Did Jesus Visit India?
The feature film “The Unknown Stories of the Messiah” ignited considerable controversy when it was released in India by claiming Jesus journeyed to the East after the crucifixion, studied Hinduism and Buddhism, and was buried in a tomb in Kashmir.
Responding to attacks from India’s Christian leaders, the film’s producer Subhrajit Mitra pointed out that while “neither the Bible nor the mainstream ‘gospels’ give credence to such theories… there is evidence in Hindu, Muslim, and Buddhist scriptures of Jesus staying in India.”
He said that a “Jesus-like man” finds mention “in the holy books of Jerusalem, Alexandria, Turkey, Persia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tibet and India.”
The Indian film-maker was inspired by the writings of nineteenth century Russian adventurer Nicolai Notovitch and the German scholar Holga Kersten. Notovitch wrote a book, The Unknown Life of Jesus Christ, after his visit to the Ladakh region in Jammu and Kashmir state in 1887. A century later, intrigued by Notovitch’s account of Jesus traveling to the East, Holga Kersten produced two best-selling books Jesus Lived in India and The Jesus Conspiracy.
Both authors relate popular legends and stories which tell of Jesus visiting Ladakh and the Kashmir valley, as well as Varanasi city, which is in India’s north-central state of Uttar Pradesh.
They allege that Jesus was buried in an ancient tomb built in the Kan Yar area of Kashmir’s Srinagar district. They also suggest that Jesus first came to India as a child to learn from Hindu gurus, and later returned to Palestine to teach what he studied in the East. He survived the crucifixion and returned to India where he died at age 120.
Notovitch asserted that in 1887, while at the secluded Himis monastery in Ladakh, he was shown a manuscript which discussed the “unknown life” of Jesus, or “Issa,” as he was supposedly called in the East. This Issa text, translated for Notovitch from Tibetan by a monk/lama, alleged that during his “lost years” Jesus was educated by yogis in India, Nepal and “the Himalaya Mountains.”
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