Sauti recites the slokas of the Mahabharata.jpg
Vaishampayana listens as Shaunaka recites the Mahabharata
TextsMahabharata, Harivamsa

Vaishampayana (Sanskrit: वैशंपायन, Vaiśampāyana) is the traditional narrator of the Mahabharata, one of the two major Sanskrit epics of India.[1]


Vaishampayana is a renowned sage who is stated to be the original teacher of the Krishna Yajur-Veda:[2]

The great man of intellect Vaiśampāyana, the disciple of Vyāsa, divided the tree of Yajurveda into seven branches.

— Agni Purana, Chapter 150

The Ashvalayana Grihya Sutra mentions him as Mahabharatacharya. He is also mentioned in the Taittiriya Aranayaka and the Ashtadhyayi of Pāṇini.[3]

Vyasa is regarded to have taught the Mahabharata of 100,000 verses to Vaishampayana. He is regarded to have recited the epic to King Janamejaya at his sarpa satra (snake sacrifice)[4] The Harivamsha Purana is also recited by him, where he narrates the legend of Prithu's emergence from Vena.[5][6]


  1. ^ (28 January 2019). "Story of Vaiśampāyana". Retrieved 5 November 2022.
  2. ^ (13 November 2021). "Names of different Manus, different Sages and others [Chapter 150]". Retrieved 5 November 2022.
  3. ^ Raychaudhuri, H.C. (1972). Political History of Ancient India: From the Accession of Parikshit to the Extinction of the Gupta Dynasty, Calcutta: University of Calcutta, p.38
  4. ^ "The Mahabharata, Book 1:Adi Parva: Section I". sacred texts.
  5. ^ Bhāratatattva: Course in Indology : a Study Guide. Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture. 2006. p. 66. ISBN 978-81-87332-50-3.
  6. ^ Debroy, Bibek (9 September 2016). Harivamsha. Penguin UK. p. 32. ISBN 978-93-86057-91-4.

Further reading