Merry Christmas, Merry Krishna!

Letter from New Delhi
At Christmas, Kul Bhushan looks into the mounting evidence of many curious similarities between Jesus Christ and Krishna — By Kul Bhushan

“Merry Christmas,” greeted my friend John.

“Merry Krishna,” I responded, “Both are the same.”

“Really?” he countered, “Yes, Christ and Krishna have a lot in common.”

For a start, both were born at midnight in hostile surroundings: Christ in a barn and Krishna in a prison on a dark night.

The parents of Jesus, Joseph and Mary, arrived in Bethlehem late in the evening and looking for a shelter for the night, all they could get was a barn in an inn.

The parents of Krishna, Vasudeva and Devaki, were imprisoned by his wicked uncle Kansa to kill their babies soon after birth because it was forecast that their baby would kill him.

Many spiritual leaders, scholars and commentators have perceived the common threads on the lives of these two enlightened masters. The lives and teachings of the two central figures of two world religions – Jesus Christ and Krishna – have surprising resemblances.

Osho says, “It is significant that the life of Christ begins more or less in the same way as Krishna’s; there is not much difference. There is great similarity between the stories of their births. Jesus too is born on a dark night; he too is born amid fear of death. Here King Kansa, his own uncle, is trying to kill Krishna; in Jerusalem King Herod is looking to kill Jesus. Kansa has a number of children killed in the fear that one of them will grow up and kill him. In Jerusalem Herod does the same: he has any number of new born babies killed lest one of them later turns out to be his murderer.” (Krishna: The Man and His Philosophy)

The founder of the Hare Krishna movement, Srila Prabhupada lined out,

When an Indian calls on Krishna, he often says, ‘Krsta’. Krsta is a Sanskrit word meaning ‘attraction’. So, when we address God as ‘Christ’, ‘Krsta’, or ‘Krishna’ we indicate the same all-attractive Supreme Personality of Godhead. When Jesus said, ‘Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name,’ the name of God was Krsta or Krishna. Whether you call God ‘Christ’, ‘Krsta’, or ‘Krishna’, ultimately you are addressing the same Supreme Personality of Godhead. Actually, it doesn’t matter — Krishna or Christ…”

It is hard to ignore a host of likenesses between Jesus Christ and Lord Krishna. From the worldwide web, here a summary of the most identical similarities between Christ and Krishna:

Similarities in their lives

  • Both are believed to be sons of God since they were divinely conceived
  • The births of Jesus of Nazareth and Krishna of Dwarka as well as their God-designed missions were foretold
  • Both were born in unusual places — Christ in a lowly barn and Krishna in a prison cell
  • Both were divinely saved from death pronouncements
  • Evil forces pursued both Christ and Krishna in vain
  • Christ is often depicted as a shepherd; Krishna was a cowherd
  • Both appeared at a critical time when their respective countries were in a torpid state
  • Both died of wounds caused by sharp weapons — Christ by a spear and Krishna by an arrow
  • Their teachings are very similar — both emphasize love and peace
  • Christ’s death marked the beginning of the age of Pisces, while Krishna’s death marked the beginning of the Kali Yuga

Similarities in their names

  • Christ comes from the Greek word ‘Christos’, which means ‘the anointed one’; the word ‘Krishna’ in Greek is the same as ‘Christos’.
  • Hindus believe that Jesus, like Lord Krishna, is just another avatar of the Divine, who descended on Earth to show humanity the righteous way of life. This is another point where Krishna resembles Christ, a figure who is both ‘fully human and fully divine’
  • Krishna and Jesus were both saviours of mankind and avatars of God who have returned to earth at an especially critical time in the lives of their people
  •  They both were incarnations of the Divine Being Himself in human form to teach human beings divine love, divine power, divine wisdom, and lead the benighted world towards the light of God

Similarities in their teachings

  • Lord Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita: “Whenever, O Arjuna, righteousness declines and unrighteousness prevails, my body assumes human form and lives as a human being.” He also says, “In order to protect the righteousness and also to punish the wicked, I incarnate myself on this earth from time to time.”

Jesus says in the Bible: “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own, but He sent me.”

  • In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna said about His oneness with God: “I am the way, come to Me… Neither the multitude of gods nor great sages knows my origin, for I am the source of all the gods and great sages.”
  • In the Bible, Jesus said similarly in his Gospels: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well…” 

    ·Krishna advises all men to continue working for the welfare of the state all through the life: “That man attains peace who lives devoid of longing, free from all desires and without the feeling of ‘I’ and ‘mine’. This is the Brahman state…”

Jesus too ensures man, “He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God, and he will go out from there no more.”

So, here’s wishing you a Merry Christmas and Merry Krishna – and above all, let’s celebrate!

 Kul Bhushan worked as a newspaper Editor in Nairobi for over three decades and now lives in New Delhi

 

*  Published in print edition on 22 December 2017

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