Who was the narrator of Mahabharata, Puranas & many Hindu texts?

Ugrashrava ( उग्रश्रवा ) or Maharshi Suta ( श्री सूत जी )

Ugrashrava or Maharshi Suta was the narrator of several Puranas, including Mahabharata, Bhagavata Purana, Harivamsa and Padma Purana.

His narrations typically taking place before the sages gathered in Naimisaranya (नैमिषारण्य). He was the son of Lomaharshana (लोमहर्षण), a disciple of Ved Vyasa. The entire Mahabharata epic was structured as a dialogue between Ugrashrava (the narrator) and sage Saunaka,शौनक (the listener).

The narration of the history of King Bharata by sage Vaisampayana (वैशंपायन) to Kuru king Janamejaya(जनमेजय )  was embedded within this narration of Ugrashrava. Vaisampayana’s narration in turn contains the narration of Kurukshetra War by Sanjaya, to Kuru king Dhritarashtra(धृतराष्ट्र). Thus Mahabharata has as a Story within a story structure.

The Mahabharata begins by introducing Ugrashrava:

लोमहर्षणपुत्र उग्रश्रवा: सौति: पौराणिको
नैमिषारण्ये शौनकस्य कुलपतेर्द्वादशवार्षिके सत्रे !!

“Ugrashrava, the son of Lomaharshana , surnamed Sauti ( श्री सूत जी ), well-versed in the Puranas, one day approached the great sages who was attending the twelve year sacrifice of Kulpati Saunaka, in the forest of Naimisaranya.” (Mahabharata 1:1)

Satnarayana Varat Katha

The most popular Satnarayana Varat Katha, was also narrated by Maharshi Suta, in Naimisaranya to the rishi’s who were performing a 1,000 year yajna for the benefit of mankind led by Saunaka.

Satnarayana Varat Katha
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