By Swami Harshananda
Kṛṣṇa Dvaipāyana was the son of the sage Parāśara and Satyavatī. Since he was kṛṣṇa or dark in complexion and was born in a dvīpa or an island, he came to be known by this name. He gathered all the mantras of the Veda available during his time and edited them, dividing them into four parts now well-known as Ṛgveda, Yajurveda, Sāmaveda and Atharvaveda. Because of this great work, he got the appellation ‘Vedavyāsa’. He was known as Vyāsa also.
Tradition ascribes to him the authorship of the epic Mahābhārata, the eighteen Mahāpurāṇas or the major purāṇas, and the eighteen Upapurāṇas or minor purāṇas. Boy Gaṇeśa, the little god, is said to have been Vyāsa’s scribe who took down the Mahābhārata as he dictated it. It was Vedavyāsa who begot Dhṛtarāṣtra, Pāṇḍu and Vidura by the command of his mother Satyavatī, on the wives of Vicitravīrya. He gave divine sight to Sañjaya so that he could describe the Kurukṣetra battle to his master. Vyāsa was in touch with almost all the important persons of the Mahābhārata period.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore