Who Was Krishna - according to Jain Philosophy

By editor - 16.11 2018

Krishna is the main character of Mahabharat, the famous and popular epic of India. Mahabharat is considered as a holy Hindu book, but it is a collection of several fables. It has nothing to do with any specific religion. Further, it is a fact that Mahabharat was compiled after Vardhaman Mahaveer and Gautam Buddha.

As Jainism and Buddhism became popular in masses, Vedics needed an ancient Kshatriya (Warrior Class) personality popular in masses to use for safeguarding their interests. They choose Krishna, declared him a God, and spread Geeta through his mouth. They wanted a Kshatriya personality because the Shramanic religions Jainism and Buddhism were popular in warrior class, and were promoted by Vardhaman Mahaveer and Gautam Buddha, who themselves were born into warrior class.

Geeta itself was written in 4th Century C.E., in the reign of Gupt Kings, who were supporters of Vedic religion. Geeta is a separate text, and it is not a part of Mahabharat. As Vedics have a fondness of violence from the beginning, the Geeta is nothing but a book promoting war against own people.

There is no doubt that Krishna was a non-vedic person, belonging to Yadus, who were enemies for the Vedics. If you take a deep look of Krishna's life, you will find that Krishna was a black, as the Yadus were, and he defeated Vedic Gods like Indraand Varun.

Then what was the religious tradition of Krishna?

[Krishna and Arjuna at battlefield.]
Krishna and Arjuna at battlefield.
[Krishna when he was a kid]
Krishna when he was a kid

About Yadu People

Before throwing light on the religious tradition of Krishna, let us know about the Yadus. I have mentioned above that Yadus were non-Vedics, and the Vedics always described them as enemies.

P.R. Deshmukh, one of the great scholars of Indology and Indus Valley Civilization, writes:

According to Vedic literature, Yadus were one of the Panch Jan (five groups of people), and were not eligible to become a King. Most of the Yadus were follower of Jainism. Vasudev, the father of Krishna was mostly a Jain. ..... It is not just a co-incidence that Where ever there were strong holds of Yadus, there we find some of the oldest remains of Jains.*

Further he writes, Worshiping Krishna by Vedic Hindus is a later thing, and it is influenced by Jainism. We should note that Krishna worship prohibits use of meat and alcohol by the devotees. Vegetarianism is not a Vedic culture.

* Examples: Mathura, Shauripur, Hastinapur etc.

Krishna in Jainism

As I have described above that Krishna was not a Vedic personality, so the only religious tradition of him could be Shramanic. Jainism and Buddhism were two Shramanic religions in ancient India. As Buddhism was founded by Gautam Buddha in 6th Century B.C.E, and the estimated time period of Krishna is 10th century B.C.E., there is no question of Krishna being from Buddhist tradition. Further, there are no references to Krishna in Buddhist literature.

On the contrary, Jainism is much older than Buddhism, and even older than Vedic religion as we can trace the roots of Jainism in Indus Valley civilization.

Krishna enjoys a special position in Jainism. He is the elder cousin of Aritthanemi, the 22nd ford maker of Jainism. He is a half Chakravarti (Semi Emperor), and one of the 63 great personalities of Jain literature. Further, according to Jainism, he will be a ford maker (Teerthankar) in next cycle of Teerthankars.

Interestingly, not only Krishna, but his father Vasudev, brother Balaram and cousin Arritthnemi also are in the Jain list of 63 great personalities. Further, a Jain book Vasudevhindi is fully dedicated to Vasudev, father of Krishna.

According to modern research, sage Ghor Angiras was spiritual teacher of Krishna, and he was no one else but Arritthanemi.

References to Krishna in Jain literature go back to ancient period. Antagadadasao, an aagamic text of Jainism first gives detailed biography of Krishna. Further, his biography is given in Trishasti Shalaka Purush, a popular text of Jainism.

All these facts prove that Krishna was from ancient Jain tradition.

-Mahavir Sanglikar


1. Indus Civilization, Rigved and Hindu Culture by P.R. Deshmukh
2. Trishasti Shalaka Purush (Jain Agamic Text)
3. Hindu Dharmache Shaiv Rahasya: Sanjay Sonawani