July 9, 2020
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World Religions

Christianity and the Vedic Teachings Within It – Part 1

By Sri Nandanandana Dasa

When we consider the story of how baby Jesus appeared in the heart of his mother Mary by immaculate conception, as well as the bright star appearing in the night sky, we can discern a direct parallel to Lord Krishna’s birth three thousand years earlier in Vrindavana, India, as recorded in the Vedic literature. It is described in the ancient Vedic texts how Krishna appeared in the mind of Vasudeva, Krishna’s father, and was then transferred into the heart of His mother, Devaki. During Krishna’s birth, the bright star Rohini was high in the sky, and the king at the time, Kamsa, actually ordered the killing of all the infants in an attempt to kill Krishna, similar to the way Herod was supposed to have done as described in the gospel of Matthew. And just as a multitude appeared among the shepherds in the hills praising God at the time of Jesus’ birth, there were also many demigods who came and danced and sang about the glories of Krishna when He was ready to appear in this world. Krishna was born in a cave-like dungeon, while Jesus was also born in a cave, although some say a manger in a barn. Rays of light illuminated the area after they had taken birth. While newly born, they both spoke of why they had come to this world. And as wise men were supposed to have presented Jesus with frankincense and myrrh, baby Krishna was also presented with gifts that included sandalwood and perfumes.

At the time when Krishna left this planet, His foot was pierced with an arrow, while Jesus’ side was pierced with a spear. There was a darkness that descended when Jesus is said to have been crucified, just as there was a darkness and many calamities taking place when Krishna left this world. And as there is a description of many ominous signs that are to signify the second coming of Christ, there are even more symptoms of the terrible age of Kali that we are going through that indicates the time before the coming of Krishna’s next incarnation as Kalki. Many of these I have included in my book, The Vedic Prophecies. There are many other parallels that we could refer to that are disclosed in the Vedas, which were written many hundreds of years before the Bible.

Jesus preached in a way that can also be compared to the sayings of Krishna. For example, in Bhagavad-gita (7.6-7):

Krsna said, “I am the cause of the whole universe, through Me it is created and dissolved, all things are dependant on Me as pearls are strung on a thread.”

Bhagavad-gita 7.6-7

Jesus said, “Of Him and through Him, and unto Him, are all things. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made.”

John 1.3

Krishna had said, “For the establishment of righteousness I am born from time to time.”

Bhagavad-gita 4.7

This compares to Jesus in John 18:37, wherein he says,

“Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.”

John 18:37

These and many other comparisons can be made. Nonetheless, the fact is that the history of Krishna is thousands of years older than that of Jesus. In this way, practically speaking, what we find in the Bible regarding Jesus’ birth is a description of the appearance of Lord Krishna, but only the names have been changed. Of course, there are different theories about how this happened.

One theory is that when the Christians went to India, they found out that this story was there in the Bhagavat-Purana; so, they immediately had to change the date of when the Bhagavat-Purana was supposed to have been written. So now the historians generally say that it was written about 1400 years ago. Otherwise, how could they explain the story of Krishna’s birth being so similar to the story of Christ’s birth?

They thought that the Vedic pundits must have heard about the story of Jesus and adapted the story to their own incarnation, as if the Vedic scholars would demean themselves by putting a story into their scripture that was heard from people who were considered low-born foreigners. Actually, what happened was just the opposite.

Since both the Bhagavad-gita and the Srimad-Bhagavatam contain many similar sentiments and descriptions to Christianity, numerous Christian scholars have tried to prove that the stories therein had been borrowed from the Bible. However, this has been proved to be quite the reverse. This has been accepted by Reverend J. B. S. Carwithen, known as one of the “Brampton Lecturers,” who says, as quoted in Reverend J. P. Lundy’s Monumental Christianity (pp. 151-2),

“Both the name Crishna and the general outline of his story are long anterior to the birth of our Savior [Jesus Christ]; and this we know, not on the presumed antiquity of the Hindoo records alone. Both Arrian and Strabo assert that the God Crishna was anciently worshiped at Mathura, on the river Jumna, where he is worshiped at this day. But the emblems and attributes essential to this deity are also transplanted into the mythology of the West.”

Reverend J. P. Lundy’s Monumental Christianity (pp. 151-2)

Monier Williams, one of the accepted early Western authorities on Hinduism, Professor at Oxford in London and a devout Christian, also focused on this issue when writing for the “Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge” in his book, Indian Wisdom. Therein he states:

“To any one who has followed me in tracing the outline of this remarkable philosophical dialogue, and has noted the numerous parallels it offers to passages in our Sacred Scriptures, it may seem strange that I hesitate to concur to any theory which explains these coincidences by supposing the author [of such Vedic books as the Bhagavad-gita and the Srimad-Bhagavatam] had access to the New Testament, or that he derived some of his ideas from the first propagators of Christianity. Surely it will be conceded that the probability of contact and interaction between Gentile systems and the Christian religion of the first two centuries of our era must have been greater in Italy than in India. Yet, if we take the writings and sayings of those great Roman philosophers, Seneca, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius, we shall find them full of resemblances to passages in our Scriptures, while there appears to be no ground whatever for supposing that these eminent Pagan writers and thinkers derived any of their ideas from either Jewish or Christian sources. In fact, the Reverend F. W. Farrar, in his interesting and valuable work, Seekers After God, has clearly shown that ‘to say that Pagan morality kindled its faded taper at the Gospel light, whether furtively or unconsciously, that it dissembled the obligation and made a boast of the splendor, as if it were originally her own, is to make an assertion wholly untenable.’ He points out that the attempts of the Christian Fathers to make out Pythagoras a debtor to Hebraic wisdom, Plato an ‘Atticizing Moses,’ Aristotle a picker-up of ethics from a Jew, Seneca a correspondent of St. Paul, were due in some cases to ignorance, in some to a want of perfect honesty in controversial dealing. . . It must indeed be admitted that the flames of true light which emerge from the mists of pantheism in the writings of the Indian philosophers, must spring from the same source of light as the Gospel itself; but it may reasonably be questioned whether there could have been any actual contact of the Hindoo systems with Christianity without a more satisfying result in the modification of pantheistic and anti-Christian ideas.”

Monier Williams

Admin: All references from Sri Nandanandana Dasa are included below for all parts of the post, so anyone can go and look them up.

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