Sage Veda Vyasa decided to compose the Mahabharata. He thought he would dictate the epic and someone could write it down. But who would write down the great epic? After a careful search, Veda Vyasa selected Ganesha, Lord of Wisdom.
“Only you are capable of writing down the epic as I recite it, My Lord,” said Vyasa.
Ganesha readily agreed to Vyasa’s request. “But I have a condition,” he said. “You have to dictate the epic to me non-stop. The moment you stop, I’ll also stop and go away.”
Veda Vyasa agreed to the condition and the long dictation began. It was the longest dictation ever known. Ten million verses were recited by Vyasa which Ganesha wrote down. That’s why there is no comma to show a pause in the Mahabharata Veda Vyasa dictated. Vyasa did not stop after completing a sentence either. But Ganesha knew when the sentence ended, and marked it quickly with a stop to move on to the next sentence.
Sage Veda Vyasa was an old man. Continuous dictation tired him. Sometimes, he desperately needed a break. At such times, he would use a difficult bunch of words. Even Ganesha found them difficult. As Ganesha scratched his head, the old sage would take a deep breath and quickly gulp some water to regain strength. He would be ready with the next line by the time Ganesha figured out the meaning and wrote down the words.
That is why they say, we come across difficult passages occasionally in the Mahabharata, which is otherwise simple. These passages are known as Vyasa’s breaks.