He appears prominently in the Mahabharata, where his character is invested with a certain degree of mysticism. Additions and interpolations have raised him to divinity, and it is in the song, Bhagavad-gita, a production of comparatively late date, now held to be part of the great epic. In this work he distinctly declares himself to be the Supreme Being. He says: -- "All this universe has been created by me; all things exist in me;" and Arjuna addresses him as "the supreme universal spirit, the supreme dwelling, the eternal person, divine, prior to the gods, unborn, omnipresent."
The divine character of Krishna having thus been established, it was still further developed in the Harivansa, a later addition to the Mahabharata; and in the Puranas, especially in the Bhagavata Purana, it attained full expansion. There the story of the life of Krishna, from his earliest days, is related with minute details, and it is upon this portion of his life that the popular mind delights to dwell. The mischievous pranks of the child, the follies of the boy, and the amours of the youth, are the subject of boundless wonder and delight. All these stories, as told in the Bhagavata Purana, have been made accessible and popular by the Hindi translation known by the name Prem Sagar, 'ocean of love,' and by other versions. Much of the story of the early days of Krishna is thus of comparatively modern invention, while the incidents of his relations with the Pandava princes are among the most ancient.
Krishna was of the Yadava race, being descended from Yadu, one of the sons of Yayati. The Yadavas of old were a pastoral race, and dwelt on the river Yamuna (Jumna), in Vrindavana, on the western side, and in Gokula on the other.