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Balarama Kills Dhenukasura, Folio from a Harivamsha (Lineage of Hari, Vishnu), ca 1585-1590.

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The Harivamsha (also Harivamsa; Sanskrit Harivaṃśa हरिवंश "the lineage of Hari (Vishnu)") is an important work of Sanskrit literature, containing 16,374 verses, mostly in Anuṣtubh metre. The text is also known as Harivaṃśa Puraṇa. This text is believed as a khila (appendix or supplement) to the Mahabharata[1] and traditionally ascribed to Krishna Dvaipayana Veda Vyasa. The most celebrated commentary of the Mahabharata by Nīlakaṇṭha, the Bhārata Bhāva Dīpa covered the Harivaṃśa too.

City of Dwarka in Harivamsa

Contents

Overview

The text is complex, containing layers that may go back to the 1st or 2nd centuries CE. The bulk of the text is derived from two traditions, the pañcalakṣaṇa tradition, that is, the "five marks" of the Purana corpus one of which is vaṃśa "genealogy", and stories about the life of Krishna as a herdsman. The latter portion presents the earliest source of Krishna's early life and his affairs with the gopis, presenting him as a tribal hero.

Contents

According to a tradition mentioned in the Mahabharata (Adi Parva, II. 69,233), the Harivaṃśa is divided into two parvas, Harivaṃśa parva and Bhaviṣyat parva[1]. But the extant text of the Harivaṃśa has total 271 adhyāyas (chapters), divided into three parvas, Harivaṃśa parva (55 chapters), Viṣṇu parva (81 chapters) and Bhaviṣya parva (135 chapters).

Translations

There have been translations of the Harivamsa in many Indian vernacular languages, English (Manmatha Nath Dutt, 1897), French (M. A. Langlois, Paris, 1834-35), and other languages.[2]

Jaina Harivamshas

There are also Jaina Harivamshas in various languages that present Jaina traditions of the Krishna story. One of the earliest of these is the Harivaṃśapurāṇa (783) of Jinasena.

References

  • Bowker, John, The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, New York, Oxford University Press, 1997, p. 410
  1. ^ a b The Mahabharata in Sanskrit: Book I: Chapter 2 in sacred-texts.com website
  2. ^ Translations of the Harivamsa

External links

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