In the Srimad Bhagavatam, Vyasa says that he will not describe Rama’s story because “others have done it so well”.
When Valmiki wanted to compose a story in his new metre, he asked Narada ( a Devarshi), who the hero for the Ramayana should be. He wanted a hero who was perfect and ideal.
“Who. today, is that great person endowed with excellent qualities, prowess, knowledge of righteousness, gratitude, truth and firmness in practice of vows?” ” Who is that great person endowed with good conduct, who is the benefactor of all living beings, who knows of everything which is to be know, who is capable of doing things which cannot be done by others and who is solely delightful in appearance? ” “Who is courageous, has conquered anger, is endowed with splendour and free from envy? Who are even the devatas are afraid of when he allows hismself to be angry?”
Valmiki very clearly wanted to tell the story of a wonderful hero. He must have been delighted when Narada picked Sri Rama, as the ideal hero. When you hear the Ramayanam, you will be filled with delight. We all love stories in which the hero is good and the hero wins in the end.
When Vyasa composed the ‘Jayam’ later called the Mahabharatam, he wanted to achieve some things. One, he wanted to interleave the events with all the knowledge of the Veda, including astronomy, politics, sociology, geography and spirituality. He wanted to weave together all the stories of the Puranas. He wanted to do this because he was convinced that people were less intelligent than they used to be. He also wanted all the people who were not able to study the Vedas in a Gurukula, to understand it through stories.
Vyasa’s Mahabharatam is so full of politics and so realistic, that it depressed Vyasa thoroughly when he finished writing it. He had to write the story of the perfect Krishna, the Srimad Bhagavatam, just to feel better.
Vyasa started writing the Mahabharatam in year 1 of Kaliyuga. It is also called the starting year of Jaya-Abhyudaya-Saka. He took 3 years to finish it. (Nannaya tells us this in the Telugu free translation of the Mahabharatam). After that Vyasa wrote the Bhagavatam.
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