The Mahabharata is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India. It is an epic narrative of the Kurukshetra War and the fates of the Kauravas and the Pandava princes as well as containing philosophical and devotional material, such as a discussion of the four goals of life.
Here we have Vana Parva, the third, which discusses the twelve-year exile of the Pandavas in the forest. It is one of the longest of the eighteen books in the Mahabharata, and contains in it both the story of Arjuna and the Kirata, and that of Nala and Damayanti.
Vyasa is a revered figure in Hindu traditions. He is a kala-Avatar or part-incarnation of God Vishnu. Vyasa is sometimes conflated by some Vaishnavas with Badarayana, the compiler of the Vedanta Sutras and considered to be one of the seven Chiranjivins. He is also the fourth member of the Rishi Parampara of the Advaita Guru Parampara of which Adi Shankara is the chief proponent.