The Harivamsha is an important work of Sanskrit literature, containing 16,374 verses, mostly in Anuṣtubh metre. The text is also known as Harivaṃśa Puraṇa. This text is believed as a khila (appendix or supplement) to the Mahabharata and is traditionally ascribed toKrishna Dvaipayana Veda Vyasa. The most celebrated commentary of the Mahabharata by Nīlakaṇṭha, the Bhārata Bhāva Dīpa covered the Harivaṃśa too. According to a tradition mentioned in the Mahabharata (Adi Parva, II. 69,233), the Harivaṃśa is divided into two parvas, Harivaṃśa parva and Bhaviṣyat parva. But the available text consists of three sections (called parvas) – Harivaṃśa parva, Viṣṇu parva and Bhaviṣya parva .
The first book describes the creation of the cosmos and the legendary history of the kings of the Solar and Lunar dynasties leading up to the birth of Krishna. The next book recounts the history of Krishna down to the events prior to the Mahabharata. The last section provides a list of future kings and a description of Kaliyuga. Thus the book provides a sort of universal history of the Hindus. While the Harivaṃśa has been regarded as an important source of information on the origin of Visnu's incarnation Krishna, there has been speculation as to whether this text was derived from an earlier text and what its relationship is to the Brahma Purana, another text that deals with the origins of Krishna.