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Jesus - Pagan link

Specific similarities between
the lives of Jesus and Krishna

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Implications of points of similarity between the lives of Jesus and Krishna:

Krishna is the second person of the Hindu Trinity. He is considered to be one of the incarnations of the God Vishnu. Some Hindus believe that he lived on Earth during perhaps the 2nd or 3rd century BCE. However, "Traditional belief based on scriptural details and astrological calculations gives Krishna's birth" year as 3228 BCE. 12  Yeshua of Nazareth is generally regarded as having been born in Palestine circa 4 to 7 BCE. Thus, if there are many points of similarities between these two individuals, most skeptics and some religious liberals would accept that elements of Krishna's life were incorporated into the legends associated with Jesus rather than vice-versa.

Other reasons for the similarities between Jesus and Krishna's life stories on Earth have been suggested which are more acceptable to conservative Christians who believe in the inerrancy of the Bible, in the inspiration of the Bible's authors by God, and in the belief that Jesus is God's only son and the world's only savior:

bulletLegends of Krishna's life are lies which Satan created to discredit Christianity in advance of Jesus' birth.
bulletThe similarities in the two lives are simple coincidences.
bulletKrishna's life was a type of prophecy foretelling the arrival of the Christian Messiah.

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Correspondences between events in Jesus' and Krishna's life:

Author Kersey Graves (1813-1883), a Quaker from Indiana, compared Yeshua's and Krishna's life. He found what he believed were 346 elements in common within Christiana and Hindu writings. 1 That appears to be overwhelming evidence that incidents in Jesus' life were copied from Krishna's. However, many of Graves' points of similarity are a real stretch.

He did report some amazing coincidences:

bullet#6 & 45: Yeshua and Krishna were called both a God and the Son of God.
bullet7: Both was sent from heaven to earth in the form of a man.
bullet8 & 46: Both were called Savior, and the second person of the Trinity.
bullet13, 15, 16 & 23: His adoptive human father was a carpenter.
bullet18: A spirit or ghost was their actual father.
bullet21: Krishna and Jesus were of royal descent.
bullet27 & 28: Both were visited at birth by wise men and shepherds, guided by a star.
bullet30 to 34: Angels in both cases issued a warning that the local dictator planned to kill the baby and had issued a decree for his assassination. The parents fled. Mary and Joseph stayed in Muturea; Krishna's parents stayed in Mathura.
bullet41 & 42: Both Yeshua and Krishna withdrew to the wilderness as adults, and fasted.
bullet56: Both were identified as "the seed of the woman bruising the serpent's head."
bullet58: Jesus was called "the lion of the tribe of Judah." Krishna was called "the lion of the tribe of Saki."
bullet60: Both claimed: "I am the Resurrection."
bullet64: Both referred to themselves having existed before their birth on earth.
bullet66: Both were "without sin."
bullet72: Both were god-men: being considered both human and divine.
bullet76, 77, & 78: They were both considered omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent.
bullet83, 84, & 85: Both performed many miracles, including the healing of disease. One of the first miracles that both performed was to make a leper whole. Each cured "all manner of diseases."
bullet86 & 87: Both cast out indwelling demons, and raised the dead.
bullet101: Both selected disciples to spread his teachings.
bullet109 to 112: Both were meek, and merciful. Both were criticized for associating with sinners.
bullet115: Both encountered a Gentile woman at a well.
bullet121 to 127: Both celebrated a last supper. Both forgave his enemies.
bullet128 to 131: Both descended into Hell, and were resurrected. Many people witnessed their ascensions into heaven.

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Errors in Graves' book:

Due either to carelessness, or the primitive knowledge of religious history in the late 19th century, it appears that Graves made some errors in his book. He reported that:

bulletBoth Krishna and Yeshua were born on December 25.
bulletActually, Krishna is traditionally believed to have been born during August. The festival Janmashtami is held in honor of this birth.
bulletThe birth day of Jesus is unknown, but is believed by many to have also been about August during some year between 4 and 7 BCE.
bulletDecember 25th was chosen for Christmas to coincide with a pre-existent Pagan Roman holiday, Saturnalia. December 25th was also recognized in ancient times as the birth day of various other god-men such as Attis and Mithra. All were linked to the winter solstice, which occurs about DEC-21.
bulletJesus' and Krishna's mothers were holy virgins:
bulletActually, the virginal state of Mary when she conceived Jesus is a matter of debate. Paul and the author(s) of the Gospel of John appear to directly reject the concept. The author of the Gospel of Mark appears to have been unaware of it. The authors of Matthew and Luke accepted the belief. Christians today are divided.
bulletThe virginal state of Devaki is also a matter of debate. One tradition states that Krishna was her eighth child. Another states that it was a virgin birth: "In the context of myth and religion, the virgin birth is applied to any miraculous conception and birth. In this sense, whether the mother is technically a virgin is of secondary importance to the fact that she conceives and gives birth by some means other than the ordinary....the divine Vishnu himself descended into the womb of Devaki and was born as her son Krishna." 11
bulletJesus' and Krishna's mothers had similar names: Miriam (Mary) and Maia
bulletIn reality, Krishna's mother may have been referred to as Maia, but only because this is the Hindi word for "mother." His mother's actual name was Devaki; his foster mother's name was Yashoda.

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Points of similarity found by other writers:

In addition, there are other points of similarity between Krishna and Yeshua:

bullet"The object of Krishna's birth was to bring about a victory of good over evil." 2
bullet Krishna "came onto earth to cleanse the sins of the human beings." 2
bullet"Krishna was born while his foster-father Nanda was in the city to pay his tax to the king." 3 Yeshua was born while his foster-father, Joseph, was in the city to be enumerated in a census so that "all the world could be taxed."
bulletJesus is recorded as saying: "if you had faith as a mustard seed you would say to the mountain uproot yourself and be cast into the ocean" Krishna is reported as having uprooted a small mountain. 4
bulletKrishna's "...foster-father Nanda had to journey to Mathura to pay his taxes" just as Jesus foster-father Joseph is recorded in the Gospel of Luke as having to go to Bethlehem to pay taxes. 10
bullet"The story about the birth of Elizabeth's son John (the Baptist), cousin of Jesus, corresponds with the story in the Krishna myth about the birth of the child of Nanda and his wife Yasoda." 10 Nanda was the foster-father of Krishna.
bulletThe Greek God Dionysos, Jesus and Krishna were all said to have been placed in a manger basket after birth. 10

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Were Krishna and Yeshua both crucified and later raised to heaven?

In addition to the above points of correspondence between Yeshua and Krishna, there may be one more similarity: they may have both been crucified.

In his book, Graves stated flatly that both Yeshua and Krishna were crucified between two thieves, at the age of about 30 to 36 by "wicked hands."  However, this may have been wishful thinking. The "common, orthodox depiction of Krishna's death relates that he was shot in the foot with an arrow while under a tree." 5 But:

bulletThe author Jacolliot, referring to the "Bagaveda-Gita and Brahminical traditions," states that the body of Krishna: "was suspended to the branches of a tree by his murderer, that it might become the prey of the vultures...[Later] the mortal frame of the Redeemer had disappeared--no doubt it had regained the celestial abodes..." 6
bulletM. Guigniaut's Religion de l'Antiquité, which states: "The death of Crishna is very differently related. One remarkable and convincing tradition makes him perish on a tree, to which he was nailed by the stroke of an arrow." 7
bulletThere are other references to Krishna being crucified, and being shown with holes in his feet, hands and side. 5

In the Christian Scriptures (New Testament) Yeshua's crucifixion on a cross or stake is often referred to as being "hung on a tree:"

bulletActs 5:30: "The God of our fathers raised up Jesus...hanging him on a tree.
bulletActs 10:39: "...hanging him on a tree."
bulletActs 13:29: "...they took him down from the tree..."
bulletGalatians 3:13: "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us; for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree."
bullet1 Peter 2:24: "...who his own self bare our sins in his body upon the tree..." (All ASV)

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Correspondences between Hinduism and some branches of Christianity:

At least some branches of Christianity share the following beliefs with Hinduism:

bulletA future reward in heaven or punishment in Hell.
bulletHinduism and Catholicism share the concept of Purgatory.
bulletA day of judgment.
bulletA general resurrection.
bulletThe need for repentance for sin.
bulletSalvation requires faith in the Savior.
bulletA belief in angels and of evil spirits.
bulletA belief that disease and sickness is caused by evil spirits.
bulletA past war in heaven between good and bad angels.
bulletFree will.
bulletGod is considered the "Word of Logos."
bulletTheir religious texts talk of "the blind leading the blind," "a new heaven and a new earth, "living water," "all scripture is given by inspiration of God," "all scripture is profitable for doctrine," "to die is great gain," etc.
bulletBeing born again.

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Other points of similarity between Hinduism and Christianity:

bulletSymbols: The trident -- traditionally carried by the Hindu God-Goddess Shiva, is somewhat similar to the Christian cross. Adding a vertical horn at both ends of the  horizontal bar of a cross will convert it into a trident with three prongs. This actually was done to a Christian cross erected by a Baptist community of 1,200 in Ranalia, India. For decades, the Baptists had annually whitewashed a cross symbol on a large rock in a hill above the town. In early 1999, someone added two horns, turning the cross into a trident. When the smoke cleared (literally) more than 150 mud huts owned by Christians had been gutted by arson. Some named the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party as perpetrators. However, that was denied by the local head of the party. This is a very unusual event, because Hindus in India are known for their unusually high level of religious tolerance. Many Hindus believe that all religions can lead their members to God. 8
bulletThe role of water: Most Christians baptize either mature members or infants in the congregation. Sometime this is done by total immersion in water; sometimes by sprinkling water over the individual's head. In the Roman Catholic Church, baptism is a sacrament that washes away the person's original sin. Immersion in water by Hindus is also an important ritual. "Water in Hinduism has a special place because it is believed to have spiritually cleansing powers...In the sacred water distinctions of caste are supposed to count for nothing, as all sins fall away...Every temple has a pond near it and devotees are supposed to take a bath before entering the temple." 9

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Related essays on this web site:

bulletDo part of the gospels come from Pagan mythology?
bulletSearch for the historical Jesus -- WWJL (What Was Jesus Like?)
bulletBelief in the virgin birth of Jesus

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  1. Kersey Graves, "The World's Sixteen Crucified Saviors," Adventures Unlimited Press, Chapter 32, Page 279. (1875; Reprinted 2001). Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store.
  2. "Festivals: Krishna Janmashtami," at: http://www.andhratoday.com/
  3. "Pagan origins of the Christ myth: Pagan Christs: Krishna," at: http://home.earthlink.net/
  4. Fred Nojd, "Jesus - By No Means Unique," at: http://members.attcanada.ca/
  5. Acharya S, "Suns of God: Krishna, Buddha and Christ Unveiled," at: http://www.truthbeknown.com/
  6. Jacolliot, "The Bible in India," Sun Publ. Co., (1992). Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store.
  7. M. Guigniaut, "Religion de l'Antiquité"
  8. "Shiva vs. Jesus: Hindus Burn Homes of Christians," New York Times, 1999-MAR-23, at: http://www.churchstate.org/
  9. "Water in Religion," The Water Page, at: http://www.thewaterpage.com/
  10. Jocelyn Rhys, "The Virgin Birth Doctrine: Details of the two Gospel stories," (1922) at: http://www.geocities.com/
  11. Thomas Boslooper, "The Virgin Birth," S.C.M. Press, (1962), Pages 148 & 149. Cited in:  "The Virgin Birth of Christ," at: http://www.athmaprakashini.com/
  12. "Krishna," Wikipedia, 2007-OCT-07, at: http://en.wikipedia.org/

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Material on other websites dealing with similarities between Jesus and Krishna:

bullet"Examining the Crucifixion of Jesus and parallels to crucified sun-G-ds #3," at: http://paganizingfaithofyeshua.netfirms.com/
bullet"Pagan Christs," at:  http://home.earthlink.net/
bullet"Jesus Christ and Bhagavan Krishna: Original Christianity as taught by Jesus and Original Yoga as taught by Krishna; both are for the upliftment of mankind," at: http://ompage.net/
bulletStephen Eck, "Hare Jesus: Christianity's Hindu Heritage," Skeptical Review, 1994, #3. Online at: http://www.infidels.org/
bullet"Krishna and Jesus: Will The Real Savior Please Stand Up?," at: http://www.atheistalliance.org/
bulletPrithu das Adhikary, "Jesus and Krishna," at: http://www.omjesus.com/
bulletFred Nojd, "Jesus - By No Means Unique," at: http://members.attcanada.ca/

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Copyright © 2001 to 2007 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2001-DEC-24
Latest update: 2007-OCT-07
Author: B.A. Robinson

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