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In Brahma Sutra Bhashya of Shri Shankaracharya, while writing Bhashya for 3.3.32

Acharya says

apAntaratamo nAma muniH kali-dvApara-sandhau vyAsatvena sambabhUva

A sage named 'apAntaratamas' incarnated in the confluence of Kali and dvApara yugas with the name / position of 'vyAsa'.

I found this verse of Mahabharata in support of above statement

Mahabharata, Shanthi Parva, Section 337, Verse 53-57

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English Translation. (Note: The chapter number is different because of different editions)

Mahabharata, Shanthi Parva, Section CCCL (350)

Having said these words unto the Rishi Apantaratamas, otherwise called by the name of Saraswat, the Supreme Lord dismissed him, saying unto him.--Go. I am he that was born as Apantaratamas through the command of Hari. Once more have I taken birth as the celebrated Krishna-Dwaipayana, a delighter of the race of Vasishtha. 2 I have thus told you, my dear disciples, the circumstances, of my own former birth which was due to the grace of Narayana in so much that I was a very portion of Narayana himself. Ye foremost of intelligent persons, I underwent, in days of yore, the austerest penances, with the aid of the highest abstraction of the mind. Ye sons, moved by my great affection for yourselves that are devoted to me with reverence, I have told you everything relating to what you wished to know from me, viz., my first birth in days of remote antiquity and that other birth subsequent to it (viz., the present one)!"

Does this information regarding Shri Veda Vyas being a reincarnation of Sage Apantaratamas mentioned anywhere else other than the above passage whether in Mahabharata or any other ancient scriptures?

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Apāntaratamas meaning apa+antara+tamas i.e., one who is free from all internal darkness is popular in Indian scriptures. He is mentioned in the seventh skanda of the Subala Upanishad and in the Adhyatma Upanishad etc. However, the fact he took rebirth as Sage Vyasa is mentioned directly only in the 3.3.32 of the Brahma Sutra Bhasya of Adi Shankara and Chapter 17 - (Mahābhārata 12.337.1-69) (popularly known as the Narayaniya, a text of 1006 verses occurring in the Shantiparva of the Mahabharata).

Sage Apantaratamas, who was born when Lord Vishnu uttered the syllable "Bhu", reincarnated as Vyasa at Vishnu's behest.

Mbh.12.349.23388

In obedience to this command of the Supreme Lord from whose Speech the Rishi Apantaratamas sprang into existence, the latter, in the Kalpa named after the Self-born Manu, distributed and arranged the Vedas.

Mbh.12.349.23418-20

Having said these words unto the Rishi Apantaratamas, otherwise called by the name of Saraswat, the Supreme Lord dismissed him, saying unto him, I am he that was born as Apantaratamas through the command of Hari. Once more I have taken birth as the celebrated Krishna-Dwaipayana, a delighter of the race of Vasishtha.

The puranic encyclopedia, considered an authority for all names, says that this fact is also mentioned in the shankara bhashya of the mundaka Upanishad but I am unable to find it.

Just as a side note, it is quite accepted that the great sage Apāntaratamas took rebirth as Sage Vyasa as it is frequently asked by the purvapakshin as to why jnanis and sages take rebirth and Adi Shankara’s commentary of the Brahma sutra bhasya is cited.

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  • If he took rebirth, then about Srimad Bhagavatam saying that he was an incarnation of Vishnu?
    – Adiyarkku
    May 12 at 9:39
  • @Archit There are lot of differences between mahabharata and srimad bhagavatam. So it is difficult to say. For example, see the life of parikshit in both these books. They differ quite a lot. See hinduism.stackexchange.com/questions/11080/…
    – GIRIBLR
    May 12 at 13:21
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    okay thanks have seen this question :(. Up in the question the Mahabharata quotes: ‘ was due to the grace of Narayana in so much that I was a very portion of Narayana himself’. Been a fan of your answers off late.
    – Adiyarkku
    May 12 at 15:44
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    @Archit Thank you very much for your kind words.
    – GIRIBLR
    May 13 at 5:14

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