Despite their differences, Hinduism and Christianity have great similarities. And this is particularly prominent in the case of the life and teachings of the two central figures of these world religions, Christ and Krishna.
Similarities in just the names of 'Christ' and 'Krishna' have enough fuel for the curious mind to prod into the proposition that they were indeed one and the same person. Although there is little historical evidence, it is hard to ignore a host of likenesses between Jesus Christ and Lord Krishna. Analyze this!
(01) Both are believed to be sons of God, since they were divinely conceived.
(02) The birth of both Jesus of Nazareth and Krishna of Dwarka and their God designed missions were foretold.
(03) Both were born at unusual places, Christ in a lowly manger and Krishna in a prison cell.
(04) Both were divinely saved from death pronouncements.
(05) Evil forces pursued both Christ and Krishna in vain.
(06) Christ is often depicted as a shepherd; Krishna was a cowherd.
(07) Both appeared at a critical time when their respective countries were in a torpid state.
(08) Both died of wounds caused by sharp weapons — Christ by nails and Krishna by an arrow.
(09) The teachings of both are very similar, both emphasize love and peace.
(10) Krishna was often shown as having a dark blue complexion, a colour close to that of Christ Consciousness.
Similarity in Names
Christ comes from the Greek word 'Christos', which means "the anointed one". Again, the word 'Krishna' in Greek is the same as 'Christos'. A colloquial Bengali rendering of Krishna is 'Kristo', which is the same as the Spanish for Christ — 'Cristo'.
The father of the Krishna Consciousness Movement AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada once remarked: "When an Indian person 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."
Prabhupada further says: "'Christ' is another way of saying Krsta and Krsta is another way of pronouncing Krishna, the name of God…the general name of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, whose specific name is Krishna. Therefore whether you call God 'Christ', 'Krsta', or 'Krishna', ultimately you are addressing the same Supreme Personality of Godhead…Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said: namnam akari bahu-dha nija-sarva-saktis. (God has millions of names, and because there is no difference between God's name and Himself, each one of these names has the same potency as God.)"
God or Man?
According to Hindu mythology, Krishna was born on earth so that the balance of good in the world could be restored. But, there are many conflicting theories regarding his Godhood. Although, Krishna's story depicts him as the ultimate Lord of the Universe, whether Krishna himself is God or man is still a contentious matter in Hinduism.
Hindus believe that Jesus, like Lord Krishna, is just another avatar of the Divine, who came down to show humanity in 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 were the incarnates 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.
Similarity in Teachings
These two most admired of religious icons also claim to hold the completeness of their religions by themselves. It's interesting to note how alike each one spoke in the Bhagavad Gita and the Holy Bible about the righteous way of life.
Lord Krishna says in the 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." Similarly, Jesus said: "If God were your Father, ye would love me; for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of Myself but He sent me."
At many places 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 know my origin, for I am the source of all the gods and great sages." In the Holy Bible, Jesus also utters the same 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, "Him that overcometh 'I' will make a pillar in the temple of my God and he shall go no more out."
Lord Krishna urged his disciples to follow the art of scientific control of the senses. An expert yogi can withdraw his mind from old temptations of the material world and can unite his mental energy with the joy of inner ecstasy or samadhi. "When the yogi like a tortoise withdrawing its limbs, can fully retire its senses from the objects of perception, his wisdom manifests steadiness". Christ too delivered a similar directive: "But though, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thy shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly."
Krishna stressed the idea of the grace of God in the Gita, "I am the origin of everything, and everything arises out of Me". Similarly, Jesus said: "I am the bread of life, he that cometh to me shall never hunger and he that believeth in me shall never thirst."