by Bibhu Dev Misra
dated: January 27, 2012
SOURCE: Myths, Symbols, and Mysteries
In a previous article titled “Krishna Worship and Rathyatra Festival in Ancient Egypt?” I had pointed out the many similarities between Amun, the all-powerful Creator god of the ancient Egyptians (with his primary center of worship at Thebes), and Krishna, the Supreme Creator of the Vedic Indians. Both of them were blue-complexioned, wore “feathers in their head-dress” and were depicted with a “sacred river” emerging from their feet. In addition, the grand Opet festival of the ancient Egyptians, which was celebrated over a period of 24-27 days during the season of the flooding of the Nile, is identical in form and spirit to the Jagannath Rathyatra festival that is still celebrated every year at the tiny coastal town of Puri, India. The worship of Krishna (or Jagannath) and the observance of the Rathyatra festival are quintessentially Vedic festivals, which have been observed for thousands of years prior to the establishment of the cult of Amun at Thebes (as per the information contained in many Sanskrit texts). This implies that the Vedic triad of divinities – Krishna, Balarama and Subhadra – must have been transferred from India to Egypt sometime prior to the beginning of the New Kingdom in c. 1550 BC.
On further investigation I found many more similarities between these two ancient deities – Amun and Krishna. A number of hymns from the ancient Coffin Texts of Egypt associate Amun with the falcon-headed god Horus, while in Hindu myths Krishna is associated with the eagle-headed deity Garuda, who acts as his vahana i.e. carrier. Even the etymology of the name Amun has close associations with Krishna. In Egyptian, Amun is written as Ymn, which has been reconstructed by Egyptologists to “Yamanu”, and sometimes also spelled as “Yamun”. “Yamanu” or “Yamun” is very closely related to the sacred river “Yamuna” in India, which is intimately tied up with the childhood of Krishna, who grew up on the banks of the river Yamuna. The waters of the Yamuna are of a dark-blue color, which has been likened to the complexion of Krishna, and the river is regarded as the source of love, compassion and spiritual capabilities. It is possible that the Egyptian Ymn, may actually be a reference to the Yamuna, which became shortened to Yamun, and subsequently to Amun.
Even at a metaphysical level, Amun and Krishna are very similar. Amun was regarded as the “hidden one”, and the epithet, "he whose name is hidden", was frequently applied to him. Amun’s form was “unknown”, and it was said that no-one could behold or understand him, except Amun himself. The Boulaq Papyrus from the XVIII Dynasty (1552-1295 BC) describes Amun as the “Greatest in Heaven…Lord of all, who is in all things.” Amun abides in all; everything happens in him, and nothing exists outside him. He is the Supreme Creator: “The One maker of all things, Creator and Maker of beings, From Whose eyes mankind proceeded, From Whose mouth the Gods were created.” He was, “The One Whose forms are greater than every God, In Whose Beauty the Gods jubilate.” Amun was also the “champion of the poor” and he became the “personal savior” of anyone who took him into his heart.