Dating of mahabharat
4th century BCE) and in the Aśvalāyana Gṛhyasūtra (3.4.4). 120 CE) about Homer's poetry being sung even in India seems to imply that the Iliad had been translated into Sanskrit.
This may mean the core 24,000 verses, known as the Bhārata, as well as an early version of the extended Mahābhārata, were composed by the 4th century BCE. However, Indian scholars have, in general, taken this as evidence for the existence of a Mahābhārata at this date, whose episodes Dio or his sources identify with the story of the Iliad.
How the Mahābhārata came to be narrated by Sauti to the assembled rishis at Naimisharanya, after having been recited at the sarpasattra of Janamejaya by Vaishampayana at Takṣaśilā, modern-day Taxila, Pakistan.
The history and genealogy of the Bharata and Bhrigu races is recalled, as is the birth and early life of the Kuru princes (adi means first).
Traditionally, the authorship of the Mahābhārata is attributed to Vyāsa.
There have been many attempts to unravel its historical growth and compositional layers.
The Pañcavimśa Brahmana (at 25.15.3) enumerates the officiant priests of a sarpasattra among whom the names Dhṛtarāṣtra and Janamejaya, two main characters of the Mahābhārata's sarpasattra, as well as Takṣaka, the name of a snake in the Mahābhārata, occur.
It narrates the struggle between two groups of cousins in the Kurukshetra War and the fates of the Kaurava and the Pāṇḍava princes and their succession.
Along with the epic Rāmāyaṇa, it forms the Hindu Itihasa.
However, some scholars, such as John Brockington, argue that Jaya and Bharata refer to the same text, and ascribe the theory of Jaya with 8,800 verses to a misreading of a verse in Ādiparvan (1.1.81). 1.1.50, there were three versions of the epic, beginning with Manu (1.1.27), Astika (1.3, sub-parva 5) or Vasu (1.57), respectively.
These versions would correspond to the addition of one and then another 'frame' settings of dialogues.
The epic employs the story within a story structure, otherwise known as frametales, popular in many Indian religious and non-religious works.