As per the Matsya Purāṇa, Chapter 53, verse 70:

अष्टादश पुराणानि कृत्वा सत्यवतीसुतः।
भारताख्यानमखिलं चक्रे तदुपबृंहितम्।
लक्षेणैकेन यत्प्रोक्तं वेदार्थपरिबृंहितम्॥७०॥

After completing the 18 Puranas, the son of Satyavati created the Mahabharata, spread across 1 lakh verses and whatever he said is an expansion of the Vedic knowledge.

As we can see, there is no specific mention of the Harivamsa (called as ‘appendix’ to Mahabharata). And rightly so, because it is not often regarded as a work independent of the Mahabharata. That is to say Mahabharata + Harivamsa = 1,00,000 verses. (Part of the question relates to this).

The inseparability of Harivamsa is described in the Mahabharata itself. In the Parva Sangraha chapter (Adi Parva chapter 2) the entire Mahabharata is said to be divided into 100 parvas, which include those of the Harivamsa too, under the name ‘Bharata’:

'Listen, O ye ascetics, to the outlines of the several divisions (parvas) of this history called Bharata ... In this last are contained 'Vishnuparva', Vishnu's frolics and feats as a child, the destruction of 'Kansa', and lastly, the very wonderful 'Bhavishyaparva'(in which there are prophecies regarding the future).

The, current total as per the Parva Sangraha is approx 84,000 for the Mahabharata till Swargarohana Parva and 12,000 for the Harivamsa = 96,000. However, the current Harivamsa has about 16,734 verses. Recently, I came across reference to some works as per which, the verses in the Harivamsa are actually supposed to be much more, one such being the Lakṣālaṅkāra by Vadiraja Tirtha of the Dvaita Sampradaya (Acharya of a proper sampradaya) where instead of 12,000, he says in the Parva Sangraha chapter (same as mentioned above):

Harivamṡa has 24,000 verses excluding the upākhyānas. Including the 1000 verses of upākhyānas, it totals to 25,000.

Seeing the varying number of verses accorded to the Harivamsa in the colonial era and traditional Sampradaya Mahabharatas, it raises a doubt on the current colonial era version which can be solved by the views of other Sampradayas. Therefore:

Question: I would like to know the views of acharyas of traditional authentic Sampradayas as regards whether they consider the Harivamsa as inseparable from the Mahabharata rather than a separate work and details provided about its contents (details of parvas and contents of those parvas).

And mainly the number of verses that these Sampradayas allocate to the Mahabharata/ Harivamsa in their versions of the Parva Sangraha as well as the actual verses in their copies of the text. Views of multiple Sampradayas are encouraged.

  • While this might be true, it implies there is something else missing for the Harivaṃśa to tie into the main narrative. Nov 24, 2021 at 15:01
  • 1
    related hinduism.stackexchange.com/q/30417/12304 we hv many Q for many texts on why number of verse differ..search "number of verses" / "number of shlokas" / "how many shlokas" / "how many verses" etc...when MBH itself says it has 100 parvas then why accept only 98 and not last 2 :)
    – YDS
    Nov 25, 2021 at 5:26
  • @YDS ya haha. Have seen and voted your answer already. That’s the one that should ideally be the accepted answer :)
    – Adiyarkku
    Nov 25, 2021 at 6:29


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