The great epic Mahabharata consists of 18 parvas meaning 18 books or sections. The parvas are Adi, Sabha Vana, Virata, Udyoga, Bhishma, Drona, Karna, Shalya, Sauptika, Stree, Shanti, Anushasana, Asvamedha, Ashramavasika, Mausala, Mahaprasthanika and Swargarohanika Parva.
Each Parva contains many sub-Parvas or subsections which counts to a total of 100.It has one lakh verses or more than 18 lakhs words in about approximately 2009 chapters.
Vyasa asked Ganapathi the Lord of Ganas to aid him in writing the text, however Ganapathi imposed a condition that he would do so only if Vyasa narrated the story without pause. To which Vyasa then made a counter-condition that Ganapathi must understand the verse before he transcribed it. So he composed 8000 complicated verses.Ganapathi took time to understand the true meaning of these verses which are called kuta slokas. By this Vyasa was able to compose more verses and he fulfilled Ganapathi’s condition.
The Mahabharata is roughly ten times the length of the Iliad and Odyssey combined, or about four times the length of the Raamayana or three and a half times that of the entire Bible.
In the Bharata are diverse topics. The Bharata, is the foremost of all scriptures. One attains to Emancipation through the Bharata.
As this treatise is sanctifying thousands of persons around the world are studying it. Persons desirous of prosperity are listening to it. Sins committed by means of the body, by means of words, and by means of the mind, are all destroyed (through listening to the Bharata) as Darkness at sunrise. One devoted to Vishnu acquires (through this) that merit which is acquired by listening to the eighteen Puranas. Women desirous of having children should certainly listen to this which proclaims the fame of Vishnu.
Those who want fame, name, wealth, health should read this great epic.
We will see the greatness of this epic further in part -2 of this essay.