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It's common to hear that Ganesha himself wrote the Mahabharata dictated by Vyasa muni. But wasn't all these epics passed down generation after generation orally?

They were written down fairly recently (in the broad time scale of Indian history I mean). Since its Kali Yuga how is it possible for God to have appeared?

So how can we be sure that it was written down and not dictated?

  • Its not impossible for god to appear on earth at any time. I guess mahabharat was written at the end of dwapar Yuga. – Vishal prabhu lawande Sep 10 '17 at 3:49
  • "actually impossible for God to have appeared on Earth" - is this based on your personal opinion ? – ram Sep 10 '17 at 3:51
  • @ram it's not personal opinion. That's what I've always heard. Tretha Yuga has passed. This is Kali Yuga. Not the age of gods anymore – Macindows Sep 10 '17 at 3:58
  • Closely related: Why did Vyasa seek the help of Lord Ganesha? – Pandya Sep 10 '17 at 12:05
  • @Macindows, it is true that Treta Yuga, and the subsequent Dwapara Yuga have passed, and that we are in Kali Yuga. My question is about your statement that Kali is not the age of Gods anymore.. – ram Sep 10 '17 at 15:23
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We know it through this chapter of Adi Parva of Mahabharata:

And Vyasa having gone round him who is called Hiranyagarbha seated on that distinguished seat stood near it; and being commanded by Brahma Parameshthi, he sat down near the seat, full of affection and smiling in joy. Then the greatly glorious Vyasa, addressing Brahma Parameshthi, said, "O divine Brahma, by me a poem hath been composed which is greatly respected. The mystery of the Veda, and what other subjects have been explained by me; the various rituals of the Upanishads with the Angas; the compilation of the Puranas and history formed by me and named after the three divisions of time, past, present, and future; the determination of the nature of decay, fear, disease, existence, and non-existence, a description of creeds and of the various modes of life; rule for the four castes, and the import of all the Puranas; an account of asceticism and of the duties of a religious student; the dimensions of the sun and moon, the planets, constellations, and stars, together with the duration of the four ages; the Rik, Sama and Yajur Vedas; also the Adhyatma; the sciences called Nyaya, Orthœphy and Treatment of diseases; charity and Pasupatadharma; birth celestial and human, for particular purposes; also a description of places of pilgrimage and other holy places of rivers, mountains,, forests, the ocean, of heavenly cities and the kalpas; the art of war; the different kinds of nations and languages: the nature of the manners of the people; and the all-pervading spirit;--all these have been represented. But, after all, no writer of this work is to be found on earth.'

"Brahma said. 'I esteem thee for thy knowledge of divine mysteries, before the whole body of celebrated Munis distinguished for the sanctity of their lives. I know thou hast revealed the divine word, even from its first utterance, in the language of truth. Thou hast called thy present work a poem, wherefore it shall be a poem. There shall be no poets whose works may equal the descriptions of this poem, even, as the three other modes called Asrama are ever unequal in merit to the domestic Asrama. Let Ganesa be thought of, O Muni, for the purpose of writing the poem.'

"Sauti said, 'Brahma having thus spoken to Vyasa, retired to his own abode. Then Vyasa began to call to mind Ganesa. And Ganesa, obviator of obstacles, ready to fulfil the desires of his votaries, was no sooner thought of, than he repaired to the place where Vyasa was seated. And when he had been saluted, and was seated, Vyasa addressed him thus, 'O guide of the Ganas! be thou the writer of the Bharata which I have formed in my imagination, and which I am about to repeat."

"Ganesa, upon hearing this address, thus answered, 'I will become the writer of thy work, provided my pen do not for a moment cease writing." And Vyasa said unto that divinity, 'Wherever there be anything thou dost not comprehend, cease to continue writing.'
Ganesa having signified his assent, by repeating the word Om! proceeded to write; and Vyasa began; and by way of diversion, he knit the knots of composition exceeding close; by doing which, he dictated this work according to his engagement. I am (continued Sauti) acquainted with eight thousand and eight hundred verses, and so is Suka, and perhaps Sanjaya. From the mysteriousness of their meaning, O Muni, no one is able, to this day, to penetrate those closely knit difficult slokas. Even the omniscient Ganesa took a moment to consider; while Vyasa, however, continued to compose other verses in great abundance.

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