Vyasa, aka: Vyāsa; 16 Definition(s)
Vyasa means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, Buddhism, Pali, the history of ancient India, Marathi. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.
Itihasa (narrative history)
Vyasa is the original composer of the Bharata (the predecessor of the Mahabharata). Vyasa had a disciple, called Vaisampayana, who was a very important and intelligent disciple of Vyasa and the first to recite the Bharata, to King Janamejaya.(Source): Wisdom Library: Itihasa
Itihasa (इतिहास, itihāsa) refers to ‘epic history’ and represents a branch of Sanskrit literature which popularly includes 1) the eighteen major Puranas, 2) the Mahabharata and 3) the Ramayana. It is a branch of Vedic Hinduism categorised as smriti literature (‘that which is remembered’) as opposed to shruti literature (‘that which is transmitted verbally’).
Vyāsa (व्यास) or Vyāsadeva (व्यासदेव):—The popular name for Bādarāyaṇa, who was begotten by Parāśara Muni through the womb of Satyavatī. He had a brother named Vicitravīrya. He also begot two sons two by the womb of Ambikā and Ambālikā (the two wifes of Vicitravīrya, his brother), and one son by a maidservant of Vicitravīrya. They were named Dhṛtarāṣṭra, Pāṇḍu and Vidura. He also had a son named Śukadeva Gosvāmī. (see Bhāgavata Purāṇa 9.22.21-25)(Source): Wisdom Library: Bhagavata Purana
1a) Vyāsa (व्यास).—An aṃśāvatāra of Viṣṇu; also known as Dvaipāyana and Kṛṣṇa; son of Parāśara and Vāsavī (Satyavatī) in Dvāpara yuga. Father of Śuka; appointed by his mother, he begot three sons on his brother's wife being childlessDhṛtarāṣṭra, Pāṇḍu and Vidura.1 Rearranged the Vedas into four parts, and taught each of them to four respective pupils—Paila, Vaiśampāyana, Jaimini and Sumantu. Rearranged Itihāsa-Purāṇas also; composed the bhārata for Strīśūdra-dvijabandhus; composed also the bhāgavata and taught it to his son Śuka, having heard it from Nārada.2 When he felt a mental dissatisfaction, Nārada met him and was praised. Asked as to the reason for his uneasiness, Nārada emphasised devotion to Hari as the means of release and proceeded to narrate the story of his previous birth. When the sage left Vyāsa retired to his hermitage Śamyāprāsa on the Sarasvatī and meditated on the Lord who appeared before him with māyā depending on him. Learnt devotion as the means of ending saṃsāra.3 One of Yudhiṣṭhira's party on a visit to Bhīṣma; was a Purohita at Kṛṣṇa's sacrifice at Kurukṣetra; told the history of Citraketu to Śuka who bowed to him.4 Heard śrutigītā from Nārāyaṇa. Faith in Kriyāyoga; a siddha.5 Taught Lomaharṣaṇa about the future of the world and its history.6 An incarnation of the Lord in every dvāpara;7 took a vow of silence and fasting for 12 years after which he wandered for food but could not get any in Benares; when he was about to curse the city, Śiva and Umā took the guise of householders and offered him rich food. So he blessed it.8 A tīrtha in his honour.9
- 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa I. 2. 4; 4. 14-15; IX. 22. 22-25; XII. 6. 36; III. 5. 19-20; Matsya-purāṇa 15. 8; 180. 64; Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 10. 79-80; 13. 77.
- 2) Bhāgavata-purāṇa XII. 6. 49-53; I. 4. 16-25; 7. 1-8; II. 9. 44; III. 5. 10 and 12; XII. 4. 42; 13. 19; Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa I. 1. 25; II. 31. 28; 33. 32-3; 34. 11-12; III. 17. 295.
- 3) Bhāgavata-purāṇa I. 4. 30-33; chh. 5 and 6 (whole); 7. 1-4;
- 4) Ib. I. 8. 46; 9. 2; X. 90. 46; VI. 14. 9; VII. 1. 5.
- 5) Ib. X. 87. 47-8; XI. 27. 2; VI. 15. 12.
- 6) Matsya-purāṇa 50. 72.
- 7) Ib. 53. 9.
- 8) Ib. 185. 17-38.
- 9) Ib. 191. 41; 203. 14.
1b) A sage of the eighth manvantara.*
- * Bhāgavata-purāṇa VIII. 13. 15; Viṣṇu-purāṇa III. 2. 17.
The Purana (पुराण, purāṇas) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahapuranas total over 400,000 shlokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.
Katha (narrative stories)
Vyāsa (व्यास).—Name of a poet mentioned by Soḍḍhala in the kavipraśasti (eulogy of poets) of his Udayasundarīkathā;—Tradition names Vyāsa as an entirely mythical seer of ancient times, who was supposed to be at the same time the compiler of the Mahābhārata and the Purāṇas. He was the son of Paraśara and Satyavatī. He was born at a Dvipa and was dark in colour; as such he is designated as Kṛṣṇa Dvaipāyana.
He had five pupils, namely
- and his own son Śuka.
He taught them Jaya and they accordingly expanded it.(Source): Shodhganga: A critical appreciation of soddhalas udayasundarikatha
Katha (कथा, kathā) refers to narrative Sanskrit literature often inspired from epic legendry (itihasa) and poetry (mahākāvya). Some Kathas reflect socio-political instructions for the King while others remind the reader of important historical event and exploits of the Gods, Heroes and Sages.
Chandas (prosody, study of Sanskrit metres)
Vyāsa (व्यास) is the name of an author of works dealing with prosodoy (chandas or chandaśśāstra) quoted by Kṣemendra (11th century) in his Suvṛttatilaka. The Suvṛttatilaka is a monumental work of Sanskrit prosody in which the author discusses 27 popular metres which were used frequently by the poets (eg., Vyāsa).(Source): Shodhganga: a concise history of Sanskrit Chanda literature
Chandas (छन्दस्) refers to Sanskrit prosody and represents one of the six Vedangas (auxiliary disciplines belonging to the study of the Vedas). The science of prosody (chandas-shastra) focusses on the study of the poetic meters such as the commonly known twenty-six metres mentioned by Pingalas.
Jyotisha (astronomy and astrology)
Vyāsa (व्यास).—1. Diameter. 2. (sometimes) radius. 3. Breadth. Note: Vyāsa is a Sanskrit technical term used in ancient Indian sciences such as Astronomy, Mathematics and Geometry.(Source): Wikibooks (hi): Sanskrit Technical Terms
Jyotiṣa (ज्योतिष, jyotisha or jyotish) basically refers to ‘astronomy’ or “Vedic astrology” and represents one of the six additional sciences to be studied along with the Vedas. Jyotiṣa concerns itself with the study and prediction of the movements of celestial bodies, in order to calculate the auspicious time for rituals and ceremonies.
General definition (in Hinduism)
Hindus traditionally hold that Vyasa categorised the primordial single Veda into four. Hence he was called Veda Vyasa, or "Splitter of the Vedas," the splitting being a feat that allowed people to understand the divine knowledge of the Veda. The word vyasa means split, differentiate, or describe.
The Vishnu Purana has a theory about Vyasa. The Hindu view of the universe is that of a cyclic phenomenon that comes into existence and dissolves repeatedly. Each cycle is presided over by a number of Manus, one for each Manvantara, that has four ages, Yugas of declining virtues. The Dvapara Yuga is the third Yuga. The Vishnu Purana (Book 3, Ch 3) says:
(Source): WikiPedia: Hinduism
In every third world age (Dvapara), Vishnu, in the person of Vyasa, in order to promote the good of mankind, divides the Veda, which is properly but one, into many portions. Observing the limited perseverance, energy, and application of mortals, he makes the Veda fourfold, to adapt it to their capacities; and the bodily form which he assumes, in order to effect that classification, is known by the name of Veda-vyasa. Of the different Vyasas in the present Manvantara and the branches which they have taught, you shall have an account.
Twenty-eight times have the Vedas been arranged by the great Rishis in the Vaivasvata Manvantara... and consequently eight and twenty Vyasas have passed away; by whom, in the respective periods, the Veda has been divided into four. The first... distribution was made by Svayambhu (Brahma) himself; in the second, the arranger of the Veda (Vyasa) was Prajapati... (and so on up to twenty-eight).
Vyasa is a central and revered figure in most Hindu traditions. He is the author as well as a character in the Mahabharata and considered to be the scribe of both the Vedas, and the supplementary texts such as the Puranas. Vyasa is sometimes conflated by some Vaishnavas with Badarayana, the author of the Vedanta Sutras. Vyāsa is also considered to be one of the seven Chiranjivins (long lived, or immortals), who are still in existence according to general Hindu belief.
Vyasa appears for the first time as the author of, and an important character in the Mahābhārata. He was the son of Satyavati, daughter of a ferryman or fisherman, and the wandering sage Parashara. He was born on an island in the river Yamuna. The place is named after him as Vedvyas, possibly the modern-day town of Kalpi in the Jalaun district of Uttar Pradesh. He was dark-complexioned and hence may be called by the name Krishna (black), and also the name Dwaipayana, meaning 'island-born'.
Vyasa was grandfather to the Kauravas and Pandavas. Their fathers, Dhritarashtra and Pandu, adopted as the sons of Vichitravirya by the royal family, were fathered by him. He had a third son, Vidura, by a serving maid.
Vyasa (Devanagari: व्यास, vyāsa)
He is also sometimes called Veda Vyasa (वेद व्यास, veda vyāsa), (the one who classified the Vedas in to four parts) or Krishna Dvaipayana (referring to his complexion and birthplace)
Also see: Badarayana(Source): WikiPedia: Hinduism
Vyasa is the son of Satyavati and the sage Parasara. Satyavati was the adopted daughter of a fisherman, and plied a boat across the river Yamuna. One day she was taking the sage Parasara across. The sage was smitten with sudden desire for this woman, and she consented. The sage created a mist around an island in the middle of the river and there they consummated their passion. Such was the power of the rishi, that a son was born immediately to Satyavati. Even more remarkably, the son (Vyasa) immediately grew into a man, immensly learned in the scriptures! The sage then granted a boon to Satyavati, first that of converting her fishy odor to a divine fraganace and then by restoring her chastity.
Vyasa is also the biological father of Pandu, Dhritharashtra and Vidura. He is most famous as the composer of Mahabharata, which he dictated to Ganapati.(Source): Apam Napat: Indian Mythology
India history and geogprahy
Vyāsa (व्यास) is an example of a name based on an Epic or Purana mentioned in the Gupta inscriptions. The Gupta empire (r. 3rd-century CE), founded by Śrī Gupta, covered much of ancient India and embraced the Dharmic religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. Derivation of personal names (eg., Vyāsa) during the rule of the Guptas followed patterns such as tribes, places, rivers and mountains.(Source): archive.org: Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions
The history of India traces the identification of countries, villages, towns and other regions of India, as well as royal dynasties, rulers, tribes, local festivities and traditions and regional languages. Ancient India enjoyed religious freedom and encourages the path of Dharma, a concept common to Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism.
Languages of India and abroad
Vyāsa, (fr. vi+ās to sit) separation, division; always contrasted with samāsa, e.g. Vism. 82 (vyāsato separately, distributively; opp. samāsato); KhA 187. (Page 654)(Source): Sutta: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary
Pali is the language of the Tipiṭaka, which is the sacred canon of Theravāda Buddhism and contains much of the Buddha’s speech. Closeley related to Sanskrit, both languages are used interchangeably between religions.
vyāsa (व्यास).—. m (S) The proper name of a saint and author, the supposed compiler of the Vedas and Puran̤s, also the founder of the Vedanta philosophy. Hence, appellatively, an expounder of the Puran̤s. 2 Diameter or width.(Source): DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary
Marathi is an Indo-European language having over 70 million native speakers people in (predominantly) Maharashtra India. Marathi, like many other Indo-Aryan languages, evolved from early forms of Prakrit, which itself is a subset of Sanskrit, one of the most ancient languages of the world.
Vyāsa (व्यास).—1 Distribution, separation into parts.
2) Dissolution or analysis of a compound.
3) Severalty, distinction.
4) Diffusion, extension; तस्यैव व्यासमिच्छामि ज्ञातुं ते भगवन् यथा (tasyaiva vyāsamicchāmi jñātuṃ te bhagavan yathā) Bhāg.6.4.2.
5) Width, breadth.
6) The diameter of a circle.
7) A fault in pronunciation.
8) Arrangement, compliation.
9) An arranger, a compiler; द्वैपायनोऽस्मि व्यासानां कवीनां काव्य आत्मवान् (dvaipāyano'smi vyāsānāṃ kavīnāṃ kāvya ātmavān) Bhāg. 11.16.28.
1) Name of a celebrated sage. [He was the son of the sage Parāśara by Satyavatī (born before her marriage with Śantanu q. v.); but he retired to the wilderness as soon as he was born, and there led the life of a hermit, practising the most rigid austerities until he was called by his mother Satyavatī to beget sons on the widows of her son Vichitravīrya. He was thus the father of Pāṇḍu and Dhṛtarāṣṭra and also of Vidura; q. q. v. v. He was at first called 'Kṛṣṇadvaipāyana' from his dark complexion and from his having been brought forth by Satyavatī on a Dvīpa or island; but he afterwards came to be called Vyāsa or 'the arranger,' as he was supposed to have arranged the Vedas in their present form; विव्यास वेदान् यस्मात् स तस्माद् व्यास इति स्मृतः (vivyāsa vedān yasmāt sa tasmād vyāsa iti smṛtaḥ) cf. also जातः स यमुनद्वीपे द्वैपायन इति स्मृतः । व्यस्य वेदान् समस्ताश्च व्यासतामगमद्विभुः (jātaḥ sa yamunadvīpe dvaipāyana iti smṛtaḥ | vyasya vedān samastāśca vyāsatāmagamadvibhuḥ) || Bm.1.214. He is believed to be the author of the great epic, the Mahābhārata, which he is said to have composed with Gaṇapati for his scribe. The eighteen Purāṇas, as also the Brahma-sūtras and several other works are also ascribed to him. He is one of the seven chirajeevins or deathless persons; cf. चिरजीविन् (cirajīvin).]
11) A Brāhmaṇa who recites or expounds the Purāṇas in public.
Derivable forms: vyāsaḥ (व्यासः).(Source): DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family. Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.
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Search found 61 books and stories containing Vyasa or Vyāsa. You can also click to the full overview containing English textual excerpts. Below are direct links for the most relevant articles:
The Devi Bhagavata Purana (by Swami Vijñanananda)
Chapter 10 - On the story of Satyavrata < [Book 7]
The Vishnu Purana (by Horace Hayman Wilson)
Form of the Purāṇas < [Preface]
The Shiva Purana (by J. L. Shastri)
Chapter 26 - The Vanishing of Viṣṇu’s delusion < [Section 2.5 - Rudra-saṃhitā (5): Yuddha-khaṇḍa]
Chapter 4 - The story of Ṛṣabha < [Section 3 - Śatarudra-saṃhitā]
Chapter 5 - The nineteen incarnations of Śiva < [Section 3 - Śatarudra-saṃhitā]
The Mahabharata - First Book (by Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa)
Section CLVIII < [Hidimva-vadha Parva]
Section CVI < [Sambhava Parva]
Section LIX < [Adivansavatarana Parva]
Preceptors of Advaita (by T. M. P. Mahadevan)
The Ganesha Purana (abridged) (by Gregory Baily)