Mahabharatha, one of two great Epics of India, the other being Ramayana is the longest literary work of the world that contains 100,000 couplets.
Mahabharatha was compiled by Sage Vyasa as revealed to him.
For more details about the Mahabharatha please Google Mahabharatha ramanan50.
The text of Mahabharatha was dictated by Vyasa as he received and it was taken down by Lord Ganesha.
One of the conditions laid by Ganesha was that Vyasa should never pause while dictating, failing which Ganesha would cease taking down the narration.
The counter condition by Sage Vyasa was that Ganesha should write what was being dictated only after understanding the full import of what was being narrated.
As the first chapter Adi Parva was being dictated, Vyasa needed time to compose;he dictated terse and complicated verses.
Ganesha had to pause to understand.
During this miniscule of time Vyasa composed additional couplets.
And Mahabharata was born.
Interesting fact is that the terse couplets were 8,800 in number.
They represented the entire text of the Mahabharatha, which was later composed by Vyasa in 100,000 couplets.
The eight thousand verses the complete Mahabharatha was named as Jaya, meaning Victory.
Later it was named as Mahabharatha.
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 Bharatawhich 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.
The wisdom of this work, like unto an instrument of applying collyrium, hath opened the eyes of the inquisitive world blinded by the darkness of ignorance. As the sun dispelleth the darkness, so doth the Bharata by its discourses on religion, profit, pleasure and final release, dispel the ignorance of men. As the full-moon by its mild light expandeth the buds of the water-lily, so this Purana, by exposing the light of the Sruti hath expanded the human intellect. By the lamp of history, which destroyeth the darkness of ignorance, the whole mansion of nature is properly and completely illuminated…..
Adi Parva Mahabharatha Adi Parva Mahabharatha
I would recommend the critical edition published by the Bhnadarkar Institute of Oriental Studies, known as Bhandarkar Edition.
What we find today is Sauti’s Mahabharat, a much elaborated version of the original ‘Jaya Kavya’, said to be composed by sage Vyasa, and is not available. Mahabharat in its original form was known as ‘Jaya Kavya’, composed by sage Veda Vyasa. In Swargarohana Parva,its is said to be a piece of history: ‘Jayo nametihasoyam.’ There were 8,800 verses in the Jaya Kavya as sage Vyasa himself declares that he knows these 8,800 verses so also Suka. There is another version which calculates number of original verses to be of 24,000.
Sage Vyasa told the story of Mahabharat to his five disciples named Sumantu, Jaimini, Paila, Suka and Vaishampayana. These five disciples came out with their own versions of the epic. However, presently only the work of Vaishampayana is available.
….. The enlarged version of Mahabharat, after Vaishampayana, subsequently, was retold by Sage Ugrasrava. This is the last edition said to have 1, 00, 000 verses. This is reiterated by Sage Sauti, who narrated the story of Mahabharat during a prolonged fire ceremony in Naimisharanya to participating sages and others. He is credited as the last one of the Vyasa lieage who worked on this epic as we find in its present form. We have now three different editions of Mahabharat available known as Nilakantha Edition, Kumbhakona Edition and Bhandarkar Edition from Pune.
However, other sources say that Vyasa composed the 100,000 couplets which is is Mahabharatha.
‘The Mahābhārata is the longest epic poem known and has been described as “the longest poem ever written Its longest version consists of over 100,000 śloka or over 200,000 individual verse lines (each shloka is a couplet), and long prose passages. At about 1.8 million words in total, the Mahābhārata is roughly ten times the length of the Iliad’