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André Couture

Nationality: Canadian

Gender: male

Date Of Brith: 1945

Present Position: Full Professor, Laval University

Awards Received:

Foreign correspondent, Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres, Paris (France)

Academic & Professional Qualifications:

Bachelor Bachelor Diploma / École pratique des Hautes Études de Paris 
        (EPHE, 5th section)
Ph.D PhD Paris-Sorbonne 1977 


Position(s) Held:

1 Lecturer / Laval University (Québec), University of Sherbrooke, Université du Québec à Chicoutimi  1977-81 1983-86
2 Assistant Professor / Moncton University (New Brunswick, Canada) 1981 1982
3 Assistant Professor / Laval University (Québec) 1986 1990
4 Associate Professor / Laval University (Québec) 1990 1998
5 Full Professor / Laval University (Québec) 1998 -


Membership(s) of Societies/Association:

Société asiatique (Paris)
Canadian Society for the Study of Religion (CSSR) 
Association française des études indiennes (AFEI). 

About the Author

André Couture is an Indologist and professor of the History of Religions at the Faculté de théologie et de sciences religieuses, Université Laval, Québec, Canada. Couture has published on a wide variety of topics. Of special interest in this context are a number of articles on Krishna mythology and the translation of various texts including chaps. 30-78 of the Harivamsha (L’enfance de Krishna, 1991); Appendix I, no. 41, of the Harivamsha (La vision de Markandeya et la manifestation du Lotus, 2007); Bhasa’s Balacarita (in Théâtre de l’Inde ancienne, ed. Lyne Bansat-Boudon, 2006); and with Christine Chojnacki, Hindu, Buddhist and Jaina texts related to the Harivamsha (Krishna et ses métamorphoses dans les traditions indiennes. Récits d’enfance autour du Harivamsha: PUPS, 2014).

Details of Books/Monographs

1. Société asiatique (Paris)
Canadian Society for the Study of Religion (CSSR) 
Association française des études indiennes (AFEI). 
Paris, Cerf; Québec, Presses de l’Université Laval 1991
2.    La réincarnation [Reincarnation] Paris, Cerf 2000
3.    La réincarnation au-delà des idées reçues [Reincarnation beyond conventional ideas] Paris, Éditions de l’Atelier 2000 [1990]
4.    La manifestation du Lotus et la vision de Markandeya. Histoires anciennes tirées du Harivamsha (éd. cr., App. I, nº 41) [The manifestion of the Lotus and Markandeya’s vision. Ancient stories from the Harivamsha] Paris, Droz 2007
5.    Sur la piste des dieux. Initiation à l’étude des religions [Chasing the gods: Initiation to the study of religion] Montréal, Médiaspaul 2009 [1990]
6.    — & Christine Chojnacki, Krishna et ses métamorphoses dans les traditions indiennes. Récits d’enfance autour du Harivamsha [Krishna and his metamorphoses in the Indian traditions (Hindu, Buddhist and Jaina). Childhood stories around the Harivamsha] Paris, Presses de l’Université de Paris-Sorbonne 2014


Details of Articles

— and Elfrun Linke, “Sanskrit-Pali-Prakrit Index with Scientific Name, English and French Equivalent”, in K.N. Dave, Birds in Sanskrit Literature, Delhi, Motilal Banarsidass, 1985 (Enlarged Ed.), pp. 485-516.
— and Charlotte Schmid, “The Harivamsha, the Goddess Ekanamsha and the Iconography of the Vrishni Triads”, Journal of the American Oriental Society,  121.2 (2001), pp. 173-192. 
 “From Vishnu’s Deeds to Vishnu’s Play, or Observations on the Word Avatara As a Designation for the Manifestations of Vishnu”, Journal of Indian Philosophy 29/3 (2001), pp. 313-326.
“Krishna’s Initiation at Sandipani’s Hermitage”, Numen, Vol. 49 (2002), pp. 37-60. 
“Dvaraka : The Making of a Sacred Place”, in Phyllis Granoff & Koichi Shinohara (ed.), Pilgrims, Patrons, and Place: Localizing Sanctity in Asian Religions, Vancouver – Toronto, University of British Columbia, 2003, pp. 225-248. 
“Krishna’s Victory over Bana and Goddess Kotavi’s Manifestation in the Harivamsha”, Journal of Indian Philosophy 31, pp. 593-620.
“Noteworthy Resemblances Between Pradyumna’s Chilhood and Krishna’s Childhood”, in Maitreyee Deshpande (ed.), Problems in Vedic and Sanskrit Literature, Delhi, New Bharatiya Book Corporation, 2004, pp. 79-86. 
“The Meaning of the Word Yoga or Yogin in the Puskarapradurbhava Section of the Harivamsha,” in Petteri Koskikallio (ed.), Epics, Khilas and Puranas: Continuities and Ruptures. Proceedings of the Third Dubrovnik International Conference on the Sanskrit Epic and Puranas, Zagreb, Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, 2005, pp. 389-409. 
“The Emergence of a Group of Four Characters (Vasudeva, Samkarshana, Pradyumna, and Aniruddha) in the Harivamsha: Points for Consideration”, Journal of Indian Philosophy, 34 (2006), 571-585. 
“The Reception of Krishna’s Childhood in Three Jaina Sanskrit Texts”, in Parallels and Comparisons. Proceedings of the Fourth Dubrovnik International Conference on the Sanskrit Epic and Puranas, September 2005, Zagreb, Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, 2009, pp. 423-445.
“Vishnu”, in Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Volume 1, Leiden, Brill, 2009, pp. 783-796. 
“Avatara”, in Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Volume II, Leiden, Brill, 2010,  pp. 701-705.

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Krishna in the Harivamsha Vol. 1

Written over a thirty-year period, the thirteen texts of this book — some of which have been updated, others translated from the original French — address various aspects of Krishna’s childhood in the Harivamsha. As a part of a continuous effort to better understand this oft-neglected complement to the Mahabharata, the present book demonstrates that these stories of Krishna’s childhood were carefully composed by brahmanas who knew fully well what they were doing.
During the ten or so years he spends as a herder in the forest surrounding Mathura, Krishna prepares himself to kill the evil king Kamsa: when packs of wolves spring from the hairs of his body, he manifests his destructive power; he appears as a true avatara when he dives into the Yamuna to subdue the snake Kaliya; he reveals himself as a new Brahma able to create a new world when he uplifts Mount Govardhana with which he has just identified himself, then sheltering cows and herders in his own body.
It is author’s contention throughout these chapters that these episodes cannot be dismissed as a hotchpotch of legends borrowed from the Abhiras or similar pastoral tribes. Neither does one do justice to the genre when one reinterprets the story symbolically, as if it were the product of an overactive imagination. Rejecting these positions, the author instead attempts to show here how these talented storytellers carefully crafted a narrative, often using material drawn from their own Vedic tradition, in order to address the new concerns of their audiences.

Krishna in the Harivamsha Vol. 2

This second volume of Krishna in the Harivamsha brings together texts written between 2000 and 2015, more than half of which are of more recent vintage than those  included in Volume I. While Krishna’s biography is clearly divided into two large units, childhood and adulthood — the kshatriya (warrior) of the second period manifesting himself first as a gopa (cowherd) — it is important to note that both sections of the biography are similarly structured and carry an identical message. This book contends that the child and adult Krishnas are indeed one and the same.
The initiation by guru Kashya Sandipani, the construction of the city of Dvaraka, and the fights involving Pradyumna and Aniruddha are among the best known episodes analysed in this volume. It is the oft-neglected Harivamsha version of these well-known stories that is studied here, version that has been passed over despite its early date of composition. 
An unstated assumption still influences a great deal of Harivamsha research. Many scholars assume that an addition of this sort to the Mahabharata can be little more than a collection of ancient records bearing witness to the primitive mentality of a people unable to think logically. On this view, the Harivamsha becomes reduced to a pile of documents of diverse origins. The articles contained in this volume take the opposite view. Krishna’s biography, which at first blush might appear to be an amalgam of various stories, proves in fact to be a skilful construction which conveys a clear message.