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The recitation of Vaisampayana to Janamejaya is then recited again by a professional story teller named Ugrasrava Sauti, many years later, to an assemblage of sages.

Ganesha is said to have agreed to write it only on condition that Vyasa never pause in his recitation.

Vyasa agreed, provided Ganesha took the time to understand what was said before writing it down.

The latter are enumerated as dharma (right action), artha (purpose), kama (pleasure), and moksha (liberation).

The Mahabharata claims all-inclusiveness at the beginning of its first parva ("book"): "What is found here, may be found elsewhere.

The epic is part of the Hindu itihāsa (literally "history"), and forms an important part of Hindu mythology.

It is of immense importance to culture in the Indian subcontinent, and is a major text of Hinduism.The result is that..people of India..not unacquainted with the sufferings of Priam, the laments and wailings of Andromache and Hecuba, and the valor of both Achilles and Hector: so remarkable has been the spell of one man's poetry!" Despite the passage's evident face-value meaning—that the Iliad had been translated into Sanskrit—some scholars have supposed that the report reflects the existence of a Mahabharata at this date, whose episodes Dio or his sources syncretistically identify with the story of the Iliad.The division into 100 sub-parvas (mentioned in Mbh.1.2.70) is older, and most parvas are named after one of their constituent sub-parvas.There have been many attempts to unravel its historical growth and composition layers.