The second poem of Nammalwar’s Thiruvaimozhi describes Vishnu without actually naming him until the last verse, where it calls him Narayana. Page 13 of this book, summarizing one of the Sri Vaishnava commentaries on the Thiruvaimozhi, explains that Nammalwar does that to build suspense and keep the reader interested:

Saint Nammazhvar exhorted men to surrender themselves to "Him who is the Granter of Heaven" in Dramidopanishad : I., 2-1, "Vidumin." If it be questioned why our Saint did not directly say 'Narayana’ at once, it is answered that the reason to so refrain from revealing the Holy Name at once, but to adopt this circumlocutory (or periphrastic) style, is to set the mind on to inquire Who the 'Granter of Heaven' is and so on gradually lead it to the knowledge of the Highest Mystery. That otherwise the mind that is filled with worldly concerns is naturally averse to such spiritual investigations is illustrated by the story of Janamejaya and Vaisampayana.

Rishi Vaisampayana proposed to King Janamejaya that he may hear the whole of the Mahabharata story from one end to the other.
King: "Sire, I have no leisure."
Rishi: "Canst thou not listen to one Chapter thereof?"
King: "Can't spare time for that even, Sire!"
Rishi: "What, hast thou no time to hear one Verse at least?"
King: "In that case, Sire, go on; I am willing."
The Rishi began :—

dvāvibhau puruṣī mūḍhau duryodhanadaśānanau ।
gograhaṃ vanabhaṅgañca dṛṣṭvāyuddhaṃ punaḥpunaḥ ।।

"Duryodhana and Ravana, blockheads are these two men,
'Capture of kine' and 'Ruin of grove' seeing, to war again."

On hearing this, Janamejaya began to ask: "Holy Sire! what is ‘Capture of kine’? What is ‘Ruin of grove’?” and so on, till to fully satisfy himself as to what the bearings of these passages were, he had to hear from Vaishampayana, the whole of the Mahabharata and Ramayana.

My question is, what scriptures describes this story of Vaishampayana attracting Janamejaya with a single verse? And in what scripture does the above verse occur? I can’t seem to find it in the Mahabharata.

Page 13 of this book describes the same story, with a slightly different verse:

dwaveva moorkhou lokesmin duryodhana dashananou ।
gograham puradahancha drushtwapi ranakaminou ॥

But which of these verses, if any, are present in Hindu scripture?

On a side note, does anyone know which commentary on the Thiruvaimozhi references this incident? I checked several commentaries but I couldn’t find it.

  • 1
    i have heard this same verse a few times during upanyasa of mahabharata by vedic scholars. if i recall, it makes him more curious, then rishis says one more single shloka, then again makes him more curious, then recites whole mahabharata, at end of which, Janamejaya says 'i don't want dharma,artha,kama or moksha.. just want to listen to your stories'
    – mar
    Aug 18, 2019 at 15:19


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