The Legends Of Krishna:
In The Light Of Rajasuya Sacrifice Of Yudhishthira

by A.K. Tyagi

Ancient India, IHC: Proceedings. 70th Session, 2009-10, pp.171-184


The rajasuya was one of the major sacrifices mentioned in the later Vedic tradition. During the later Vedic period the major royal sacrifices such as the rajasuya ashvamedha and the vajapeya associated with the raja,1 required tributes and gifts and the rajasuya of Yudhishthira provides an interesting inventory of valued items. The rajasuya involved in a number of rituals and ceremonies which deal with the consecration of the raja. Clans and tribes are more often under the control of chiefs and possibly the term raja-the root of which raj to shine, to stand out referred to a chief rather than to a king. Chiefs can have extensive powers without actually being kings. The Vedic raja gradually evolved into a king, an evolution which involved the transformation of the rajanya into the Kshatriya.2 The rajasuya was asserting Kshatriya authority, involved the conquest of the four quarters (digvijaya)3 and the amassing of tribute before the ritual began.4 Kshatriyas who performed these rites were transformed from rajas into maharajas. Such rituals often incorporated the rhetoric and symbols of the raids and skirmishes of pastoral-agricultural societies, even though these were now en route to becoming established kingdoms.5 The rajasuya is in some ways a combination of potlatch and gift-exchange. Up to a point certain rituals had elements of a potlatch in which wealth was not merely redistributed and symbolized the destruction of wealth but were directly concerned with claims to status. When the ritual was enlarged to include representation from other janas, either in the form of honoured guests or as tribute bearers, its function as potlatch gradually gave way to its symbolizing status on a grander scale. The claims of individual lineages or their segments as descent groups could be established on such occasions, as for example the famous rajasuya sacrifice of Yudhishthira which raises a complex set of problems concerning the status of various lineages, not least among them that of Krishna as the chief of the Vrishnis.6

For a proper understanding of the legends of Krishna in the light of the rajasuya sacrifice of Yudhishthira, it would be better to focus on the verses of the Sabha Parva dealing with the final ritual i.e. the arghya worship of the above said sacrifice. The arghya worship deals with many facets of the legends of Krishna and after examination of the verses on the subject it can be possible to show the evolution in the legends of Krishna.


Now we focus on the verses of the epic dealing with the final ritual of the rajasuya sacrifice. This ritual was a arghyas. On the recommendation of Bhishma and approved by other kings Yudhishthira decided to offer the first worship (arghya) to Krishna.7 Shishupala, the Cedi-king questioned the first worship (arghya) to Krishna on the following grounds, "Krishna was neither a sacrificial priest, nor a preceptor, nor a king ..."8 Shishupala compared the acts and personality of Krishna with other epic heros and showed that Krishna was no match in respect of seniority or relation, preceptor, ritvija (brahmana), lifetime or age, knowledge, king, prowess, etc.9 Krishna was presented as fallen from religion, wretch born in the Vrishni race10 and it was unworthy to offer him first worship.11 Krishna was described as a slave (dasa) of Kamsa.12 Shishupala ironically mentions the deeds performed by Bala Krishna as a Gopa in his childhood under pastoral and nomadic conditions. He lists the killing of the bird, horse and bull (vashvavrishabha) by the baby Krishna, his overturning of the lifeless (cetanarahita) chariot (shakata) and then the episode of Mount Govardhana which was lifted by Krishna in order to protect the Gopas, as well as the large amount of food the hero consumed on its summit. The Govardhana, which was eaten by termites and lost its strength, is also high-lighted.13 Condemning the valorous deeds of Krishna, Shishupala charged that he killed Kamsa, who was nourishing him,14 and that he killed cattle (gonghah) and a woman (stringhashca i.e. Putana).15 Finally, Sishupala questioned the first worship of Krishna.

In favour of first worship of Krishna, Bhishma advances the following arguments, "we have offered him (Krishna) the first worship in consideration of his fame, his heroism and his success. Amongst brahmanas he, who is old in knowledge, amongst kshatriyas he, who is great in strength, amongst vaishyas he, who is rich in possessions and wealth, and amongst the shudras he, who is old in age, deserves to be worshipped...16 He is vastly learned in the Vedas and the Vedangas and he is also very great in prowess... Liberality, cleverness, knowledge of the shruti, bravery, modesty, achievements, excellent intelligence, humility, beauty, firmness, contentment and prosperity, all live for ever in Achyuta (Krishna).... Krishna is preceptor, father and guru and worthy for the arghya and the worship. Hrishikesha (Krishna) is the ritvija, preceptor... the snataka, the king and the friend. Therefore, Achyuta (Krishna) has been worshipped.17

After that, Bhishma shed some light on the divine aspects of Krishna's life. According to him, "Krishna is the origin of the universe; and he is that in which the universe is to dissolve. This universe of mobile and immobile creatures has sprung into existence from Krishna alone. He is unmanifest primal Nature, he is the creator, he is eternal, and he is beyond all creatures. Therefore, Achyuta deserves the highest worship. The intellect, the seat of sensibility, the primal elements, air, heat water, space, earth and the four stages of life (four ashramas), are all established in Krishna. The sun, the moon, the stars, the planets, the chief directions and the intermediate directions are all established in Krishna.18

Narada, who was present in the rajasuya sacrifice of Yudhishthira was well aware of the divinity of Krishna. "He knew that the creator of every object.... Shambhu, Narayana had taken his birth in the lineage of Yadu of the Andhaka-Vrishni race.19 Narada knew that Hari Narayana (Krishna) was no other than the Supreme Being, whom every body worships with sacrifices.20 Krishna has been presented as a descendant of Satvata race.21 In the Southern recension of the Agharbhiharana Parva chapter 38 in the Sabha Parva of the Mahabharata, Bhishma says that Krishna is identical with Narayana Brahma and the latter with Vishnu. He lists nine incarnations of Vishnu Narayana in the following order: (i) Narayana-Brahma later with Vishnu, (ii) Varaha (Boar), (iii) Narasimha (Man-Lion), (iv) Vamana (Dwarf), (v) Dattatreya, (vi) Bhargava-Rama (Parashurama), (vii) Dasharathi Rama, (viii) Vasudeva Krishna and (ix) Kalki. In a sequence of events under pastoral and nomadic surroundings, he mentions the outline of the miraculous feats performed by Bala Krishna in his childhood. Bakasura (bird-demon), Keshi (horse-demon) and Vrishabhasura or Arishtasura (bull-demon) all are described as horrible creatures. Putana is described as mammoth (mahakaya) who has huge mamilla (mahastani). The events of Govardhana, in which Krishna shows his miracle, killing of Kamsa and his wrestlers, are high-lighted. Bhishma identified Vasudeva Krishna with Narayana-Vishnu, Hari, Janardana, Keshava, Govinda, Madusudana, Madhava, etc. Finally, Bhishma has narrated the episodes of Narakasura or Bhaumasura, the descriptive account of Dvaraka and Banasura, in which the complete identification of Narayana-Vishnu with Vasudeva-Krishna are exhibited. The epithets of Vishnu, his signs and symbols such as shrivatsa, pitambara, vanamala etc., his vehicle Garuda (eagle), his weapons i.e. the Shankha (Conch), Cakra (Wheel), Gada (Mace), sword and bow Sharnga have all been associated with Vasudeva Krishna. The conch of Vasudeva-Krishna is known as a panchjanya.


The verses dealing with arghya worship in the rajasuya sacrifice mixes up a number of strands of cultural development in the light of the legends of Krishna attributable to the various stages. The verses dealing with the objection raised by Shishupala on the first worship (arghya) of Krishna seem to reflect position of Krishna in the Vedic culture. The etymological root of Krishna is black skin or colour22 and in the Vedic corpus several rishis and chiefs are described as Krishna or dark skinned people.23 Possibly, the indigenous black-skin people (Krishnas) had maintained their link with pre-Aryan people and vigorously opposed the Aryan culture.24 As a consequence the intense conflict between the black-skinned Krishnas and Vedic Gods Soma and Indra are well recorded in the Vedic corpus. In the later Vedic period Krishna was not considered as an Aryan king or chief or a sacrificial priest. The legends of Krishna were associated with non-Aryan genesis and he may be considered as a non-Vedic chief who was defeated by Indra on the banks of Amsumati.26 Amsumati is identified with modern Yamuna (on the bank of which both the capital of the Pandavas, Indraprastha and Surasena capital Mathura stood) and the non-Aryan chief, explained as an asura by Sayana, with the epic hero of the same name.27 The asuras seem to be identical with dasyus which had nothing to do with the Vedic sacrifices.28 Following these traditions Shishupala presented Krishna as an inferior in respect of seniority, kinship, age, preceptor, knowledge, prowess etc., as compared to the other epic heroes and Krishna as fallen from religion, wretch born in the Vrishni race wherein seeds of matrilineal traditions continued,29 and the Vrishni people absorbed enough non-Aryan blood.30 He was described as a slave of Kamsa in the verse of epic and in Ambattha Sutta of the Digha Nikaya Rishi Krishna is presented as a dasiputra of the Shakyas.31

Subsequently, from the Upanishad period onwards a process of assimilation of non-Aryan elements into brahmanical order took place initially. Gradually, the legends of Krishna were influencing this process and brahmanical impact was increasing on the personality of Krishna. The Chandoghya Upanishad mentions Krishna Devakiputra as a human sage, a disciple of the rishi Ghora Angirasa.32 The achyut mantra possibly first occurred in the above said Upanishad (3.17) in connection with Devakiputra Krishna.33 It is clear from the verses of arghya worship that Achyuta epithet is applied for Krishna and Arjuna addressed Krishna as a Devakimatastacca34 (son of Devaki). It is mentioned in the Anugita that because Krishna descended from Devaki, she became honorific goddess of high lineage.35 The Devakinandan36 (son of Devaki) and Devakisuta37 (son of Devaki) are also applied for Krishna. Finally, Krishna is described as Devakiputra (son of Devaki) in the Bhagavata Purana38 in the post-Gupta period.

It may be noted that according to changing scenario the context and interpretation dealing with Devakiputra Krishna was changing accordingly. For example, in the Upanishad period Krishna Devakiputra was a human sage, however, in the Anugita he is described as Devakimatastacca and transformed into the great preacher, who delivered the sermons to Arjuna. As a Devakinandan, Krishna is associated with epic heroes and they (Pandavas) worshipped him.39 Similarly, Devaki was honoured as goddess because she gave birth to Krishna. In the Vishnu Purana (5.2.7-21) the invocation of Devaki by the Gods is clearly mentioned. It is probable that the notion of a preacher Krishna was derived from the tales of a sage Krishna mentioned in the Upanishad. The pupilage of Krishna to a sage of the Angirasa family is referred to in the first century AD by Ashvaghosha who states that taking after their preceptor's gotra Rama (Balarama) became Gargya, and Vasubhadra, evidently the same as Krishna, became a Gautama.40 According to Monier-Williams, Gautama is the name of a rishi belonging to the family of Angirasa.

The verses deal with Bala Krishna as a Gopa41 under pastoral and nomadic surroundings, and he performed many deeds such as killing of bird, horse and bull. These seem to have been added in the epic in the early centuries preceding and following the Christian era. In the above said verses Bala Krishna is not connected with any miracle nor bird, horse and bull are depicted as demons (asuras). In the Shalya Parva42 of the Mahabharata, Putana is described as a mother goddess and one of the attendant mothers of Skanda. Her horrible description is totally missing. It has been suggested43 that the pastoral setting of Krishna's childhood appears largely to be result of his identification and amalgamation with the worship of some youthful god of the Abhira tribe. In the Padma Purana Vishnu is made to say that he would be born amongst the Abhiras in his eighth incarnation.44 The Abhiras were a wandering tribe of herdsmen and politically active in the early centuries of the Christian era. Possibly, under the patronage of Abhiras, Krishna's childhood tales got added to the epic.

The verses deal with the first worship (arghya) offered to Krishna, Bhishma established his link with the social order, mainly functions of the four varans. No doubt, the fourfold varna division is a recognized feature of the later Vedic period, however, systematic information on the functional aspect of four varnas have been cited in the Grihyasutra and the Dharmasutra literature for the first time. It seems that under the brahmanical social scheme, in which patriliny was a recognized feature, the functions of the four varans was explained through the Krishna lores and they emphasized the human qualities such as heroism, liberality, knowledge, bravery, modesty, humility, beauty, firmness etc., which were added to the personality of Krishna for the justification of his first worship. Possibly, for the inclusion of Krishna in the brahmanical culture these verses are added in the epic. To achieve the same objective the Andhaka - Vrishni tribe, in which Krishna was born, was presented as of kshatriya varna.45 The Mahabharata and the Puranic genealogical accounts locate Vrishni in the Pancha - Nada (Punjab), Madhuvana (Mathura) and Dvaraka (Kathiawar) region.46 In the arguments of Bhishma all the qualifications such as preceptor, sacrificial priest, kinship or relative, snataka, friend and king which were requisite for first worship (arghya) have been associated with Krishna, indicating the increasing influence of brahmanical culture on Krishna.


The verses dealing with Krishna as Supreme Being seem to be added in the background of the Bhagavad Gita. The idea of looking at the universe as a form of Primordial Purusha dates back to the Rigvedic period47 and the Upanishads have provided philosophical interpretation of this concept. However, the Supreme Being is identified with Vasudeva Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita.48 Krishna has proclaimed that he is a main source of the beginning, middle and end of the universe.49 Owing to his identity with Supreme Being or Brahman, Krishna is regarded Supreme and other gods are seen as merely His manifestations, forms or aspects, deriving their authority and popular faith from Him. A few such gods named in the Bhagavad Gita are Vishnu, Rama, Shankara, Indra, Varuna, Kubera, Skanda, Kandarpa (Kamadeva), Kala or Yama, Sun, Moon, Fire and Wind. Arjuna also sees inside Krishna's cosmic form Brahma, Vishnu, Sankara and several other gods. Atheism being anathema, the prevalent worship of various gods is preferred, though it is maintained that while devotees of other gods reach finite ends, the devotees of Krishna obtain release and infinite bliss.50

There are some differences among scholars over the date of the Bhagavad Gita. The general consensus is in favour of the Bhagavad Gita being dated between second century BC and fourth century AD.51 It is thus clear that the philosophical impact increased on the personality of Krishna in the light of the Bhagavad Gita. Bhishma and Narada have acknowledged the divinity of Krishna as Supreme Being. In the philosophical manner, they have presented Krishna as creator, preserver and destroyer of the universe. The epithets Achyuta and Hrishikesha are applied for Krishna and in the same verses Krishna has been identified with Narayana, Hari and Sambhu. However, we do not find any clue to the incarnation doctrine which was more common in the early centuries of the Christian era. Secondly, the verses dealing with philosophical divinity of Krishna as Supreme Being do not throw any light on the comparison of Krishna with other gods. It seems that these verses only indicate the elementary stage of Krishna's divinity. This is fully developed in the Bhagavad Gita.

It is clear that several Vedic and non-Vedic elements amalgamated in the process of the development of the Krishna legend. Initially, both Shambhu52 and Narayana53 were non-Vedic deities, however in the process of development the former got included in the Shaiva pantheon and latter in Vaishnavism. In the legend of Krishna intermixture of both the sects are visible. Krishna was a non-Aryan Vedic chief in the Rigvedic time, while Yadu belonged to the Aryan community and performed the Vedic fire sacrifices.54 Yadu as a dasa chief in Vedic time participated in the war of ten kings and the original home-land of Yadu tribe was located in Iran.55 Later they migrated to India and identified themselves with the Yadava tribe. Similar is the case with Andhaka Vrishni tribe. Initially they were non-Aryan tribes, in which matrilineal practices were more common. Later they identified with kshatriyas and matrilineal conditions gave way to patrilineal state.56 Sacred symbols are found on the coins and sealing of the Vrishni (rajanya-gana) tribe, which have been discovered from Greek city Ai Khanoum (Afghanistan)57 and Punjab,58 belonging to the second-first centuries BC. The depiction of hala (plough), the pestle (musala), the mace (gada) and the wheel (cakra), which constitute the weapons of Baladava and Krishna, and the devotion of the Vrishnis to the cult of their hero-gods is fully attested. Thus, under the Greek influence both Baladeva and Vasudeva Krishna are associated with Vaishnavism. It seems that initially the worship of Krishna and Baladeva gained ground in their own tribe i.e. Vrishni -- Yadava - Satvata which had strong hold in the regions of the Pancha-Nada (Punjab), Indraprastha (Delhi) and Madhuvana (Mathura).

A passage of the Shanti Parva describes Narayana as Supreme deity, however, Vrishni hero Krishna was only one - eight portion of Bhagavan.59 imilarly, the Vishnu Purana describes that Krishna was a partial incarnation of Vishnu.60 It is mentioned in the passage of the Vishnu Purana and the Bhagavata Purana that Sankarshana was the incarnation of a white and Vasudeva - Krishna of a black hair of the Supreme god Narayana - Vishnu.61 Thus, both Krishna and Baladeva were partial incarnations of Narayana - Vishnu in the early centuries preceding and following the Christian era. The material remains discovered from various sites only suggest that Vaishnavism appeared to be at an initial stage in the early centuries of the Christian era.


The verse dealing with Krishna's identification first with Narayana Brahma and later with Vishnu indicates that there was illusion in the mind of the compilers of the southern recension of chapter 38 of the Sabha Parva, on which God would be more suitable for the assimilation of the legends of Krishna. It may be noted that in the creation account of the universe as mentioned in the Manusmrti (1.10-11) and the Vishnu Purana (1.4.1-10) Narayana is first identified with Brahma and later with Vishnu. Possibly following the same tradition the compilers of the above said chapter have applied the same paradigm for assimilating Krishna's lores in the Bhagavata tradition of Vaishnavaism.

An important aspect of the Bhagavata tradition of Vaishnavaism of the Gupta age was the popularity of the worship of the incarnations (avataras) of Vishnu. The epic and Puranic traditions differ on the number of avataras, but the ten avataras were almost universally recognized since the medieval period.62 The verses dealing with the list and nomenclature of the ninth Vaishnava incarnation in which the cult of Vasudeva - Krishna was more important, indicates that as an incarnation of Vishnu Vasudeva - Krishna took up the responsibility to popularize the Bhagavata tradition from the Gupta period onwards. It is corroborated by the material remains discovered from various sites of the Gupta period. A number of sealings, which bear the Bhagavata legend Jitam Bhagavata (victory to the Bhagavata i.e. Vasudeva Krishna) have been discovered from Sunet in the Ludhiana district of Punjab63 and at Purana Qila in Delhi.64 A terracotta seal bearing the outline of a conch (Shankha) above and legend 'Gopasya' below during the Gupta period was found from 1969-70 excavations at Purana Qila. Initially, Vishnu is called Gopa in the "Rigveda, however in the Puranic literature the epithet of Gopa is applied for Vasudeva Krishna.65 At that time Vasudeva - Krishna was identified with the cowherd God Gopala - Krishna.66 In the Puranic texts Gopala - Krishna was surrounded by Gopas and Gopis and made many miracles in Gokula and Vraja on several occasions.67 It seems that the verses deal with a sequence of events, under pastoral and nomadic conditions, which relate to protection of the inhabitants i.e. Gopas and Gopis of Gokula and Vraja.

From the Gupta period onwards Vasudeva-Krishna was identified with Narayana - Vishnu, along with his other epithets. Initially, the epithets, Narayana, Hari, Janardana, Keshava, Govinda, Madhusudana, Madhava, etc. are used for Vishnu. In the Valmiki Ramayana68 Narayana - Vishnu is called as Hari, Janardana, Cakradhara, Madhusudana, Govinda, etc. After the death of Putana, Nandagopa is invoking various epithets of Vishnu for protection (raksha) of Bala Krishna. Among them Hari, Govinda, Keshava, Janardana and Madhusudana are duly mentioned. In the invocation of Nandagopa some signs of Vaishnava incarnations are well established. Keshava is presented as Varaharupa, Janardana as Nrisimharupi and Vamana as Trivikrama.69 It is thus clear that Bala (baby) Krishna was brought up in the lineage of Nandagopa. However, we do not find any clue in which Vaishnava epithets are directly associated with baby Krishna. The miraculous elements are visible in the personality of baby Krishna, however they are not directly connected with Vaishnava epithets.

The changing nature of Vaishnava epithets and their association with Krishnaite mythology are visible in the Harivamsha and the Vishnu Purana and further elaborated in the Bhagavata Purana. For example, the episode of Govardhana worship is mentioned in the Vishnu Purana70 which indicates that Krishna is identical with Damodara, Hari, Govinda, Madusudana, Janardana, Parameshvara, Vikrama, etc. Additional Vaishnava epithets, which were associated with Krishna are found in the Bhagavata Purana. In the Bhagavata Purana71 Vasudeva-Krishna is identified with Bhagavan, Keshava, Bhagavata, etc. It has been claimed that Krishna is equal to Narayana (Narayana samo)72 and Bhagavata Vasudeva (Krishna) is identical with Vishnu,73 who holds in his four hands a lotus (padma), a conch, a wheel and a mace (shankhacakragadadhara).74 In the same passages of the Bhagavata Purana" Vasudeva - Krishna is described as a God with four hands.

The natural characteristic of Krishna is that he has two hands, black complexion, a flute and a crest made of peacock's feather, which indicates his affiliation with pastoral society. The two extra hands attributed to him with weapons of Vishnu (shankhacakragada) only indicates that Vaishnava influence was increasing on the personality of Vasudeva Krishna. At initial stage Vishnu is represented with a dark complexion; his four hands hold a padma, a shankha, a chakra and a gada.76 He also has a bow called the sharanga, a conch called the panchajanya, and a sword called the nandaka.

Between 1975 and 1978, the Department of Ancient Indian History, Culture and Archaeology of the Sagar University conducted excavations at Malhar (in Bilaspur district of the present state of Chhattisgarh). An inscribed four armed stone sculpture of Vishnu was found at the site and the excavators have dated the image to second century BC. The four arms of the deity carry shankha (conch), chakra (wheel/discus), gada (mace) and asi (sword).77 The Raghuvamsha of Kalidasa provides clear evidence of the fact that originally Sharangin was a designation of Vishnu and in the Dhanurveda sharnga bow is specifically associated with Vishnu.78 Similarly, the symbol of Shrivatsa was selected by the Jainas for putting it on the chest of the tirthankaras and later this symbol is associated with Vishnu. Vishnu wears a cylindrical crown studded with jewels, called kirita mukuta and wears a vanamala or a long garland of flowers, sometimes studded with five jewels, hence in that form it is called vaijayanti-mala. He is frequently depicted wearing the holy Kaustubha jewel around his neck. Vishnu's vahana or vehicle is the eagle 'Garuda'.79

The Vishnu Purana and more specifically, the Bhagavata Purana have shown that the symbol of Vishnu is gradually associated with Vasudeva Krishna. When baby Krishna was born from the womb of Devaki, he had four arms and shrivatsa depicted on his chest,80 Kaustubha jewel around his neck, wearing pitambara, kirita-mukuta and vanamala or vaijayantimala.81 In the episode of Banasura, the battle between Krishna and Shankara are mentioned in which Krishna used sharnaga bow and Shankara Pinaka.82 Garuda as a vehicle or vahana of Vadudeva-Krishna83 played active role in wars against Indra,84 Naraka-sura or Bhaumasura85 and Banasura.86 The panchajanya is described as a conch of Vasudeva Krishna and in the Bhagavata Purana87 after hearing the sound of Panchajanya, Mura arose fought against Krishna and lost his life. It is thus clear that most of the epithets of Vishnu, his caturabhuja (four hands) form, his weapons and his symbols all are shifted in favour of Vasudeva-Krishna. Consequently Vasudeva - Krishna appeared as the most powerful and influential incarnation of Narayana - Vishnu in the Bhagavata Purana. It is the cowherd god who inherits from Vasudeva - Krishna, the supreme god of the Bhagavatas. It is he who gives the Vaishanavite synthesis its ultimate form and who becomes for modern India Bhagavat, the 'Adorable', the 'God of Gods'.


  1. Kumkum Roy, The Emergence of Monarchy in North India (Eighth to Fourth Centuries BC). OUP, New Delhi, 1994, p:27.
  2. R. Thapar (ed.) Recent Perspectives of Early Indian History, OUP, New Delhi, 1998, p.95 (first pub. 1995). From Lineage to State Social formations in the mid first millennium BC in the Ganga Valley), OUP, New Delhi, 1984, p.48.
  3. Mahabharata 7 vols. (tr.) M.N. Dutt, Delhi, 1988. Adi Parva, Sabha Parva, 1. 30 32.
  4. Sabha Parva. 1.33.
  5. R. Thapar, Cultural Pasts: Essays in Early Indian History. OUP, New Delhi, 2003, p.818 (1" Pub. 2000).
  6. Supra n.5, p. 129.
  7. Sabha Parva, 1.36.27-30; 37.4.
  8. Sabha Parva. 1.37.17.
  9. Sabha Parva, 1.37.6-16.
  10. Sabha Parva, 1.37.22-23, 1.8: 36.30; 33.18; 38.10.
  11. Sabha Parva, 1.37.27.
  12. Sabha Parva, 1.42.1. 45.4.
  13. Sabha Parva, L41.6-10.
  14. Sabha Parva, 1.41.11.
  15. Sabha Parva, 1.41.4, 13, 16.
  16. Sabha Parva, 1. 38.16-18.
  17. Sabha Parva, I. 38. 19-22.
  18. Sabha Parva, 1. 38.23-26.
  19. Sabha Parva, 1.36.14-17.
  20. Sabha Parva, 1.36.20.
  21. Sabha Parva. 1.38.8.
  22. RV.1.117.8, 1.118.7, 8.5.23, 10.31.11 cited in R.N. Nandi, Aryan Revisited (AR) New Delhi, 2001, p.89. n. 26, 28: AV,, Krishnau or Krishna black 1.5.30,11 Krishna cita black mind, Krishnakarna black horse.
  23. In several passages of the RP (10.31.11) Kanva is described as Shyava and Krishna, both term: caning black and in the AV (1.2.25) some exorcisms are mentioned against Kanva demon. D.D. Kosambi, An Introduction to the Study of Indian History (2 rev. ed.) Bombay, 1975, p.104, (Ist Pub. 1956). It needs stressing here the Kanya is the chief composer of the eighth mandala of the RV (R.N. Nandi, AR. p.89 cf; P. Banerjee. The Life of Krishna in Indian Art, New Delhi, 1994, p.5.1 ed. 1978) and Trasadasya is described as a dark-skinned chief (R1'8.19.37) cited in R.N. Nandi, AR, p.60.N.9).
  24. Benjamin Walker, An Encyclopedic Survey of Hinduism: Hindu World (HW)2 Vols.. New Delhi, 1983, (1* Pub. 1968) voll, p.559.
  25. The Aryan deity Soma is described as killing people of black skin (Krishnam), who apparently were dasyus (RV. 9.41.1-2). Further, Indra had to contend against the black skin people (RV, 9.73.5), and at one place he is credited with the slaughter of fifty thousand 'blacks' (Krishnas) whom Sayana regards as Rakshasas of black colour (RV, 4.16.13). All these references cited in R.S. Sharma, Shudras in Ancien! India (Shudras) (2 rev. ed.). New Delhi, 1980.p.14 (1a ed. 1958).
  26. RV, 8.96.13-15 cited in R.S. Sharma, Shudras, pp.14-15.
  27. S. Jaiswal, The Origin and Development of Vaishnavism (ODV) (2 rev. ed.) New Delhi, 1981, pp.65-66 (1# cd. 1967).
  28. R.S. Sharma, Shudras, pp.13-14.
  29. S. Jaiswal, ODV, pp.68-69.
  30. D.C. Sircar, Studies in the Religious Life of Ancient and Medieval India, New Delhi, 1971, p. 14.
  31. R. Sankrityayan, Pali Sahitya ka Irihas (Hindi), Lucknow, 1973, pp.23-26 (1ed. 1963).
  32. Cha. U. 3.17 cited in R.G. Bhandarka, Vaishnavism, Shaivism and Minor Religious Systems, New Delhi, 2001. p. 11 (I" ed. 1913).
  33. H.C. Raychaudhuri, Malerials for the Study of the Early History of the VaishnavSect, New Delhi, 1975, pp.30-31, 34-35 (1"print 1920).
  34. Mahabharata, Ashvamedhika Parva, Geeta Press, Gorakhpur. V.S. 2046, Anugita, 16.5.
  35. Anugita, 71.19: Devaki supraja devi /vaya purushasalta.
  36. Anugita, 52.21, 71.9.
  37. Vishnu Purana 5.29.13.
  38. 2.10.6,39
  39. Anugita, 52.20-21.
  40. Saundarananda Mahakavyam (ed. & Hindi tr.) S.N. Chaudhari, New Delhi, 1986, 1.23 (1"print 1948).
  41. The Harivamsha (59 cited in C. Vaudeville, Myth Saints and Legends in Medieval India, New Delhi, 1999, p. 77, the Vishnu Purana (5.10.25-37) and the Bhagavata Purana (2.10.24-24-30) deal with the cpisode of Govardhana worship in which Krishna highlighted the pastoral and nomadic conditions of his tribe. He says: "We have not shut in doors nor confined within walls; we have neither fields nor house; we wander about happily wherever we wish, traveling in our wagons.... we are bound to worship the mountains, to offer sacrifice to the cattle .... cattle and mountains are our gods."
  42. Shalya Parva 46.16. The Paumacaria (5.52.227) cited in S. Jaiswal ODI'p.89) of Vimal Suri mentions Pautanapura (Poyanapura), the city of Putana in Bharatakshetra. Her worship came in clash with that of Krishna. Therefore compilers of the Puranic literature have changed the whole character of Putana
  43. S. Jaiswal, ODV, pp.83-86.
  44. Padma Purana 5.17.1-19.
  45. The Kashika, commenting on a sutra of Panini explains that the Andhaka - Vrishnis were kshatriyas, B.P. Mazumdar, 'Polity of the Andhaka-Vrishni - Sangha', Dr. Sarkari Mookerji Felicitation Volume, The Chowkamba Sanskrit Studies, Vol.LXIX, Varanasi, 1969, p.207 cited in S. Jaiswal, Caste: Origin, Function and Diniensions of Change, New Delhi, 1998, p.15, n.80.
  46. S. Jaiswal, ODV, p.87.
  47. RV, 10.90.
  48. Bhagavad Gita as it is (Gita) (ed.) Krishna - Kripa Shri Murti (tr.) Shivagopal Mishra, Bombay, 1983, 7.19.
  49. Gita 9.18; 10.4.
  50. V. Jha, 'Social content of the Bhagavad Gita', IHR, XI. 1-2, 1985, pp.35-36.
  51. M. Winternitz, A History of Indian Literature, Vol. I (216cdn.). New Delhi, 1972, p.438 (First Pub. In 1927) wrote that Gita was originally an Upanishad of the Bhagavatas written some time in second century BC.GC. Pande, Foundation of Indian Culture, Vol.I, New Delhi, 1984, p. 174 and S. Jaiswal, ODV. p. 14 continues the opinion of Winternitz and ascribes it to the second century BC; while R. Thapar, Ancient Indian Social History: Some Interpretations, Hyderabad, 1984, p.286 (1" Pub. 1978), points to Gita's composition by the first century BC. Among scholars favouring its composition in the Christian era are E. Edgerton. The Bhagavad Gita Chicago, 1925, p.3, thinks that it (Gita) was composed not more than a few centuries before the beginning of the Christian era, S.G. Sardesai and Dilip Bose, Marxism and the Bhagavar Geeta, New Delhi, 1982, p.6 (some time between the beginning of the Christian era and AD 250), D.D. Kosambi, Myth and Reality, Bombay, 1962, p.16 (some time between AD 150 and 350-nearer the later than the earlier date), Bongard - Levin speaks of "authors" of the Bhagavad Gita and assigns it to second century BC to fourth century AD, History of India, Book 1, tr. From Russian by K. Judelson, Moscow, 1979, p. 149.
  52. Shambhu is cognate with the Tamil word for copper, the red metal, Benjamin Walker, HW, Vol.2, 1983, p.406.
  53. S. Jaiswal, ODV, p.32.
  54. R.N. Nandi, AR, P.69.
  55. R.N. Nandi, AR, pp.97-99.
  56. S. Jaiswal, ODV, pp. 68-69.
  57. K.M. Shrimali, "Religions in Complex Societies: The Myth of the 'Dark Age in Irfan Habib (ed.) Religion in Indian History', New Delhi, 2007, pp.58-59; S.P. Gupta, S.P. Asthana, "Elements of Indian Art' New Delhi, 2002, pp.69-70.
  58. S. Jaiswal, ODV, pp.87-88, cf. D.C. Sircar, op.cit., p.16.
  59. Shanti Purana 12.271.59-61 cited in S. Jaiswal, ODV, p.39.
  60. Vishnu Purana, 5.22.13. 23.26. 28.
  61. Vishnu Purana, 5.1.60-61, 64 Bhagavata Purana, 2.7.26.
  62. D.C. Sircar, op.cit., pp.41-48, R.K. Siddhantashastree, Vaishnavism Through the Ages, New Delhi, 1985, pp.50-84.
  63. S. Jaiswal, ODV. Pp.87-88.
  64. IAR, 1969-70, p.5.
  65. H.C. Raychaudhuri, op.cit., pp.29. 45.
  66. R.G. Bhandarkar, op.cit., pp.35-37.
  67. P. Banerjee, op.cit., pp.22.
  68. VR, 33, 2.7.6-8.
  69. Vishnu Purana, 5.5.13-21. 
  70. Vishnu Purana, 5.10.25, 11.13, 12.5, 7, 12, 15, 18, 29.31.
  71. Bhagavata Purana, 12, 31-32, 25.12, 14, 25, 28.
  72. Bhagavata Purana
  73. Bhagavata Purana
  74. Bhagavata Purana, 39.52, 59.25 cf. Vishnu Purana 5.3.10.
  75. Bhagavata Purana, 51.25, cf. Vishnu Purana 5.3.8.
  76. Vishnu Purana 1.22.68-78; S.P. Gupta & S.P. Asthana, op.cit., pp.34-35; Benjamin Walker, HW Vol.2, pp.574-76, R.K. Siddhantashatree op. cit., p. 119; A.L. Basham, The Wonder that was India, New Delhi, 1999, p.300 (1" Pub. 1954).
  77. K.M. Shrimali, op.cit., pp.59-60. It has been pointed out that the impact of Scythian (Shaka) soldiers on the above said image of Vishnu, particularly on his 'huge sword are visible.
  78. S. Jaiswal, 'Social Dimensions of the cult of Rama', in Irfan Habib (ed.) Religion in Indian History, New Delhi, 2007, pp. 72-73.
  79. S.P. Gupta & S.P. Asthana, op.cit., pp.32, 34, Banjamin Walker, HW, Vol.2, p.576.
  80. Vishnu Purana, 5.3.8.
  81. Bhagavata Purana, 39.52, 51.25, 59.23.
  82. Bhdgavata Purana,,, 59.1. Vishnu Purana 5.31.16.
  83. P. Banerjee, op.cit., pp. 37. 39-40.
  84. Vishnu Purana 5.30.38, 64, 70, Bhagavata Purana
  85. Vishnu Purana, 5.29.14, 34, Bhagavata Purana, 8-9, 15, 18-19.
  86. Vishnu Purana, 5.33.12, 26, 51-52.
  87. Bhagavata Purana