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In the Harivamśa 79 [HV], the Visnu-Purāna 5.21 [ViP], the Brahma-Purāna 86 [BrP], and the Bhāgavata-Purāna 10.45 [BhP], immediately after the young Krsna kills Kamsa, Krsna's initiation at Sāndīpani's hermitage takes place. To date, this strange episode has not been studied in its own right. Occasionally mentioned in scholarly works, no attempt has been made to understand the importance or significance of this event within the Krsna tradition. This paper begins with a summary of HV 79, and then moves on to examine the character of Sāndīpani, his connection with Garga/Gārgya, the initiation process and the underlying father/son relationships, as well as variations on these themes. The episode provides a narrative link between Samkarsana and Krsna's childhood and the rest of the story which deals with their adult life as ksatriyas, and as such, helps to clarify the overall structure of the HV. Emphasizing Sāndīpani's role as a guru, this paper uncovers, little by little, his connections with (1) the whole trimūrti comprised of Brahmā, Visnu and Śiva-Rudra, (2) the sacrificial logic which involves one who sacrifices, a deity and an officiant, and (3) the variations on the theme of filiation implied in the narration.


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