munir vivaksur bhagavad-gunanam
sakhapi te bharatam aha krsnah
yasmin nrnam gramya-sukhanuvadair
matir grhita nu hareh kathayam
munih—the sage; vivaksuh—described; bhagavat—of the Personality of Godhead; gunanam—transcendental qualities; sakha—friend; api—also; te—your; bharatam—the Mahabharata; aha—has described; krsnah—Krsna-dvaipayana Vyasa; yasmin—in which; nrnam—of the people; gramya—worldly; sukha-anuvadaih—pleasure derived from mundane topics; matih—attention; grhita nu—just to draw towards; hareh—of the Lord; kathayam—speeches of (Bhagavad-gita).
Your friend the great sage Krsna-dvaipayana Vyasa has already described the transcendental qualities of the Lord in his great work the Mahabharata. But the whole idea is to draw the attention of the mass of people to krsna-katha [Bhagavad-gita] through their strong affinity for hearing mundane topics.
The great sage Krsna-dvaipayana Vyasa is the author of all Vedic literature, of which his works Vedanta-sutra, Srimad-Bhagavatam and Mahabharata are very popular readings. As stated in Bhagavatam (1.4.25), Srila Vyasadeva compiled the Mahabharata for the less intelligent class of men, who take more interest in mundane topics than in the philosophy of life. The Vedanta-sutra was compiled for persons already above the mundane topics, who might already have tasted the bitterness of the so-called happiness of mundane affairs. The first aphorism of Vedanta-sutra is athato brahma jijnasa, i.e., only when one has finished the business of mundane inquiries in the marketplace of sense gratification can one make relevant inquiries regarding Brahman, the Transcendence. Those persons who are busy with the mundane inquiries which fill the newspapers and other such literatures are classified as stri-sudra-dvija-bandhus, or women, the laborer class and unworthy sons of the higher classes (brahmana, ksatriya and vaisya). Such less intelligent men cannot understand the purpose of Vedanta-sutra, although they may make a show of studying the sutras in a perverted way. The real purpose of Vedanta-sutra is explained by the author himself in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, and anyone trying to understand Vedanta-sutra without reference to Srimad-Bhagavatam is certainly misguided. Such misguided persons, who are interested in the mundane affairs of philanthropic and altruistic work under the misconception of the body as the self, could better take advantage of the Mahabharata, which was specifically compiled by Srila Vyasadeva for their benefit. The great author has compiled the Mahabharata in such a way that the less intelligent class of men, who are more interested in mundane topics, may read the Mahabharata with great relish and in the course of such mundane happiness can also take advantage of Bhagavad-gita, the preliminary study of Srimad-Bhagavatam or the Vedanta-sutra. Srila Vyasadeva had no interest in writing a history of mundane activities other than to give less intelligent persons a chance for transcendental realization through Bhagavad-gita. Vidura’s reference to the Mahabharata indicates that he had heard of the Mahabharata from Vyasadeva, his real father, while he was away from home and was touring the places of pilgrimage.
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