Lord Krishna and Rama in the Primary Vedas



  • The false claims of Impersonalists and others
  • Krishna in the Primary Vedas
  • Rama in the Primary Vedas

The False Claims of Impersonalists and others

The Impersonalists to support their Mayavada Vedanta, speculates that Krishna is not mentioned in the primary Vedas anywhere. However, such speculations of them are faulty just like their all theories, because Lord Krishna and Rama are mentioned in the Primary Vedas. However it has become a habit by impersonalists to belittle the importance of Smriti texts by saying they are composed by humans and not eternal Vedic texts. But, The Shruti itself confirms the following:

Shukla Yajurveda: Madhyandina-sruti, Brhad-aranyaka Upanisad 2.4.10

asya mahato bhutasya nihsvasitam etad yad rg-vedo yajur-vedah sama
vedo’tharvangirasa itihasah puranam ityadina

“O Maitreya, the Rg, Yajur, Sama and Atharva Vedas as well as the Itihasas and the Puranas all manifest from the breathing of the Lord.”

Atharva Veda: Gopatha Brahmana, purva 2.10

evam ime sarva veda nirmitah sa-kalpah sa-rahasyah sa-brahmanah sopanisatkah setihasah sanvakhyatah sa-puranan

“In this way, all the Vedas were manifested along with the Kalpas, Rahasyas, Brahmanas, Upanisads, Itihasas, Anvakhyatas and the Puranas.” 

Atharva Veda 15.6.10–12

sa brhatim disam anu vyacalat tam itihasas ca puranam ca gathas ca itihasasya ca sa vai puranasya ca gathanam ca narasamsinam ca priyam dhama bhavati ya evam veda

“He approached the brhati meter, and thus the Itihasas, Puranas, Gathas andNarasamsis became favorable to him. One who knows this verily becomes the beloved abode of the Itihasas, Puranas, Gathas and Narasamsis.” 

Puranas and Itihasa are fifth veda : Kauthumiya Chandogya Upanisad 7.1.4

nama va rg-vedo yajur-vedah sama-veda atharvanas caturtha itihasa-puranah pancamo vedanam vedah

“Indeed, Rg, Yajur, Sama and Atharva are the names of the fourVedas.The Itihasas and Puranasare the fifth Veda.” 

Smriti texts too confirms the same:

Srimad Bhagavatam 3.12.39:

itihāsa-purāṇāni pañcamaṁ vedam īśvaraḥ

Itihasa and Puranas are Fifth Veda.

Mahabharata (Adi Parva 1.267) and Manu Samhita –

itihasa puranabhyam vedam samupabrmhayet

“One must complement one’s study of the Vedas with the Itihasas and the Puranas.”

Thus, be it Rig, Yajur, Sam, Atharva, Itihasa and Puranas, all the Vedic texts are eternal and they all together appeared from the Supreme Person. The Fifth Veda is as good as Primary 4 Vedas. Also, the Puranas are known as ‘Puranas’ is because they make the Vedas complete (puranat puranam iti canyatra). This is not to suggest that the Vedas are incomplete. It simply means that the Puranas are explanatory supplements which aid one to understand the concise and ambiguous passages in the Vedas. If the Puranas complete the Vedas, it is only logical that they must be Vedic in nature. 

Still, some asks for mention of Rama and Krishna in Primary Vedas. It is like why there is no mention of Krishna in Valmiki Ramayana or Why there is no clear mention of Rama as Vishnu incarnation in the Valmiki Ramayana. The actual meaning can be understood by studying all the Vedic texts and not just one particular type of Vedic text (like impersonalists say first 4 vedas), because some Vedic texts do not reveal some secret truths to put some principles in front of general people for their (people’s) good. Valmiki Ramayana mainly describe Rama as perfect ideal man. The Valmiki Ramayana begins with the seminal question asked by Valmiki to Narada: who is an ideal human being? Narada replies that it is Rama and the Ramayana narrative depicts how it is so. If Rama were depicted as God, then his divinity would make him a model too lofty for humanity to emulate. So Valmiki Ramayan is largely silent about Rama’s divinity, though it is a background understanding throughout and becomes a foreground understanding occasionally. However, that is not the case with Lord Krishna’s pastime as we know. But, in cases of both, there is indeed many mentions of Rama and Krishna in the primary Vedas even though the primary Vedas are Karma Kanda Vedic texts which mainly focus on rituals or how to attain the materialistic fruits which are temporary.

Krishna in the Primary Vedas/Shrutis

Krishna and Vishnu are the same person, but exists simultaneously in the two forms. Indeed, every form or Avatar exists eternally in the Spiritual World. The Primary Vedas Glorify Vishnu as Supreme Lord. However, The same Vedas mentions Krishna too. The Krishna Upanishada, Narayana Upanishada, Gopala Tapani Upanishada, Chandogya Upanishada and some other Upanishads mentions Lord Krishna.


1. Rig Veda 1.164.31

apasyam gopam anipadyamana ma ca para ca pathibhis carantam
sa sadhricih sa visucir vasana avatirvati bhuvanesv antah

“I saw a Gopala (Gopa). He never falls from his position; sometimes he is near, and sometimes far, wandering on various paths. He is a friend, decorated with a variety of clothes. He comes again and again to the material world.”

//The above verse describe Krishna, the foremost of all the Gopas (cowherd men). It also describes Krishna as Avatari Purusha and ultimately as Supreme Lord.

2.Narayana Upanishada:

brahmanyo devki putra

“The son of Devki i.e. Sri Krishna is Supreme Brahman.

3.The name “Krishna” is mentioned in Rig Veda 1.116.23 , 8.74.3,4 etc.

4.Chandogya Upanishada 3.17:

taddhaitadghor āṅgirasaḥ kṛṣṇāya 
devakīputrāyoktvovācāpipāsa eva sa babhūva
so’ntavelāyāmetattrayaṃ pratipadyetākṣitamasyacyutamasi
prāṇasam̐śitamasīti tatraite dve ṛcau bhavataḥ ॥

“Ghora Angihasa rishi advised his disciple that he should invoke Bhagavan Sri Krishna, the Son of Devakidevi with repeating this triad knowing as if the death is sitting upon his shoulder, “Thou art the Indestructible; Thou art the Unchangeable, Thou art the very Substratum that enlivens the entire universe.”

Purport :- Unfortunately some commentators blasphemously mean that Ghora Angirasa advised Sri Krishna, the Son of Devaki. But the Vaishnava commentators enlighten us with an impartial and true import that Ghora Angirasa advised his disciple to invoke Bhagavan Sri Krishna, the Divine Child of Devaki with such Panegyrics which are Sri Krishna’s essential Characteristics.

(translation and Purport from Twelve essential Upanishadas)

5.Rigveda 1.22.18 Krishna is mentioned as “Vishnorgopa” Meaning: Vishnu is Gopala (Sri Krishna). 

6.Chandogya Upanishada 8.13.1, The Name “Shyam” is mentioned:

shyamac chavalam prapadye shavalac chyamam prapadye

7.Taittiriya Upanishad (2.7.1) it is said:

raso vai sah

“The Supreme Personality of Godhead is the reservoir of transcendental mellows.”

//Lord Krishna’s one name is “Rasikashekhara”

8.Gopala Tapani Upanishada of Atharva veda:

om namah sac-cid-ananda-rupaya krishnayaklista-karine

namo vedanta-vedyaya gurave buddhi-saksine

Om namah. I offer my respectful obeisances to Sri Krsna, whose form is eternal and full of knowledge and bliss, who is the rescuer from distress, who is understood by Vedanta, who is the supreme spiritual master, and who is the witness in everyone’s heart.

9.Lord Krishna’s abode in the Rig Veda 1.154.6

ta vam vastuny usmasi gamadhyai
yatra gavo bhuri-srnga ayasah
atraha tad urugayasya krsnah
paramam padam avabhati bhuri

“We wish to go to Your [Radha’s and Krsna’s] beautiful houses, about which cows with large, excellent horns are wandering. Yet distinctly shining on this earth is that supreme abode of Yours that showers joy on all, O Urugaya [Krsna, who is much praised].”

All the References are taken from Jaiva Dharma book by Gaudiya Vaishnava Acharya Bhaktivinoda Thakura and from Srimad Bhagavatam commentary by Gaudiya Vaishnava Acharya Srila Prabhupada.

The following is an excerpt from the paper writeen by Horacio Francisco Arganis Juarez, Graduate in Linguistics and Literature at U A de C and M.A. in Gaudiya Vaisnava philosophy and Theology in IBCH. Reseacher Professor in Saltillo, Coahuila, Northeast of Mexico. Priest of Radha Govinda Mandir, ISKCON, Saltillo City, Northeast Mexico)



The Mahanarayana Upanisad mentions Vasudeva Krishna, recognized as Vishnu-Narayana:

narayanaya vidmahe vasudevaya dhimahi tan no visnu pracodayat.

“We meditate on Narayana who is the son of Vasudeva and on Him we should contemplate. Because He is Vishnu”.

Indications that the Vrisni dynasty is part of the Yadu clan, to which Krishna belonged, are found in the Taittiriya Samhita 3.2.93, Taittiriya Brahmana and the Satapatha Brahmana We find other evidences that disclose the identity of Krishna in the srutis, which refer toRadha, the principal gopi and eternal consort of Krsna, in the following Samhitas:Vajasaneyi 1.4.83Katha 6.34, Taittiriya 3-10 and Madhyandina 3.9Jaiminiya Upanisad-Brahmana: we find evidences that indicate names of devotees of Krishna: Krsna Harita – “Captivated by Krishna” (The teacher Krishna- Harita is also mentioned in the Aitareya Aranyaka 3.2-6 and the Sankhyayana Aranyaka 8.10.); Krsna-datta – “Given by or to Krishna”; Krsna-dhrti– “Determined in Krishna”; Krsna-rata Lauhitya – “Delighting in Krishna, who is dark and reddish” (Lauhitya). And there is another evidence: The epithet of Krsna-dhrti is adjective of Satyaki, the Yadava hero friend and relative of Krishna. (KLD P: 268). Later, there is another reference [1.6.1] that indicates the relation with Krishna in which the Vrisnis and Andhakas, Krishna’s family stemming from the Yadava clan, are mentioned in the same text.

Kausika Brahmana 30.9 also mentions Krishna in relation to the sage Angirasa, the same sage mentioned in the Chandogya Upanisad quoted before. The Vajasaneyi Samhita 32.11 and theSatapatha Brahmana 2.1.5,4 mention the appellation of Krishna as Gopala. The hagiographic Puranic works use this name for Krishna in his boyhood activities in the company of the Gopas in Vrindavana.

Evidences from the Vedas

“Dr. A.L. Basham, the doyen of historians, recently observed in the course of a lecture that Krishna existed many centuries prior to Bharata War, because he has found his name occurring in the Atharva-Veda. On being asked by the present writer to substantiate this, he explained that the Atharva-Veda is much early than the Mahabharata where his exploits are described, and the Chandogya Upanisad, which contains his teaching.” (KHL p.i.)

We have already quoted from different Brahmanas and Upanisads of the Sama-Veda and Yajur-Veda. In the context of Atharva-Veda (19.7.3) are found mentions of Radha with Candravali, the principals Gopis in the Krishna’s history:

radhe visake sahabhanu radha.


Other records about Krishna are found in the same book, in the section containing Pippalada’s questions. It is designated as Caitanya Upanisad by the Gaudiya teachers. In verse (5) this reference states:

golokakhye dhamni govindo…

“Goloka, the home of Govinda”.

In verse (7):

namo vedanta-vedyadya krsnaya paramatmane –

“I offer my respectful obeisance unto Krishna, the supersoul, who is understood by the study of Vedanta philosophy”.

There is an explanation of the Mahamantra Hare Krishna in text (11):

sa eva mula mantra japati harir iti krsna iti rama iti.

“The mula mantra is murmured, containing the names of Krishna and Rama.”

Its excerpt also makes a semantic explanation of the Mantra (12):

harati hrdaya-granthim vasana-rupam iti harih krs samrane tac ca nas tad-ubhaya-

melanam iti krsnah ramayati sarvam iti rama ananda-rupa atra goloko bhavati

“The names may be explained in the following way: Hari means He who unties harati, the knot of material desire in the hearts of the living entities; Krishna is divided into two syllables Krs and na. Krs means he who attracts the minds of all living entities. Na means the supreme transcendental pleasure. These two syllables combine to become the name Krishna; Rama means he who delights -ramayati- all living entities, and it also means he who is full of transcendental bliss.” 

In the Rig-Veda we can discover references that indicate that the Bhojas, from Krishna’s clan, were connected with the Angirasa family of priests (Rig 3.53.7). This is appointing why sage Ghora in the Chandogya knew about Krishna and the Kausika quoted Krishna before. The Yamuna region, the playground of Krishna in the Puranic literature, is also mentioned in the Rig-Veda: I.22.18, I.154.6. 

There are other indices: The Rig I.56, VIII.64.5, Av. IV.7.8, VI. 12.3 and 17.3, IX.I.18 show theGiri-parvata (Govardhana mountain), the favourite hill in Krishna’s lila in the Puranas. The epithetGopa of Krishna is used for Vishnu in the verse VI.7.7

adabdho gopa amrtasya raksita

Other reference is I.154.6:

tam vam vastuny usmi gamadhye yatra gavo bhuri-srnga atraha tad urugasya vrsna paramam padam 

“O both of you. We desire to attain Your supreme abode full of splendid surabhi cows with beautiful horns. This spiritual realm is the abode of You, Urugaya, who are glorified by liberated souls and whose lotus feet fulfil all the devotees desires.”

Jiva Goswami already gives the etymological purport of this verse, tam-from tani means them; vam yuvayoh-of You two; vastuni-place of lilas; ga-madhye-from gatum – to go to; parpatum-to attain; usmamsi-we desire; yatra-upon the surabhi cows (gava); bhuri-srngah-beautiful horns or many. Ayasah-splendid; atra in the earthly Goloka; Urugasya-the original personality of Godhead, epithet of Krishna in the Bhagavatam (2.3.15), vrsnah-means Of Him whose lotus feet fulfill all desire, also it is a derived word that comes from Vrsni, the family of Krishna. Paramam-beyond of reaches of material energy; padam-abode, bhuri-many ways; and avabhati-manifested. This verse from the Rig-Veda is in praise of Vishnu and indicate the relation of Vishnu like a Gopa with the cows, the same topic of Krishna’s lila.

Fight between Lord Krishna and the Demigod Indra

Other mention in the Rig-Veda about Krishna is VIII.96.13-15 that explains how Krishna encamped on the banks of the river Amsumati with the thousand soldiers and Indra told his friends, the Maruts, to fight against him. Sceptical thinkers reject the identification with Krishna Yadava, under the assumption that this verse referred to a demon named Krishna. But the flaw with this common idea is that the text never said that. It was the interpreter Sayana from XIV century A.D. who invented this. The fight with Indra, like passed in the Krishna lila, on the banks of river Amsumati that suggests the Yamuna river of the Puranas. The soldiers are analogous to the gopa narayana mention in the Mahabharata. Therefore some scholars counter the common belief of Sayana saying: “Krishna of the Rig-Veda (8.96.13-16), who lived on the banks of Amsumati (Yamuna) and fought against Indra, might have been a tribal god.” (BG.S p. xv) Other hymns of theRig-Veda (I.116.23 and 117.17) indicate the existence of Krishna’s devotees or his family members, using the word krsniya that means the genitive case or patronymic use of the word “of Krishna or belonging to Krishna”. There are other quotes in the Rig-Veda that mention directly Krishna’s name, that taking them under the context analyzed in this paper demanded serious reconsideration (VIII.85.3, I.116.23, 8.74.4, VIII. 85.16, VIII. 36.87).

Krishna and Radharani are described in the following statement of the Rik-parisista-sruti:

Radhaya madhavo devo, madhavena ca radhika, vibhrajante janesu ca

“Radha and the Lord Madhava are splendidly manifest in company of their associates.”

Yajur veda 31/19 also states:

ajaymano bahudha vijayate tasya dhirah parijananti yonim

“The unborn takes many births,the wise one understands it “

Lord Krishna also explains the above verse of yajurveda in the Gita 4.6–9. Thus there abundant evidences found in the Vedic literatures, which directly or indirectly describes Lord Krishna. In fact, all the Vedas are meant to Know Krishna. Itihasas like Mahabharata and Ramayana are also meant to assist the Vedas in knowing about Lord Krishna. Similarly the Puranas aid to serve the same purpose. Lord Krishna says in Srimad Bhagavatam as follows:

Kim vidhatte kim acaste Kim anudaya vikalpayet Ity asya hrdayam loke Nanyo mad veda kascana Mam vidhate ‘bhidhatte mam Vikalpyapohyate hy aham

“What is the direction of all Vedic literatures? On whom do they set focus? Who is the purpose of all speculation? Outside of me (Krishna) no one knows these things. Now you should know that all these activities are aimed at ordaining and setting forth Me. The purpose of Vedic literature is to know Me by different speculations, either by indirect understanding or by dictionary understanding. Everyone is speculating about Me.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.21.42-43.)

In srimad Bhagavad gita, Lord Krishna says as follows:

vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyo

“By all the Vedas, I,am to be Known.” (Gita 15.15)

Even Adi Sankaracharya in his Mangala shloka on the commentary of Vishnu sahasranama says as follows:

“sat chit ananda rupaya krsnaya aklista karine namo vedanta vedyaya gurave buddhi saksine”

“Obeisances to Lord Krishna, whose form is composed of sat ,chit and ananda (bliss), who performs many wonderful deeds effortlessly. He is known by the Vedanta sutras. He is the guru and the witness of buddhi.”

The Vishnu Purana also states:

paramātmā ca sarveṣām ādhāraḥ parameśvaraḥ / viṣṇur nāmnā sa vedeṣu vedānteṣu ca gīyate // ViP_6,4.40 //

“The Isvara above all Isvaras, the paramatma who is the supporter of every being. He is sung by all the Vedas and Vedanta as Lord Vishnu.

Hari-vamsha 113.82 also states as follows:

vede ramayane caiva purane bharate tatha

adav ante ca madhye ca harih sarvatra giyate

“In the Vedic literature, including the Ramayana, Puranas and Mahabharata, from the very beginning (adau), to the end (ante ca), as well as within the middle(madhye ca), only Lord Hari, the supreme Personality of Godhead, is glorified.”

Thus all the Vedas, Upanishads, Itihasas and puranas glorifies supreme Lord Krishna in unison as the ultimate destination. All other devatas as mentioned like Agni, Indra, etc are glorified in the Vedas as the vibhutis of Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna is the antaryami of all the demigods. But in a ultimate sense, these names like Indra, Agni, rudra, etc are also the names of Lord Krishna. Hence by the various names, only Lord Krishna is glorified in the scriptures. As states the verse of Bhalvaveya sruti:

namani sarvani yam vishanti tam vai vishnum paramam udaharanti”

“Lord Vishnu alone is primarily described by all names in the Vedas”

Thus throughout the Vedas and the Upanishads, Lord Krishna alone is glorified. There is no doubt about it.

The Paper excerpt ends here.



Many, many scholars and oldest texts (As per the materialistic scholars dating) also mentioned Krsna:

From Lord Krishna recognized by scholars long time ago:

  1. Ashtadhyayi of Panini Mentions Krishna.
  2. Nirukti of Yaska: Krishna and his wives Jambavati and Satyabhama.
  3. Baudhayana-dharma-sutra: Three names of Krishna are mentioned – Kesava, Govinda and Damodara. But there are more in this quote: “Madhva, Madhusudana, Hrshikesha, Padmanabha and Vishnu”, usually describing Krishna in the Bhagavad-Gita as well as in Srimad Bhagavatam; and the book makes reference to “the servants of Vishnu”.
  4. Indika of Megasthenes: Surasena, the Yadus’s King, Mathura, the birth city of Krishna, Krishnapura or Kampura, Yamuna river, Krishna like Hari.
  5. Artha-shastra of Chanakya: Krishna and Kamsa, the birth history of Krishna, the Vrishnis, Dvaipayana or Vyasa, Balarama and devotees of Krishna with shaved head and tuft of hair (sikha).
  6. Mahanarayana Upanisad: Krishna Vasudeva recognized as Vishnu-Narayana.
  7. Grammar of Patanjali: “Krishna is not an ordinary king but the Supreme”, Krishna the enemy of Kamsa, Balarama, Janardana (Krishna), one temple of Balarama and Kesava (Krishna), Akrura the uncle, Svaphalka the granduncle, Ugrasena the grandfather, Vasudeva, Balarama, Andhakas, Vrishnis, Kurus.
  8. Maitrayaniya Samhita of Yajur Veda: Allusions to Krishna in the Narayana Gayatri similar to Mahanarayana Upanisad quoted before (but according to him without the name Vasudeva).

All this description about Krishna in the Shrutis and other texts refutes the so-called accusations of Mayavadis (Advaitavadis) and other sectarian groups which doubts the supremacy or existence of Krishna in the Shrutis as well as oldest texts and spread false info about Lord Sri Krishna and Lord Ramachandra (see the next section).


Lord Rama in the Primary Vedas:

Rigveda 10.93.14

pra tad duhsime prthavane vene pra rame vocamasuremaghavatsu

ye yuktvaya panca satasmayu patha visravyesam

Translation by an Acharya of Ramanandi Sampradaya from http://lordrama.co.in/shri-rama-and-vedas.html:

In Yajnyas, I sing glory of Duḥśīma, Pṛthavāna, Vena, and the powerful Rāma which is suitable to be heard by gods who come on 500 chariots drawn by horses upon our wish to fulfill our wishes.

There are many, many other mentions of Rama in the Rigveda, indeed there is a full katha of Rama in the Rigveda. To read more in detail, read the PDF: https://archive.org/details/MantraRamayana

There is also Krishna katha in the Rigveda, but unfortunately we don’t have english or Hindi translation of it, those who are familiar with Bengali language can read it from: https://archive.org/details/MantraBhagavata

Besides description of Krishna and Rama, the other sections of shruti also mentions Matsya, Kurma and Vamana avatara. For e.g, The Shatapatha Brahmana 1:8:1 talks about Matsya incarnation and his pastime with the Vaivaswata Rishi. Vamana (sometimes as by name “Vishnu”) is described in the Rigveda as younger brother of Indra most times. Rigveda 7.100 says Trivikrama (Vamana) moves over the entire Universe with only three strides.