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The Vasu version would omit the frame settings and begin with the account of the birth of Vyasa.

For instance, Abhijñānaśākuntala by the renowned Sanskrit poet Kālidāsa (c.

400 CE), believed to have lived in the era of the Gupta dynasty, is based on a story that is the precursor to the Mahābhārata.

The epic employs the story within a story structure, otherwise known as frametales, popular in many Indian religious and non-religious works.

It is first recited at Takshashila by the sage Vaiśampāyana, a disciple of Vyāsa, to the King Janamejaya who is the great-grandson of the Pāṇḍava prince Arjuna.

Hermann Oldenberg supposed that the original poem must once have carried an immense "tragic force" but dismissed the full text as a "horrible chaos." The background to the Mahābhārata suggests the origin of the epic occurs "after the very early Vedic period" and before "the first Indian 'empire' was to rise in the third century B.

C." That this is "a date not too far removed from the 8th or 9th century B.

The earliest known references to the Mahābhārata and its core Bhārata date to the Aṣṭādhyāyī (sutra 6.2.38) of Pāṇini (fl.

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.

The Mahābhārata is an epic narrative of the Kurukṣetra War and the fates of the Kaurava and the Pāṇḍava princes.

It also contains philosophical and devotional material, such as a discussion of the four "goals of life" or puruṣārtha (12.161).

The last day of the battle, with Shalya as commander.

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