Defending the Theistic View

The Parallels Between Jesus and Krishna — A Refutation of Acharya S

In Hinduism, Krishna is said to be an incarnation of the god Vishnu or the eighth avatar. The Encyclopedia Mythica says that he is also one of the most popular gods in Hindiusm. He is often depicted in art as a child  with blue skin and playing a flute. And in depictions of him as an adult, he appears very feminine-like — at least at I see it.  Historians believe that he was born at around the thirtieth century BC, about 5,000 years ago.

Like in the cases of the alleged “parallels” that Jesus has with several pagan deities (or non deities) like Horus and Buddha (which are refuted  here and here),  D.M. Murdock also then makes the exact same claims about Krishna, saying that “The similarities between the Christian character and the Indian messiah are many.” So, my purpose is to show if her listed claims claims hold water.

She begins her list by claiming that,

Krishna was born of the Virgin Devaki (“Divine One”)

krishna!The only truth in this is that Krishna’s mother’s name was Devaki, and that she is technically divine (Click here) But is is not true that she was a virgin when Krishna was born. Devaki had a total of eight children. It so happens that Krishna was the youngest which proves she had her fun at least eight times before he was born.

In her footnotes, Ms. Murdock tries to explain this fact away by saying that in Hinduism, Devaki “was considered to have had a miraculous conception.” The problem here is that, with exception of “Jesus-Myth” propaganda, I could find no references that substantiate that this is true. But even if Hinduism taught that Krishna’s birth was miraculous (which it does not), that still wouldn’t explain away the fact that Devaki was not a virgin because we know she had other children before Krishna.

Next, she claims,

His father was a carpenter.

Wrong! — His father Vasudeva was a nobleman, not a carpenter. (Text link) Besides, considering the fact that Devaki was a princess, if he was a carpenter, then he would never have been able to marry her.

His birth was attended by angels, wise men and shepherds, and he was presented with gold, frankincense and myrrh.

This is completely false, and I will bet any amount of money that nobody can find a single Hindu reference which back it up. In the   story of Krishna’s birth, as far as I can tell, the only two that were present were his parents.

He was persecuted by a tyrant who ordered the slaughter of thousands of infants.

This is an attempt to tie Krishna to King Herod’s “slaughter of the innocence” from the Gospel of Matthew, and a similarity does appear to exist. — King Kasma was told in a vision that one of his sister’s sons would destroy him, so he locked her up and killed six of her eight children as soon as they were born. However, Kasma didn’t slaughter thousands of infants, only his nephews were a potential threat to him.

He was of royal descent.

True, but trivial.

He was baptized in the River Ganges.

I can’t find any reliable sources that confirm this.

He worked miracles and wonders.

Even if he did, this wouldn’t be evidence of causation because miracles are only an expectation in religious writings.

He raised the dead and healed lepers, the deaf and the blind.

Again, even if he did, so what? Miracles are only to be expected in religious writings.

Krishna used parables to teach the people about charity and love.

I could be wrong on this one, but I have to conclude that this claim is bogus. But even if it were true, it could be easily explained as a coincidence.

“He lived poor and he loved the poor.”

Considering the fact that Krishna became a king, this is not particularly true.  — But even if true, it would be irrelevant because being poor 5,000 to 2,000 years ago was just a fact of life.

He was transfigured in front of his disciples.

Really? I can’t find any reference for this claim.

In some traditions he died on a tree or was crucified between two thieves.

This is absolutely false! There is no Hindu literature which back it up at all. — Krishna was accidentally shot in the heel by a hunter who thought he was a deer .(See Mahabharata 16: 4 ) Also, the claim that Krishna was crucified is suspicious  because that particular form of capital punishment didn’t exist during his lifetime. Crucifixion first appeared in the 6th century BC, about 2,400 years after Krishna. (Click here)

He rose from the dead and ascended to heaven.

He ascended into heaven, but he didn’t rise from the dead. The New World Encyclopedia says that it is commonly believed that he left his body behind. — In other words, the circumstances are completely different from those of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

Krishna is called the “Shepherd God” and “Lord of lords,” and was considered “the Redeemer, Firstborn, Sin Bearer, Liberator, Universal Word.”

It is true that Krishna was known by several names. For example, he was called “lord of the whole world,” “all victorious god,” “speaker of truth,” as well as many other titles. ( Source

 But, I cannot find references that confirm that he was known by any of the titles that Ms. Murdock lists, and I would actually argue that there is negative evidence that he was known by some of them. — Krishna would not have been known as the “firstborn” because he was the youngest of eight children.

His disciples bestowed upon him the title “Jezeus,” meaning “pure essence.”

There is no Hindu source that backs this up. But even if such a name was given to Krishna, it wouldn’t indicate causation. — Jesus, who spoke Aramaic, would have answered to the name “Yeshua” which is the true pronunciation, and “Iesous” is the Greek pronunciation. — “Jesus” is only the English pronunciation and is, therefore, irrelevant. So it turns out that Ms. Murdock is playing meaningless word games.

Krishna is to return to do battle with the “Prince of Evil,” who will desolate the earth.

Yet another unsupported claim. But even if it were a true parallel, it would not make any difference because a fight between good are evil are very frequent in religion.

Before Ms. Murdock gives her list of alleged similarities between Jesus and Krishna, she says:

It should be noted that a common earlier English spelling of Krishna was “Christna,” which reveals its relation to ‘”Christ.” It should also be noted that, like the Jewish godman, many people have believed in a historical, carnalized Krishna.

So, now she’s claiming that English spelling can tie Jesus to Krishna. What a hoot!!! — For someone who claims to be a well versed scholar, this is a very unusual tactic to resort to.

There is absolutely no evidence that Jesus was copied from Krishna. The only sources that Ms. Murdock give in her footnotes are from fellow “Jesus-Mythers,” and not one Hindu source is listed. If she were an expert of religious mythology as she claims, then she should be able to back up her claims by using primary sources.

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8 responses

  1. A scholar is a scholor by definition, just like anyone can be a dad, but it takes someone special to be a father. What a load of manure when Ms. Murdock claims that …”the Jewish godman, many people have believed in a historical, carnalized Krishna.”.

    This is sheer speculation with supportive documentation and as a Historian, she presents only conjecture as proof. No citiations, no historical references by authors, nothing.

    On His resurrection by questioned, one of the world’s foremost experts in lines of evidence, Simon Greenleaf, an American attorney and jurist (1783-1853) wrote in his book the “Testimony of the Evangelists”; he views the multiple eye-witness accounts of Jesus and His death and resurrection (in the New Testament) as valid lines of evidence that would be admissible in a court of law. They meet or exceed evidential requirements, so much so that Greenleaf saw the “martyrdoms, exponential church growth and the persistent-through-persecution faith of the believers (often, even up to death), as solid as evidence that there can possibly be. And in the legal process, there is no statue of limitations for murder.

    Let me tell you with all due respect, Ms. Murdock, that the great lineage of Jesus Christ is recorded at the beginning of Luke for a reason. The names of all these men are historical facts, even the census that Joseph and Mary had to travel to Bethlehem to take was registered in the king’s census (Luke 2:1-5).

    I would expect a true scholar to read the Bible to at least see what it claims. Otherwise, you are simply ingnoring thousands of eye witnesses who not only knew Jesus by sight, but they acknowledged that He was the Messiah and related to King David’s lineage (Luke 1:1-10, 18:35-43)[not a Jewish godma..He Is God].

    You know what, even His enemies knew who He was. The Chief Priests, Scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees said as much and that Jesus told the truth. Many of these religious rulers knew He was from God but for fear of losing their authority and positions, conspired to kill Him anyway (Luke 20:20-26, 19:28-40, 20:20-26).

    In any court of law, witnesses are invaluable. In the whole of Judea and Samaria, there were several hundred of witnesses [over 500 at one time] who saw Jesus before and after His crucifixion [probably thousands of eye witnesses at the Cross(Luke 24:15-24, Act 1:3-4, 2:31-32, 9:3, 17, I Cor 15:4-8, 9:1, II Pet 1:16-21, Jhn 3:2, 15:27, I Jhn 1:1-3, 14). Hundreds more saw the empty tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, which Joseph had given for Jesus’ burial site.

    The truth is that even Krishna has no other way into Paradise other than (and only thru)the Name of Jesus (Acts 4:12). Of course, I am naïve, being a Historian (BA,AS), I had always thought scholars usually read about that which they would talk about. Who knew!?

    July 4, 2009 at 8:10 pm

  2. mike

    I am someone with an interest in religion and theology but no means an expert in either. I’ve always been rather dismissive of the Jesus=Krishna claims as probably sensationalistic and unscholarly. Indeed, at this point I am still inclined to think so, but not to such an extent. I recently began reading a book called “The Play of God” which is a chronological anthology of the life stories of Krishna from advent on, written by a contemporary Hindu practitioner. I was actually surprised to see some real parallels to the Christian story. I try to be very fair in my understanding of religious traditions, but from this book I am reading, there really seem to be similarities that challenge mere dismissal as coincidence. I am not familiar with D.M. Murdock and cannot verify her claims, but from what I’ve read so far I think she is wrong on many points listed here. From what I read Krishna’s mother was not a virgin at the time of his birth, and Krishna (as others claim) was not virgin born. However, the general theme of the advent and divine incarnation of Krishna rings very similarly with the Christian story… so much that you can practically replace the names in the hymns to Krishna and have a Christmas song.

    “He was persecuted by a tyrant who ordered the slaughter of thousands of infants.”

    From what I read this claim is, in fact, true. Kamsa does indeed not only have his nephews killed – later on he orders mass infanticide within a ten mile radius of Krishna’s birthplace, and this, because of his fear of a prophecy.

    Let me relate some other parallels I discovered in my reading:

    There was a star that rose highest above the others at his advent.

    There is a very striking similarity between the Christian story of Mary and Elizabeth and their respective roles and Devaki (Krishna’s mother) and Yashoda (his aunt, she gave birth at old age too.)

    King Kamsa is said to have required an annual tribute or tax that required Nanda to leave home.

    As far as I can tell, there were no wise men giving the three gifts recorded in the NT, but nevertheless the village in which the infant Krishna lived were so charmed that they all presented him many gifts.

    These parallels, while perhaps not as sensational as you might find with Murdock, nevertheless leave one wondering. I don’t know what else I might find since I’ve only been reading about Krishna’s advent.

    October 6, 2009 at 3:36 am

  3. mike

    After thinking about it more, I’m more convinced that these parallels may not have any real substance to them as one can expect religious myths to have similar details by virtue of their themes. In this case the theme is the incarnation of a savior-God. The expectation of a savior in dark times, when people have ‘fallen away’ from truth, is a common expectation among religions as I far can tell, from Abrahamic religion to eastern, even in Buddhism there are elements of eschatology and prophecy. For instance, that a king would want to thwart prophecy by eliminating the prophesied infant might not be a very original notion, but does not really indicate imitation (or ‘copying’) from either religion. This goes too for the cosmic signs accompanying the birth of the divine one – this is all seems very typical of storytelling.

    October 7, 2009 at 4:39 am

  4. Let’s say that I give this to you. I don’t. But just for fun, I’ll let you win this argument about Krishna. Now, explain HORUS. And ATTIS. And the other 30-40 crucified saviors who were just like Jesus. And answer these questiosn for me: http://tinyurl.com/na3zyn Also, view this blog and take note that a 600 page book has been written about Horus with tedious DETAIL and using “primary sources” as you call it, much of it coming straight from the hieroglyphics themselves: http://tinyurl.com/yavv9ux And take note of the video she produced in reply to the “debunkers” of her work. So I guess that’s about it for now. It’s time for you to get busy and GO TO WORK answering all of my questions.

    October 8, 2009 at 2:43 am

  5. Researcher

    Excellent work!

    You are a tremendous researcher!

    November 5, 2009 at 10:31 pm

  6. Hare Krishna

    Very nice. These theories drive me crazy.

    As a modern follower of Krishna, I want to make a few coments:

    1.) I believe that the “He was transfigured in front of his disciples” refers to the eleventh chapter of teh Bhagavad Gita, but even so, there are no paralells with the Jesus story, as Krishna showed Himself to be teh entire universe. I am not shure how Jesus “transfuigured” himself

    2.)The “second coming” may refer to Kalki Avatar who comes at the end of Kali Yuga to destroy all the wicked people of the Earth and one demon, but it is important to note the number of avatars Vishnu sends, 10 major and another 15 minor that are named, and dozens of others that are not on teh traditional list of 25. They ALL kill demons, it is why they come.

    3.) The demonic king who tried to kill Krishna and His brother was named Kamsa

    4.) there where devas at Krishna birth, chapter two on Bhagavat Purana, but the parents where unaware. There where no other humans, and no gifts.

    5.) He did “raise” His brothers from the grave, but by going into hell and asking the king of death for them back. He didn’t just make them alive.

    6.)I think the shepherd god is a referance to Krishna being a COWherd boy, Deva Dev means “God of gods”, which Krishna is known as

    7.) Krishna was never poor, even as a child under the care of His adoptive parents, he was wealthy, as Nanda Maharaja was the cheif of the village.

    I just want to point these out to help improve this wonderful article. I can source my info

    November 18, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    • krissmith777

      Hare Krishna,

      Thank you very much for your kind words about my article. I am not an expert on Krishna, so it means a lot to me that a follower of Krishna compliments me on this post.

      Also, thank you for your list. I think that is very helpful.

      November 22, 2009 at 2:16 am