1. The earliest reference to Vasudeva Krishna, as seen above, is to be
found in the Chhandogya Upanishad.
2. The Ghata Jataka mentions Vasudeva as belonging to the royal
family of Upper Mathura.
3. The Jaina text Uttaradhyayana Sutra also refers in an interesting
manner to Vasudeva, also named Kesava, who was a contemporary of
Arishtanemi, the 22nd jina, both princes of the town of Soriyapura
(Sauryapura). Kesava was the son of Devaki and king Vasudeva while
Aristanemi was born to king Samudravijaya and Siva.
4. The earliest reference to the deification of the human hero, Vasudeva,
however, is found in one of the sutras of Panini’s Ashtadhyayai. It is
in this work that Vasudeva and Arjuna are mentioned side by side.
5. The story of the fight between Vasudeva and his maternal uncle
Kamsa is also referred to in Patanjali’s Mahabhashya. Patanjali also
knew that Krishna was the younger brother of Samkarshana-
6. Arrian quoting from Megasthenes’ Indica says that Heracles is held in
special esteem by the Sourasenoi (Surasenas), an Indian tribe
possessing two large cities, Mathora and Cleisobora, the river Jobares
flowing through their country. Heracles is also called Dorsanes, who
according to Arrian, was the father of Pandia. In this context,
Megasthenes also tells us a somewhat confused story associating
Heracles and the Pandavas with the Pandya country in the far south.
This, as well as the name of its capital city Madurai, undoubtedly
derived from Mathura, has led some scholars to believe that
Bhagavatism penetrated into the southernmost part of India as early as
the fourth century BC.
7. Quintus Curtius records that an image of Hercles (Heracles) was
carried in front of the infantry of Porus in his battle with Alexander.
The passages quoted above from the early texts, both indigenous and
foreign, leave little doubt about the existence of Vasudeva cult even some
time before Alexander’s invasion of India.
But by the second century the new religion