Jaya, Bharata and Mahabharata!!!

We all have numerous discussion regarding Jaya, Bharata and Mahabharata and which was written first and when and who wrote it.

Forgot the current Mahabharata (KMG, Gita Press, BORI and others), I’m talking about ancient Mahabharata with current references.

Jaya, Bharata and Mahabharata are not different versions of Mahabharata at all. These all are same and composed by Veda Vyasa aka Krishna Dvaipayana and got different name due different reasons (Will explain).

There are general thoughts that Jaya had 8,800 Shlokas, Bharata with 24,000 Shlokas and Mahabharata were composed in 100,000 Shlokas. By the way, we don’t have any Mahabharata right now which have 100,000 Shokas.

Again, Jaya aka Bharata aka Mahabharata was composed by Krishna Dvaipayana in two sets, first composition had 100,000 (with Upakhayanyas) Shlokas and 2nd had 24000 Shlokas and both were called as Jaya, Bharata and Mahabharata.

There was no Book (composition) Named Jaya with 8800 Shlokas (Will explain it).


Note: Current Mahabharata is not written by Veda Vyasa, it means we don’t have original Mahabharata.

Well before we go further, we should to know about the Shruti and Smirti tradition..

The epics are not part of the shruti tradition. That tradition is like revelation, without any composer. At the time they were composed, there was no question of texts being written down. They were recited, heard, memorized and passed down through the generations.

The epics are part of the smriti tradition. The smriti tradition had composers. The Ramayana was composed by Valmiki, regarded as the first poet or kavi. Jaya (Originally not available) aka Bharata (Originally not available) aka Mahabharata (Originally not available)  Vedavyasa or Vyasadeva. He was so named because he classified (vyasa) the Vedas. Vedavyasa or Vyasadeva isn’t a proper name. It is a title. Once in a while, in accordance with the needs of the era, the Vedas need to be classified. Each such person obtains the title and there have been twenty-eight Vyasadevas so far.

At one level, the question about who composed the Mahabharata is a pointless. According to popular belief and according to what the Mahabharata itself states, it was composed by Krishna Dvaipayana Vedavyasa (Vyasadeva). But the text was not composed and cast in stone at a single point in time.

Multiple authors kept adding layers and embellishing it. Sections just kept getting added and it is no one’s suggestion that Krishna Dvaipayana Vedavyasa composed the text of the Mahabharata as it stands today.

Current Mahabharata is not solely composed by Krishna Dvaipayana, it is the result of numerous narrations, manipulation, additions, interpolations, publications (LOL) etc..

Krishna Dvaipayana composed Mahabharata in 100,000 Shlokas, and he didn’t rest even after that. He composed the eighteen Maha Puranas, adding another 400,000 shlokas. Having composed the Mahabharata, he taught it to his disciple Vaishampayana.

When Parikshit was killed by a serpent, Janamejaya organized a snake-sacrifice to destroy the serpents. With all the sages assembled there, Vaishampayana turned up and the assembled sages wanted to know the story of the Mahabharata, as composed by Krishna Dvaipayana. Janamejaya also wanted to know why Parikshit had been killed by the serpent. That’s the background against which the epic is recited.

However, there is another round of recounting too. Much later, the sages assembled for a sacrifice in Naimisharanya and asked Lomaharshana (alternatively, Romaharshana) to recite what he had heard at Janamejaya’s snake-sacrifice.

Within the text therefore, two people are telling the tale. Sometimes it is Vaishampayana and sometimes it is Lomaharshana. Incidentally, the stories of the Puranas are recounted by Lomaharshana, without Vaishampayana intruding. Having composed the Puranas, Krishna Dvaipayana taught them to his disciple Lomaharshana. For what it is worth, there are there are scholars who have used statistical tests to try and identify the multiple authors of the Mahabharata.

As we are certain there were multiple authors rather than a single one, the question of when the Mahabharata was composed is somewhat pointless. It wasn’t composed on a single date. It was composed over a span of more than 1000 years, perhaps between 800 BCE and 400 ACE.


Well we don’t have any other option except current Mahabharata, so basis on that I’m trying to analyse, When Mahabharata were written and composed by Krishna Dwipayana with Ganesha.

Ved Vyasa composed the Jaya/Bharata/Mahabharata in his mind first….

तपसा ब्रह्मचर्येण व्यस्य वेदं सनातनम् |

इतिहासमिमं चक्रे पुण्यं सत्यवतीसुतः ||५२|| (Adiparva-BORI)

After penance and austerities, after having classified the eternal Vedas, Satyavati’s son composed this holy history(Bharata). This learned brahmarshi, the son of Parashara, followed pure vows.

Gita Press

The son of Satyavati having, by penance and meditation, analysed the eternal Veda, afterwards composed this holy history, when that learned Brahmarshi of strict vows, the noble Dwaipayana Vyasa, offspring of Parasara, had finished this greatest of narrations, he began to consider how he might teach it to his disciples.

(KMG – http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m01/m01002.htm)

When Vyasa created the Great compositions called Jaya/Bharata/Mahabharata in his mind, he thought to published it. When did’nt find any writer then Brahma suggested that the Ganesha would be perfect for writing the Great history.

Vyasa said to Brahma “O divine Brahma, by me a poem hath been composed which is greatly respected. The mystery of the Veda, and what other subjects have been explained by me; the various rituals of the Upanishads with the Angas; the compilation of the Puranas and history formed by me and named after the three divisions of time, past, present, and future; the determination of the nature of decay, fear, disease, existence, and non-existence, a description of creeds and of the various modes of life; rule for the four castes, and the import of all the Puranas; an account of asceticism and of the duties of a religious student; the dimensions of the sun and moon, the planets, constellations, and stars, together with the duration of the four ages; the Rik, Sama and Yajur Vedas; also the Adhyatma; the sciences called Nyaya, Orthoephy and Treatment of diseases; charity and Pasupatadharma; birth celestial and human, for particular purposes; also a description of places of pilgrimage and other holy places of rivers, mountains, forests, the ocean, of heavenly cities and the kalpas; the art of war; the different kinds of nations and languages: the nature of the manners of the people; and the all-pervading spirit;–all these have been represented. But, after all, no writer of this work is to be found on earth.how he might teach it to his disciples.

(KMG- http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m01/m01002.htm)


Brahma said. ‘I esteem thee for thy knowledge of divine mysteries, before the whole body of celebrated Munis distinguished for the sanctity of their lives. I know thou hast revealed the divine word, even from its first utterance, in the language of truth. Thou hast called thy present work a poem, wherefore it shall be a poem. There shall be no poets whose works may equal the descriptions of this poem, even, as the three other modes called Asrama are ever unequal in merit to the domestic Asrama. Let Ganesa be thought of, O Muni, for the purpose of writing the poem.’


Sauti said, ‘Brahma having thus spoken to Vyasa, retired to his own abode. Then Vyasa began to call to mind Ganesa. And Ganesa, obviator of obstacles, ready to fulfil the desires of his votaries, was no sooner thought of, than he repaired to the place where Vyasa was seated. And when he had been saluted, and was seated, Vyasa addressed him thus, ‘O guide of the Ganas! be thou the writer of the Bharata which I have formed in my imagination, and which I am about to repeat.”

Here Vyasa revealed that he created the Mahabharata in his imagination.

“Ganesa, upon hearing this address, thus answered, ‘I will become the writer of thy work, provided my pen do not for a moment cease writing.” And Vyasa said unto that divinity, ‘Wherever there be anything thou dost not comprehend, cease to continue writing.’ Ganesa having signified his assent, by repeating the word Om! proceeded to write; and Vyasa began; and by way of diversion, he knit the knots of composition exceeding close; by doing which, he dictated this work according to his engagement.

I am (continued Sauti) acquainted with eight thousand and eight hundred verses, and so is Suka, and perhaps Sanjaya. From the mysteriousness of their meaning, O Muni, no one is able, to this day, to penetrate those closely knit difficult slokas. Even the omniscient Ganesa took a moment to consider; while Vyasa, however, continued to compose other verses in great abundance.


Here it is clearly mentioned that there were 8800 Shlokas, which was difficult to understand, even Ganesha took more time to understand.

Only Lomharshna and Shuka were known to meaning of that 8800 Shlokas, which was mentioned in 100,000 Shlokas Jaya/Bharata/Mahabharata after Vyasa, Sanajaya maybe known.

There was no any composition with 8800 Shlokas, that Shlokas were combined in Mahabharata itself.


Jaya/Bharata/Mahabharata was composed by Vyasa in hundred thousands Shlokas.

‘This Bharata consists of a hundred thousand sacred slokas composed by the son of Satyavati, of immeasurable mental power. He that reads it to others, and they that hear it read, attain to the world of Brahman and become equal to the very gods. This Bharata is equal unto the Vedas, is holy and excellent; is the worthiest of all to be listened to, and is a Purana worshipped by the Rishis. It contains much useful instruction on Artha and Kama (profit and pleasure). This sacred history maketh the heart desire for salvation.

(KMG – http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m01/m01063.htm)


Then Vyasa composed Bharata without Upakhayana in 24000 Shlokas and taught it to Shuka his sons and other disciples..

“Vyasa executed the compilation of the Bharata, exclusive of the episodes originally in twenty-four thousand verses; and so much only is called by the learned as the Bharata. Afterwards, he composed an epitome in one hundred and fifty verses, consisting of the introduction with the chapter of contents. This he first taught to his son Suka; and afterwards he gave it to others of his disciples who were possessed of the same

KMG (http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m01/m01002.htm)


When Mahabharata was written by Vyasa?

तेषु जातेषु वृद्धेषु गतेषु परमां गतिम् |

अब्रवीद्भारतं लोके मानुषेऽस्मिन्महानृषिः ||५६||

After thus giving birth to Dhritarashtra, Pandu and Vidura, he returned to his hermitage to pursue the wise path of austerities. Until these sons were born, grew up and passed on to the supreme journey,  the great sage did not reveal Bharata to the world of men.

जनमेजयेन पृष्टः सन्ब्राह्मणैश्च सहस्रशः |

शशास शिष्यमासीनं वैशम्पायनमन्तिके ||५७||

When he was requested by Janamejaya and thousands of Brahmanas, he taught it to his disciple Vaishampayana, seated in his presence.

स सदस्यैः सहासीनः श्रावयामास भारतम् |

कर्मान्तरेषु यज्ञस्य चोद्यमानः पुनः पुनः ||५८||

Seated with his compatriots, it was he (Vaishampayana) who recited Bharata at intervals during the sacrifice, being repeatedly asked to continue when he stopped.

विस्तरं कुरुवंशस्य गान्धार्या धर्मशीलताम् |

क्षत्तुः प्रज्ञां धृतिं कुन्त्याः सम्यग्द्वैपायनोऽब्रवीत् ||५९||

Vyasa has described in detail the great lineage of the Kurus, the virtues of Gandhari, the wisdom of Vidura and the constancy of Kunti.

वासुदेवस्य माहात्म्यं पाण्डवानां च सत्यताम् |

दुर्वृत्तं धार्तराष्ट्राणामुक्तवान्भगवानृषिः ||६०||

The blessed sage has also described the greatness of Vasudeva,24 the truthfulness of the Pandavas and the evil conduct of the sons of Dhritarashtra.

चतुर्विंशतिसाहस्रीं चक्रे भारतसंहिताम् |

उपाख्यानैर्विना तावद्भारतं प्रोच्यते बुधैः ||६१||

Without minor narratives, Vyasa originally composed Bharata in 24,000 twenty verses. The learned know this as the real Bharata.

ततोऽध्यर्धशतं भूयः सङ्क्षेपं कृतवानृषिः |

अनुक्रमणिमध्यायं वृत्तान्तानां सपर्वणाम् ||६२||

Later, he composed a summary in 150 verses, with an index of the chapters, contents and events.

इदं द्वैपायनः पूर्वं पुत्रमध्यापयच्छुकम् |

ततोऽन्येभ्योऽनुरूपेभ्यः शिष्येभ्यः प्रददौ प्रभुः ||६३||

Dvaipayana first taught this index to his son Shuka and then to other disciples who had the same qualities.


Why Bharata became Mahabharat?

चत्वार एकतो वेदा भारतं चैकमेकतः |

समागतैः सुरर्षिभिस्तुलामारोपितं पुरा ||२०८||

महत्त्वे च गुरुत्वे च ध्रियमाणं ततोऽधिकम् ||२०८||

महत्त्वाद्भारवत्त्वाच्च महाभारतमुच्यते |

निरुक्तमस्य यो वेद सर्वपापैः प्रमुच्यते ||२०९||

In ancient times, the gods and the sages came together and on one side of a scale, they placed the four Vedas, with Bharata on the other side. In greatness and in weight, Bharata was heavier. Because of its superiority in substance and content, it came to be known as Mahabharata and he who knows this true meaning is freed from all sins.


What is Jaya?


Jaya means Victory, and every Grantha were called as Jaya.. There was no Jaya with 8800 Shlokas.


Conclusions…… (As per text)

  • Jaya/Bharat/Mahabharata was the same.
  • Mahabharata composed by Krishna Dwipayana in hundred thousands shlokas.
  • Ganesha wrote it down.
  • Mahabharata was written, when Dhritarashtra and Vidura were died in forest.
  • Vyasa created two sets, First with Hundred thousands shlokas and 2nd with 24000 shlokas.
  • Vyasa taught it their disciples (Including his son).
  • Vyasa again taught it to Vaishampayana in Jamejaya Sarpa Shatra Yajaya ((24000 Shlokas)) after long time of compositions.
  •  Lomharshana narrated it again with hundred thousands Shlokas.


Shree Hari…

Deepak Kumar Jha (A Learner)

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