munir vivakṣur bhagavad-guṇānāṁ
sakhāpi te bhāratam āha kṛṣṇaḥ
yasmin nṛṇāṁ grāmya-sukhānuvādair
matir gṛhītā nu hareḥ kathāyām
muniḥ—the sage; vivakṣuḥ—described; bhagavat—of the Personality of Godhead; guṇānām—transcendental qualities; sakhā—friend; api—also; te—your; bhāratam—the Mahābhārata; āha—has described; kṛṣṇaḥ—Kṛṣṇa-dvaipāyana Vyāsa; yasmin—in which; nṛṇām—of the people; grāmya—worldly; sukha-anuvādaiḥ—pleasure derived from mundane topics; matiḥ—attention; gṛhītā nu—just to draw towards; hareḥ—of the Lord; kathāyām—speeches of (Bhagavad-gītā).
Your friend the great sage Kṛṣṇa-dvaipāyana Vyāsa has already described the transcendental qualities of the Lord in his great work the Mahābhārata. But the whole idea is to draw the attention of the mass of people to kṛṣṇa-kathā [Bhagavad-gītā] through their strong affinity for hearing mundane topics.
The great sage Kṛṣṇa-dvaipāyana Vyāsa is the author of all Vedic literature, of which his works Vedānta-sūtra, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and Mahābhārata are very popular readings. As stated in Bhāgavatam (1.4.25), Śrīla Vyāsadeva compiled the Mahābhārata for the less intelligent class of men, who take more interest in mundane topics than in the philosophy of life. The Vedānta-sūtra 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 Vedānta-sūtra is athāto brahma jijñāsā, 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 strī-śūdra-dvija-bandhus, or women, the laborer class and unworthy sons of the higher classes (brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya and vaiśya). Such less intelligent men cannot understand the purpose of Vedānta-sūtra, although they may make a show of studying the sūtras in a perverted way. The real purpose of Vedānta-sūtra is explained by the author himself in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, and anyone trying to understand Vedānta-sūtra without reference to Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 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 Mahābhārata, which was specifically compiled by Śrīla Vyāsadeva for their benefit. The great author has compiled the Mahābhārata in such a way that the less intelligent class of men, who are more interested in mundane topics, may read the Mahābhārata with great relish and in the course of such mundane happiness can also take advantage of Bhagavad-gītā, the preliminary study of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam or the Vedānta-sūtra. Śrīla Vyāsadeva had no interest in writing a history of mundane activities other than to give less intelligent persons a chance for transcendental realization through Bhagavad-gītā. Vidura’s reference to the Mahābhārata indicates that he had heard of the Mahābhārata from Vyāsadeva, his real father, while he was away from home and was touring the places of pilgrimage.
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