Bronze-level article

Hare Krishna creationism

From RationalWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
The poet Jayadeva bows to Vishnu. Artist unknown. Gouache on paper, 1730.
The divine comedy
Icon creationism.svg
Running gags
Jokes aside
Blooper reel
Evolutionism debunkers
Thank my various Gods!
Icon om.svg

Hare Krishna Creationism (HKC; to proponents, Hindu or Vedic Creationism) is the view that the creation of the universe took place according to literally interpreted chunks of the Vedic texts.

Despite being called Hindu Creationism, the creation mythologies, cosmologies, and legends of broader Hinduism are considerably more varied, while the Hare Krishna version is quite specific and detailed. (A loose analogy: imagine taking the novel, detailed cosmologies of American evangelical fundamentalist Christians and calling them "Abrahamic creationism".)

It is old earth creationism — in fact, HKC proposes an age for Earth and the universe which is even older than the one accepted by science.


The main claim in HKC is all species on Earth, including humans, devolved from a higher state of consciousness due to a past "Vedic curse" of decay, mentioned in the Puranas.[1] All organisms were originally immaterial and existed in the spirit world, but the spirits were covered and trapped in matter; however, by doing meditation, practicing spirituality, and reading the Vedic writings, we can cast off materialism and raise our consciousness to a higher plane of existence and become the spiritual beings that we really are.[2]

Hare Krishna devotee Stephen Knapp wrote:

The Vedic texts say that the source of humanity, and all life, is a matter of devolving from higher dimensions, namely from the spiritual dimension. All living beings are not only physical, but also the subtle body of mind, intelligence, ego, and, ultimately, the spiritual soul which is beyond everything else. Therefore, living beings have not evolved out of matter, or evolved up from the apes, but are only traveling through matter and the various forms that nature provides, each form or species based on our level of consciousness. This is to acquire all the experiences that this three-dimensional world can provide, and that our consciousness deems necessary for our own growth. Then, once we are finished with this material realm of existence by regaining our spiritual identity and acting on that level, we make our way back to the spiritual domain.

This view rejects the "Out of Africa" theory of human origins and endorses a model of "simultaneous multi-species", a view which asserts different species of human-like beings existing at the same time.[3] ISKCON members – such as Michael Cremo – take a literal reading of the Hindu religious writings such as the Puranas which teach that time and space are cyclical. They also believe the Earth goes through a cyclic model of yugas, which says life on Earth devolves through epochs, with each one becoming progressively darker, more alienated, and degenerated than the previous.[4][5]

Hindu creationists also accept the Big Bang and merge it into a cyclical model reminiscent of the "Big Crunch".

Hindu creationists deny macroevolution and only support microevolution, much like young Earth creationists. Hindu creationists also accept that "ape men" and humans have coexisted with each other; this view is opposed by Christian creationists.

HKCs embrace paranormal and occult topics such as out-of-body experiences, aliens, and reincarnation.


A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, c. 1972

The only modern organization in support of Hindu creationism is the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). The founder of ISKCON, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, rejected natural selection but accepted a form of evolution. According to Prabhupada, humans have always existed in a spiritual form.[6] In one publication, he accepted "species of life evolved from aquatics to plants, vegetables, trees; thereafter insects, reptiles, flies, birds, then beasts, and then human kind."[7]

Two theories which advocated similar views were proposed by William Fix in 1984 and John Davidson in 1992.

HKC was explained in detail by Michael Cremo in his book Human Devolution: A Vedic alternative to Darwin's theory (2003). A 2011 follow-up, co-written with Leif A. Jensen, was entitled Rethinking Darwin: A Vedic Study of Darwinism and Intelligent Design; this text also included contributions from Christian creationists/Intelligent Design, generating a kind of ecumenic crank magnetism.

HKC and science[edit]

The theory of Dashavatara can be seen as having some similarities with Charles Darwin's theory of evolution.[8][9][10][11]

According to HKC, modern-day humans have existed in present form for two billion years. Michael Cremo has attempted to document old skeletons and artifacts which he thinks proves this idea,[12] but his books have been denounced as pseodohistorical and pseodoarchaeological pseudoscience by the archaeological, historical, and scientific communities.[13]

HKC vs YEC[edit]

Hare Krishna creationists possess many similarities to and differences from Biblical young Earth creationism.

Hare Krishna creationism Young Earth creationism Similar?
Literalist interpretation of Vedas Literalist interpretation of Bible Yes
Vedic Curse causes degeneration Original sin / all sin causes degeneration Yes
Out-of-body experiences NDE visits to afterlife Yes
Denies macroevolution, supports microevolution Denies macroevolution, supports microevolution Yes
Humanity, universe 1-2 billion years old Humanity, universe 6-10 thousand years old No
Humans and "ape men" coexisted "Ape men" never existed No
Aliens exist Only earth has life No
Reincarnation One life, one afterlife No
Pseudoscientific bullshit without scientific evidence Pseudoscientific bullshit without scientific evidence Yes

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. Symptoms of Devolution
  2. Michael Cremo (2003). Human Devolution: A Vedic alternative to Darwin's theory. Bhaktivedanta Book Publishing
  3. The Out of Africa Theory Verses the Vedic View
  4. The Hare Krishna movement: the postcharismatic fate of a religious transplant, Maria Ekstrand, 2004, p. 12
  5. Back to godhead: the magazine of the Hare Krishna Movement, Volume 23, Baktivendanta Book Trust, 1988, p. 71
  6. See Life Comes from Life – written by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (founder of ISKCON)
  7. We Accept Evolution, but Not Darwin's Theory
  8. By "Flipside of Hindu Symbolism: Sociological and Scientific Linkages in Hinduism", by "M. K. V. Narayan", P. 185.
  10. "Religion & Ethics-Hinduism". BBC. Retrieved 2008-12-26. 
  11. By John Hedley Brooke, Ronald L. Numbers, "Science and Religion Around the World", P. 204,
  12. Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race by Michael Cremo (1998) Bhaktivedanta Book Publishing. ISBN 0892132949.
  13. Creationism: The Hindu View By Colin Groves