"Krishna theology", or the theology of the Bhagavat Gita, is the theology of several schools of "Krishnaism", the veneration of Krishna as the "personality of Godhead" in Gaudiya Vaishnavism.[not in citation given][1]

The term Krishnology in academic religious studies is used both as a coined phrase paralleled to Christology, entailing the comparison of the role of Christ within Christianity with that of Krishna in Krishnaism,[2]

The same term Krishnology (also Krishnaology[3] or Krishnalogy[4]) since the 2000s has been used by some members of ISKCON in the sense of academic study of Krishna or "Krishnaist theology" in general.[5] The intellectualization of a tradition in the early Bengali bhakti movement was criticised since it did not produce "a robust theological tradition", where the resulted Krishnology has "amounted to little more than regurgitation of Bengali" Vaisnava doctrine.[4] In a broader sense this term has been used not as theology focusing on Krishna, but a Krishna-theology, or theology propounded by Krishna in Bhagavad Gita, specifically in the third and fourth chapters, being synonymous with Hindu-theology of different schools of classical thought.[6]

Krishnaism Edit

Main article: Krishnaism

While the main text of the Gita is proposing that Krishna is not just a purusa but a supreme purusa it's theology is incoporating and adjusting multitude of previous theological concepts. The pluralistic maze of anscient Indian cultures and religious traditions provides a rich ground for Krishna-theology. Thus the main text of Bhagavad Gita quotes older traditions, interpreted them, places identiy of God in line with more "ancient" gods or ideas of Hindu traditions.[7] While some scholars of the field do not agree that the concept of God presented by Krishna is completely consitent and see Bhagavat Gita is "a heterogeneous collection of treatises adapted to the Krishna theology.[8]

Guy Beck has studied and published on "the Krishnology of the Vaishnava sect known as the Radha-vallabha Sampradaya" in Alternative Krishnas: Regional and Vernacular Variations on a Hindu Deity (2005).[9] A prominent Hindu teacher Swami Narayana (1781–1830) had a more puritanic aproach compared to Vallabha's, whose theological views of Krishna were strongly erotic in character and its imagery, which were not to the liking of more puritanical thinkers. While being a worshiper of Krishna, Swami Narayana rejected the erotic elements in Krishnology in favor of worship in the mood of Majesty, alike to earler Vaisnava teachers, Ramanuja and Yamunacarya.[8]

Keshub Chunder Sen was interested in the studies of both Christology and Krishnology.[1]

Comparison of Krishnaism to ChristologyEdit

Main article: Krishnaism

In 1952 Ragual Samuel Rahator published Christology and Krishnology, a Critical Study, through Northwestern University.[10]

In his 1989 text, Dialogue and Syncretism, Jerald D. Gort states that "there is no searching 'Krishnology' parallel to Christology. But the great theologians of Vedanta did not fail, each one in his own way, to offer interpretations of the avatara."[2]

Prashant Miranda states that, "the new situations that the present day Christology has to face, especially in the Indian context, is Krishnology, Ramalogy and suck 'logies.' The avatararavada"[3]

Keshub Chunder Sen was interested in the studies of both Christology and Krishnology.[4]


Main article: ISKCON

"Also, ISKCON has recently brought the academic study of Krishna into western academia as Krishnology."[5] Members of ISKCON believe that "Liberation is obtained through meditation on God and reciting His name. This is the philosophy followed by the Gaudia Mission and ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness), which has participated in bringing Krishna related philosophies into Western academia through theological discourses on Krishnology."[6] The term "Krishnology" in this sense is also used in publications by ISKCON's Bhaktivedanta College.[11]

Tamala Krishna Gosvami (1946–2002), a Hindu studies scholar and Vaishnava guru, elaborated on this term during his research at the University of Cambridge. While a doctoral student, Tamala Krishna Gosvami studied under Dr. Julius J. Lipner and devoted his time to researching the 'Krishnology' of ISKCON's founder.[12] The topic of his PhD was selected together with his academic advisor in Cambridge, they came up with the subject for his thesis, Krishnology as Prabhupada's contribution to the theological thought.[13]

See alsoEdit


  1. Smith, David Nichol (2003). Hinduism and modernity, Volume 1 of Religion and Spirituality in the Modern World. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell Pub. p. 43. ISBN 0-631-20862-3. ""The Bhagavata Purana inspired several schools of Krishna theology, of which the best known today is the Hare Krishna movement, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness."" 
  2. used as a nonce coinage from as early as 1952 in Ragual Samuel Rahator, Christology and Krishnology, a Critical Study,; used in scare-quotes in Jerald D. Gort, Dialogue and syncretism: an interdisciplinary approach, Rodopi, 1989, ISBN 9780802805010, p. 159. Further incidential use in academic literature, with or without quotes, can be found during the 1990s
  3. T.K. Goswami of ISKCON uses this odd spelling "Biography". Retrieved 28 August 2010. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 Rue, Loyal D. (2005). Religion is not about God: how spiritual traditions nurture our biological nature and what to expect when they fail. New Brunswick, N.J: Rutgers University Press. pp. 268. ISBN 0-8135-3511-5. 
  5. mentioned as a term "recently" brought forward by ISKCON in Rajeev Verma, Faith & philosophy of Hinduism, Gyan Publishing House, 2009, ISBN 9788178357188, p. 162. An early use of the term in this sense is in Guy L. Beck, Alternative Krishnas: regional and vernacular variations on a Hindu deity (2005).
  6. Ganeri, Jonardon; Matilal, Bimal Krishna (2002). Ethics and epics. Oxford [Oxfordshire]: Oxford University Press. pp. 102–104. ISBN 0-19-565511-7. "In Krishna-theology (or should was say Krishnology) we should modify the notion of Creator-god, following such Hindu philosophies as Samkhya..." 
  7. Glucklich, Ariel (2008). The strides of Vishnu: Hindu culture in historical perspective. Oxford [Oxfordshire]: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-531405-0. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 Aldwinckle, Russell Foster (1976). More than man: a study in christology. Grand Rapids, Mich: Eerdmans. pp. 223. ISBN 0-8028-3456-6. 
  9. Alternative Krishnas: Regional And Vernacular Variations On A Hindu Deity SUNY Press
  10. Christology and Krishnology, a Critical Study Northwestern University
  11. Bhaktivedanta College College Website
  12. Julius Lipner’s Obituary: Tamal Krishna Goswami ICJ
  13. "HH Tamal Krishna Goswami". Retrieved August 28, 2010. 


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