The History of Isha Messiah-Jesus the Christ16
The Christ of India - Swami Nirmalananda Giri
Isha's life in India
Among the Essenes of Israel at the threshold of the Christian Era, none were better known or respected than Joachim and Anna of Nazareth. Joachim was noted for his great piety, wealth, and charity. The richest man in Israel, his practice was to divide his increase into thirds, giving one third to the temples of Carmel and Jerusalem and one third to the poor, keeping only one third for himself. Anna was renowned as a prophetess and teacher among the Essenes. Their daughter Mary [Miryam], who had been conceived miraculously beneath the Holy of Holies of the Temple, had passed thirteen years of Her life as a Temple Virgin until her espousal to Joseph of Nazareth. Before their marriage was performed, She was discovered to have conceived supernaturally, and in time She gave birth to a Son in a cave of Bethlehem. His given name was Jesus (Yeshua in Aramaic and Yahoshua in Hebrew).
This Son of Miryam was as miraculous as His Mother, and astounding wonders were worked and manifested daily in His life-for the preservation of which His parents took Him into Egypt for some years where they lived with the various Essene communities there. But before that flight, when the Child had been about three years old, sages from India 17 had come to pay Him homage and to establish a link of communication with Him, for His destiny was to live most of His life with them in the land of Eternal Dharma before returning to Israel as a messenger of the very illumination that had originally been at the heart of the Essene order. Through the intermediary of merchants and travellers both to and from India, contact was maintained with their destined Disciple.
At the age of twelve, during the Passover observances on Mount Carmel (not in Jerusalem), Jesus petitioned the elders of the Essenes for initiation-something bestowed only on adults after careful instruction and scrutiny. Because of His well-known supernatural character, the elders examined Him before all those present. Not only could He answer all their questions perfectly, when the examination was ended He began to examine them, putting to them questions and statements that were utterly beyond their comprehension. In this way He demonstrated that the Essene order had nothing whatever to teach Him, and that there was no need for Him to undergo any initiation or instruction from them.
Upon His return to Nazareth preparations were begun for His journeying into India to formally become a disciple of those Masters who had come to Him nine years before. The necessary preliminaries took something more than a year, but sometime between the age of thirteen or fourteen,18 Jesus of Nazareth set forth on a spiritual pilgrimage that would transform Jesus the Nazarene into Isha the Lord, the Teacher of Dharma and Messiah of Israel.
The spiritual training of Jesus
In the Himalayan fastnesses Jesus was instructed in yoga and the highest spiritual life, receiving the spiritual name "Isha," which means Lord, Master, or Ruler, a descriptive title often applied to God, as in the Isha Upanishad. Isha is also a particular title of Shiva.19
The worship of Shiva centered in the form of the natural elliptical stone known as the Shiva Linga (Symbol of Shiva) was a part of the spiritual heritage of Jesus, for His ancestor Abraham, the father of the Hebrew nation, was a worshiper of that form. The Linga which he worshipped is today enshrined in Mecca within the Kaaba. The stone, which is black in color, is said to have been given to Abraham by the Archangel Gabriel, who instructed him in its worship.
Such worship did not end with Abraham, but was practiced by his grandson Jacob, as is shown in the twenty-eighth chapter of Genesis. Unwittingly, because of the dark, Jacob used a Shiva Linga for a pillow and consequently had a vision of Shiva standing above the Linga which was symbolically seen as a ladder to heaven by means of which devas (shining ones) were coming and going. Recalling the devotion of Abraham and Isaac, Shiva spoke to Jacob and blessed him to be an ancestor of the Messiah. Upon awakening, Jacob declared that God was in that place though he had not realized it. The light of dawn revealed to him that his pillow had been a Shiva Linga, so he set it upright and worshipped it with an oil bath, as is traditional in the worship of Shiva, naming it (not the place) Bethel: the Dwelling of God. (In another account in the thirty-fifth chapter, it is said that Jacob "poured a drink offering thereon, and he poured oil thereon." This, too, is traditional, both milk and honey-which Shiva promised Moses would flow abundantly in Israel- being poured over the Linga as offerings.) From thenceforth that place became a place of pilgrimage and worship of Shiva in the form of the Linga stone. Later Jacob had another vision of Shiva, Who told him: "I am the God of Bethel, where thou anointedst the pillar, and where thou vowedst a vow unto me." 20 A perusal of the Old Testament will reveal that Bethel was the spiritual center for the descendants of Jacob, even above Jerusalem.
Although this tradition of Shiva [Linga] worship has faded from the memory of the Jews and Christians, in the nineteenth century it was evidenced in the life of the stigmatic Anna Catherine Emmerich, an Augustinian Roman Catholic nun. On several occasions when she was deathly ill, angelic beings brought her crystal Shiva Lingas which they had her worship by pouring water over them. When she drank that water she would be perfectly cured. Furthermore, on major Christian holy days she would have out-of-body experience in which she would be taken to Hardwar, a city sacred to Shiva in the foothills of the Himalayas, and from there to Mount Kailash, the traditional abode of Shiva, which she said was the spiritual heart of the world.
Isha's life in India
For the next few years the Himalayas became Jesus' well-travelled home. During part of that time Jesus meditated in a cave north of the present-day city of Rishikesh, one of the most sacred locales of India, and also on the banks of the Ganges in the holy city of Hardwar. In the years He spent in the Himalayas, He attained the supreme heights of spiritual realization.
Having attained perfect inner wisdom in the Himalayas, Jesus journeyed to the Gangetic plain to engage in the formal study that would prepare Him for the public teaching of Sanatana Dharma both in India and in the countries between India and Israel as well as in Israel itself.
First he went to live in Benares, the spiritual heart of India, the city most consecrated to the worship of Shiva and the major center of Vedic learning in all of India. During His time in the Himalayas, Jesus' endeavors had been centered almost exclusively on the practice of yoga. In Benares Jesus engaged in intense study of the spiritual teachings embodied in the Vedic scriptures-especially the books of spiritual philosophy known as the Upanishads.
He then journeyed to the sacred city of Jagannath Puri, which at that time was a great center of the worship of Shiva, second only to Benares. In Puri Jesus officially adopted the monastic life and lived some time as a member of the Govardhan Math,21 the monastery founded three centuries before His birth by the foremost philosopher- saint of India known as Adi Shankaracharya.22 There He perfected the synthesis of yoga, philosophy, and renunciation, and eventually began to publicly teach the Eternal Knowledge.
As a teacher Jesus was as popular as He was proficient in teaching, and gained great notoriety among all levels of society. However, because He insisted that all men should learn and be taught the meaning of the Vedas and their allied scriptures and began teaching the "lower" castes accordingly, as well as teaching that all could attain spiritual perfection without the intermediary of external, ritualized religion, He incurred the hatred of many religious "professionals" in Puri who began to plot His death.
Since "His hour was not yet come," 23 He left Puri and returned to the Himalayas where He again spent quite some time in meditation, preparing Himself for His return to Israel. He also lived in various Buddhist monasteries in the Himalayan region, studying the wisdom of the Buddha.
Before beginning the long journey westward, instructions were given Him regarding His mission in the West and the way messages could be sent between Jesus and His Indian teachers. Jesus was aware of the form and purpose of His life and death from His very birth, but it was the Indian Masters who made everything clear to Him regarding them. They promised Jesus that He would be sent a container of Himalayan Balsam to be poured upon His head by a close disciple as a sign that His death was imminent, even "at the door." When Saint Mary Magdalene performed this action in Bethany, Jesus understood the unspoken message, saying: "She is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying."24
Return to the West
Jesus then set forth on His return journey to Israel with the blessings of the Masters to thenceforth be a Dharmacharya,25 a missionary of Arya Dharma to the Mediterranean world, which at that time was "the West." All along His way, Jesus taught those who were drawn to His spiritual magnetism and who sought His counsel in the divine life. He promised that after some years He would be sending them one of His disciples who would give them even more knowledge and benefit.
Arriving in Israel, Jesus went directly to the Jordan where his cousin John, the Master of the Essenes, was baptizing. There His Christhood was revealed to John and those who had "the eyes to see and the ears to hear."26 In this way His brief mission to Israel was begun. Its progress and conclusion are well known, so we need not recount it here except to rectify one point after the next section.
Misunderstanding becomes a religion
Throughout the Gospels we see that the disciples of Jesus consistently misunderstood his speaking of higher spiritual matters. When he spoke of the sword of wisdom they showed him swords of metal to assure him they were well equipped.27 When he warned them against the "leaven" of the Scribes and Pharisees they thought he was complaining that they did not have any bread.28 Is it any wonder, then that he said to them: "Perceive ye not yet, neither understand? have ye your heart yet hardened? Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? How is it that ye do not understand?"29 Even in the moment of his final departure from them, their words showed that they still believed the kingdom of God was an earthly political entity and not the realm of spirit.30 This being so, the Gospels themselves must be approached with grave caution and with the awareness that Jesus was not the creator of a new religion, but a messenger of the Sanatana Dharma, the Eternal Religion he had learned in India. As a priest of the Saint Thomas Christian Church of South India once commented to me: "You cannot understand the teachings of Jesus if you do not know the scriptures of India." And if you do know the scriptures of India you can see where-however well-intentioned they may have been-the authors of the Gospels often completely missed the point and garbled the words and ideas they heard from Jesus, even attributing to him incidents from the life of Buddha (such as the Widow's Mite) and mistaking his quotations from the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita and the Dhammapada for doctrines original to him. For example, the opening verse of the Gospel of John, which has been cited through the centuries as proof of the unique character and mission of Jesus, is really a paraphrase of the Vedic verse: "In the beginning was Prajapati, with Him was the Word, and the Word was truly the Supreme Brahman."31 Having confused Christ with Jesus, things could only go downhill for them and their followers until the true Gospel of Christ was buried beneath two millennia of confusion and theological debris.
Return to India-not ascension
It is generally supposed that at the end of His ministry in Israel Jesus ascended into heaven. But Saint Matthew and Saint John, the two Evangelists that were eye-witnesses of His departure, do not even mention such a thing, for they knew that He went to India after departing from them. Saint Mark and Saint Luke, who were not there, simply speak of Jesus being taken up into the heavens. The truth is that He departed into India, though it is not unlikely that He did rise up and "fly" there. This form of travel is not unknown to the Indian yogis.
That Jesus did not leave the world at the age of thirty-three was written about by Saint Irenaeus of Lyon in the second century. He claimed that Jesus lived to be fifty or more years old before leaving the earth, though he also said that Jesus was crucified at the age of thirty-three. This would mean that Jesus lived twenty years after the crucifixion. This assertion of Saint Irenaeus has puzzled Christian scholars for centuries, but if we put it together with other traditions it becomes comprehensible. Basilides of Alexandria, Mani of Persia, and Julian the Emperor said that Jesus had gone to India after His crucifixion.
Some Buddhist historical records about Jesus
A contemporary written record of the life and teachings of Jesus in India was discovered in 1887 by the Russian traveler Nicholas Notovitch during his wanderings in Ladakh. He had it translated from the Tibetan text (the original, kept in the Marbour monastery near Lhasa, was in Pali) and, despite intense opposition from Christians in Russia and Europe, published it in his book The Unknown Life of Jesus Christ.32
As would be expected, the authenticity of Notovitch's book was attacked33 and various articles written claiming that the monks of the Himis monastery, where Notovitch had found the manuscript, told investigators that they knew nothing of Notovitch or the text. But both Swami Abhedananda and Swami Trigunatitananda-direct disciples of Sri Ramakrishna34 and preachers of Vedanta35 in America-went at separate times to the Himis monastery. The monks there not only assured them that Notovitch had spent some time in the monastery as he claimed, they also showed them the manuscript-part of which they translated for Swami Abhedananda, who knew from having read Notovitch's book that it was indeed the same writing found in The Unknown Life of Jesus Christ. Subsequently, Abhedananda had the English translation of Notovitch's text printed in India where the Christian authorities had until then prohibited both its publication or its importation and sale.
Swami Trigunatitananda not only saw the manuscript in Himis, he also was shown two paintings of Jesus. One was a depiction of His conversation with the Samaritan Woman at the well. The other was of Jesus meditating in the Himalayan forest surrounded by wild beasts that were tamed by His very presence. A copy made from his description is reproduced on the cover of this booklet.
Later, Dr. Nicholas Roerich, the renowned scholar, philosopher, artist, and explorer, traveled in Ladakh and also was shown the manuscript and assured by the monks that Jesus had indeed lived in several Buddhist monasteries during His "lost years." He wrote about his own viewing of the scrolls in his book The Heart of Asia.
In 1921 the Himis monastery was visited by Henrietta Merrick who, in her book In the World's Attic tells of learning about the records of Jesus' life that were kept there. She wrote: "In Leh is the legend of Jesus who is called Issa, and the Monastery at Himis holds precious documents fifteen hundred years old which tell of the days that he passed in Leh where he was joyously received and where he preached."
In 1939 Elizabeth Caspari visited the Himis monastery. The Abbot showed her some scrolls, which he allowed her to examine, saying: "These books say your Jesus was here."
Robert Ravicz, a former professor of anthropology at California State University at Northridge, visited Himis in 1975. A Ladakh physician he met there spoke of Jesus' having been there during His "lost years."
In the late 1970's Edward Noack, author of Amidst Ice and Nomads in High Asia, and his wife visited the Himis monastery. A monk there told him: "There are manuscripts in our library that describe the journey of Jesus to the East."
Toward the end of this century the diaries of a Moravian Missionary, Karl Marx, were discovered in which he writes of Notovitch and his finding of scrolls about "Saint Issa." (Marx's diaries are kept in the Moravian Mission museum. The pages about Notovitch and the scrolls have "disappeared" and their existence is now denied in an attempt to discredit Notovitch, but before their disappearance they were photographed by a European researcher and have been made public.)
From all this testimony we see that Jesus studied the Buddhist Dharma as well as the Hindu Dharma during His life in India.
Notovitch also claimed that the Vatican Library had sixty-three manuscripts from India, China, Egypt, and Arabia-all giving information about Jesus' life.
In 1812, Meer Izzut-oolah, a Persian, was sent to Ladakh and central Asia by the East India Company. Though religion was not his mission, he observed much and subsequently wrote in his book Travels in Central Asia: "They keep sculptured representations of departed saints, prophets and lamas in their temples for contemplation. Some of these figures are said to represent a certain prophet who is living in the heavens, which would appear to point to Jesus Christ."
When Swami Abhedananda was in the Himis monastery doing his research on the records of Jesus life in India he was told by the abbot that Jesus had not departed from the earth at the time His Apostles saw Him ascend, but that He had returned to India where he lived with the Himalayan yogis for many years.
The Bengali educator and patriot, Bipin Chandra Pal, published an autobiographical sketch in which he revealed that Vijay Krishna Goswami, a renowned saint of Bengal and a disciple of Sri Ramakrishna, told him about spending time in the Aravalli mountains with a group of extraordinary ascetic monk-yogis known as Nath Yogis. The monks spoke to him about Isha Nath, whom they looked upon as one of the great teachers of their order. When Vijay Krishna expressed interest in this venerable guru, they read his life as recorded in one of their sacred books, the Nathanamavali.36 It was the life of Him Whom the Goswami knew as Jesus the Christ! Here is the relevant portion of that book:
"Isha Natha came to India at the age of fourteen. After this he returned to his own country and began preaching. Soon after, his brutish and materialistic countrymen conspired against him and had him crucified. After crucifixion, or perhaps even before it, Isha Natha entered samadhi by means of yoga.37
"Seeing him thus, the Jews presumed he was dead, and buried him in a tomb. At that very moment however, one of his gurus, the great Chetan Natha, happened to be in profound meditation in the lower reaches of the Himalayas, and he saw in a vision the tortures which Isha Natha was undergoing. He therefore made his body lighter than air and passed over to the land of Israel.
"The day of his arrival was marked with thunder and lightning, for the gods were angry with the Jews, and the whole world trembled. When Chetan Natha arrived, he took the body of Isha Natha from the tomb, woke him from his samadhi, and later led him off to the sacred land of the Aryans. Isha Natha then established an ashram in the lower regions of the Himalayas and he established the cult of the lingam there."38
This assertion is supported by two relics of Jesus which are presently found in Kashmir. One is His staff, which is kept in the monastery of Aish-Muqan and is made accessible to the public in times of public catastrophe such as floods or epidemics. The other is the Stone of Moses-a Shiva linga that had belonged to Moses and which Jesus brought to Kashmir. This linga is kept in the Shiva temple at Bijbehara in Kashmir. One hundred and eight pounds in weight, if eleven people put one finger on the stone and recite "Ka" over and over, it will rise three feet or so into the air and remain suspended as long as the recitation continues.39 "Shiva"means one who is auspicious and gives blessings and happiness. In ancient Sanskrit the word ka means to please and to satisfy-that which Shiva does for His worshipers.
The Bhavishya Maha Purana
One ancient book of Kashmiri history, the Bhavishya Maha Purana, gives the following account of the meeting of a king of Kashmir with Jesus sometime after the middle of the first century:
"When the king of the Sakas came to the Himalayas, he saw a dignified person of golden complexion wearing a long white robe. Astonished to see this foreigner, he asked, 'Who are you?' The dignified person replied in a pleasant manner: 'Know me as Son of God [Isha Putram], or Born of a Virgin [Kumarigarbhasangbhawam]. Being given to truth and penances, I preached the Dharma to the mlecchas....O King, I hail from a land far away, where there is no truth, and evil knows no limits. I appeared in the country of the mlecchas as Isha Masiha [Jesus Messiah] and I suffered at their hands. For I said unto them, '"Remove all mental and bodily impurities. Remember the Name of our Lord God. Meditate upon Him Whose abode is in the center of the sun."'40 There in the land of mleccha darkness, I taught love, truth, and purity of heart. I asked human beings to serve the Lord. But I suffered at the hands of the wicked and the guilty. In truth, O King, all power rests with the Lord, Who is in the center of the sun. And the elements, and the cosmos, and the sun, and God Himself, are forever. Perfect, pure, and blissful, God is always in my heart. Thus my Name has been established as Isha Masiha.' After having heard the pious words from the lips of this distinguished person, the king felt peaceful, made obeisance to him, and returned."41 The word mleccha is a powerfully derogatory term meaning one who is unclean, barbaric and abhorrent, an alien to all that is good and true. A mleccha is execrable on all levels of his being. The fact that Jesus would refer the Israelites themselves as "mlecchas" and Israel as "the land of the mlecchas... where there is no truth, and evil knows no limits... the land of mleccha darkness "indicates that He in no way identified with either the people or the religion of Israel. He was fully a Sanatana Dharmi-follower of the Eternal Dharma.
Another Kashmiri history, the Rajatarangini, written in 1148 A.D., says that a great saint named Issana lived at Issabar on the bank of Dal Lake and had many disciples, one of which he raised from the dead.
When teaching in Israel, Jesus told the people: "Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold," 42 speaking of His Indian disciples. For when Jesus came to the Jordan at the beginning of His ministry, He had spent more years of His life in India than in Israel. And He returned there for the remainder of His life, because in all things He was a Son of India-the Christ of India.43
The Christ of India - Swami Nirmalananda Giri
16) Much of what follows regarding the life of Jesus is based on historical documentation that we hope to eventually present in book form. Other statements regarding the life of Jesus are based on oral tradition that, of course, cannot be documented.
17)"Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him." (Matthew 2:1,2)
18) Nicholas Roerich, in his book Himalaya: A Monograph, said that according to the Tibetan scrolls he found in 1925, Isha was thirteen when He left for India. The Nathanamavali of the Nath Yogis, which we will be considering later on, says that Isha reached India when He was fourteen.
19) Shiva: A name of God meaning "One Who is all Bliss and the giver of happiness to all." Although classically applied to the Absolute Brahman, Shiva can also refer to God (Ishwara) in His aspect of Dissolver and Liberator (often mistakenly thought of as"destroyer").
20) Genesis 31:13
21) The residence of Isha in the Govardhan Math proves that He was both an adherent of the Vedic religion and a Vedic monk (sannyasi) of the Shankaracharya tradition. In the nineteen-fifties, the former head of the Govardhan Math, and head of the entire monastic Swami Order of Shankaracharya, Jagadguru Bharat Krishna Tirtha, claimed that he had discovered "incontrovertible historical evidence" that Jesus had lived in the Govardhan Math as well as in other places of India. He was writing a book on the subject, but died before it could be finished. Unfortunately the fate of his manuscript and research is presently unknown.
22) Shankara: Shankaracharya; Adi (the first) Shankaracharya: The great reformer and re-establisher of Vedic Religion in India around 300 B.C. He is the unparalleled exponent of Advaita (Non-Dual) Vedanta. He also reformed the mode of monastic life and founded (or regenerated) the ancient Swami Order.
23) John 7:30; 8:20
24) Mark 14:8
25) Teacher of Righteousness (Dharma), a title also used by the Essenes for their master teachers.
26) Deuteronomy 29:4
27) Luke 22:36-38
28) Mark 8:15,16
29) Mark 8:17,18,21
30) Acts 1:6
31) Prajapati vai idam agra asit. Tasya vak dvitiya asit. Vag vai paramam Brahman. (Krishna Yajur Veda, Kathaka Samhita, 12.5, 27.1; Krishna Yajur Veda, Kathakapisthala Samhita, 42.1; Jaiminiya Brahmana II, Sama Veda, 2244.) Prajapati refers to God as Creator, and Brahman to God in His Absolute Transcendent Being.
32) An online version of The Unknown Life of Jesus Christ is available here on this website.
33) Immediately after the publication of the English edition of Notovitch's book, the British Government in India hired Moslems to go throughout Ladakh and neighboring areas posing as Hindus in search of further manuscripts about Jesus in India. They were to buy the manuscripts and bring them to their employers to be destroyed. Whether this shameful ruse succeeded we have no knowledge.
34) Ramakrishna: Sri Ramakrishna lived in India in the second half of the nineteenth century, and is regarded by all India as a perfectly enlightened person-and by many as an Incarnation of God.
35) Vedanta: Literally, "the end of the Vedas;" The Upanishads; the school of Hindu thought, based primarily on the Upanishads, upholding the doctrine of either pure non-dualism or conditional non- dualism. The original text of this school is Vedanta-darshana or the Brahma Sutras compiled by the sage Vyasa.
36) Regarding the Nath Yogis' tradition, Sri Pal comments: "It is also their conjecture that Jesus Christ and this Isha Nath are one and the same person." Perhaps they were the yogis with which Isha lived either before His return to Israel or after His secret return to India after His ascension.
37) In samadhi yogis often leave their bodies, so it is not amiss to say that Jesus did indeed "die" on the cross.
38)"The cult of the lingam" refers to the Shaivite branch of Hinduism. We will speak more on that later.
39) I have met two people who have"raised the Stone of Moses."One of them said that the number required to raise the Stone relates to their spiritual development-that he had raised it with only three others.
40) One of the fundamental practices of Hinduism is the recitation twice a day of the Savitri Gayatri Mantra, a prayer for enlightenment directed to the Solar Power.
41) Bhavishya Maha Purana 3.2.9-31
42) John 10:16
43)"[Lord Jesus] disappeared at the ages of thirteen and reappeared in his thirty-first year. During this period, from his thirteenth to his thirty-first year, he came to India and practiced Yoga....Jesus left Jerusalem and reached the land of Indus in the company of merchants. He visited Varanasi, Rajgriha and other places in India. He spent several years in Hindustan. Jesus lived like a Hindu or a Buddhist monk, a life of burning renunciation and dispassion. He assimilated the ideals, precepts and principles of Hinduism. Christianity is modified Hinduism only, which was suitable for those people who lived in the period of Christ. Really speaking, Jesus was a child of the soil of India only. That is the reason why there is so much of similarity between his teachings and the teachings of Hinduism and Buddhism." (Swami Sivananda Saraswati in Lives of Saints)
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