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Harivamsa Purana

The Harivamsa is considered as the khila part of the great epic Mahabharata. Its main purpose seems to be to supply the details of the Krishna story, especially of the childhood and boyhood days.

It is sometimes classed among the upapurana also, since it contains the five well-known characteristics of a standard purana.

It has three sections, each section being designated as a parva.

The Harivamsa Purana, also called Vamsa Parva gives detailed genealogies of Yadavas, Vrishas, Andhakas, Vrishnis and Madhus. The lists are quite exhaustive.

The Vishnu Parva gives the details of Krishna’s Life. The story is almost the same as in the Vishnu Purana and the Bhagavata.

Some minor differences between the details given in Harivamsa and the two puranas may be noted here:

The word ‘Rasakrida’ has been substituted by ‘Hallisakrida’ which means the same thing.

When the people of Gokula were not willing to go to Vrindavan as suggested by Krishna, he created a very large number of wolves from his own body to frighten them and force them to leave.

In the Govardhana hill episode, the description of Indra’s defeat is less ignominious to him!

The incident of taking away the parijata tree from svargaloka (heaven) has also been described in a similar vein.

The Bhavisyat Parva contains the following stories: Janamejaya’s sacrifice, creation of the world by God, episode of the king prithu, destruction of Dakasa’s sacrifice, stories of the avataras or incarnations of Vishnu, Shiva and Krishna, Krishna’s killing of several demons and so on.