Vyasa is rightly recognised as a rare synthesis of a teacher and a philosopher, a seer and a poet. Along with Valmiki who is regarded as the first poet of classical Sanskrit literature, Vyasa stands out as a national poet of unique importance.
But Vyasa is not only regarded as the supreme artist commanding a vast vision of the supra-cosmic and the cosmic but also a rare teacher who expounds in poetical form a teaching which is synthetic and a teaching that embraces numerous branches of knowledge and which is inspired by a subliminal call to humanity to surmount the passions of war and to abide in a permanent status of peace. That is why, his greatest work, Mahabharata, the story of the great war, ends in Santiparva.
Vyasa is also Vedavyasa. The four great Samhitas, the anthological form
that is provided to the contents of the Veda, Rig, Sama, Yajur and Atharva, is attributed to Vyasa, the compiler and the anthologist. What mastery he must have possessed of the Vedic lore, so profuse, so enigmatic, so lofty and so esoteric that he selected and arranged in a form, the secret of which is still a matter of research till today! If Veda is a book of secret knowledge as the Indian tradition considers it to be, Vyasa must be regarded as the possessor and the master of that secret knowledge. And in accordance with the Indian tradition, the epithet of the teacher is reserved only to one who knows and one who is inspired to pour out the knowledge to all like the brilliant sun radiating all its rays on all that come under the field of their radiation. Such indeed was Vyasa, the poet and the teacher.
And the author of Mahabharata, Vyasa is also recognised as the author of the Bhagavadgita, the song of the episode in which the depression of Arjuna is dissipated and dissolved by the alchemy of knowledge, bestowed by Krishna, the Divine Teacher. And as we all know, the Bhagavadgita has exercised unparalleled impact on the mind of India, and the greatest leaders of freedom struggle, such as Tilak, Mahatma Gandhi and Sri Aurobindo, have acknowledged that debt to the Bhagavadgita.
As we all know, Bhagavadgita is the quintessence of all the Upanishads which are themselves teachers’ manuals for imparting the students the secret knowledge of the Veda. Vyasa's work is, therefore, a golden link in the long chain of Rishis and seers and poets of ancient India.
Vyasa is a composer of Bhagavadpurana, which carries the teaching of the Bhagavadgita into a form of literature that aimed at opening the human mind to the subliminal recesses of consciousness, that is peopled with images, myths and archetypal figures and profusion of symbolism. And among the Puranas, Bhagavata shines out not only for its profundity and its poetic beauty but also with the rasa of devotion that has irrigated for centuries the hearts of the large number of people of India with
the purity and intensity of selflessness and universality.
Vyasa is a vast synthesis of integral spiritual knowledge and robust intellectuality. He is the type of the philosopher most valued and revered in Indian tradition, — the philosopher who has not only enquired vastly but also one who has realized the lofty heights of the spirit.
It is to that Vyasa that we offer today’s celebration, — Vyasa the teacher, philosopher, poet and seer