One distinctive feature of dreams is that they express themselves wholly in pictures. How does an ambitious person dream to express his ambition? He creates a picture that suitably expresses his ambition. Maybe he grows wings and flies high in the sky. All ambitious people invariably fly in their dreams. They fly higher and higher, leaving below the trees, the mountains, even the stars. It means their ambition knows no limits, that even the sky is not its limit. But their dreams will never use the word ambition; the picture of flying will say it much better.
One of the reasons we find it hard to understand our dreams is their pictorial language, which is utterly different from the verbal language we use in our everyday life. We speak through words in the daytime, and we speak through pictures when we dream in the night. While our daytime language is modern and up-to date, the language of our nocturnal dreams is the most primitive ever. There is a distance of millions of years between them. That is what makes it so hard to understand what a dream has to say.
Krishna is very old in the sense that his stories were written at a time when man thought about his life and his universe not so much in words as in symbols, in images and pictures. Therefore we now have to decode them to know what they want to convey. We have to translate them into our language of words.
It is significant that the life of Christ begins more or less in the same way as Krishna’s; there is not much difference. For this reason a good many people had this illusion – a few still cling to it – that Christ never happened, that it is really the story of Krishna carried to Jerusalem.
There is great similarity between the stories of their births. Jesus too is born on a dark night; he too is born amid fear of death. Here King Kansa, his own uncle, is trying to kill Krishna; in Jerusalem King Herod is looking to kill Jesus. Kansa has a number of children killed in the fear that one of them will grow up and kill him. In Jerusalem Herod does the same: he has any number of newborn babes killed lest one of them later turns out to be his murderer.
But Christ is not Krishna. Jesus is a different person, and the rest of his story is quite different, his own. But the symbols and metaphors of their stories are very similar, because all primitive minds are very similar.
You will be amused to know that the language of dreams is the same all the world over. An Englishman, a Japanese and an Eskimo all dream alike. But the languages that we use in our daily life, for communication with one another, are quite different and diverse. And like the language of dreams, the language of the myths, mythologies and Puranas is also the same all over the world. Therefore the symbols, pictures and parables describing the births of Krishna and Christ are approximately the same.
There is yet another reason for taking Krishna and Christ to be the same person. He was originally called Jesus and much later he became known as Christ, and there is much similarity between the two words, Krishna and Christ. So Christ came to be taken as a derivative of Krishna. I know a man whose name is Kristo Babu. When I asked him what his name meant, he said that originally his name was Krishna, which through long usage subsequently turned into Kristo. This is how words undergo metamorphosis. Then I told Kristo Babu why some people think that Christ is a derivative of Krishna.