Recently, I’ve been slowly reading the Srimad Bhagavatam. I’ve been using the translation by Swami Venkatesananda as I enjoyed his work on the Yog Vasishtha. (and wrote several posts on it) I’ve not enjoyed the Bhagavatam as much though. Like some other important works, it was composed by the sage Vyasa. I was surprised to read in the opening verses that he had not yet realized his oneness with the supreme Being. (he was Self realized but not yet fully awake) He goes on to say he composed the Bhagavatam after talking with the sage Narada. As with many such books, it is told in stories that narrate what is seen in another place and time. But many of the messages are not from a oneness perspective.
Vyasa could see the past and future and saw the coming of the Dark age (Kali Yuga). Until that time, the Vedas had been passed on orally but he saw that breaking down and sought to preserve them. He thus took on the task of editing (compiling in writing) the Vedas. He also composed the Bhagavad Gita, an excellent read.
As Shankara put it, “Even a little study of the Bhagavad Gita, like a drop of the flow of nectar, is sufficient for enlightenment.” (Baja Govindam 20)
The Gita is the core of the Mahabharata, the story of Krishna’s life. Krishna is considered the greatest, even among avatars. Without Vyasa’s effort, much more of the Vedic literature would have been lost, including the Rk Veda, worlds oldest known book. Amazing to consider he did this while still unfolding.