Harivamsha, aka: Harivamsa, Harivaṃśa, Hari-vamsha; 6 Definition(s)
Harivamsha means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.
The Sanskrit term Harivaṃśa can be transliterated into English as Harivamsa or Harivamsha, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).
Harivaṃśa (हरिवंश).—An appendix to the Mahābhārata in 10,000 verses. The main object of it is to sing the praises of Mahāviṣṇu. It contains three parts called respectively Harivaṃśa Parva, Viṣṇu Parva, and Bhaviṣya Parva. Creation of the world, kings of the solar dynasty and of the lunar dynasty, Yadu dynasty and the birth of Śrī Kṛṣṇa form the theme of Harivaṃśa Parva. Viṣṇu Parva deals mainly with the pranks and games of Śrī Kṛṣṇa in his childhood. Though there occur certain hints about the future at the beginning of the Bhaviṣya Parva, the creation of the world, the incarnation of Viṣṇu as Vāmana (Dwarf) and as Narasiṃha (half man and half lion), Śiva and Viṣṇu constitute its main theme.
The following verses prove that the Harivaṃśa also was composed by Vyāsa.
"harivaṃśastataḥ parvapurāṇaṃ khilasaṃjñitam / viṣṇuparvaśi śoścaryā visṇoḥkaṃsavadhastathā // bhaviṣyam parvacāpyuktaṃ khileṣvevādbhutaṃ mahat/ etat parvaśatam pūrṇam vyāsenoktaṃ mahātmanā //" (Ādi Parva, Chapter 2, Verses 83-84).(Source): archive.org: Puranic Encyclopaedia
The Purana (पुराण, purāṇas) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahapuranas total over 400,000 shlokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.
General definition (in Hinduism)
The Harivamsha ("the lineage of Hari (Vishnu)") is an important work of Sanskrit literature, containing 16,374 verses, mostly in Anustubh metre. The text is also known as the Harivamsha Purana. This text is believed to be a khila (appendix or supplement) to the Mahabharata and is traditionally ascribed to Veda Vyasa. The most celebrated commentary of the Mahabharata by Neelakantha Chaturdhara, the Bharata Bhava Deepa also covers the Harivamsha. According to Adi Parva, the Harivamsha is divided into two parvas or books and had 12,000 verses. The manuscripts found in the 19th century in different parts of India included three books and are also known as puranas - the Harivamsha Purana, the Vishnu Purana and the Bhavishya Purana. These books are included with the eighteen Mahapuranas of the Mahabharata.
- The first book of Harivamsa Parva describes the creation of the cosmos and the legendary history of the kings of the Solar and Lunar dynasties leading up to the birth of Krishna.
- Vishnu Parva recounts the history of Krishna up to the events prior to the Mahabharata.
- Bhavishya Parva, the third book, includes two alternate creation theories, hymns to Shiva and Vishnu, and provides a description of Kaliyuga.
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.
etymology: Harivamsha (also Harivamsa; Sanskrit Harivaṃśa हरिवंश)(Source): WikiPedia: Hinduism
The Harivamsa is widely considered by most Hindus as an appendix to one of the most well known epics in Indian literature, the Mahabharata. As an appendix to the Mahabharata the Harivamsa is not one of the 18 parvas but is widely regarded by most scholars to be closer to a purana, a religious text (Winternitz 424). The origins of this appendix is not precisely known but it is apparent that it was a part of the Mahabharata by the 1st century CE because, “the poet Ashvaghosha quotes a couple of verses, att ributing them to the Mahabharata, which are now only found in the Harivamsa” (Datta 1558). The Harivamsa is not known to have been created by one person but rather is the collection of many different a uthors as a “heaping up or very loose arranging, side by side of texts–legends, myths and hymns–which serve to glorify t he god Visnu” (Winternitz 424). However, according to Sanskrit texts, it has been attributed to the sage Vyasa.(Source): Mahavidya: Hinuism
The Harivaṃśa (हरिवंश) is a collective name given to the final three minor books of the Sanskrit Mahābhārata: the Harivaṃśaparvan, the Viṣṇuparvan, and the Bhaviṣyatparvan. These three books are categorised as khilas (supplements or complements), and are not included within the Mahābhārata’s 18 major books. Nonetheless they are said to be original portions of Vyāsa’s Mahābhārata composition, and they are included in a table of its contents, amongst the one hundred minor books which pre-existed the later division into eighteen major books.
The Harivaṃśa contains the oldest surviving biography of Kṛṣṇa Vāsudeva, who by way of brief visits is a major player in the story of the Pāṇḍavas that has just been concluded in Mahābhārata 18. Amongst other things, Kṛṣṇa delivered the Bhagavadgītā to his cousin and brother-in-law Arjuna Pāṇḍava, and then drove the latter’s chariot through eighteen days of war; and he was the great god Viṣṇu-Nārāyaṇa himself in person.(Source): Cardiff University Blogs: Who’s who in ancient India?
General definition (in Jainism)
There are also Jaina Harivamsas in various languages that present Jaina traditions of the Krishna story. One of the earliest of these is the Harivaṃśapurāṇa (783 AD) of Jinasena. It is divided into 66 cantos and contains 12,000 slokas. The book aims to narrate the life of Arishtanemi, the twenty-second Tirthankara of the Jainas. According to the Jaina sources, Arishtanemi is the first cousin of Krishna. Therefore, Krishna’s adventures too occupy a significant portion of the book.
An outline of Jinasena’s work is as follows.
(Source): WikiPedia: Jainism
"The description of the dynasty of the Yadus is spread over the cantos 19-63. The 32nd canto contains the description of Balarama. The tale of the birth of Krishna begins from canto 35. The description of the youthful exploits of Krishna is similar to the Hindu lore. There follows the description of the slaying of Kansa at the festival of consecration of the bow. Then Jarasandha sends his brother and his son to attack Mathura, both of them killed by Krishna. The birth of Arishtanemi takes place in Sauryapura amidst great celebrations. Jarasandha then lays siege of Mathura resulting in the migration of Krishna and his kinsmen to Dwarka. The marriage with Rukmini and the birth and abduction of Pradyumna follows. Then the account of the Pandavas is narrated which bears significant differences from the Hindu accounts. The reunion of Krishna and Pradyumna is narrated next. The text then describes the final combat between Jarasandha and Krishna with the Kauravas acting as allies to the former while the Pandavas to the latter. The war ends with the death of Jarasandha and the deification of Krishna as Narayana. Thereafter the Pandavas retreat to south to establish Pandu Mathura (modern Madurai). This is followed by the account of the attainment of arhathood by Arishtanemi, the destruction of Dwarka by Krishna Dwaipayana’s curse, the demise of Krishna and Balarama and the ascent of the Pandavas to the heavens. The book closes with and account of the dynasty of Yadu propagated by Jaratkumara."
Jainism is an Indian religion of Dharma whose doctrine revolves around harmlessness (ahimsa) towards every living being. The two major branches (Digambara and Svetambara) of Jainism stimulate self-control (or, shramana, ‘self-reliance’) and spiritual development through a path of peace for the soul to progess to the ultimate goal.
Languages of India and abroad
Harivaṃśa (हरिवंश).—Name of a celebrated work by Vyāsa supplementary to the Mahābhārata.
Derivable forms: harivaṃśaḥ (हरिवंशः).
Harivaṃśa is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the terms hari and vaṃśa (वंश).(Source): DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family. Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.
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