You are here

Christ and Krishna: The Visions of Arjuna and the Brother of Jared

TitleChrist and Krishna: The Visions of Arjuna and the Brother of Jared
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsSpencer, Joseph M.
JournalJournal of Book of Mormon Studies
Type of ArticleEssay
KeywordsArjuna; Bhagavad Gita; Brother of Jared; Buddhism; Jesus Christ; Theology; World Religion

A series of striking parallels between the vision of Arjuna recorded in the Bhagavad Gita and the vision of the brother of Jared in the Book of Mormon suggests the need for comparative work to be done on these two volumes of world scripture. This paper works through three interrelated points of contact between the two visions. First, it considers the epic context of each vision, context that provides conditions for the possibility of religious revolution. Second, it looks in detail at the respective religious revolutions produced by the two visions: the Hindu shift toward devotion and the Jaredite shift toward faith. Third, it outlines the theological significance of the principal difference such similarities bring into focus—namely, that between the conceptions of incarnation at work in Hinduism and Mormonism. Where the incarnational logic associated with Arjuna’s vision suggests that embodiment is temporary and instrumental for the divine, the corresponding incarnational logic associated with the brother of Jared’s vision suggests that embodiment is permanent and essential for the divine. The striking parallels between the visions of Arjuna and the brother of Jared thus help to highlight crucial but subtle theological differences between the respective religions associated with those visions.