Monday, June 18, 2007

When Was Krishna Born?

I had studied and taught Hinduism for many years before it dawned on me that Hinduism is spectacularly unhistorical. Whereas the typical textbook details the history of Judaism and Christianity, the chapter on Hinduism has almost no dates mentioned after the Vedic/Aryan Invasion Era. Why such blatant double standards in the methods of approach between religious traditions? Surely I am not the only person to notice the differences in presentation, and way Hinduism is treated so non-critically (no history, no socio-economic analysis, no source criticism).

The lack of critical focus, I think, is intentional, in order to avoid stating the uncomfortable truth: Hinduism worships blatantly fictional gods. Not fictional in the sense of “probably-doesn’t-exist,” which could be said about all gods. I mean fictional in the “characters in a fictional book” sense. That is the Hindu mentality: a cool god appears in a book, and people start worshipping him. Weird but true. This is the actual origin of the two of the most popular Hindu gods: Krishna and Rama, stars of the two most popular Hindu books, the Bhagavad Gita and the Ramayana, self-styled incarnations of Vishnu.

For a fuller discussion of the literary history of Krishna, see my post here.

We see an interesting analog in the West with those geeks in Britain and Australia who have been listing “Jedi” as their religion. The Jedi, of course, are fictional characters from the Star Wars movies. Although the Star Wars geeks think it is clever to screw with the government surveys, I am fairly certain they aren’t actually offering prayer and sacrifice to Obi Wan Kenobi or Darth Vader. If they do start praying to Luke Skywalker or Yoda, we will have an exact correspondence to what occurs in Hinduism. If you don’t believe me, try a simple research project: find out when Krishna was born.

To the mystical Hindu mind, the dates for Krishna’s birth are firmly established by the hard science of astrology, supplemented by a long series of textual guesswork! Let the inquiring mind feast upon this veritable Euclidian proof:

Krishna was born in the Rohini nakshatra, in the Hindu month of Bhadrapada, on the 8th day of the waning moon at midnight… the 38th chapter of the Shri Vishnu Puran says that Kaliyuga started on the day Krishna died… another shloka in the Shrimad Bhagwat Purana (part 11, chapter 6) where Brahma … says that 125 years have passed since Krishna's birth; this is just before Krishna plans his death… the advent of Kaliyuga is traditionally taken to be 3102 BC, because all our panchangas or astrological journals maintain that 5,100 years of Kaliyuga had passed before 1999 AD. The belief is supported by mathematician Aryabhatta's astronomy treatise Aryabhattiya, the Surya Siddhanta, an astronomical text that dates back to 400 AD, and a 5th century inscription from a temple in Aihole. Deleting 125 years from the date … Krishna was born either in 3327 or 3228 BC. The rest he left up to his software, merely feeding in the planetary configuration that Krishna was supposedly born under, to generate the row of figures that conforms to the epochal moment.
In sum: “July 21, 3228 bc… satisfies every condition described during Krishna's birth.”

Wheew, glad we got that established!

Woops, in the same article, the author admits that these astronomical projections can be a bit less than sure: "But the dates, while drawn from the same source, strain in opposite directions.”
Thus we get dates out to 5561 BC. The variation is not surprising,

“Considering that there are 150 astronomical references provided about the characters and events in the Mahabharata… there is little consensus on what information is worth concentrating on. In addition, there is reason to believe that our scriptures ‘grew’ over time, incorporating events of every period. So there is precious little we can attribute collectively to one age. Many scholars in fact wonder if all the references to Krishna in the scriptures refer to one person or whether the Krishna of Vrindavan and the Krishna of the Mahabharata are two different people.

Well, I guess it makes my critical task easier if the same article that claims he was born in 3228 BC also points out that he is essentially a legend thrown together over time.

The hero of the Ramayana, Lord Ram, is theoretically even older than Krishna, being the previous incarnation of Vishnu (the 7th to be exact). So when did he live? By the logic of the yugas: over 2.5 million years ago. I say: why not??? If you are going about killing demons with your giant bow and arrows, and fighting along side of armies of intelligent flying monkeys, you might as well make it millions of years ago too, while you are at it!

Of course, more respectable astrologists put Lord Ram’s birthday in 5114 BC. January 10 of 5114 BC, actually! Again, the key to this reconstruction lies in the constellations and heavenly signs described in the book.

Of course, nothing in archeology corroborates anything civilized going on in India that long ago. The Harrappan settlements of the Indus Valley civilization, appearing as early as 3000 BC, evidence skillfully-laid canals and adobe bricks structures, but nothing on the order of the civilizations and technologies described in the Bhagavad Gita or Ramayana, not even in the iron age yet. Apparently, that is because in order to find the stuff from 7000 years ago “you'd have to dig more than 60 metres”.

Or just admit that a good book is a good book, even if it has nothing to do with history.

Not to say that Westerners are incapable of the similar silliness. The situation reminds me of the Book of Mormon, with its ridiculous descriptions of advanced American civilizations, which, woops, don’t seem to have left any actual physical evidence! The case of the Mormons, like that of the Hindus, indicates yet again that most people are not capable of excising critical thinking about a book once it has been invested with religious significance.

I am not unsympathetic. I know that it is a slow and painful process to come to terms with the fact that your religious ideas are fictional. Nonetheless, realizing that your particular incarnations of Vishnu are fictional might lead you down the path to a more truthful religion. After all, only the truth shall set you free.


Anonymous said...

Well researched. Its a deep rooted tradition which cannot be wiped out. Like a ROM in Hindu Indians which says they r gods. They can even Kill Rape and Burn u alive for their gods. Eg. Gujurat Riots 2001, Stains murder and many more to come i guess. and again they only pray for Monetary and worldly gains.99% of Hindus.very Few understand the true way of life Hinduism. Which says enlighten ur self and come above idol worship.things like yoga are amazing techniques to conquer 1s body.there are just amazing things within hinduism i mean real beautiful knowledge. but Indian hindus are obssed with idol worship.Also 99% of Hindus dont know hinduism properly. except for these fiction stories which r good 2 hear. Next we can expect Indians worship superman and spiderman 1000 years from now...

joseph said...

i disagree with whoever wrote the comment above. Hinduism is a much more advanced religion than Christianity. if you truly learn it and go beyond symbolism. Krishna wasn't even a person :_)

as it is said truth and light is the same. Learn Hinduism before u blame them.

i am a christian and i think Hinduism is the most tolerant of all religions. There are these christian groups trying to convert people. they come in to a public transport and start screaming abt christ. In a country were Hinduism is most of the population. and the Gujurat Riots 2001 was the result of poking a bee hive a 100 times.As well as apolitical conspiracy. Hinduism is a great religion when u take out its symbolism's the meanings are most enlightening. The symbolism's are just made to help people to focus. Not every one can focus without symbolic s.I have seen many Christians pray looking at the cross or at the picture of Jesus.

Dont condemn others u are condemnig yourself.

And there is a movie called zeitgeist. which has many coincidences about Christianity.I didnt believe it.
but the thing about the ages was fascinating


joseph said...

i totally disagree with what the previous comment say. Hinduism is a very advanced religion. The shell of it is symbolism's that is what you are talking about. If the previous comment maker had learned about Hinduism. he would not say what he said. Most Hindus know the real meanings and the riots are political plots done by the government.The symbolism is used to help people focus. Most People need tangible things to focus like for example even in christian churches there are crosses . statues of Mary ,Jesus and people pray kneeling besides it.As a wise man said point a finger and four fingers point back at you.
I am a christian and i feel ashamed when i evangelist groups come into buses and scream about Jesus and say every other religion is condemned such acts in a country which is almost full of Hindus.You cannot condemn other religions and say Christianity is the only way. Jesus said i am the way . not the only way.And i wouldn't be surprised if a riot broke up. but it hasn't for many years. that is why i think Hindus are the most baring among religions except the extremists who are mostly funded by political party's.

Worshiping superman and spider man i guess people do that more what do you think idol worship really means in the bible.To put someone or something above god like money or possession that is idol worship to love something more than god :_)

I am a christian and my name is Joseph. This is my belief and not the truth. the truth is different for every person a person has to find his own truths :_)

Anonymous said...

Listen to yourself. You call yourself a Christian? How can you be a Christian and say that there can be other ways to salvation. Jesus did say I am the way... but he also said I am the truth and the life: NO MAN COMETH UNTO THE FATHER, but by ME" John 14:7. Isaiah 43:11 says "I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no savior." Answer this, if you call yourself a Christian do you believe that the Bible is the only authority in a Christians life? if you said yes then how can you say that there are other ways? I know how, you don't worship the true and living God. The God that the bible teaches. You worship a god that you created in your mind and that you are comfortable with. You my friend have broken the second commandment "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image..." Exodus 20:4. Many people that claim to believe in Christ are not truly saved. Matthew 7:21-23 says that "not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the Kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name?... 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me ye that work iniquity." The problem with christianity as a religion is just that, it's a religion. What the bible teaches is that you must have a real relationship with the real God of the bible. Too many "Christians" live off a prosperity gospel and they worship a jesus that is not biblical. I encourage you to seek the true gospel, the real Jesus and get into the word of God. just believing is not enough, even demons believe in God, are you telling me that you have the same faith as demons?

Those evangelists that stand at the bus stops and preach have the truth and are doing God's will. God's wrath is real and He hates sin so much that it gave Him pleasure to see Christ crucified Isaiah 53:10 "Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin..." Is that the God that you know? probably not cause you probably don't study the inspired word of God. Jesus was not a soft spoken person that was all loving like people think. Jesus hated sin. He preached with Fire and annointing, how else could he preach to 5,000 people? Stop relying on pastors and movies to teach you about God. Get into the bible where He himself by the power of the Holy Spirit will teach you.

Dont be a lukewarm Christian, Jesus himself will spit you out of His mouth Revelation 3:15-16. If you are a Christian come out from the world. Stop thinking that you can worship God and continue doing the things of this world. 2 Corinthians 6:14-18. If you call yourself a Christian you have opened yourself up to be judged by true Christians 1 Corinthians 5:12-13 & 6:1-5.
If you can concieve in your mind that there is another way to salvation other than Jesus Christ stop calling yourself a Christian, you are not my brother "Ye are of your father the devil, ..." John 8:44

I write this not so that you may be condemned but to warn you to seek the truth. Judge yourself according to the word of God. If you were about to walk into a ditch, wouldn't you want me to warn you?

"The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity." Psalm 5:5

Anonymous said...

The Same can be said about Jesus's birth. There is no common consensus on his actual birthday. The New Testament does not give a date for the birth of Jesus.Its been proven that Dec 25 has nothing to do with the his actual birthday.Most pepole beleive that this date may have been chosen to correspond with either a Roman festival or the winter solstice

Anonymous said...

i sought the truth long ago and taking the bible word by word is not the truth.Meditate pray and find the real truth. quoting verses from the bible without understanding it is what is up to.Be a true christian understand the bible and then preach.Read every relegious book to truly understand relegion.Jesus the only way is the most arogant idea one could have.Condemn lol lets see who gets condemned in the end

Anonymous said...

Very true Joseph. Find the best in all relegious books Bible,Indian huge set of books like vedas, puranas, Mahabharath, Ramayana..., Indian exercise like Yoga,meditation.., Muslim Kuran. You will find a lot of common prescription and a few diffrent choose which you feel is the best of that and practise. For this no god will act as a politician and ask for missionaries to market them especially by bribing the poor. Preaching in temples, assembly is fine.
Presently all gods are like superman, spiderman with not much proof of their existence. But practice best of the tutorial derived from them without ego, arrogance,violence so all can attain bliss by travelling on their selected path

Rottu said...

First of All .Religion is not faith in god ..but religion means Way of Living..Religion or Dharma(means Duty) is basically a guide which provides you enuff instructions to live you life peacefully, happily, detachment from materialistic attraction, achiveing salvation, concentration, non-violence and most importantly knowing yourself.

And this is what all religions say..
whether it is Christianity, bhuddism, sikhism, islam, hinudism etc..

None of them say do violence
,or fight for you faith, do addiction...

Their is only one religion that is Humanity..this guidlines Humanity was actually interpreted by many Guru or messengers of different languages in their style..and People Give these teachings/guidlines a name based on the names of their from Budhha to bhuddism....from jesus Christ to Christianity...Guru Nanak called his Follower Sikhs and his teaching Become Sikhisim...same with ISlam and Other religions..

So basically One Book (Guidlines of Humanity)..was written in differnt languages by differnt writers and got image of many Religions...

I dont want to Argue to you... the way hindu and muslim fought Search ResultsDid you mean: unneccesarily
in the same way Palestinian and Jewish people did..

It does not matter u belive in existence of god/messengers like Krishna, Buddha, Christ, Mohammad.. but what matters is that you follow guidlines of humanity or not..

Just take an example..
In a Office your Bosses does not care whether you keep grudges for him or not..or do you belive in his position or not..but what he wants you to complete the project/work asssigned to you..

So dont waste your time by raising questions on existence of god (messenger/gurus) but do something good for Humanity and your enviorment..

And to tell you one more thing..even before the birth of Christ, the plan of salvation through the sacrificial death of Christ was revealed in the ancient Vedas, the Hindu religious books.

One of them from the Tandyamahabrahmana in its second part, chapter 7:

Anonymous said...

Thanks Rottu for your wisdom. Too often people are looking at the differences and fighting over them. The problem with this, is that if we do not feel secure in our own faith or views, we attack that of others. What you say is right. Many wise people tried to help people to live in peace and harmony, to become their own greatest potential, and taught through personal experience. Even the Buddha said 'don't believe it just because I said it, investigate it and try gaining your own experience of it' He was talking about correct ways of living and methods to control our mind. He was born into a Hindu family. Buddha means enlightened one. So Buddhism became the name of those who PRACTICED his teachings. Similarly Christianity was born from the word of Christ. If people take time to read the origins of the many religions of the world and look at the cultures within which they functioned, we can derive alot of knowledge about the way people lived and their cultural backgrounds. Personaly I love people, and getting to know them from a cultural and spiritual perspective. We are a colourful tapestry which can integrate together through the love we have for one another. Intolerance is like separation of the self from all that is, and alienating one'self from the whole. I hope everyone can get along together and stop the anger and greed that dictates our actions. Love and peace to you all.

Anonymous said...

dude!! chill!! i am hindu and am proud to be. i know my religion well and beleive that hinduism is good religion. we believe in harmony. we in india have 300+ religions and casts. and on the whole we live in peace and harmony. (exceptions are always there). we are most tollerent guys. (even the west agrees). so all u guys who dont know about hinduism just go and learn and then talk. one more thing we never disrespect others religion. thats y we have lived for ages and will be here for ever. we are the oldest religion. so just chill and relax. god bless
yes one more ting.. most of our history/proof of things have been destroyed by our invadors. what we are left with is hardly 5%. but truth is that we survived everything and will continue to do so... idol worship is created by us. our god have been picturised by us in a idol and thats the form god assumed. we pray idol kike god and it turns up to be a god. the energy derived by our prayes converts the idol as a transmitter for god and thua it is god for us. you can only understand this by actually doing it.. so live and let live.. satyamev jayete

conehoengregalaxias said...

zeitgesit says that krishna was born in december 25, what about that, i mean, sorry but, i dont study history and saw zeitgeist

Justin said...

Zeitgeist is almost totally inaccurate in its historical narrative. Most of the comparisons made in Zeitgeist are false even on the level of basic familiarity. The only way anyone could be convinced by it, is if they know nothing at all about the topics.

Thanks for reminding me of it, I should probably do a post devoted to it.

Robotsbyneed said...

this christian guy is a horse with blinkers on. U have no knowledge and your on and on about stuff.

U know what give me your birth time and place and i will prove you something.

Hinduism promotes vegetarianism what ever these people r they r not harming anyone.

Anonymous said...

This is a very biased writing. I dont know what you taught hinduism If you didnt know that Hinduism holy books are Vedas and not the epics of Krishna and Rama which are like "Illiad" and "Odyssey". The two main gods are Rama and Krishna, very funny.

Vedas talk about nature worship, Like Sun which is there in celtic too.
Just dont read some mislead news about small small events in a billion population country and make it in sizeable proportions.

If you have such huge no of distinct religious populations crowded you will know how it is.
Hindus are very tolerant by nature and religion preaches it. There are extremists in all religions, lets not make it as though India is devil.

jayadev said...

Religion means silly rituals for all the semetic religions,ofcourse there are a few who understand there are more spiritual religions than theirs,one who want true freedome or incarnation. he can use any ways of belief but it should be to find the truth,"taking birth in a church is good enough but dying there is too pathetic".
believe in KARMA and MOKSHA every human being must try to understand this,not only HINDUS,because a Hindu believe that "LOKA SAMASTHA SUKHINO BHAVANTHU".

Avner said...

Hinduism predates all the religions. Most of the things said in Christianity & Islam were there in some form in the hindu scriptures. The knowledge of Hindus can be well known by going back to astrologer mathematician Aryabhatta & Bhaskara who gave mathematics to the world, made first clander any many more...somewhere 500 BCE. Which means west even did'nt learned to live in colonies..they were still tribes.
The story of troy was considered mythology till it was dug out from the wraps of history, similarly Ramayana & mahabharata also needs a much detailed study.

The dates of the two books which are not only epics but also a historical reference of that era, hv been well described by astronomical positions of the planets. Now it is another thing that west did'nt learnt the skill of astrology. The colonial era left a great Impact on the civilization, terming every knowledge ridiculos and creating markets for capitalists which only understood commerce. Whose fault is it.

I am asking have you made any medicine which can cure a simple ailment/disorder like hypertension? I know the answer....."NO". But the companies are still selling it majorly across the world. Now I will tell you a very simple treatment to cure it without a pill & this is practiced since ages in the remotest of village in India by hindus. The pranayam techniques of controling the breath the two pranayam are enough to save you from hypertension and they are "Anulom vilom" & "Bhramri". How did this wisdom came to the stupid hindus? you must be wondering. This is don't even know weather its a religion or way of life. Pls live like a hindu then only you can comment on it.

Justin said...

Avner, the West actually has a large number of skilled astrologers. However, we do not view it as a science. It is not accurate enough to be considered a science.

What makes you think I have not "lived like a Hindu"? What makes you think I have not studied Indian medicine, and done yoga, learned astrology, and studied the scriptures?

Anonymous said...

Why don't u all get a life just becoz everything is not put in white and black in India and is not controlled by the white christian society does not mean it did not exist faith and love r (to date) the strongest power in the universe! Why does everything need to b documented u boring lot!

Anonymous said...

Justin, whatever u lived does not mean u know everything, to date I don't know any white or black society that really respect hinduism, you all take everything out of it, make movies like avatar without honoring its origin "india", soon curry will be originated from the us or uk, even heidi klum made a mockery of maa kali w her ridiculous costum that illiterate bimbo! u cant prove that does god did not exist so why don't u just shut up, u occidental take everythin out of indians and don't give it any credit! what about the religion who re-integrates people without too much restrictions, peaceful, healthy, do any of u have an experience meeting Krsna?

anita said...

This article is stupid and innacurate. like most comments.
Hinduism is very advanced religion, not like chritianity which is really dumb and soooo far away from what Jesus thought. You are very fanatic and non intelligent, and have no idea what spirit and God is. God is so much more then angry person who throws you to hell forever if you're not a good christian boy. I rather believe in spiderman then is such a revengfull being. Hinduism is pure love and respect to others and to nature and to God.

Justin said...

anita, from your own comments, I can surmise that you know very little about either Christianity or Hinduism. Your homework:

Review the concept of grace in Christianiy. Then, review the manifestations of punishment in Hinduism.

Anonymous said...

Justin, all I can say is that after learning all of what you claimed you have learned, in fact you have learned nothing..maybe in the next birth you will be born in India if you are lucky so that you can see their perspective of religion. A lot of the images and concepts are purely symbolic and you have to open your heart and soul to discover more..You have not answered my question, have you Justin met, in person, Lord Shri Krsna or Lord Jesus? Being so fanatic and arrogant won't take you anywhere..God only comes to true bhakts/devotees..a lot of what you say is blasphemous to all religions as you show no respect. Obviously because you think that the white society is superior..your comments are purely political not spiritual..just comment on this blog when you have something important/useful to teach others..everyone already knows what arrogance and hatred are like!

Anonymous said...

The above comment was not addressed to Justin but to the anonymous brain washed person who posted this so called well researched study..where did he do his research..coocooland?

Anonymous said...

As I read the various posts I see different ways that people can think. But to know the Truth we cannot cling on to our background, cultures and assume what we learned in our culture, religion is always true. Every individual should question everything they do and answer it to themselves. No man/women is born with a religion and after death three is no religion. Usually hindus say all religions are same but when someone (hindu) converts to a different religion they oppose. Any individual if he is honest, will know that not all religions preach the same and they are fundamentally different (they may seem superficially same). Seek the truth and follow where it leads with no reservations. Don't spend time on the legends (with no spiritual meaning) and what people say or do. Go to the core and see the difference yourself. I did it personally and saw that Christ is Lord and I started following him in spite of coming from a hindu family. I don't follow a religion but a person therefore I did not question why Catholics disagree with Protestants or why Pope is the head etc. To me they were useless. What mattered to me was, who was Christ, why did He die on the cross, what does He say about life after death etc.
To my truth seeking friends all I say is don't be blinded by the culture and religion instead seek the Truth and it shall set you free.

Anonymous said...

Dear Professor Halter,

It's interesting that you brought up the Star Wars franchise. There is some evidence that the Star Wars movies were influenced by Hindu mythology.

According the Steven J. Rosen:

"My thesis is simple. Lucas, the creator of 'Star Wars,' was heavily influenced by Joseph Campbell, the famed mythologist. Campbell's preferred stock of philosophical stories comes from India. This is well known. Campbell explained the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, the principal epics of contemporary Hinduism, to Lucas, who digested their many stories and gave them back to us as 'Star Wars. Lucas himself says that he was 'influenced by Eastern myths.'"

He later goes on to say that Star Wars is based on the Ramayana.

Justin said...

Oh yes, that is very true. That is why the Star Wars movies which were done after Joseph Campbell died were so horrible.

Anonymous said...

first you have to open your mind before reading bhagavath geeta or Mahabharata a word can have hundred of meaning when you read the same line different day you will read a different meaning as you guys you wont able to understand because your mind i injected with wrong presption by your leaders form small ages they know the truth they wont disclose it to you thats why in small ages your minds are brain washed stating false statement against Hindustan you wont understand that the bible is a copy of bhagavath geeta so they dont like you to know the truth i think you all are the frog in the pond thinking this is the big world come out and read and understand it you will need to read bhagavath geeta to understand please dont comment on it which you havnt read

Krishnakumar said...

You forget that hinduism has a different calendar.a different culture alright. We are not fixated with a few historical events that becomes the underlying substrate of our religious purpose. Bhagwad Gita is relevant and not as much the characters. Yoga is relevant and not so much patanjali. In case your yoga instructor did nit know that it's not offensive to us. Hinduism rejects history centrism. Hence the unimportance of dates. Being relieved of the notion of being born an original sinner lifts the burden of on historical events and allows one the ability to achieve spiritual realization. Ridiculing something without even knowing is quite un christian of you. The truth matters more than person. Just like independence is more important than gandhi or abolishing slavery was more important than MLK or Lincoln. Idol worship is not just worshiping murtis but worshipping person than hiss contribution. It's like saying michael jordan is greater than basketball. Thanks for giving ne the opportunity to clarify your purposely/innocent flawed interpretation.