ISKCON founder Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda was convinced that the name Christ was derived from Krishna. He frequently appealed to this as a way of dispelling Western Christian reservations about participating in kirtana. The present article explores (1) the place this etymological claim played in Prabhupāda’s thinking and missionary strategy, (2) how he came to defend it in the first place, and (3) how his defense fit into the ongoing East/West discussion of the alleged etymological interdependence of Christ and Krishna that has been going on since the 18th century. At the heart of Prabhupāda’s argument is the interchangeability of Ns and Ts in the ṭavarga such that Kristo and Kesto appear as common alternative forms of the name Krishna. Prabhupāda then goes on to argue that Christos was similarly derived from Krishna as well. The argument, however, is not tenable because the t in Christos is not actually part of the original Greek verbal stem chri-, but only enters in when the suffix -tos is added to form the adjective christos (anointed). Ultimately Krishna and Christos arose independently from two separate Proto-Indo-European roots, the former from k̑ers- (dark, dirty, grey) and the latter from ghrēi- (to rub).
Huggins, Ronald V.
"On Śrīla Prabhupāda’s Insistence that“‘Christ’ came from ‘Krishna.’”,"
Journal of Hindu-Christian Studies:
Vol. 32, Article 7.
Available at: https://doi.org/10.7825/2164-6279.1733