Action role-playing game
Action role-playing video games are a subgenre of role-playing video games. The games emphasize real-time combat where the player has direct control over the characters as opposed to turn or menu-based combat; these games use action game combat systems similar to hack and slash or shooter games. Action role-playing games may incorporate action-adventure games, which include a mission system and RPG mechanics, or massively multiplayer online role-playing games with real-time combat systems. Allgame listed the following games released prior to 1984 as action RPGs: Temple of Apshai and its sequel Gateway to Apshai, Beneath the Pyramids for the Apple II, Bokosuka Wars, Sword of Fargoal. Jeremy Parish of USgamer claimed that Adventure was an action RPG. Bill Loguidice and Matt Barton claimed that the Intellivision games Advanced Dungeons & Dragons and Treasure of Tarmin were action RPGs. Shaun Musgrave of TouchArcade notes that Adventure lacked RPG mechanics such as experience points and permanent character growth, argues that Gateway to Apshai is "the earliest game I'd feel comfortable calling an action-RPG" but notes that "it doesn't fit neatly into our modern genre classifications," though came closer than Bokosuka Wars released the same year.
Jeremy Parish of 1UP.com argues that Japanese developers created a new brand of action role-playing game. Shaun Musgrave of TouchArcade traces the genre's roots to Japan, noting that the "Western game industry of the time had a tendency to treat action games and RPGs as separate things for separate demographics". Jeremy Parish argues, it was released for arcades in June 1984, was intended as a "fantasy version of Pac-Man, with puzzles to solve, monsters to battle, hidden treasure to find". Its success in Japan inspired the development of Dragon Hydlide. Dragon Slayer and Courageous Perseus "vie for position as genre precedent" according to John Szczepaniak, there was an ongoing rivalry developing between the Dragon Slayer and Hydlide series over the years; the Tower of Druaga, Dragon Slayer and Hydlide were influential in Japan, where they influenced action RPGs such as Ys, as well as The Legend of Zelda. Falcom's Dragon Slayer, created by Yoshio Kiya, is "the first action-RPG made" according to GameSetWatch.
Released for the PC-8801 computer in September 1984, it abandoned the command-based battles of earlier role-playing games in favor of real-time hack-and-slash combat that required direct input from the player, alongside puzzle-solving elements. In contrast to earlier turn-based roguelikes, Dragon Slayer was a dungeon-crawl role-playing game using real-time, action-oriented combat, combined with traditional role-playing mechanics. Dragon Slayer's overhead action role-playing formula was used in many games. T&E Soft's Hydlide, released in December 1984, was created by Tokihiro Naito, influenced by The Tower of Druaga, it was the first action RPG with an overworld. The game was immensely popular in Japan, selling 2 million copies across all platforms. According to John Szczepaniak, it "cannot be overstated how influential Hydlide was on the ARPGs which followed it"; the same year, Courageous Perseus was one of the earliest action RPGs. Dragon Slayer II: Xanadu, released in 1985, was an action role-playing game including many character stats and a large quest.
It incorporated a side-scrolling view during exploration and an overhead view during battle, an early "Karma" morality system where the character's Karma meter will rise if he commits sin, which in turn causes the temples to refuse to level him up. Xanadu Scenario II, released in 1986, was an expansion pack, created to expand the content of Dragon Slayer II: Xanadu. Hydlide II: Shine of Darkness featured a morality system. Eurogamer cites Fairlight as an early action RPG. An important influence on the action RPG genre was the 1986 action-adventure, The Legend of Zelda, which served as the template for many future action RPGs. In contrast to previous action RPGs, such as Dragon Slayer and Hydlide, which required the player to bump into enemies in order to attack them, The Legend of Zelda featured an attack button that animates a sword swing or projectile attack on the screen, it was an early example of open-world, nonlinear gameplay, introduced new features such as battery backup saving. These elements have been used in many action RPGs since.
In 1987, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link implemented a more traditional RPG-esque system, including experience points and levels with action game elements. Unlike its predecessor, Zelda II more fits the definition of an action RPG. Another Metroidvania-style action RPG released that year was System Sacom's Sharp X1 computer game Euphory, the only Metroidvania-style multiplayer action RPG produced, allowing two-player cooperative gameplay; the fifth Dragon Slayer title, was released that year. It was a party-based action RPG, with the player controlling a party of four characters at the same time in a side-scrolling view; the game featured character creation customizable characters, class-based puzzles, a new scenario system, allowing players to choose from 15 scenarios, or quests, to play through in the order of their choice. It was an episodic video game, with expansion disks released offering more scenarios. Falcom released the first installment of its Ys series in 1987. Whi
Eschatology is a part of theology concerned with the final events of history, or the ultimate destiny of humanity. This concept is referred to as the "end of the world" or "end times"; the word arises from the Greek ἔσχατος eschatos meaning "last" and -logy meaning "the study of", first appeared in English around 1844. The Oxford English Dictionary defines eschatology as "the part of theology concerned with death and the final destiny of the soul and of humankind". In the context of mysticism, the term refers metaphorically to the end of ordinary reality and to reunion with the Divine. Many religions treat eschatology as a future event prophesied in folklore. History is divided into "ages", which are time periods each with certain commonalities. One age comes to an end and a new age or world to come, where different realities are present, begins; when such transitions from one age to another are the subject of eschatological discussion, the phrase, "end of the world", is replaced by "end of the age", "end of an era", or "end of life as we know it".
Much apocalyptic fiction does not deal with the "end of time" but rather with the end of a certain period, the end of life as it is now, the beginning of a new period. It is a crisis that brings an end to current reality and ushers in a new way of living, thinking, or being; this crisis may take the form of the intervention of a deity in history, a war, a change in the environment, or the reaching of a new level of consciousness. Most modern eschatology and apocalypticism, both religious and secular, involve the violent disruption or destruction of the world. For example, according to some ancient Hebrew worldviews, reality unfolds along a linear path. Eschatologies vary as to their degree of pessimism about the future. In some eschatologies, conditions are better for some and worse for others, e.g. "heaven and hell". They vary as to time frames. Groups claiming imminent eschatology are referred to as Doomsday cults. In Bahá' í belief, creation has neither an end. Instead, the eschatology of other religions is viewed as symbolic.
In Bahá'í belief, human time is marked by a series of progressive revelations in which successive messengers or prophets come from God. The coming of each of these messengers is seen as the day of judgment to the adherents of the previous religion, who may choose to accept the new messenger and enter the "heaven" of belief, or denounce the new messenger and enter the "hell" of denial. In this view, the terms "heaven" and "hell" are seen as symbolic terms for the person's spiritual progress and their nearness to or distance from God. In Bahá'í belief, the coming of Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith, signals the fulfilment of previous eschatological expectations of Islam and other major religions. Christian eschatology is the study concerned with the ultimate destiny of the individual soul and the entire created order, based upon biblical texts within the Old and New Testament. Christian eschatology looks to study and discuss matters such as death and the afterlife and Hell, the Second Coming of Jesus, the resurrection of the dead, the Rapture, the Tribulation, the end of the world, the Last Judgment, the New Heaven and New Earth in the world to come.
Eschatological passages are found in many places in the Bible, both in the Old and the New Testaments. In the Old Testament, apocalyptic eschatology can be found notably in Isaiah 24–27, Isaiah 56–66, Zechariah 9–14 as well as closing chapters of Daniel, Ezekiel. In the New Testament, applicable passages include Matthew 24, Mark 13, the parable of "The Sheep and the Goats" and in the Book of Revelation—although Revelation occupies a central place in Christian eschatology; the Second Coming of Christ is the central event in Christian eschatology within the broader context of the fullness of the Kingdom of God. Most Christians believe that suffering will continue to exist until Christ's return. There are, various views concerning the order and significance of other eschatological events; the Book of Revelation is at the core of Christian eschatology. The study of Revelation is divided into four interpretative methodologies or hermeneutics. In the Futurist approach, Revelation is treated as unfulfilled prophecy taking place in some yet undetermined future.
In the Preterist approach, Revelation is chiefly interpreted as having prophetic fulfillment in the past, principally the events of the first century CE. In the Historicist approach, Revelation provides a broad view of history, passages in Revelation are identified with major historical people and events; this is view the Jewish scholars held, along with the early Christian church, it was prevalent in Wycliffe's writings, other Reformers such as Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Wesley, Sir Isaac Newton, many others. In the Idealist approach, the events of Revelation are neither past nor future, but are purely symbolic, dealing with the ongoing struggle and ultimate triumph of good over evil. Contemporary Hindu eschatology is linked in the Vaishnavite tradition to the figure of Kalki, the tenth and last avatar of Vishnu before the age draws to a close who will reincarnate as Shiva and dissolve and regenerate the universe. Most Hindus believe that the current period is the Kali Y
Maitreya, Metteyya, is regarded as a future Buddha of this world in Buddhist eschatology. In some Buddhist literature, such as the Amitabha Sutra and the Lotus Sutra, he is referred to as Ajita. According to Buddhist tradition, Maitreya is a bodhisattva who will appear on Earth in the future, achieve complete enlightenment, teach the pure dharma. According to scriptures, Maitreya will be a successor to Gautama Buddha; the prophecy of the arrival of Maitreya refers to a time in the future when the dharma will have been forgotten by most on the terrestrial world. Maitreya has been adopted for his millenarian role by many non-Buddhist religions in the past, such as the White Lotus, as well as by modern new religious movements, such as Yiguandao; the name Maitreya is derived from the Sanskrit word maitrī "loving-kindness", in turn derived from the noun mitra "friend". The Pali form Metteyya is mentioned in the Cakkavatti-Sīhanāda Sutta of the Pāli Canon, in chapter 28 of the Buddhavamsa. Most of the Buddha's sermons are presented as having been presented in answer to a question, or in some other appropriate context, but this sutta has a beginning and ending in which the Buddha is talking to monks about something different.
This leads scholar Richard Gombrich to conclude that either the whole sutta is apocryphal or that it has at least been tampered with. In the Greco-Buddhist art of Gandhara, in the first centuries CE in northern India, Maitreya was the most popular figure to be represented along with Gautama Buddha. In 4th to 6th-century China, "Buddhist artisans used the names Shakyamuni and Maitreya interchangeably... indicating both that the distinction between the two had not yet been drawn and that their respective iconographies had not yet been set". An example is the stone sculpture found in the Qingzhou cache dedicated to Maitreya in 529 CE as recorded in the inscription; the religious belief of Maitreya developed around the same time as that of Amitābha, as early as the 3rd century CE. One mention of the prophecy of Maitreya is in the Maitreyavyākaraṇa, it implies that he is a teacher of meditative trance sādhanā and states that gods and other beings: Will lose their doubts, the torrents of their cravings will be cut off: free from all misery they will manage to cross the ocean of becoming.
No longer will they regard anything as their own, they will have no possession, no gold or silver, no home, no relatives! But they will lead the holy life of oneness under Maitreya's guidance, they will have torn the net of the passions, they will manage to enter into trances, theirs will be an abundance of joy and happiness, for they will lead a holy life under Maitreya's guidance. Maitreya is pictured seated, with either both feet on the ground or crossed at the ankles, on a throne, waiting for his time, he is dressed in the clothes of either a Indian royalty. As a bodhisattva, he would be standing and dressed in jewels, he wears a small stupa in his headdress that represents the stupa with relics of Gautama Buddha to help him identify it when his turn comes to lay claim to his succession and can be holding a dharmachakra resting on a lotus. A khata is always tied around his waist as a girdle. In the Greco-Buddhist art of Gandhara, Maitreya is represented as a northern Indian nobleman, holding a kumbha in his left hand.
Sometimes this is a "wisdom urn". He is flanked by the brothers Asanga and Vasubandhu; the Maitreyasamiti was an extensive Buddhist play in pre-Islamic Central Asia. The Maitreyavyakarana in Central Asia and the Anagatavamsa of South India mention him. Maitreya resides in the Tuṣita Heaven, said to be reachable through meditation. Gautama Buddha lived here before he was born into the world as all bodhisattvas live in the Tuṣita Heaven before they descend to the human realm to become Buddhas. Although all bodhisattvas are destined to become Buddhas, the concept of a bodhisattva differs in Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism. In Theravada Buddhism, a bodhisattva is one, striving for full enlightenment, whereas in Mahayana Buddhism, a bodhisattva is one who has reached a advanced state of grace or enlightenment but holds back from entering nirvana so that he may help others. In Mahayana Buddhism, Buddhas preside over pure lands, such as Amitābha over Sukhavati. Once Maitreya becomes a buddha, he will rule over the Ketumati pure land, an earthly paradise sometimes associated with the city of Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, India.
In Theravada Buddhism, Buddhas are born as unenlightened humans, are not rulers of any paradise or pure land. Maitreya's arising would be no different from the arising of Gautama Buddha, as he achieved full enlightenment as a human being and died, entering parinibbana. In Mahayana schools, Maitreya is traditionally said to have revealed the Five Treatises of Maitreya through Asanga; these texts are the basis of the Yogacara tradition and constitute the majority of the third turning within the Three Turnings of the Wheel of Dharma. According to Buddhist tradition, each kalpa has 1,000 Buddhas; the previous kalpa was the vyuhakalpa, the present kalpa is called the bhadrakalpa. The Seven Buddhas of Antiquity are seven Buddhas which bridge the vyuhakalpa and the bhadrakalpa: Vipassī Sikhī Vessabhū (the 1000th and final Buddha of the vyuhak
Koṇāgamana Buddha, known as Kanakamuni in Sanskrit known as Koṇāgon or Kanakagamana, is one of the ancient Buddhas whose biography is chronicled in chapter 23 of the Buddhavamsa, one of the books of the Pāli Canon. According to Theravāda Buddhist tradition, Koṇāgamana is the twenty-sixth of the twenty-nine named Buddhas, the fifth of the Seven Buddhas of Antiquity, the second of the five Buddhas of the present kalpa; the present kalpa is called the bhadrakalpa. The five Buddhas of the present kalpa are: Kakusandha Koṇāgamana Kassapa Gautama Maitreya Koṇāgamana is said to have been born in Subhagavati Park in Sobhavati on Wednesday; the Koṇāgamana Buddha is mentioned in a 3rd century BCE inscription by Ashoka at Nigali Sagar, in today's Nepal. There is an Ashoka pillar at the site today. Ashoka's inscription in Brahmi is on the fragment of the pillar still buried in the ground; the inscription made when Emperor Asoka at Nigali Sagar in 249 BCE records his visit, the enlargement of a stupa dedicated to the Kanakamuni Buddha, the erection of a pillar: "Devanam piyena piyadasin lajina- chodasavasa bhisitena Budhasa Konakamanasa thube-dutyam vadhite Visativa sabhisitena –cha atana-agacha-mahiyite silathabe-cha usa papite"“His Majesty King Priyadarsin in the 14th year of his reign enlarged for the second time the stupa of the Buddha Kanakamuni and in the 20th year of his reign, having come in person, paid reverence and set up a stone pillar”.
According to Xuanzang, Koṇāgamana's relics were held in a stupa in Nigali Sagar, in what is now Kapilvastu District in southern Nepal. Bhadrakalpikasutra
Buddhist cosmology is the description of the shape and evolution of the Universe according to the Buddhist scriptures and commentaries. It consists of temporal and spatial cosmology, the temporal cosmology being the division of the existence of a'world' into four discrete moments; the spatial cosmology consists of a vertical cosmology, the various planes of beings, their bodies, food, beauty and a horizontal cosmology, the distribution of these world-systems into an "apparently" infinite sheet of universes. The existence of world-periods, is well attested to by the Buddha; the historical Buddha made references to the existence of aeons, intimates his knowledge of past events, such as the dawn of human beings in their coarse and gender-split forms, the existence of more than one sun at certain points in time, his ability to convey his voice vast distances, as well as the ability of his disciples to be reborn in any one of these planes. The self-consistent Buddhist cosmology, presented in commentaries and works of Abhidharma in both Theravāda and Mahāyāna traditions, is the end-product of an analysis and reconciliation of cosmological comments found in the Buddhist sūtra and vinaya traditions.
No single sūtra sets out the entire structure of the universe, but in several sūtras the Buddha describes other worlds and states of being, other sūtras describe the origin and destruction of the universe. The synthesis of these data into a single comprehensive system must have taken place early in the history of Buddhism, as the system described in the Pāli Vibhajyavāda tradition agrees, despite some minor inconsistencies of nomenclature, with the Sarvāstivāda tradition, preserved by Mahāyāna Buddhists; the picture of the world presented in Buddhist cosmological descriptions cannot be taken as a literal description of the shape of the universe. It is inconsistent, cannot be made consistent, with astronomical data that were known in ancient India. However, it is not intended to be a description of; the cosmology has been interpreted in a symbolical or allegorical sense. Buddhist cosmology can be divided into two related kinds: spatial cosmology, which describes the arrangement of the various worlds within the universe.
Spatial cosmology displays the various, multitude of worlds embedded in the universe. Spatial cosmology can be divided into two branches; the vertical cosmology describes the arrangement of worlds in a vertical pattern, some being higher and some lower. By contrast, the horizontal cosmology describes the grouping of these vertical worlds into sets of thousands, millions or billions. "In the vertical cosmology, the universe exists of many worlds – one might say "planes/realms" – stacked one upon the next in layers. Each world corresponds to a mental state or a state of being". A world is not, however. A world comes into existence when the first being is born into it; the physical separation is not so important as the difference in mental state. The vertical cosmology is divided into thirty-one planes of existence and the planes into three realms, or dhātus, each corresponding to a different type of mentality; these three realms are the Ārūpyadhātu, the Rūpadhātu, the Kāmadhātu. In some instances all of the beings born in the Ārūpyadhātu and the Rūpadhātu are informally classified as "gods" or "deities", along with the gods of the Kāmadhātu, notwithstanding the fact that the deities of the Kāmadhātu differ more from those of the Ārūpyadhātu than they do from humans.
It is to be understood that deva is an imprecise term referring to any being living in a longer-lived and more blissful state than humans. Most of them are not "gods" in the common sense of the term, having little or no concern with the human world and if interacting with it; the term "brahmā. In its broadest sense, it can refer to any of the inhabitants of the Rūpadhātu. In more restricted senses, it can refer to an inhabitant of one of the eleven lower worlds of the Rūpadhātu, or in its narrowest sense, to the three lowest worlds of the Rūpadhātu A large number of devas use the name "Brahmā", e.g. Brahmā Saham
The Elder Scrolls
The Elder Scrolls is a series of action role-playing open world epic fantasy video games developed by Bethesda Game Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks. The series is known for its elaborate and richly detailed open worlds and its focus on free-form gameplay. Morrowind and Skyrim all won Game of the Year awards from multiple outlets; the series has sold more than 50 million copies worldwide. Within the fictional The Elder Scrolls universe, each game takes place on the continent of Tamriel; the setting is a mix of early or pre-medieval real-world elements revolving around a powerful Roman-like Empire in a world with limited technological capabilities, high fantasy elements, such as widespread magic use, travel between parallel worlds and the existence of many mythological creatures such as dragons. The continent is split into a number of provinces of which the inhabitants include humans as well as popular humanoid fantasy races such as elves and anthropomorphic animals. A common theme in the lore is that a chosen hero rises to defeat an incoming threat a malevolent being or an antagonistic army.
Since debuting with Arena in 1994, the series has produced a total of five main games as well as several spin-offs. In 2014, a massively multiplayer online role-playing game, The Elder Scrolls Online, was released by Bethesda's affiliated ZeniMax subsidiary ZeniMax Online Studios. Prior to working on The Elder Scrolls series, Bethesda had worked predominantly with sports and action games. In the six years from its founding to Arena's 1994 release, Bethesda had released ten games, six of them sports games, with such titles as Hockey League Simulator, NCAA Basketball: Road to the Final Four, Wayne Gretzky Hockey, the remaining four adaptations from other media the Terminator series. Bethesda's course changed abruptly. Designer Ted Peterson recalls: "I remember talking to the guys at Sir-Tech who were doing Wizardry VII: Crusaders of the Dark Savant at the time, them laughing at us for thinking we could do it." Ted Peterson worked alongside Vijay Lakshman as one of the initial designers of what was simply Arena, a "medieval-style gladiator game.""
Peterson and Lakshman were joined by Julian Lefay who, according to Peterson, "really spear-headed the initial development of the series". Peterson, LeFay were longtime aficionados of pen-and-paper role-playing games, which influenced the creation of the world of Tamriel, they were fans of Looking Glass Studios' Ultima Underworld series, their main inspiration for Arena. Arena was not to be a role-playing game at all; the player, a team of his fighters, would travel about a world fighting other teams in their arenas until the player became "grand champion" in the world's capital, the Imperial City. Along the way, side quests of a more role-playing nature could be completed; as the process of development progressed, the tournaments became less important and the side quests more. Role-playing game elements were added, as it expanded to include cities outside the arenas, dungeons beyond the cities, it was decided to drop the idea of tournaments altogether, focus on quests and dungeons, making the game a "full-blown ".
Although the team had dropped all arena combat from the game, all the material had been printed up with the title, so the game went to market as The Elder Scrolls: Arena. According to Peterson, "I think Vijay was the guy who tacked on the surtitle "The Elder Scrolls." I don't think he knew what the... it meant any more than we did, but the opening voice-over was [changed to "It has been foretold in the Elder Scrolls..." [Vijay Lakshman who worked at Christopher Weaver's Bethesda Softworks came up with the name of The Elder Scrolls, the words came to mean "Tamriel's mystical tomes of knowledge that told of its past and future". The game's initial voice-over was changed in response, beginning: "It has been foretold in the Elder Scrolls..."Bethesda missed their Christmas 1993 deadline. The game was released in the first quarter of 1994, "really serious for a small developer/publisher like Bethesda Softworks"; the packaging included a scantily clad female warrior, which further contributed to distributor concern, leading to an initial distribution of only 20,000 units.
Having missed the Christmas sales season, the development team was concerned that they "had screwed the company". Sales continued to grow, month after month, as news of the game was passed by word-of-mouth. Despite some initial bugginess, the formidable demands the game made on players' machines, it became a cult hit. Evaluations of the game varied from "modest" to "wild". Still, the game maintained traction with its audience. Game historian Matt Barton concluded that "the game set a new standard for this type of role-playing video game, demonstrated just how much room was left for innovation." Work on The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall began after Arena's release in March 1994. Ted Peterson was assigned the role of lead game designer. Daggerfall's plot was less clichéd than Arena's and involved a "complex series of adventures leading to multiple resolutions." With Daggerfall, Arena's experience-point-based system was replaced with one rewarding the player for role-playing their character. Daggerfall came equipped with an improved character generation engine, one that included a GURPS-influenced class creation system, offering players the chance to create their own classes, assign their own skills.
Daggerfall was developed with an XnGine engine, one of the first 3D engines. Dag
The Mahābhārata is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India, the other being the Rāmāyaṇa. 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 Rāmāyaṇa, it forms the Hindu Itihasa; the Mahābhārata is an epic legendary narrative of the Kurukṣetra War and the fates of the Kaurava and the Pāṇḍava princes. It contains philosophical and devotional material, such as a discussion of the four "goals of life" or puruṣārtha. Among the principal works and stories in the Mahābhārata are the Bhagavad Gita, the story of Damayanti, an abbreviated version of the Rāmāyaṇa, the story of Ṛṣyasringa considered as works in their own right. Traditionally, the authorship of the Mahābhārata is attributed to Vyāsa. There have been many attempts to unravel compositional layers; the oldest preserved parts of the text are thought to be not much older than around 400 BCE, though the origins of the epic fall between the 8th and 9th centuries BCE.
The text reached its final form by the early Gupta period. According to the Mahābhārata itself, the tale is extended from a shorter version of 24,000 verses called Bhārata; the Mahābhārata is the longest epic poem known and has been described as "the longest poem written". Its longest version consists of over 100,000 śloka or over 200,000 individual verse lines, long prose passages. At about 1.8 million words in total, the Mahābhārata is ten times the length of the Iliad and the Odyssey combined, or about four times the length of the Rāmāyaṇa. W. J. Johnson has compared the importance of the Mahābhārata in the context of world civilization to that of the Bible, the works of William Shakespeare, the works of Homer, Greek drama, or the Quran. Within the Indian tradition it is sometimes called the Fifth Veda; the epic is traditionally ascribed to the sage Vyāsa, a major character in the epic. Vyāsa described it as being itihāsa, he describes the Guru-shishya parampara, which traces all great teachers and their students of the Vedic times.
The first section of the Mahābhārata states that it was Gaṇeśa who wrote down the text to Vyasa's dictation. 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, the great-grandson of the Pāṇḍava prince Arjuna. The story is recited again by a professional storyteller named Ugraśrava Sauti, many years to an assemblage of sages performing the 12-year sacrifice for the king Saunaka Kulapati in the Naimiśa Forest; the text was described by some early 20th-century western Indologists as chaotic. Hermann Oldenberg supposed that the original poem must once have carried an immense "tragic force" but dismissed the full text as a "horrible chaos." Moritz Winternitz considered that "only unpoetical theologists and clumsy scribes" could have lumped the parts of disparate origin into an unordered whole. Research on the Mahābhārata has put an enormous effort into recognizing and dating layers within the text.
Some elements of the present Mahābhārata can be traced back to Vedic times. The background to the Mahābhārata suggests the origin of the epic occurs "after the 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. C." is likely. Mahābhārata started as an orally-transmitted tale of the charioteer bards, it is agreed that "Unlike the Vedas, which have to be preserved letter-perfect, the epic was a popular work whose reciters would conform to changes in language and style," so the earliest'surviving' components of this dynamic text are believed to be no older than the earliest'external' references we have to the epic, which may include an allusion in Panini's 4th century BCE grammar Aṣṭādhyāyī 4:2:56. It is estimated that the Sanskrit text reached something of a "final form" by the early Gupta period. Vishnu Sukthankar, editor of the first great critical edition of the Mahābhārata, commented: "It is useless to think of reconstructing a fluid text in a original shape, on the basis of an archetype and a stemma codicum.
What is possible? Our objective can only be to reconstruct the oldest form of the text which it is possible to reach on the basis of the manuscript material available." That manuscript evidence is somewhat late, given its material composition and the climate of India, but it is extensive. The Mahābhārata itself distinguishes a core portion of 24,000 verses: the Bhārata proper, as opposed to additional secondary material, while the Aśvalāyana Gṛhyasūtra makes a similar distinction. At least three redactions of the text are recognized: Jaya with 8,800 verses attributed to Vyāsa, Bhārata with 24,000 verses as recited by Vaiśampāyana, the Mahābhārata as recited by Ugraśrava Sauti with over 100,000 verses. However, some scholars, such as John Brockington, argue that Jaya and Bharata refer to the same text, ascribe the theory of Jaya with 8,800 verses to a misreading of a verse in Ādiparvan; the redaction of this large body of text was carried out after formal principles, emphasizing the numbers 18 and 12.
The addition of the latest parts may be dated by the absence of the Anuśāsana-parva and the Virāta parva from the "Spitzer manuscript". The oldest surviving