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Vyasais a central and revered figure in most Hindu traditions. He is also sometimes called Veda Vyāsa or Krishna Dvaipāyana .He is generally considered the author of the Mahabharata, as well as a character in it. He is considered to be the scribe of both the Vedas and Puranas. Vyasa is also considered to be one of the seven Chiranjivins , who are still in existence according to Hindu belief.

According to the Vishnu Purana, “Veda Vyasa” is a title applied to the compilers of the Vedas who are avatars of Vishnu; 28 people with this title have appeared so far.The festival of Guru Purnima is dedicated to him. It is also known as Vyasa Purnima, for it is the day believed to be both his birthday and the day he divided the Vedas.

Vyasa appears for the first time as the author of, and an important character in, the Mahabharata. Many scholars believe the epic has its roots in actual historical events occurring centuries before the common era; others accept the work as a compendium of legendary events, philosophy and semi-historical material about ancient India. Thus it is impossible to point out if or when the ‘historical’ Vyasa lived, or to disentangle a possible factual story from any non-factual elements contained in the epic.According to the Mahabharata, he was the son of Satyavati, a ferryman’s daughter, and the wandering Brahmin Parashara, a sage in the lineage of Vasistha. He was born on an island which was covered by Badara (Indian jujube) trees in the river Yamuna, said to be near Kalpi in Jalaun district in Uttar Pradesh. He was dark in color and is therefore called by the name Krishna (black), and also the name Dwaipayana, meaning ‘island-born’. The child grew up to be an adult as soon as he was born; adopting the life of an ascetic, he soon became one of the greatest rishis.

Vyasa is traditionally known as author of the Mahabharata.The Jaya, the core of Mahabharata, is structured in the form of a dialogue between the blind Dhritarashtra (the Kuru king and the father of the Kauravas, who opposed the Pandavas in the Kurukshetra War) and Sanjaya, his advisor and chariot driver, who has the gift of seeing events at a distance granted by the rishi Vyasa. Sanjaya narrates each incident of the Kurukshetra War, fought in 18 days, while it is taking place. Dhritarashtra sometimes asks questions, expresses his doubts, and sometimes laments the destruction caused by the war to his sons, friends and kinsmen. He also feels guilty for his own role in the events leading up to this war, destructive to the entire Indian subcontinent. Sanjaya had the unpleasant duty of breaking the news of the death of Dhritarashtra’s hundred sons at the hands of Bhima at different points of time in the battle and offers the sorrowing king solace in his darkest hours.Jaya deals with diverse subjects like geography, history, warfare, religion and morality.

Vyasa is also credited with the writing of the 18 major, if not all, Puranas. His son Shuka is the narrator of the major Purana Bhagavata-Purana.