Hari Vamsa Puranam in English
As you have already been told, Brahma emerged from Vishnu’s navel. Brahma’s son was Atri, Atri‘s son Soma, Soma’s son Pururava, Pururavas son Ayu, Ayu’s son Nahusha and Nahushja’s son Yayati. Yayati had two wives, Devayani and Sharmistha. Devayani had two sons, Yadu and Turvasu. And Sharmishtha had three sons, Druhya, Anu and Puru. The descendants of Yadu were known as the Yadavas.
Vasudeva was a Yadava. His wife was Devaki. Vishnu was born as the son of Vasudeva and Devaki in order to remove the wicked from the world. The seventh son of Vasudeva and Devaki was Baladeva. And the eight son was Krishna himself. Krishna was born in the month of Bhadra in the thick of the night. Scared that the wicked Kamsa might kill the newly born child, Vasudeva left him with Yashoda, the wife of Nanda.
Nanda was the king of the cowherds and he brought up Baladeva and Krishna. Kamsa sent a Rakshasa woman named Putana to kill Krishna but Krishna killed her instead. In Vrindavana, Krishna subdued the terrible snake known as Kaliya. He killed several other rakshasas named Arishta, Vrishabha, Keshi, Dhenuka and Gardhabha and made the country safe from the attacks of these demons. He also stopped the worship of Indra. This led to a fight between Indra and Krishna, Indra tried to destroy the inhabitants of Gokula by sending down torrents of rain. But Krishna held aloft the mountain Govardhana and saved the inhabitants of Gokula.
Kamsa’s capital was in Mathura, Baladeva and Krishna went there. Kamsa let loose a mad elephant named Kuvalayapida on Krishna. But Krishna killed Kuvalayapida. Baladeva and Krishna also killed two strong wrestlers, Chanura and Mushtika, whom Kamsa had instructed to kill Baladeva and Krishna. Finally, Krishna killed Kamsa and made Ugrasena the king. Kamsa was Jarasandha son-in-law and Jarasandha became furious when he learnt of Kamsa’s death. He attacked the Yadavas and laid siege to the city of Mathura. After a prolonged war, Krishna managed to defeat Jarasandha. Krishna also defeated another evil king named Poundraka. On Krishna’s instructions, the Yadavas built the beautiful city of Dvaraka or Dvaravati. The Yadavas began to live in Dvaraka.
There was an asura named Naraka who was killed by Krishna. Naraka had imprisoned sixteen thousand daughters of the devas, Gandharvas and Yakshas (guards of Heaven’s treasury). These women were freed by Krishna and Krishna married all of them. Amongst Krishna’s other exploits were defeating the daitya Panchajana, killing Kalayavana, seizing the parijata tree from Indra and bringing back to life the sage Sandipani dead son.
Krishna had several sons. Shamba was born of Krishna’s wife Jambavati and Pradyumna was born of Krishna’s wife Rukmini. As soon as Pradyumna was born, he was abducted by the asura Shambara. Shambara threw the baby into the sea, but a fish swallowed the baby. A fisherman caught the fish and brought it to Shambara’s house. When the fish’s stomach was cut open, the baby came out. There was a woman named Mayawati who lived in Shambara’s house and Shambara handed over baby Pradyumna to Mayavati so that he might be brought up well. When he grew up, Pradyumna killed Shambara and married Mayavati. They returned to Dwarka and Krishna was very happy to see his lost son.
Pradyumma and Mayawati had a son named Aniruddha. Aniruddha secretly married Usha, the daughter of King Vana, Vana himself being the son of Bali. Vana’s capital was in a city named Shonitapura. Vana had pleased Shiva through hard and difficult tapasya, so that sometimes he was called the son of Shiva. Vana loved to fight and he had wanted a boon from Shiva that he might get the chance to fight with someone who was his equal in battle. A flag with a peacock on it used to fly from the ramparts of Vana’s palace. Shiva told him the day this flag fell down. Vana’s desire for with an equal would be satisfied.
With the help of a friend of Usha’s, Anuruddha and Usha used to meet secretly in Vana’s palace. Vana’s guards informed him about this and there was a fierce battle between Vana and Aniruddha At the same time, the flag with the peacock on it fell down. Krishna got to know from Narada about the fight between Vana and Aniruddha and he, Baladeva and Pradyumna arrived in Vana’s capital. Shiva came to fight on Vana’s side, accompanied by Nandi and Skanda or Kartikeya. But after a duel that lasted for a long time, Krishna triumphed over these enemies. Krishna’s arrows also cut off the thousand arms that Vana had. But at Shiva’s request, Krishna spared Vana’s life and gave two arms with which to make do.
All of these stories about Krishna are related in detail in the Harivamsa. The Agni Purana merely gives a brief summary of the Harivamsa. But stories about Krishna, the eight avatara of Vishnu, also crop up in the Mahabharata. The Agni Purana, therefore, next summarises the Mahabharata.