Does the name Christ come form the Hindu word Krishna? Did Jesus travel to India?
I have a roommate who I am reaching out to. He said that the origin of the word “Christ” comes from the Indian God Chrisna [sic. he means Krishna] (didn’t give the exact spelling) and that ancient monasteries have record of Jesus coming from Judea. He quoted John 10:34. Where it says we are “all Gods.” He used that to say that Jesus came to India and he was just one of the many sons of God because they all taught that. I told him what I could but wasn’t sure what to say about the origin of the word “Christ.” Do you know? Thanks again for all your help to strengthen our faith and help these lost people.
Of course, I have seen such claims multiple times. Back in the day, when I was interested in Hinduism, I was at least partially convinced of such claims that Jesus visited the Indian subcontinent. I am now a bit embarrassed that I was so gullible. The problem is these claims of a relationship between Jesus and Hinduism are not supported by any reliable evidence. This is pseudoscience/pseudo scholarship gone amok!
I will confess that I do not know the etymology of the Sanskrit (?) word Krishna, but what I can say with confidence is that Christ does not derive itself from a language in the Indian subcontinent. This is truly a baseless claim!!! First of all, the important word is not Christ—it is Messiah. The Hebrew word for savior is mashiach. The literal meaning of mashiach is anointed one. This is a Hebrew word with semitic roots, and there is not the slightest connection (obviously) between the Hebrew word Messiah and the Sanskrit word Krishna.
The word Christ comes from the Greek word Kristos which means anointed. Christ/Kristos is a direct translation from the Hebrew word mashiach, which means anointed one to the Greek Kristos which also means anointed one. No scholar in the world would agree that the work Krishna and Christ derive from the same source. This claim is simply false. In Matthew 16:16 we have Peter saying of Jesus, “You are the Christ.” It is almost certain that he did not say Christ, but mashiach, as Peter was speaking in Aramaic, a language very similar to Hebrew. We have Christ in our Bibles in Matthew 16:16 because the gospel was written in Greek and the conversations Jesus has with his disciples in the Greek New Testament are translations from the Aramaic. It is possible that the Greek word Christ was never applied to Jesus while he was alive, although I cannot say that for sure.
As for claims that Jesus want to the Indian subcontinent and learned his religious thought from gurus there, this too is not supported by even a shred of evidence. On the face of it, it borders on absurd to propose that a Jewish peasant living in the early first century would travel well over two thousand miles to India. The Roman empire did have some indirect trading contact with people from India, but there is no evidence that I have ever seen of any Jewish person, never mind the poor peasant Jesus, going to India in the first century. I will admit that we do not know what Jesus did between the age of 12 and about 33, but if we are to propose the outlandish idea that he traveled to India, we ought to have at least some evidence. The problem is that such evidence is completely lacking.
Some with Hindu leanings claim that parallel teaching in Hinduism and Judaism are evidence of interchange between these religions. My response to that is that any similarity is slight and the differences are massive. Christianity proposes a person God who interacts with his creation. Hinduism proposes a completely impersonal pantheistic presence called Brahman. In Hinduism the ultimate goal is nonexistence and absorption into the universal soul. Christianity completely rejects the pantheistic idea of universal soul and teaches that the ultimate goal is for persons to have a personal relationship with a personal God. To say that Christianity was formed out of Hinduism or vice versa is quite insupportable.
So, can your friend produce the name of the monastery in India and the name of the person who lived in the first century who wrote about Jesus visiting there in the first century? Of course he cannot because these claims are absolutely unsubstantiated and no reputable scholar would agree with this outlandish claim. Your friend probably needs to learn to be a bit more skeptical than to accept such claims.
About John 10:34, no matter the interpretation, it certainly cannot possibly be evidence that Jesus traveled to India!!! This would be like finding a particular kind of rock on Mars which is of the same geologic type as one in my back yard and using this as evidence that someone who lived in my house went to Mars! In John 10:34, Jesus is quoting Psalm 82:6. He certainly is not proposing that there are in fact many “gods.” He is using a Jewish poem which the Jews accepted as inspired to show that they should not be so offended at him claiming to be God. Any claim that Jesus was a polytheist is patently false. If we read Psalm 82: we will see that God is telling his people that we, created in the image of God, are sons of God and are therefore, in some sense anyway, “gods” with a small g. I will admit that John 10:34 is a bit of a tough passage to interpret but to say that it is evidence that Jesus borrowed from Hinduism stretches credulity to the breaking point.
I hope this helps.