I learned from a Jain acquaintance that their version of Harivamsa purana and stories surrounding Mahabharatha war, Life of Krishna etc are significantly different from Hindu version of the same. Some notable differences are the following,

  1. According to Jain Harivamsa purana, Krishna goes to hell for his role in Mahabharatha war and in his next life he becomes a Thirthankara.
  2. Draupadi has only one husband - Arjuna.
  3. In general Jain belief system, Trimurthis and the existence of ParaBrahm are not acknowledged. Also, only Individual Self exists, but Universal self does not exist.

My question is do these difference in Jain and Hindu accounts of epics arise from the time of Rishabha himself or from a much later period?


1 Answer 1


There are several Jain Harivamsas, but the oldest of them is the one by Jinasena, an eight-century Acharya of the Digambar sect of Jainism. (Note that he's completely different from the founder of Jainism, Rishabha, who is often called Jina.) Here is what this book says:

Among the many Jaina versions of Harivamsa reference should be made to the work with that title, by Jinasena (A.D. 783-784). It is "one of the most important books of the secondary canon of the Digambaras," containing more than nine thousand shlokas, divided into sixty-six sargas. By means of a number of introductory chapters and several digressions throughout, Jinasena expands the brahmanic Harivamsa into a complete world-history and a compendium of Jaina doctrine, cosmography, mythology, etc.

So presumably the differences you mentioned are part of Jinasena's addition to the original Harivamsa.

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    jains are atheists thats why they consider krishna as a normal human. How can he not be in hell he is everywhere right?? so he does not specifically goes to hell
    – Yogi
    Apr 4, 2015 at 8:16
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    @Creator Yeah, Jains modified the story of the Haivamsa to fit their ideology. Apr 4, 2015 at 14:44
  • @Creator, Jains are not atheists. As per what i have read, for most of their Tirthankars they believe that on their birth, Indra comes from heaven and takes the baby for blessings to some mountain and the baby is being blessed by different Gods and they celebrate baby's birth. So, they do believe that there were Gods. But yes, I believe Lord Krishna is treated there as more of a social person instead of God.
    – Aby
    Apr 6, 2015 at 8:50
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    @aby the mountain is mount meru merugiri or meru parvat, jains believe in vedic gods/godesses like indra, ganesha, and lakshmI they celebrate diwali too, but at the same time they are atheists because they reject authenticity of trimurtis and they also reject the vedantic theory of brith of universe from mahavishnu. similarly they reject purusha sukta describing vishwaroop Vishnu. overall they reject the spinal chord of Vedas (Vishnu) and the crown of Vedas (Shiva) . they just worship empty hollow meru parvat without recognizing its cause and significance.
    – Yogi
    Apr 6, 2015 at 9:21
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    @Aby Well, here is what the Wikipedia page says: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_in_Jainism "As these Gods themselves are not liberated, they have attachments and passions and hence not worthy of worship.... Worship of such gods is considered as mithyātva or wrong belief leading to bondage of karmas." But it also says "However, many Jains are known to worship such gods for material gains." So that might be the reason they sometimes worship the gods. It's similar to how Hindus often do Yagnas, even though the Upanishads say that Yagnas alone will not get you Moksha. Apr 7, 2015 at 14:20

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