This is a study of three Sanskrit texts, the Harivamsa, the Visnupurana, and the Bhagavatabelonging to the puranic genre, the chief source of knowledge of the origins of popular Hinduism. It treats them as integrated compositions and displays the theological motives and creative skill which have gone into the making of them. It shows how all three texts contain narratives which present Krishna as one of several subordinate manifestations (avataras) of Vishnu. All three use much the same traditional material, yet each, by arranging this material in its own way, presents a distinctive view of Krishna, and the most influential of them, the Bhagavata , builds up a world view in which Krishna, not Vishnu, is supreme.
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