The Crash of a Civilization

Update: 2022-11-06 00:45 IST

 The Crash of a Civilization

Jesus in India Story

Some people still question if Jesus is a historical figure or not. Perhaps today it is an irrelevant subject to discuss, but one can take up a more exciting topic – Jesus's India connection. First of all, what is the 'lost years' of Jesus? In various Christian literature and Gospels, details of the life of Jesus are noted, except the years between the age of 12 through 29. Luke 2: 52 says, "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man".


As noted earlier, Jesus was most likely born in the sect called Essene. The founder of the Theosophical Society, Helena Blavatsky, suggested that Jesus had secretly been trained by the Essenes [69] and later left the community and became a traveling healer.

The 2nd President of the Theosophical Society, Annie Besant, suggested that Jesus was sent "to be trained in an Essene community" and went to an "Essene monastery" in Egypt, where he was "fully instructed in the secret teachings which were the real fount of life among the Essenes".

Many suggest that Jesus spent 18 years of his 'hidden years' in India. According to them, he was exposed to HinduBuddhist training and studied and practiced Indian spiritual methods under the tutelage of Hindu/Buddhist Gurus; then went back and preached his teachings, which are supposed to be Indian/Vedic. Some suggest that he stayed in Varanasi, Puri, etc., – spiritual locations.

Was it at all possible for Jesus to visit India from Judea, thousands of miles away? Yes, via the Silk Route, it was very much possible.

Some say that Jesus survived the crucifixion and moved to the Himalayan region in India again. There is a tomb called Rozabal Tomb in Srinagar, Kashmir; according to legends, it is said to be of Jesus.

Some others are more specific, saying that he was initiated by the Nath Sampraday (sect) suggested by Bijoy Krishna Goswami, a Guru from the same sect.

The whole discussion started while the entire world was shocked after a book was published by the Russian journalist and adventurer Nicolas Notovich in 1894. His book La vie inconnue de Jesus Christ (Life of Saint Issa) claimed that during his missing 18 years, he went to India and Tibet and studied under Hindu and Buddhist spiritual masters.

He apparently traveled to a monastery in Tibet and saw scrolls documenting the visit of Saint Issa or Jesus. A large number of scholars, especially Christians, disputed and rejected the assertions of Nicolas as a hoax and unfounded.

An American preacher and scholar, Levi H. Dowling, wrote a book called The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ (1908). In this book, he claimed that during the missing years, Jesus traveled across India, Tibet, Persia, Assyria, Greece, and Egypt.

Nicholas Roerich, a Russian theosophist, and philosopher, also visited Lhasa in 1925 and supported the revelations of Nicolas Notovich.

Later two Indian monks visited the same monastery and were said to have verified the veracity of Nicolas, including Swami Trigunatitananda and Swami Abhedadananda of the Ramakrishna Order. Several Hindu Gurus also eulogized Jesus, including the founder of ISKCON, Srila Prabhupad, Yuketswar Giri, Puri Shankaracharya, and Paramhansa Yogananda.

The BBC also produced a documentary called 'Jesus in India' that explored these possibilities and suggested that Jesus was a Buddhist Monk.

Recently several books have been published including, Jesus Lived in India: His Unknown Life Before and After the Crucifixion (2001) by Holger Kersten, The Fifth Gospel: New Evidence from the Tibetan, Sanskrit, Arabic, Persian, and Urdu Sources About the Historical Life of Jesus Christ After the Crucifixion (2006), and The Venus Blueprint: Uncovering the Ancient Science of Sacred Spaces, a book by Richard Merrick, 2012. These books also talk about the life of Jesus in India and Tibet, but the evidence is still scanty.

What are the implications of these assertions that Jesus was a Yogi or, for that matter, lived in India and learned under the tutelage of Hindu Gurus? First of all, it may give a free license to Christian missionaries to convert innocent Indian people suggesting Jesus be one of their own Gurus or even Avataras. While India has innumerable sages and saints with great spiritual heights, Jesus would become one of many hundreds of such saints. Why should Hindus need another one who, if the assertions are true, is a foreign student first and an ascetic later? However, many Hindus pay respect to Jesus, at least during Christian holidays.

On the other hand, some Christian evangelists also play tricks to convert in large numbers by using Hindu symbolisms such as wearing saffron, using Aum on the cross, etc. That is not any reflection of 'Yogi' or a 'Buddhist' monk Jesus!

When we look at the current state of Christianity, it is clear that it is a rudimentary form of Hindu Bhakti Yoga. Some relic of Puja is there. Ash Wednesday, Baptism, etc., may have similarities with Vedic rituals. Some Gospel teachings are very close to Buddhist ideas as well. But that's all; it is exclusivism embedded in the system. There is not much for a Hindu to celebrate about it, and most Christians disagree with this idea. Some groups promote Isha-ism or Yogi-Isha form of Jesus, give Jesus-like attributes to Saint Thomas (like a twin), but eventually, they practice some form of Christianity. They do not allow any other Hindu deities to accompany Jesus. Even if they do, like the 'Divine Life Society' which was founded by Paramhansa Yogananda, the exhibition of Jesus gets prominence over the faces of Yogic or Hindu tradition Gurus. So, the only thing remains that for those who want to promote this idea that Jesus was a Yogi, it is fair to ask them to put efforts to reset, reform their ideas and practices significantly to reflect true Yoga tradition. If Jesus was a Yogi, learned it from India, it would be ironic that many Christian leaders and churches are against yoga!

Christianity, being one of the most prominent 'religions', played a very distinct role in many societies. After most forms of Paganism were destroyed, in the wild wild West, where Darwinism had taken a deep foothold, which preached 'survival of the fittest', in the absence of a viable form of ethical system, Christianity became a veritable window of opportunity for people for morality, ethics, social empowerment. Even the African slaves found some solace in Christianity though they were transplanted from their native lands and cultures. With all the imperfections and problems the church has created, it has also done much good for the people, especially the ones devoid of any deep spiritual heritage apart from the Pagans. One can imagine if there was no Christianity and no churches in the West, what would fill the vacuum of destroyed native cultures. One of the reasons the destructive ideology of communism came into being is due to lack of a higher spirit in the pure materialistic philosophies and ideologies. But how about India? India, the land of Dharma, does not need to learn morality and ethics from others and, of course, yoga and divinity.

Before the British came to India, none of the Hindu sects such as Shaivites, Vaishnavas, Shaktas, Naths, or Tantriks were identified separately from the Hindu system. No distinct formal identity for Jainism, Buddhism, or Sikhism was made – because they are part of the great Yogic heritage where key concepts such as Yoga, Dharma, Karma, Reincarnation, etc. are intertwined. Buddha was born in the Hindu tradition and even preached from the Upanishads. The 10th Sikh Guru Govind Singh formed Khalsa to fight Islamic aggression. The same was the case with the Nath sampradaya. But in recent days, some NeoCols are pushing more for this separation, sometimes giving the feeling that the Sikhs are closer to Islam or their interactions with Islam were very close; hence they are separate from the Hindus.

But the mystery remains – if Jesus started preaching at the age of 30 after his return to his homeland, then he had just three years to propagate his ideas to the world, and yet he became so popular and famous would in itself be a miracle!

(Excerpted with permission from 'The Crash of a Civilization' by Kanchan Banerjee , Rs 399, published by Prabhat Prakashan)



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