- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 2655 KB
- Print Length: 606 pages
- Publisher: Penguin (9 Sept. 2016)
- Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01L21VD4W
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,135,890 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Harivamsha Kindle Edition
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If you have read the unabridged Mahabharata (I have read Dr. Debroy’s English translation, not the original Sanskrit), you will find the Harivamsha to be different. For one, its narrative has more in common with a Purana than the Mahabharata. Part of this is by design, as Dr. Debroy informs us. There is also some repetition to be found, but with slight variations – chapter 22 tells us the story of Yayati, but the curses are slightly different. Another difference is the absence of philosophy that otherwise abounds in the main epic.
As is the case with the rest of the Mahabharata, the narration narrows to the main events, but in its own way, taking its own time. Harivamsha is no different. After talking about the births of gods and genealogies of various dynasties, including the Raghu vamsha, the plot turns to the births of the Kauravas and Pandavas. It is there that we are told that the city of Mathura was constructed by Shatrughna (Rama’s younger brother), and that the son of its ruler at the time – Ugrasena – was none other than a daitya named Kalanemi, who had taken birth in the form of Kamsa! Or that Hayagriva, another demon killed by Vishnu, had taken rebirth as Keshi. Or that Arishta was Bali’s son. Or that the mighty wrestlers Chanura and Mushtika were the two danavas, Varaha and Kishora.
In some ways, Harivamsha is perhaps the first instance of a sequel. Written after the Mahabharata was composed, it sought to fill what would have been a much-perceived need to have a text on the life of Krishna. Krishna as a character makes his appearance in the Mahabharata only at the time of Droupadi’s swayamvar. There is nothing about Krishna’s birth, childhood, or exploits outside of his interactions with the Pandavas. Harivamsha fulfilled that gap. And like all good sequels, how does the Harivamsha end? Souti asks Janamejaya – “What else do you desire that I should speak to you about?”
Thus, was set the stage for the Puranas?
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