krishna’s father-in-law during the Syamantaka Jewel episode.