’Sauti said, ’I shall recite to thee from the beginning of that great and excellent history called the Mahabharata composed by Vyasa. O Brahmana, listen to it in full, as I recite it. I myself feel a great pleasure in reciting it.’”
(Adivansavatarana Parva continued)
’Sauti said, ’Hearing that Janamejaya was installed in the snake-sacrifice, the learned Rishi Krishna-Dwaipayana went thither on the occasion. And he, the grand-father of the Pandavas, was born in an island of the Yamuna, of the virgin Kali by Sakti’s son, Parasara. And the illustrious one developed by his will alone his body as soon as he was born, and mastered the Vedas with their branches, and all the histories. And he readily obtained that which no one could obtain by asceticism, by the study of the Vedas, by vows, by fasts, by progeny, and by sacrifice. And the first of Veda-knowing ones, he divided the Vedas into four parts. And the Brahmana Rishi had knowledge of the supreme Brahma, knew the past by intuition, was holy, and cherished truth. Of sacred deeds and great fame, he begot Pandu and Dhritarashtra and Vidura in order to continue the line of Santanu.
“And the high-souled Rishi, with his disciples all conversant with the Vedas and their branches, entered the sacrificial pavilion of the royal sage, Janamejaya. And he saw that the king Janamejaya was seated in the sacrificial region like the god Indra, surrounded by numerous Sadasyas, by kings of various countries whose coronal locks had undergone the sacred bath, and by competent Ritwiks like unto Brahman himself. And that foremost one of Bharata’s race, the royal sage Janamejaya, beholding the Rishi come, advanced quickly with his followers and relatives in great joy. And the king with the approval of his Sadasyas, gave the Rishi a golden seat as Indra did to Vrihaspati. And when the Rishi, capable of granting boons and adored by the celestial Rishis themselves, had been seated, the king of kings worshipped him according to the rites of the scriptures. And the king then offered him—his grandfather Krishna—who fully deserved them, water to wash his feet and mouth, and the Arghya, and kine. And accepting those offerings from the Pandava Janamejaya and ordering the kine also not to be slain, Vyasa became much gratified. And the king, after those adorations bowed to his great-grandfather, and sitting in joy asked him about his welfare. And the illustrious Rishi also, casting his eyes upon him and asking him about his welfare, worshipped the Sadasyas, having been before worshipped by them all. And after all this, Janamejaya with all his Sadasyas, questioned that first of Brahmanas, with joined palms as follows:
’O Brahmana, thou hast seen with thy own eyes the acts of the Kurus and the Pandavas. I am desirous of hearing thee recite their history. What was the cause of the disunion amongst them that was fruitful of such extraordinary deeds? Why also did that great battle, which caused the death of countless creatures occur between all my grandfathers—their clear sense over-clouded by fate? O excellent Brahmana, tell me all this in full as everything had happened.’