After compiling the Vedas, Vyasa visualized a great work of poetry but was in a quandary of how to write it down for perusal by generations to come. Lord Brahma appeared before him. Seeing the lord, Vyasa bowed down with folded hands and said, “O lord, I have created this great work of poetry. It contains the deepest mysteries of the Vedas; it has the knowledge of the Upanishads and the lessons of history and the puranas. It reveals the mysteries of time and the secrets of death. I have included all the principles of astrology, geography, and astronomy.”
Vyasa added “There is knowledge of law, medicine, education, politics, and charity – the complete science of spirituality together with knowledge of the soul and the spirit. It describes all the holy places, forests, mountains, rivers and cities. It is a complete treatise on the art of warfare, politics, and the duties and functions of a king. O lord this will be the book of books containing all the knowledge available to man. But I need a scribe who will write as fast as I dictate, please help me find one worthy of this great task.”
To this, Brahma answered “You are the greatest of rishis and have complete knowledge of the relationship between consciousness and truth. Just as family life is the highest form of spiritual living, your poetical composition will be the greatest poem ever written. In the stream of time which flows from this moment – both into the future and the past, nothing will ever surpass what you have written. Please meditate on Ganesha and he will take the task of being your scribe.”
Vyas meditated upon Ganesha who appeared before him. He worshipped him and gave him an elevated seat. He then requested, “O lord of the ganas (primal energies), I have conceived in my mind the greatest of poems; please be my scribe and write it down as I dictate.” Ganesha said “If while writing my pen does not stop, I agree to perform this task.” To this Vyasa replied, “And you will not write down anything you have not understood.” Ganesha agreed and they were ready for the task.
While reciting the hundred thousand slokas of the Mahabharata, Vyasa put in eight thousand eight hundred slokas that are very difficult to unravel. Even Ganesha had to pause to understand their meanings. In these short pauses, Vyasa would compose the next series of slokas and would get time for a breather. It is said that these eight thousand eight hundred slokas of the Mahabharata contain the deepest mysteries of Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha. Vyasa himself says that in these slokas he has tried to open people’s eyes and free them from the darkness they live in.
Let us now try to see the symbology in this story. Some higher knowledge is being revealed to the great sage Vyasa; this knowledge is flowing into him from some higher dimension of time and space. If this knowledge is not written down immediately, it would be lost forever. We can compare it to seeing a dream early in the morning but if we do not write it down immediately then we forget it. Dreams come from a much lower dimension then the one Vyasa is talking about. So, the vision which Vyasa is seeing and the writing of Ganesha must happen nearly at the same time.
The word ‘Ganapati’ comes from the root gana meaning to count. Of that he is the pati or lord. Gana also means our passions which have come from the animal world and he is the lord of these passions. We have two brains – the logical brain that counts and reasons, and the creative brain from which flows music, poetry, and creativity. The creative brain also acts as a modem and can receive higher knowledge from the cosmic mind. Many scientific discoveries have come as flashes from our creative brain when that scientist has been able to communicate with the cosmic or divine mind. In yoga there is the marriage of the lower mind with the higher mind. This can only happen when all our animal passions or ganas are under control. When this happens, the logical mind and the intuitive mind merge into it one another. When we have calmed and controlled our lower animal nature, we become Ganapati or lord of the passions. As he is the god of good fortune, to such a yogi only good fortune flows. Thus, the birth of the Mahabharata is from the marriage of the lower with the higher.
Man has a thinking centre and thoughts are put into action through the moving centre. When the yogi goes beyond thought into the realm of intuitive intelligence, he gets many flashes of deep mysteries but the problem comes when he tries to express them in words; this can only come by synchronising the intuiting with the moving. For the lower mind to express the truth as clearly as is seen by the higher mind, it must first understand this truth. Many people understand very deeply but find it very difficult to bring the light they have experienced into normal everyday living or to express their understanding in words. In a computer, we have a modem which downloads coded files. But we can only understand them when they appear on the screen. The modem is the higher mind or Vyasa and the screen is our logical mind or Ganesha who is able to decode the higher and make it available for the benefit of mankind. This beautiful story about Vyasa and Ganapati depicts the beautiful synchronisation of the thinking and the moving centre.