I watched a fascinating documentary, Jesus Was a Buddhist Monk. The theme was that Jesus did not die on the cross. The film speculated on where he might have gone afterwards in order to avoid being captured and re-executed. It ended with Jesus having returned to the Kashmir providence of India which was represented a return to the place he had gone to in his youth between the ages of 12 to 29, a time frame was not covered in the history of Jesus’ life given in the Bible. The film showed the tomb of Jesus in Kashmir and his footprints showing the marks of the cross. Jesus adopted the name Yuz Asaf during his later decades when he lived as a wandering holy man in the environs of Kashmir.
Intrigued by the film, I read two books for more information on the life of Jesus: The Unknown Life of Jesus Christ by Nicolas Notovich and Jesus Lived in India, his unknown life before and after the crucifixion, by Holger Kersten. The Notovich book was published in 1897, and the Kersten book was published in 1983. Also during my web research I discovered this related post on wordpress.
The Notovich book introduces a manuscript kept in a Buddhist monastery in Kashmir. Unfortunately the manuscript had disappeared by the time Kersten retraced Notovich’s steps 100 years later, although he did find evidence to support its existence.
The Notovich book did not contain the assertion that Jesus survived the crucifixion. The book describes the author’s exploration of India, Nepal and Tibet, in the late 1800s, by horse-drawn carriage and horseback. One of the members of his party was attacked and killed by a panther while they camped in a lonely place. Notovich heard about, and eventually tracked down, while recovering from a broken leg, written histories of and quotations from Issa, the Arabic name for Jesus. At last two volumes were brought, read and translated into Russian. Notovich wrote down the translations. They told the history of the Israelites, the birth of Jesus, his early interest in the word of God, his departure from his parents home around the age of 13, his travels through India, Nepal, Tibet his instructions there, and his preaching during that time, his return to Israel via Persia at about the age of 29, where the Notovich manuscript takes up the same history as the gospels, albeit refreshingly different.
I love Jesus. When I was young I went to both Lutheran Sunday School and Seventh Day Adventist Sabbath School. They both took place in the same building. During that time I learned to pray and had one of my first mystical experiences at about the age of 7. Up until that time I had recurring nightmares where my tongue and hands felt thick and I experienced a terrifying feeling of bondage. The nightmares still occurred after that, but they were no longer terrifying, because now I knew what to do. I thought about Jesus and prayed to Him for help. I saw a purple form as he came to me. I felt energized in his love, comforted and in peace.
Later on, my father stopped attending church and my mother, siblings and I attended the Methodist Church. She also took me to the Unitarian Church a few times, although it was a 30 minute drive away. The summer after I graduated from high school she took me to Unitarian Summer Camp for a week. I left home a year later and took a job where I worked Sundays, although I had wanted to fellowship with the Jesus People.
Back to my young years, around the age of 10, thanks to rides there from a neighbor, I attended Sunday School 10 Sundays in a row at the Assembly of God Church, for which I was awarded my own red letter edition King James Bible. The more liberal churches I attended with my mother were using more modern translations, but I loved that Bible! I loved reading the words of Jesus set apart by the red ink. I read them over and over.
It didn’t take very long to read everything Jesus ever said that had been recorded that I knew about. It can be done in less than an hour, and I usually read a good chunk of it every night before I went to sleep. Before long I knew all of Jesus’ words by heart.
How wonderful to have an additional treasury of the precious words of Jesus included in The Unknown Life of Jesus Christ by Nicolas Notovich! Here is a small sample from Chsoter 7:
5. But Issa [Jesus] then said: “The miracles of our God began when the universe was created; they occur each day, each instant; whosoever does not see them is deprived of one of the most beautiful gifts of life.” …
13. And Issa also taught the pagans not to strive to see the Eternal Spirit with their own eyes, but to endeavor to feel it in their hearts, and, by a truly pure soul, to make themselves worthy of its favors.
14. “Not only must you desist from offering human sacrifices,” said he, “but you must immolate no animal to which life has been given, for all things have been created for the benefit of man.”
15. “Do not take what belongs to others, for it would be robbing your neighbor of the goods he has acquired by the sweat of his brow.”
16. “Deceive no one, that you may not yourself be deceived; strive to justify yourself before the last judgment, for it will then be too late.”
18. “Do not give yourself up to debauchery, for it is a violation of the laws of God.”
18. “You shall attain supreme beatitude, not only by purifying yourself, but also by leading others into the path that shall permit them to regain primitive perfection.”
The Notovich book created a furor among Christians. Some detractors traveled to the Hemis Monastery in northern India in order to destroy the original documents. As a result the abbotts there refused to show them or even to admit their existence.
In 1922, after the furor had subsided, Swami Abhedananda, a disciple of Ramakrishna, having read the Notovich book, traveled to the monastery where he was shone the documents, and was assured that Notovich’s account of his visit there, and his rendering of the documents, were accurate.
While not exalting him extravagantly, Buddhism seems willing enough to accept Jesus as one of it’s saints. Christian theologians, on the other hand, seem to want to draw a hedge around Christianity and create a schism between it and Buddhism. None need exist. The two religions are very similar. But this hedge drawing has been going on for nearly two millennia, which is probably why the material, discovered by Notovich, was left out of the Bible in the first place! Clergy tends to divide, emphasizing differences rather than commonality.
I then read Jesus’s lived in India, his unknown life before and after the crucifixion by Hoger Kersten.
The Kersten book discusses the Shroud of Turin extensively, giving convincing arguments for it’s authenticity. The shroud is like a detailed document of what Jesus experienced before and during the crucifixion. This meter and a half of linen in which Jesus was wrapped after the crucifixion bears the imprint of his visage. Perhaps the aloe and myrrh that his body was slathered in provided the pigment for the imprint of his face and body which became impregnated in the linen shroud. In any case, according to Kersten, some body heat would have been necessary. The little balls in the whip Jesus was whipped with left marks all over his body that were imprinted into the shroud. The crown of thorns was like a hood that left wounds all over his head, forehead and the sides of his face. The nail wounds were in the wrists, not the palms, and also behind the toes, in a little different place on each foot. The wound in his side from the sword was also visible in the shroud.
What Kersten found remarkable was that Jesus was still bleeding when he was wrapped in the shroud. All his wounds were bleeding even one in his forehead from the crown of thorns, which had been removed before the herbs and shroud were applied and he was laid in the tomb. His head was raised, making the forehead the most elevated part of the body. That this wound continued to bleed would indicate a beating heart.
Jesus respirations and heart rate had slowed down and were imperceptible, his body temperature had fallen. He was presumed dead. He may have been clinically dead for awhile and then recovered like one who has what is now known as a near death experience.
We do know that, according to the gospels, Jesus left the tomb and appeared to many, not as a spirit or ghost, but as a man in the flesh, and there was no body left in the tomb.
That he managed to escape a government intent on putting him to death was a miracle, and in that he must have been aided by the Essenes. They must have known intuitively that he needed rescuing from the sealed tomb, brought him a garment, and concealed him until he had recovered enough to make the trip to India.
The Kersten book gives a background of Israelites being in Kashmir, making the case that the lost tribes ended up there after being dispersed. It was even hinted that Kashmir was the original promised land for the Israelites, rather than Palestine.
According to the Qur’an, Jesus did not die on the cross, but it appeared that he did:
And their saying: Surely we have killed the Messiah, Isa son of Marium, the apostle of Allah; and they did not kill him nor did they crucify him [to death], but it appeared to them so…, and most surely those who differ therein are only in doubt about it; they have no knowledge respecting it, but only follow conjecture, and they killed him not for sure”. Surah 4:157 M.H. Shakir
Christian dogma often require that a modern, scientifically literate human being suspend the rational thought process and accept unscientific points of dogma without question.
Luke 6:39 King James Bible: And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch?
Jesus is saying, open your eyes! Don’t be led around blindly! Investigate for yourself! Don’t just take someone else’s word for it! I can believe in Jesus, the man of God, the holy one, the teacher of spiritual truths, even the perfect examplar, without burdening myself with unlikely mythology. Even of that, I can believe something miraculous if it is revealed to me personally. There is no reason to take on a burden of unscientific dogma. That is not what it means to be spiritual.