Analysis of the testimonies of travelers who visited Himis.
Jesus did many other things;
but, if I write about this in detail,
then, I think, the world itself
could not contain the books written …
Issa’s case …
Imagine yourself as a detective. Unusual business falls on your table. You open a yellowed folder. It’s not like a misidentification or missing person case. This is a lost place and time of action, a few lost years. Accurate information is scarce.
Date of birth is unknown. The exact year of birth is also unknown: something between 8 and 4 AD. BC. The place of birth is controversial. Presumably – Bethlehem 1 . Father, Joseph, is a carpenter. He came from a noble and glorified ancient family, originating from Abraham, continued by Isaac and Jacob, leading to King David, and then through Solomon to Jacob, the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary.
Human ancestry is thus established on the paternal side, although the paternity of his parent was hotly rejected in defense of the doctrine of the virgin birth. One source says that he “was supposedly the son of Joseph,” but traces his royal lineage through the genealogy of Mary, his mother 2 .
A childhood full of adventure. He fled with his parents to Egypt after a revelation came to his father in a dream. He returned to Nazareth or its vicinity after an indefinite number of years.
By this time, you realize what kind of business you can be drawn into. But not everything is clear yet. Why the “case” of Jesus? You read on.
At the age of about thirty he began his mission. He was baptized by his cousin John. Traveled to many places with a group of twelve students for three years. Preached, healed the sick, revived the dead. He was falsely accused by the Jewish high priest Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin. Sentenced to death by the Roman procurator Pontius Pilate, despite the possibility of a lighter punishment. Crucified by four Roman soldiers. Taken from the cross and placed in the tomb by Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus.
Orthodox position: rose from the dead on the third day 3 . He instructed his disciples for forty days. Then he disappeared into the “cloud”. He ascended into heaven and sat down on the right hand of the Lord.
The tradition of the second century rejected the idea that he had spent many years on Earth after the resurrection 4 . Church father Irenaeus claimed that he lived for at least 10-20 years after the crucifixion:
“At the end of his thirty years, he accepted suffering, being in fact still a young man, who undoubtedly reached his advanced years. So, everyone will agree that the first stage of His life covers thirty years and then continues until forty; but from forty and fifty years, a person begins to approach the old age in which our Lord was still fulfilling the mission of the Teacher, and even the Gospels and all old people testify to this; those who met and talked in Asia with John, the disciple of the Lord, [confirm] that John gave them this information. “[” Against Heresy “, 180] 5
This opinion is supported by the Gnostic text of the third century “Pistis Sophia”:
“And it so happened that, having risen from the dead, Jesus spent eleven years preaching to his disciples and instructing them …” 6
Examples of the influence of his life and teachings are innumerable. He strove to change [the world] by purifying people’s hearts. He was named the greatest revolutionary.
The story is told in various forms in the New Testament and in the Apocryphal writings. The followers, now 1.4 billion, are called Christians 7 . It is the most widespread of all religions.
Today, Christian nations are leading culturally and politically. The whole history of mankind is divided by his birth: before the birth of Christ, after the birth of Christ. His arrival is considered a turning point in history.
You take a deep breath and exhale slowly. This is not an easy case. Exploring the past of one of the most influential people in human history. You look up from the table and look at the typewriter and calendar on the wall. This is a very, very old thing. You return to the folder. It is full of unsolved mysteries.
Not a single record of his existence was made during his lifetime. And even if they were made, they did not survive. Nothing from, perhaps, written by him himself has also survived.
Not a single record of his appearance: height, weight, hair and eye color. No special signs. 8
Some details about his childhood. Few details about his family and life at home. Perhaps he moved with his family to Memphis in Egypt shortly after birth and lived there for three years 9 . Legends of the British Isles say that his great-uncle Joseph of Arimathea took his youth to Glastonbury. Perhaps he studied there 10 .
Most mysterious: apart from Glastonbury traditions and apocryphal writings 11 , there is no record of where he was or what he did from the age of twelve to thirty – a period called the “lost years of Jesus.” It is believed that at that time he was in Palestine, in Nazareth or its environs, doing carpentry. Facts supporting this hypothesis? No one.
You rise from the table, go to the window and look at the street. You think: “How do such cases find me? No witnesses. Probably no hard evidence. Hopes for help with work and fees are insignificant.”
Night. The city is asleep. You are tempted to close the case and send it back. But you’re intrigued: Where was Jesus all these wasted years? You go to the table, take the file with the case and go out into the darkness in search of the key to it.
Of course, there is no such case. And no detective like Bogart is scouring the vast city in search of clues. And even if he had found one, it is highly debatable that he would have been able to find them. Our meaningful, albeit imaginary, case suggests that we simply know almost nothing about Jesus, although his life has been the subject of the most detailed, painstaking, exhaustive historical research ever undertaken.
The search for the historical Jesus began at the end of the eighteenth century, when scholars and theologians began to critically examine the main sources of information about the life of Jesus – the gospel. The intellectual leaven of the Enlightenment, combined with the development of historiography and historical consciousness (in other words, the recognition that it is both desirable and possible to find out what actually happened in a certain period of time) spurred the “search for the historical Jesus” – a search that completely absorbed the critical theology of the nineteenth and most of the twentieth century 12 .
Scholars have debated whether Jesus was a man or a myth, or both; whether he came to found a new religion or was he an eschatological figure – herald of the end of the world. They argued whether there was a rational explanation for miracles; whether Jesus was necessary for the development of Christianity; whether the synoptic Gospels were historically more accurate than the Gospel of John; and even whether this problem is worth further study. The research work was carried out so intensively and works written on this subject, were so abundant that the historical Jesus could raise the whole library 13 .
Now scientists, in essence, agree that Jesus really existed, but due to the lack of historical information, no biography of his life, in the modern sense of the word, can be written.
The earliest records of Jesus fall into two categories: Christian and non-Christian. Non-Christian testimony written by Josephus, Pliny the Younger, Tacitus and Suetonius in 60-90 years after the crucifixion was so brief that not only helped establish his historicity 14 .
Gospels, probably written between 60 and 100 BC AD, are the main source of information about Jesus. Scholars declare that, despite their great historical value, these sources have never been biographical – this opinion should be reconsidered in the light of the fact that we may not have the original source from the evangelists and apostles in its original, uncorrected form.
With the exception of a few fragments of second-century papyrus, the earliest known Gospel manuscripts are from the fourth century. Moreover, the Gospels were in an unstable state – they were subject to change during correspondence for theological and other reasons – until the middle of the fourth century, when they acquired the now known form. As a result, it is impossible to say whether the Gospels have come down to us in their original form, or to what extent they were edited, supplemented, distorted by scribes, or otherwise altered for the sake of orthodoxy, when the Church fought to suppress so-called heresies such as Gnosticism 15 …
The discovery of the Gnostic library in Nag Hammadi in Egypt, found by the Arab peasant Muhammad Ali al-Samman in 1945, and the fragment of the Secret Gospel of Mark, discovered in 1958 in the Judean Desert near Mar Saba by Morton Smith, definitely confirm that early Christianity possessed a much larger collection of manuscripts and traditions related to the life and teachings of Jesus than is now represented in the New Testament that has come down to us 16 .
While contemporaries write biographies of celebrities, replete with intimate details – we can find out how many cigars Winston Churchill smoked daily and what Mahatma Gandhi ate for breakfast, lunch and dinner – the Gospels are silent about what Jesus looked like, reporting only very approximate geographical and chronological data, and simply pass over in silence the question of his occupation 17 .
Scholars believe that Jesus was a carpenter. Joseph was a carpenter, and at that time it was customary for boys to continue their father’s business. The speech of carpenters, fishermen, and other common people is woven into the words of Jesus, as recorded in the Gospels 18 . But there is no definite proof that Jesus was a carpenter. For example, Origen denied the very idea on the grounds that “Jesus himself in any of the Gospels accepted by the Church, has been described as a carpenter” 19 .
The apocryphal writings say that when Jesus was still growing up in Egypt and Palestine, he showed the world many healings and other miracles. Once, for example, he told the snake that stung the young man Simon Canaanite, “to suck out all the poison that she poured into this boy.” The snake obeyed, after which Jesus cursed her and she “immediately torn to pieces and perished.” Then Jesus touched Simon and restored his health. In other passages he describes how Jesus healed the boy leg, carried water in his cloak, made a short length of the log to help Joseph in his work, blinded clay twelve sparrows, and revived them, clapping his hands 20 .
These testimonies add something to the early traditional Christian traditions of Jesus ‘childhood, while only four of the eighty-nine chapters of the Gospels, two each from Matthew and Luke, describe Jesus’ life prior to his pastoral career. Known as the stories of his childhood, they detail the genealogy of Jesus, his conception and birth, a number of such famous events as the Annunciation, the appearance of wise men from the East, the arrival of shepherds at the manger of the infant Jesus, the rite of circumcision and presentation in the Jerusalem Temple, the flight to Egypt. where the family remained until the death of Herod in 4 BC. and return to Nazareth 21 .
The life of Jesus after these extraordinary events until the beginning of his mission is not well covered. Indeed, only two more points are noted in the Gospel of Luke – his physical and spiritual growth, as well as his visit to the Jerusalem Temple on the occasion of Easter at the age of twelve.
In a brief but energetic form, Luke writes that on the way back to Nazareth after the Passover celebration, Joseph and Mary suddenly noticed that Jesus was not with them, returned to the city and “found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them. All who listened to him were amazed at his reason and his answers. ” When Mary rebuked him, Jesus answered with a question: “… Or did you not know what I should be in what belongs to my Father?” 22 .
Then Jesus went back to Nazareth with his parents “and was obedient to them” 23 . And the veil comes down again, hiding all of Jesus’ work for the next seventeen years or so, until his baptism by John in the Jordan River at about the age of thirty.
In the Gospel of Luke, there is only one verse related to the transition period: “But Jesus prospered in wisdom and age and in love with God and men.” 24 As Christian scholar Kenneth S. La Tour notes: “Reliable descriptions of his life and teachings so brief, that could easily fit in a single article of any of our bulky dailies, while a considerable part would be devoted to the last few days of his life ” 25 .
Why has no one made a fuller account of the life of Jesus? Scientists have pondered this question thoroughly. Dr. John C. Trever, director of the project “Manuscripts of the Dead Sea” Institute of Theology in Claremont, California, believes that the lack of information – this is the irony of history, the natural consequence of a sociological than scientific and historical and religious orientation of the people 26 .
Because of our education and culture, we naturally tend to view things from a historical perspective. We want to know “what happened.” But, as indicated in the “Dictionary of the History of Ideas”: “Early Christianity gave little importance to worldly history: in this sense it was too unworldly, too set on the spiritual life” 27 .
Like many other scholars, Dr. Trever suggests that the early Christians, anticipating the imminent coming of Jesus, and with him the end of history, may have considered it unnecessary to write anything down. New Testament scholar James M. Robinson, author of The New Search for the Historical Jesus, believes that the followers of the first generation of Jesus probably knew both how he looked and a lot of other things about his personality, but did not write about it because they were interested in him. teaching, not appearance.
In the course of their searches, the researchers paid great attention to spiritual ministry and completely ignored the “lost years”. And not because of lack of interest, but because of lack of information. “If we had even a little information [about the lost years], we would have something to grab onto,” says Professor Robinson. “But in this case, we are helpless.” Using the cliche common among scientists, we can say that this is the case when “no texts – no history” 28 .
The traditional opinion, accepted by Christian theologians and scholars, is that Jesus was in Nazareth during the lost years and no chronicle was kept about him, since he did not do anything worthy of mention.
In 1894, Nikolai Notovich, a Russian journalist, published a book, The Unknown Life of Jesus Christ, which challenged this opinion. Notovich claimed that while traveling to Ladakh [Little Tibet] at the end of 1887, he found a copy of an ancient Buddhist manuscript that specifically states where Jesus was in those lost years, namely India.
Notovich is a rather mysterious person. As stated in the United National Catalog, he has written 11 books. Nevertheless, we have practically no data on his biography. Apparently we know even less about him than about Jesus! Although we managed to find out that he was born in the Crimea, in 1858 29 , we still could not find data on his death. He may have been both a journalist and a war correspondent – and, very likely, his mistaken for a doctor at the time of travel in the East 30 .
/ “EpsuiorasNa. Kyuyua” /
/ Osip (1849 – 1914) was also a journalist. In 1876 he founded Novosti, a small diary, which he later turned into an important political newspaper. In 1905 the newspaper was confiscated for publishing a revolutionary address to the workers’ unions. Subsequently, Osip fled from Russia and died abroad /
Notovich confirmed his belonging to the Russian Orthodox religion, but he could have switched to another faith, since a short entry in the “Jewish Encyclopedia” * notes that his brother Osip Notovich 31 was converted by the Greek Orthodox Church in his youth.
Nikolai wrote mainly in French and dealt with the Russian Department of International Relations in many of his works, among which one can mention “Peacekeeping in Europe and Nicholas II”, “Russia and the English Alliance: Historical and Political Studies”, “The Tsar, His army and navy “.
The book “The Unknown Life of Jesus Christ” was his first and, as far as we know, the only book on a religious topic. It contains a copy of the text Notovich found, but is more of a short summary of the journey and the find. All this, according to his reports, was due to a number of coincidences.
In short, Notovich’s epic looks like this. Soon after the Russian-Turkish war of 1877-78. our adventurer has undertaken a series of journeys in the East. He was interested in archeology and the people of India. Traveling at random, he reached India on his way to Afghanistan. On October 14, 1887, he went from Lahore to Rawalpindi, made his way to Kashmir, and then to Ladakh. From there he hoped to return to Russia via Karakorum and Chinese Turkestan.
On the way, he visited the Buddhist gompa, or monastery in Mulbek. Gompa, literally, “a secluded place”, and that is – it is a refuge from worldly temptations. Some gompas are in seclusion, being at a decent distance from the settlements. Others are built on top of a mountain, like this monastery near Mulbek, or carved into rock 32 .
Mulbek is the gateway to the world of Tibetan Buddhism. Notovich was received by the lama, who told him that the archives of Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, and at that time the monastery of the Dalai Lama, contain several thousand ancient manuscripts about the life of the prophet Issa, as Jesus was called in the East. Although there were no such documents in Mulbek, the lama said there were copies in some of the main monasteries.
Notovich was determined to find the chronicles of Issa’s life, even if he had to go to Lhasa. After leaving Mulbek, he visited several monasteries, where the monks had heard of these documents, but did not have copies. He soon reached the great monastery of Himis, located about twenty-five miles from Leh, the capital of Ladakh.
Himis, named by its founder as “Sangue chi ku thug chi ten” (“Stronghold of the being of the Buddha’s commandments”) 33 , the largest and most famous monastery in Ladakh; it is also the site of the popular annual religious festival in honor of Saint Padma Samb-hava. It depicts the victory of the Buddha over the forces of evil, the flight of evil spirits and the final triumph of good over evil.
The monastery is hidden in a secluded valley in the Himalayas at 11,000 feet above sea level. Some of those who visit him say that he suggests Shangri-La. Due to its location, it is one of the few gompas that escaped destruction during the invasion of the armies of the Asian conquerors. As a result, as L. Austin Weddell writes, “more interesting and rare objects, books, clothes, masks and other things were found in Himis than in any other monastery in Ladakh” 34 .
Having visited Himis in 1974-75, Tibetan scholars David Snellgrove and Tadeusz Skorupski found out that “other monasteries, taking advantage of the hidden location of Himis, in the past have often sent their valuables for safekeeping; and there is undoubtedly an impressive collection , locked in a cache called “Dark Treasury” .., which is customary to open when the guardian of treasures transfers his post to his successor ” 35 .
In Himis, Notovich witnessed one of the many mysteries enacted by the lamas. Then he asked the abbot if he had ever heard of Issus. The lama replied that Buddhists deeply revere Issa, but no one knows almost anything about him, except the abbots who read the chronicles of his life.
During the conversation, the lama mentioned that among the many manuscripts of Himis “there should be records of the life and deeds of Buddha Issa, who preached the Holy Doctrine in India and among the children of Israel.” According to the lama, the documents brought from India to Nepal and then to Tibet were originally written in Pali, the religious language of Buddhists. The copies at Himis have been translated into Tibetan.
Notovich asked: “Would you commit a sin if you read these copies to a stranger?” Although the lama was ready to entrust him with the chronicles – “what belongs to God belongs to man” – he could not remember exactly where they were, and said that if Notovich ever visited the monastery again, he would gladly show him the chronicles.
Not wanting to miss the opportunity to see the chronicles, seeming to be too interested in them, Notovich left Himis and began looking for an excuse to return to the monastery, intending to find the records even before returning to Russia. A few days later, he sent gifts to the lama – an alarm clock, a wrist watch and a thermometer – with a note confirming his desire to visit Himis again.
Notovich was going to first go to Kashmir, and then to Himis, but “fate decreed otherwise.” Near the gompa in Pintak, Notovich fell from his horse, broke his leg, and used his injury as an excuse to return to Himis, which was only half a day away.
And while the Russian was recovering, the abbot heeded his “ardent entreaties”, took out “two huge bound folios with pages yellowed from time” and read aloud the excerpts concerning Issa. Notovich’s translator translated the text, which the Russian journalist carefully wrote down in his diary.
Issa’s biography, as described by Notovich, was composed of individual poems that did not have a title and were randomly scattered throughout the text. A Russian journalist collected and organized them, and then, a few years later, published these documents along with a report on his find.
The text is titled “The Life of Saint Issa: Best of the Sons of Men”, apparently, Notovich came up with the name himself. It is a small work of 244 verses, divided into 14 chapters, the largest of which is 27 verses.
Some of them will seem familiar to anyone who has read the Old and New Testaments: the Egyptian captivity, the liberation of the Israelites by Moses, the apostasy of the Israelites persecuted by foreign invaders, the enslavement of Rome, and, finally, the incarnation of the divine infant among poor but devout parents. God speaks through the mouth of a baby, and people come from everywhere to hear him.
The narrative quickly approaches the thirteenth year of Issa’s life, the first of the “lost years,” and, according to the text, “when the Israelite must take a wife for himself.” The house of his parents, despite the poverty, became a meeting place for the rich and nobility, who wanted to see young Issa as their son-in-law, “already famous for his instructive sermons in the name of the Most High.”
Issa had a different perspective on life. According to the annals published by Notovich, he secretly left his father’s house and went from Jerusalem to the East with a caravan of merchants in order to improve in the “Word of God” and study the laws of the great Buddhas.
Issa is said to have been fourteen years old when he crossed Sindh, a region of what is now southeastern Pakistan in the lower Indus Valley, and lived for a time among the “Aryans” – undoubtedly the Aryans who migrated to the Indus Valley at the beginning of the second millennium BC. .e. The youth’s fame grew and the Jains asked him to stay with them. But he went to Juggernaut, where he was joyfully received by the Brahmins, who taught him to read and interpret the Vedas, as well as heal and instruct people and cast out evil spirits.
Issa spent six years studying himself and teaching others at Juggernaut, Rajagrih, Benares and other holy places. He came into conflict with the Brahmins and Kshatriyas (priestly and warrior castes) because he taught the scriptures to the lower castes – Vaisyas (farmers and merchants) and sudras (peasants and artisans). Brahmins said that Vaishyas are prescribed to listen to the Vedas only on a holiday, and that Shudras are not allowed to do that either. They are not even allowed to look at the Vedas. Instead of following their instructions, Issa continued to preach to the Vaisyas and Shudras, opposing the Brahmins and Kshatriyas. Upon learning of his public accusations, the priests and military plotted to put Issus to death.
Warned by the sudras, Issa left the Juggernaut at night and went to the foot of the Himalayas in Southern Nepal, the place where the great Buddha Shakyamuni (Gautama), the prince of the Sakya clan – literally, the sage (muni) of the Sakya clan, was born five centuries earlier.
At the end of six years of study, Issa “became an excellent interpreter of sacred texts.” He then left the Himalayas and went west, preaching against idolatry along the way, and eventually returned to Palestine at the age of twenty-nine.
The Life of Saint Issa can be divided into three parts. The first part, from the first to the middle of the fourth chapter, describes the circumstances that led to his incarnation, birth and childhood. The second part, from the end of the fourth chapter to the eighth, includes details of the “lost years” – from thirteen to twenty-nine years of age, when Issa studied in India and the Himalayas. And the last part, from chapters nine to fourteen, covers events related to his mission in Palestine. Descriptions of what happened in Palestine after the return of Issa, although similar to the Gospels, still have significant differences with them. John the Baptist does not appear in The Life of Saint Issa. The resurrection is missed, if not denied entirely. And finally, a strikingly opposite to the generally accepted version (perhaps the changes are related to the fact
Pilate is frightened by the popularity of Issa and the very possibility that he could be elected king. Issa had been preaching for three years when Pilate hired a provocateur to fabricate charges against him. Issa is captured, and the Roman soldiers torture him, trying in vain to squeeze out a confession of high treason.
Hearing about his suffering, the chief priests and elders implore Pilate to release Issa on the occasion of the great feast. When Pilate bluntly rejects their plea, they ask that Issa be allowed to appear before the court of the elders, so that they can pass him an acquittal or guilty verdict before the start of the holiday. Pilate agrees.
Issu is tried along with two thieves. During the trial, Pilate interrogates Issa and puts false witnesses against him. Issa forgives false witnesses and rebukes Pilate, who, having become enraged, pardons the thieves and condemns Issa to death. The judges say to Pilate: “We cannot take upon ourselves the great sin of condemning the innocent and forgiving the thieves.” – And, washing their hands in a sacred vessel, they add: “We are innocent in the death of this honest man.”
Then Pilate orders Issa and two thieves to be crucified on the cross. At sunset, Issa loses consciousness, and his soul leaves his body “to be absorbed by the Divine.”
Fearing popular anger, Pilate gives Issa’s body to his parents, who bury him not far from the place of execution. Crowds of people come to pray at Issa’s grave. Three days later, Pilate, fearing a mutiny, sends his soldiers to retrieve the body from the tomb and bury it somewhere else.
The next day, people found Issa’s tomb open and empty, which immediately became the reason for rumors that “the Supreme Judge sent his angels to take the remains of the saint, in whom a particle of the Divine Spirit dwelt on Earth.” The texts end with a description of the persecution of the disciples of Issa, who continued to preach, and the conversions to the holy faith of the pagans, their kings and warriors.
This story was supposedly written in three or four years after the crucifixion on the basis of stories brought to India merchants – witnessed the event 36 .
The Unknown Life of Jesus Christ was an immediate success. It went through at least eight editions in France in 1894, and three English translations appeared independently in the United States. The following year, another English translation was published in London. The book has also been translated into German, Spanish, Swedish and Italian 37 .
The book was highly controversial, to say the least. Observer “New York Times” 19 May 1894 noted that the details of the story Notovitch “very likely” 38 . However, admitting this, he declared: “If the skeptics were to find this Tibetan or Hindu account of Christ credible, they would be very gullible.”
This observer insisted that Notovich’s find was no more significant than the “assurances of theosophists that Christ was well acquainted with Buddhist theology.” He also warned that the verification of the authenticity of the originals of these documents by the British Academic Commission would be only “a waste of time and scientific knowledge”, regardless of whether they are authentic or not.
Noting the appearance of another translation of this book, the newspaper “Time” (June 4, 1894) again admitted that the documents may be authentic, but raised the question of whether the Buddhist chronicles are of greater value than the Christian ones. “It should not be forgotten that we have only reliable documents, but no authentic chronicles. Christians know that the doctrines of Shakya Muni gave birth to a barren civilization. If atheists believe that Buddhist chronicles are worthy of more faith than Christian ones, then they are very naive. less, Notovich’s discovery deserves the attention it has received and the debate it is about. “
Other critics, who rejected not only the authenticity of these documents, but also Notovich’s trip to Ladak itself, were not so lenient. In the pages of the North American Observer for May 1894, Edward Everett Hale, a prominent Unitarian priest and literary man, even questioned the very existence of “some mythical monastery” in Himis, “which we cannot find on our list of Buddhist religious institutions. in the vicinity of Leh, the capital of Ladakh. ” 40
Hale doubted that Notovich, who had previously written a biography of Alexander III, could have authored The Life of Saint Issa. Among other things, Hale found it unlikely that with this traveler any lama would “mention the fact – which, oddly enough, was never mentioned in the presence of other travelers – that there are ancient records of the life of Jesus Christ in Lhasa.”
Hale did not want to believe the Russian’s story of how the abbot of the monastery in Himis dared to show him the documents. Outlining his version of the event, Hale wrote: “He was forced to once again take advantage of the hospitality of the monastery in Himis and, while the broken bones healed, skillfully led the conversation to the old manuscripts.”
Despite the fact that “skillful conversation” is somewhat different from Notovich’s “sincere pleading”, Hale summed up: President of the College in New Jersey, renamed Princeton University) would welcome him hospitably. What more natural thing could Dr. McCosh do than give his guest a New Testament? “
In October 1894 F. Max Müller, professor of the Department of Modern European Languages and Comparative Linguistics at the University of Oxford, took part in this competition. Müller, editor of the Rig Veda and the Sacred Books of the East, was a renowned scholar and prominent orientalist. He published “The Imaginary Stay of Christ in India” – an article criticizing the “Unknown Life of Jesus Christ” – in the scientific periodical journal “The Nineteenth Century” 41 . Mueller was convinced that The Life of Saint Issa was a forgery, possibly created by the lamas of Himis, but rather fabricated by a Russian journalist. In fact, he was not sure if a Russian journalist had ever visited Himis.
A professor from Oxford said that after making some inquiries, missionaries of the Order of the Moravian Brothers and British officers reported that no Russian named Notovich had passed through Lech and no one with a broken leg was hospitalized in Himis. “Mr. Notovich could have traveled under a different name,” he mused. But then he argued with himself, admitting that “Mr. Notovich is a gentleman and not a liar,” and that he, in fact, was in Himis, but turned out to be too easy prey for Buddhist monks, “who like to mystify inquisitive travelers”, – and that he was not the first to receive the manuscripts he was looking for “for a fee.”
Mueller noted some plausibility of certain parts of the Notovich legend. Pali was the language of Buddhists, and Buddhism came to Tibet through Nepal. But there were two parts to Notovich’s story that Müller considered “impossible or nearly impossible.” The first is that the Jews who came to India from Palestine in 35 AD could meet the very people who knew Issa during his apprenticeship at Benares.
According to the Oxford pundit, the Russian traveler should “have been more skeptical when he was told that Jewish merchants who arrived in India immediately after the crucifixion knew not only what happened to Christ in Palestine, but also what happened to Jesus, or Issa. , during that fifteen-year period of his life, which he spent in India among the Brahmins and Buddhists, studying Sanskrit and Pali, Vedas and Tripitaka.With all their scholarship, Buddhist monks would find it difficult to answer the question: how did these Jewish merchants meet the very people who knew Issu, who studied Sanskrit for some time and Pali in India? Still, India is a big country. But moreover, those who knew Issa as a simple student in India immediately realized that he was the very man executed at the direction of Pontius Pilate ?
Another factor, Mueller believed, discrediting the Life of Saint Issa chronicle was the fact that it was not included in either Kanjur or Tanjur, the time-tested catalogs of translated Buddhist scriptures and commentaries. Ultimately, Müller challenged the comments that the Russian author made in his preface. Notovich said that he never doubted the authenticity of the sources and intended to publish them upon his return to Europe. But before doing this, he turned, according to his own statement, to several well-known clergymen, including the Monk Plato of Kiev, who allegorically tried to persuade him not to publish the manuscripts. He also stated that he showed them to the cardinal, whose name he did not name, who was on good terms with the Pope,42 .
The unnamed cardinal allegedly told Notovich that he would only gain a lot of enemies by publishing this manuscript, and added: “If you are concerned about the money issue, I could ask for a reward for your writing, which will reimburse you for the money spent and lost time.”
Cardinal Rotelli strongly opposed the publication of Notovich’s works on the grounds that they would attract enemies of “church doctrine.”
According to Notovich, Renan, the author of the popular but extremely controversial Life of Jesus, asked to be entrusted with the manuscripts so that he could give a talk at the Academy. Notovich replied that he was rejecting this proposal, because, as flattering as it seemed, “I foresaw that if I agreed, I would only gain the glory of the discoverer of the chronicles, while the illustrious author of Vie de Jesus * / The Life of Jesus” , French / will take all the honors, commenting on the chronicles and presenting them to the general public. Therefore, believing that I myself am quite ready to publish the translation of the chronicle and provide it with my comments, I rejected the kind offer made to me in this way. However, in no way hurt the sensitivity of the great master, who enjoyed my deep respect,
These explanations had a detrimental effect on the little trust that Notovich enjoyed with Mueller. A professor from Oxford wrote: “When the Roman cardinal discouraged him from publishing the book and also kindly offered his help, Notovich hinted that it was a bribery and that the cardinal wanted to ban the book. Why on earth?” – It seemed to Mueller senseless: “If Issa’s story were historically true, it would remove a lot of difficulties. It would show once and for all that Jesus was a real historical figure.”
Moreover, Mueller found the strategy of waiting for Renan to die – to secure most of the glory of the discovery – as merciless, to say the least. In conclusion, however, Müller noted that he prefers to consider the Russian a victim of deception, because “it is more pleasant to consider Buddhist monks to be jokers than Mr. Notovich to be a crook.”
Müller ends the article with a postscript in which an unnamed English lady, in a letter from Lech, Ladakh, dated June 29 , writes: “You have heard of a Russian who could not get permission to visit the monastery, but eventually broke his leg and was “So accepted? His goal was to rewrite the Buddhist Lives of Christ that were kept there. He said that he received them, and later they were published in France. There is not a word of truth in this whole story! There was no Russian here. No one with a broken leg.” have not been accepted in seminary for the last fifty years! And in general there is no Life of Christ! ” 43
Notovich qualified Mueller’s criticism as “an attempt to break” him, but did not shy away from polemics. On the contrary, he resolutely defended himself against slanderers. In one of his English editions, in the article “To the Publishers,” which is reproduced here, he admitted that “skillfully organized criticism” turned the public against his book, and responded briefly to most of the criticisms.
He first tried to explain why the lama at Himis later refused to confirm the existence of the manuscripts when asked to do so. The people of the East, he said, were accustomed to seeing Europeans as plunderers, and could take an interest in the manuscripts for a desire to take them away. His own success in this endeavor was the result of “Eastern diplomacy,” a flanking maneuver that hid his true interest and calmed the fears of the lamas.
In response to the claim that he had never been to Himis, Notovich provided the names of various people who could confirm his presence in the place, including Dr. Karl Marx (yes, that is his real name), a European doctor in the British government service. who treated Notovich in Ladakh.
To those who attributed to him the authorship of “The Life of Saint Issa”, he objected: “My imagination is not so fertile.”
Since Max Müller was a recognized authority in the scientific world, Notovich spent perhaps the most time responding to his criticism. The Russian journalist admitted that the chronicles he found were not listed either in “Tanjur” or “Kandzhur”, and if they were there, then “I would not have discovered anything curious or rare.” Any orientalist would then be able to go to Tibet and, according to the catalogs, would find the fragments he needed.
In his defense, Notovich offered two reasons why the manuscripts did not appear in these catalogs. First, the catalogs were incomplete. Notovich said that more than one hundred thousand scrolls are kept in the Lhasa monastery, while “according to Mr. Max Müller’s own statement, the lists contain only about two thousand volumes.” (Notovich’s refutation did not fully reflect Mueller’s arguments on this issue, but in essence he was right – the Tanjur and Kanjura lists covered only a small part of Buddhist literature). Notovich also noted that the parables he published in his book could not be found in any catalog, as they were “scattered in more than one book and not titled in any way.”
In response to Mueller’s attacks that it was difficult for Jewish traders to find the very people who knew Issa in India as a disciple, Notovich replied that they were not Jewish, but Indian traders who happened to witness the crucifixion before returning home from Palestine. …
Although Notovich did not mention this, he could note that there is another reason why the connection of merchants returning from Palestine with those who knew Jesus in India was not so difficult or implausible: India has a very an effective network of information exchange between people. If Jesus made so much noise in India, as the chronicle reports, it is very likely that people all over the country should have known about him. Further, there is no reason to suppose that Jesus, during his fifteen or so years in India, gained less influence than he did in his last three years in Palestine. In the end, thanks to only these three years of his life, his name and fame about him spread in all countries around the world.
Continuing to defend his position, Notovich said that the parables transmitted to him by the lama in Himis “could well have been told by Saint Thomas, and the historical records were made by his own hand or under his leadership.” He did not provide any evidence for this claim and did not provide any indication as to how this relates to the claim that the texts were based on the accounts of Indian traders. He simply noticed that Saint Thomas, Saint Bartholomew and Saint Matthias were preaching the gospel in Tibet, India and China, and rhetorically asked the question: did they really not write anything?
Little is known for certain about Saint Thomas. But according to generally accepted tradition, Christianity was first brought to India by Thomas in 52 AD. The Syrian Christians of Malabar in India claim that Saint Thomas was the founder of their church. And in his study “The Indian Christians of St. Thomas: the story of the ancient Syrian Church in Malabar” Leslie Brown points out that “there was an extensive Jewish colony in the north-western India in the first century, which could attract the attention of the first Christian missionaries” 44 .
Whether Saint Thomas wrote anything or not, the “Catholic Encyclopedia” notes that “his name was the starting point in the creation of a significant number of apocryphal texts, and there is certain historical information that confirms that some of these apocryphal contains a grain of truth.” 45 .
“Acta Thomae” – “The Acts of Thomas” – an ancient manuscript (before 220 AD), bearing traces of Gnostic origin, is the main document dedicated to him. The story contained in it, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia, is, in many details, “extremely absurd” 46 .
If you convey the content of the manuscript in brief, the “Acts of Thomas” tells how the apostles, being in Jerusalem, cast lots where to go to each of them with the preaching of the Gospel. It fell to Thomas to go to India, who declared that he could not go there: “How can I, being a Jew, go to the Indians to proclaim the truth?”
Jesus appeared to Thomas and said: “Do not be afraid, Thomas, go to India and proclaim the Word of God, my blessing will be with you.” Thomas still refused to go there. And it so happened that the Indian king Gundaphoros sent the merchant Abbanes to buy and bring to India a carpenter slave. Jesus saw Abbanes at the bazaar, approached him and, as the legend says, sold Thomas into slavery to Gundaphoros, so that his beloved disciple would embark on the path of the sacred mission. Then he and Abbanes sailed to India, where the king gave Thomas money to build a palace. Instead, he spent money on the poor and preached in the name of Christ.
Hearing about this, Gundaphoros imprisoned Thomas. Later, the king learned that the disciple of Jesus, in essence, built a temple for him in heaven, after which the king converted to the true faith and freed Thomas 47 . Thomas then traveled throughout India, preaching and experiencing the unusual adventures, and eventually was sentenced to death, pierced with spears of four soldiers 48 .
Contrary to the seemingly completely fantastic nature of this narrative, The Catholic Encyclopedia notes: So, it is noteworthy that the king, who ruled until 46 AD. in the region of Asia south of the Himalayas, where Afghanistan, Balujistan, Punjab and Sind are now located, they called Gondofernes or Gudufara. We learn about this from the found old coins, partly Parthian ones with Greek inscriptions, part of Indian ones with inscriptions in the Indian dialect in kharoshthi letters. Despite various minor variations, the identity of this name with the Gundaphoros of Ac1a Thomae is unquestionable and undeniable. Further, we have evidence of the Takht-i-Bahi inscriptions, which are dated and accepted by the best specialists as confirmation that the king of Gudufara probably began his reign in 20 AD.
But did Saint Thomas come to India to preach the Gospel, and did he help to write down the text discovered by Notovich; whether this story was recorded from eyewitness accounts from India in Pali; whether or not this text appeared in the “Tanjur” and “Kandzhur” catalogs; and whether Notovich really broke his leg – none of that really matters. The question, as Notovich stated in his article “To the Publishers,” is the following: “Were these chronicles kept in the Himis monastery, and did I correctly reflect their essence?”
“New York Times” on April 19, 1896 said “a bold and vigorous defense” Notovitch that “if you do not convince his critics more or less calmed them” 50 . Ladakh, as you know, was distant and inaccessible.
The purpose of the Times article was not to praise, but to finally bury Notovich. It mentions the story of a certain J. Archibald Douglas, who accepted the challenge of a Russian journalist, went to Himis and then published in the Nineteenth Century an account of his journey, which, according to The Times, turned out to be “a complete refutation of all the statements made by the Russian traveler, except that he actually toured Little Tibet. “
At the same time, Douglas, a professor at Agra Government College in India, read the rebuttal and read Mueller’s review article before he had the opportunity to read Notovich’s The Unknown Life of Christ. This, let me tell you, is almost everything we know about Mr. Douglas.
As any detective knows, most criminals have a certain way of “working”, a repetitive pattern of behavior that usually dictates the direction of their next action. It seems that this riddle also has its own “handwriting” – and rather ironic, which is as follows: all the main characters in the drama leave no biographical traces. After a long and careful search, all we learned about Douglas was that he wrote an article for The Nineteenth Century, corresponded with Max Müller, and claimed to have traveled to Himis.
To top it all off, Douglas believed that Mueller had treated Notovich so harshly by declaring the work to be a literary forgery because of the inconclusiveness of the evidence presented. Inspired by the stubborn self-defense of the Russian, Douglas traveled to Himis in 1895, “fully prepared to ascertain the truth of Notovich’s story, so that he could then congratulate him on his remarkable discovery.”
In his review, The Abbot of Himis on the Imaginary “Unknown Life of Christ,” 51 written in June 1895 and published in April 1896, Douglas declared that he had been received by the abbot and, with the help of a qualified translator, read to him excerpts from Notovich’s book. asked the lama a number of questions about these excerpts.
Douglas claimed that he was “absolutely confident in the honesty and truthfulness of the old and respected lama abbot” and that the lama understood the meaning of the passages from Notovich’s book, which were translated slowly, and that the questions and answers were discussed during two lengthy conversations before the document finished “was ready for signing.”
Douglas then published the text of his Lama Questions and Answers. According to the professor’s story, his hospitable host in Himis said that he had been the abbot of the monastery for fifteen years, a period of time that would have covered Notovich’s visit. The Lama said that during this time not a single European with a broken leg sought refuge in Himis, although he clearly remembered several gentlemen from Europe visiting the monastery. Moreover, he did not show the book about the life of Saint Issa to any “Sahib”.
“There is no such book in the monastery, and during my service no Sahib was allowed to rewrite or translate the manuscripts kept in the monastery,” said the lama, according to Douglas.
When asked if he knew any book from Buddhist monasteries in Tibet, which contains evidence of the life of Issa, he replied: “I have been a lama for forty-two years, I am well acquainted with all known Buddhist books and manuscripts, but I have never heard about one in which the name of Issa was mentioned, and I am firmly and sincerely convinced that such does not exist. I made inquiries, but the abbots of other monasteries in Tibet are not familiar with the book or manuscript where Issa is mentioned. “
Lama, according to Douglas’s story, also assured him that he had never received a wrist watch, alarm clock or thermometer from anyone (he did not know what a thermometer was and was convinced that he never had one), did not say English or Urdu, as Notovich argued, did not know about Buddhist scriptures in the Pali language (in Himis there were scriptures translated from Sanskrit and Hindi into Tibetan) and said that Buddhists “do not even know anything about his (Issa) name, none of lamas have never heard it, except from missionaries or Europeans. “
As follows from the article, on June 3, 1895, the abbot of Himis signed a document containing these questions and answers, and affirmed with his seal in the presence of Douglas and his translator Shomwell Joldan, a former postmaster from Ladakh.
In this regard, Douglas claimed that he accepted the criteria that Notovich himself established for criticizing his work: “Were these chronicles kept in the Himis monastery, and did I correctly reflect their essence?”
Douglas wrote: “I visited Himis and made an effort, through calm and impartial questioning, to find out the truth about the remarkable story of Nikolai Notovich, as a result of which I not only did not find a single fact in support of his statements, but all the evidence refutes them without a shadow of a doubt. that the Himis monastery does not have those chronicles that Notovich allegedly translated, therefore, he could not “correctly reflect their essence.”
Although Douglas concluded that The Life of Saint Issa was a “literary forgery,” he ascertained that Notovich had indeed visited Lech and possibly Himis. The abbot told Douglas that not a single Russian had been to Himis in 1887 and 1888, but during the course of his investigation, the professor discovered that the lama could not distinguish a Russian from a European or an American. Douglas reported that the lama, upon seeing Notovich’s photograph, admitted that he “could confuse it with an English Sahib.”
“Carefully making inquiries,” Douglas established that a Russian named Notovich was being treated by “Dr. Karl Marx,” a medical officer at Lech Hospital, “suffering not from a broken leg, but from a less romantic, albeit no less painful, ailment – toothache “. Douglas even admitted that Notovich could have broken his leg after leaving Lech, but insisted that “the whole story with a broken leg, if we attribute it to the monastery in Himis, is nothing more than fiction.”
In the afterword to Douglas’ article, Mueller said that from the beginning he was convinced that Notovich’s “Unknown Life of Jesus Christ” was pure invention. But, added Muller, while writing his article, he felt the need to “share with the Russian his doubts and suggest that he may have been misled by Buddhist priests, who have gathered information about Issa, that Jesus” 52 .
Müller wrote that at that time he did not intend to offend the priests of Himis with his remarks. But after reading Douglas’s article, he realized the need to “apologize to the wonderful lamas of this monastery for the thought that they are capable of such a frivolous act,” and stated that Douglas did not appear with a refutation, but with the “destruction” of the Notovich legend.
The credibility of The Unknown Life of Jesus Christ was seriously shaken, and the book became more difficult to find. Notovich returned to writing less controversial works such as Peacekeeping in Europe and Nicholas II and Russia and the English Alliance. The story could have ended there.
But that did not happen. As if for the sake of fans of good detective stories, the plot began to get complicated.
Naturally, this seemed to someone the beginning and end of a literary forgery: in the living room, a Russian armed with a pen, Douglas takes him “red-handed” – obtains testimony from an old venerable, highly respected lama in the presence of a retired postmaster from Ladak, who acted as an interpreter.
During the investigation, when Douglas was reading excerpts from Notovich’s book, the lama, as noted, involuntarily exclaimed “Sun, sun, sun, manna mi dug!” Which means “Lie, lie, lie, nothing but lie!” On another occasion, as Douglas testifies, the lama asked: would anyone be punished for publishing such blatantly false information?
On the basis of these and other statements, it would be difficult to draw any other conclusion than that Notovic is guilty of the charges brought against him. But any detective worthy of his London fog knows that things are not as simple as they seem. The detective, naturally, would begin to ask himself the questions: “Is The Life of Saint Issa really a literary forgery? Is it true that Notovich skillfully lied and mystified? And if so, what are his motives? 53 Glory? Money? Did he have accomplices” “Was he not an agent of the Russian tsar, as Hale suggested? 54 And if he was, does it have anything to do with the case? And if Notovich made a forgery, did he think he would get away with it?”
Ladakh is a cold, distant, barren land lying at a high altitude. For about a thousand years, it was an independent kingdom. In 1834 Ladakh was subordinate to the rulers of Jammu, and in 1947 it became an area of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, bordering Pakistan, Tibet and Chinese Turkestan.
Himalayan peaks rise above its majestic plateaus. This exotic place, home to the culture of Tibetan Buddhism, is undoubtedly a romantic backdrop for the story. But it is quite within reach. Notovich should have known that sooner or later someone would go to Himis and check history, and he suggested that his opponents do this. Would a Russian tempt fate with such, as Mueller himself noted, the probable possibility of exposure? Even Mueller found it implausible 55 .
However, this is exactly how it looked. In reality, there was opposite evidence: the words of a Russian journalist and a refutation of a British (?) Professor. The fact that Douglas was unable to see a copy of the manuscript was no more convincing evidence of its absence than Notovich’s claim to exist. Be that as it may, either Notovich or Douglas was telling the truth – only one of them. But if the weight of a public opinion could be an unmistakable indicator of honesty, then Douglas would be right.
Appearances can be deceiving, of course. What else can be assumed here? Could the lama have deceived Notovich, as Mueller initially believed? Did Notowicz really write down everything that was read and translated to him, grouped the poems and published them, as he claimed? Or, could it be that the abbot of Himis was not entirely frank with Professor Douglas?
If we assume for a moment that, in essence, Notovich’s reports are reliable (that is, assuming all sorts of dramatic events in this story, consider the chronicles to really exist and reproduced by Notovich) and that Douglas, as everyone believed, also wrote a reliable report, then how can we explain such contradictions? Perhaps the answer lies in the area of ”eastern diplomacy”.
Notovich argued that the European’s questions about any values of the lama were mistaken for an intention to kidnap them. According to the Russian, it was for this reason that he was so circumspect in seeking access to the documents, and he was convinced that it was caution that contributed to his success in this case. Professor Douglas’s article shows that he acted decisively and straightforwardly. If Notovich’s statements are correct, then this behavior could lead to outright rejection.
We will never know exactly what happened between Douglas and the lama at Himis, or between Notovich and the lama – if such a meeting actually took place. However, after spending most of the winter of 1974-75. in Ladakh, the Tibetan scholars Snellgrove and Skorupski made a number of remarks about Himis that make the theory of “Eastern diplomacy” more credible. In the article “The Cultural Heritage of Ladakh” they wrote:
“Himis is a monastery that is not so easy to learn about. It seems to attract more visitors than any other monastery in Ladakh, but very few people understand what they see in front of them. This causes contempt among some monks and even open disrespect; they seem to be convinced that all foreigners steal if possible.In recent years, there have been serious thefts, and while we were there, the investigation was still carried out by the senior police inspector. I had to bear responsibility for this ” 56 . [Italics added.]
Whatever happened there, the whole thing took on the flavor of an unusual tragedy with curious heroes: a professor from unknown country, a Russian writer, a lama from Ladakh, a famous philologist, and extras from scientists, newspapermen, Moravian brothers, English officers, a therapist with a suspicious name. , travelers and, possibly, missing documents whose existence has not yet been established.
Notovich did not bring copies of them, or at least photographs of the pages of the chronicle to prove its existence, and Douglas was told that such a chronicle did not exist at all.
Was it a case about non-existent documents or about a lama who recanted his testimony? A fake fabricated by Notovich? Douglas’ naivety? Or something else? Due to the lack of evidence, it is impossible to say for sure. In fact, there was so little convincing evidence at the time that even a great detective would have been stumped. What was the development of the plot? Elementary, my dear Watson: new evidence.
They appeared in the form of eyewitness reports who visited Himis, and the first of these reports was more than an irony of fate. This was the testimony of Swami Abhedananda – a good acquaintance, if not a close friend of Max Müller – who stated that not only had he seen these documents, but also verbally confirmed the truth of Notovich’s stories.
Abhedananda was the ideal person who could give a credible assessment of the situation in Himis. In the world his name was Kaliprasad Chandra, he was born on October 2, 1866 in Calcutta in India and at an early age mastered English and Sanskrit perfectly 57 . When he turned 18, he entered the Calcutta Oriental Seminary, where his father, Professor Rashiklal Chandra, was in charge of the English language department for twenty-five years.
A precocious student, well versed in the literature of the East and West, Kaliprasad was an avid reader with a philosophical bias, who in his youth mastered such dissimilar works as the Bhagavad Gita and The System of Logic by John Stuart Mill. He studied all philosophical schools, attended numerous lectures by yogis, pandits, representatives of Christianity, Brahmanism and Hinduism, and in 1884 became a disciple of the Indian saint Ramakrishna.
Beginning in 1886, he walked the length and breadth of Hindustan, barefoot and without money. For ten years he endured hardships, comprehending the Absolute, made pilgrimages to the holy places in Puri, Rishikesh and Kedarnath, and lived at the sources of the Jamna and Ganges in the Himalayas.
In 1896, he donned a European dress and sailed to London, where he began a career as a preacher and interpreter of Vedanta (Hindu philosophy based on the Vedas), met with such famous scientists as the prominent German Sanskritologist Paul Dussen and the formidable Max Müller.
It is difficult to say exactly how deep the latter’s connection with the Hindu was. Abhedananda stayed in London for only a year before leaving for the United States to spread Vedanta there. Nevertheless, they met many times, communicated in English (Mueller could only read Sanskrit, he could not speak) and, it seems, were happy with each other’s company.
Among other things, their relationship was based on mutual respect and common interests, and not least of them was Ramakrishna, for whom Mueller had deep and unchanging respect. Abhedananda talked about his teacher for a long time, and what Mueller learned about the Indian righteous man from his disciple significantly expanded the forthcoming book Ramakrishna:
His Life and Sayings. ”After Mueller’s death in 1900, Abhedananda – representing Indian specialists in Hindi and Sanskrit – paid tribute to Mueller in a public meeting organized by the Philology and Philosophy departments of Columbia University.
No doubt an Oxford professor would have been shocked to hear that a friend of his had confirmed Notovich’s story. Would he have taken it lightly? Or would you deny it? Would you require further proof? We will never know about this, because Mueller passed away twenty-two years before Abhedananda decided that Notovich’s statements were true.
It is difficult even to say whether these two people ever discussed the book “The Unknown Life of Jesus Christ” or not. Although Abhedananda arrived in London shortly after the publication of the book, he may not have read it until he arrived in America 58 .
There are conflicting accounts of Abhedananda’s attitude towards this book, but he was not a supporter of it – at least not at first. In the book “The Mystery of Jesus” (1980) by Richard and Janet Bock, – a report on their search for evidence in support of the legend of Issus, * / The couple Bokov became interested in the lost years of Jesus after reading the books “The Gospel of Jesus Christ of the Age of Aquarius Levi, and” The Unknown The Life of Jesus Christ “Notovich. During their frequent travels to India, they shot a film for four months, tracing the path of Christ into the interior of the continent, as indicated in” The Life of Saint Issa. “Their film” The Lost Years “, filmed in 1978, introduced many Americans to and Europeans with a history of Jesus’ wanderings in the East, which took place even before his Palestinian mission. / Mrs. Bock reports, that Abhedananda was very skeptical and went to Himis to “expose” Notovich. She made this conclusion on the basis of an interview with Abhedananda’s disciple Swami Prajnananda.
However, a few lines from the manuscript of one of Abhedananda’s biographers, Shivani’s sister (Mrs. Mary Lepage), suggest that the word “expose” was too strong. Working in “Princeton University Press,” from 1912 to 1916, Sister Shivani recalled: “I once heard a statement by Swami in favor of the view that the years leading up to the mission of Christ, they were carried out in India with Tibetan yogis” 59 .
This statement piqued her interest and she wrote to Dr. Miller, who taught church history at Princeton, and Swami Abhedananda. Dr. Miller replied that he was not aware of the existence of such historical written evidence. But, according to Sister Shivani, “Swami said in his letter that I read a book by Russian writer Notovitch” The Unknown Life of Christ ” 60 .
For several years she could not find this book. Nevertheless, if Abhedananda was skeptical enough about Notovich’s book and wanted to expose it, it remains a mystery why he advised his student to read it and did not express his disbelief in the book.
Two of his biographies – “The Champion of Monism: A Reliable Account of Swami Abhedananda’s Activities in America” by Sister Shivani and “Swami Abhedananda: A Spiritual Biography” by Dr. Moni Bagchi – claim that Abhedananda was seeking to “verify and confirm” (they used the same expression) Notovich’s statement 61 .
However deep his interest, many years passed before Abhedananda was able to satisfy him. He was busy spreading Vedanta in America. From 1897 to 1921, he traveled extensively throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico, lecturing on various aspects of Vedanta in almost every major city.
As in London, he was recognized in the highest circles of America and among the intelligentsia: he was received in the White House by President William McKinley, met with Thomas Edison and at William James’s receptions he discussed for a long time the problem of “the unity of the ultimate Reality” with the owner of the house and Professors Josiah Royce, Nathaniel Shayler and Lewis Janes, Chair of the Cambridge Philosophical Conferences 62 .
Finally, in July 1921, Abhedananda sailed for India from the port of San Francisco. In 1922, at the age of 56, a wandering pilgrim took a staff in his hand and went to Himis. “For a long time, my cherished dream was to travel on foot through the Himalayas,” he said, according to notes 63 . In his diary, he wrote: “In 1922, I set out from Kashmir to Tibet, having made a trek across the Himalayas in order to study the customs, traditions, Buddhist philosophy and Lamaism prevalent among Tibetan lamas. I walked along the Yarkand road, the main road to Europe and He stopped in Leh, capital of Ladakh, in eastern Tibet. My ultimate goal was Himis monastery, which is 25 miles north of Lech ” 64 .
Abhedananda described the details of his journey in the book “In Kashmir and Tibet”. In it, he writes that after a tour of the monastery, he asked the lamas how reliable the story of Notovich was. And only if he “learned from them that the evidence was indeed true” 65 .
The book “In Kashmir and Tibet” is quite interesting. It was compiled in several stages, partly by Abhedananda himself, and partly by his assistant, who worked with his diary and original records. According to the recollections of Dr. Bagchi, after completing the journey, Abhedananda returned to Calcutta and gave his notes to the brahmacharya Bhairav Chaitanya, his travel companion in Tibet. He asked Chaitanya to compose an outline of his journey, on the basis of which he apparently intended to write book 66 .
Chaitanya, using standard Kashmir and Tibet reference books, complied with this request. But in the years that followed, Abhedananda was too busy to correct and supplement the notes.
In 1927, rough notes were published in several parts in Vishwavani, the monthly Ramakrishna Vedanta Math, or the Vedanta Ramakrishna Center, organized in January 1899 by Swami Vivekananda, a spiritual institution that originally united the disciples of Paramahansa Ramakrishna and is a purely monastic establishing with its mathas and ashrams, but at the same time exercising (in the person of its chairman) leadership of the Ramakrishna Mission. The latter is currently one of the largest and most effective – not only in India, but also in the world – organizations of a philanthropic and charitable nature. Both institutions are designed to contribute to the protection and dissemination of a single eternal religion, the philosophical foundations of which are expressed in Vedanta. Abhedananda was one of the first disciples of Ramakrishna who agreed to abandon the traditional monastic retreat in order to spread, after Vivekananda, the ideas of Vedanta and Ramakrishna throughout the world. See, for example, Romain Roland, The Life of Ramakrishna and The Life of Vivekananda. Approx. per. /, arousing considerable interest. Then, adding his own notes and materials from auxiliary sources, Abhedananda completed and corrected the entire work. In 1929 he published a book called Parivrajaka Swami Abhedananda, later renamed Kashmir O Tibbate. arousing considerable interest. Then, adding his own notes and materials from auxiliary sources, Abhedananda completed and corrected the entire work. In 1929 he published a book called Parivrajaka Swami Abhedananda, later renamed Kashmir O Tibbate. arousing considerable interest. Then, adding his own notes and materials from auxiliary sources, Abhedananda completed and corrected the entire work. In 1929 he published a book called Parivrajaka Swami Abhedananda, later renamed Kashmir O Tibbate.
In 1954, 15 years after Abhedananda’s death, the book was edited by his student Swami Prajnananda and published in a second revised edition. It can be seen that the book was not completely corrected by Abhedananda, since in the chapter on the reliability of the annals, Abhedananda is referred to in the third person as “Swamiji”.
Despite the unusual manner in which the book “In Kashmir and Tibet” was written, there is no doubt as to the story of Notovich and his alleged find. The text unambiguously recounts the main points of the Russian journalist’s account, including the healing of his broken leg in Himis, Abhedananda’s inquiries about Notovich, and confirmation received from the lama: “The lama accompanying Swamiji took the manuscript [about Issa] from the shelf and showed it to Swamiji. He explained, that this is a copy, and the original is in a monastery located in Marbour, near Lhasa. The original was written in Pali, but it was a Tibetan translation ” 67 , everything agrees with Notovich’s story.
At Abhedananda’s request, the lama helped him translate the text into English 68 , later it was translated into Bengali and published (together with excerpts from the English version of The Life of Saint Issa of Notovich’s book The Unknown Life of Jesus Christ) in the book In Kashmir and Tibet … No matter how skeptical Abhedananda was at first, after visiting Himis, after thoroughly questioning the lamas and studying the documents he was looking for, he was so sure of their authenticity that he published excerpts from Notovich’s reports in his own book.
With the exception of excerpts from The Unknown Life of Jesus Christ, In Kashmir and Tibet was written in Bengali. As far as we know, the book has never been translated into English. In order to make the important documents necessary for understanding the essence of the case available to our readers, we have translated the necessary chapters of the book “Kashmir O Tibbate” into English for the first time – thanks to the kindness and dedication of Prasan Kumar De, Per Sinclair and Jayashri Majumdar.
Like Abhedananda, his biographers Bagchi and Shivani had full confidence in Notovich’s account. Both, again in the same terms, argued that “those who have read this book and soberly thought about the extraordinary, exciting searches described in it, which no scientist could refute, can understand that it is not idle curiosity.” caused Abhedananda to take a trip to Himis 69 .
A third biographer, Ashutosh Ghosh, agreed with them. In the book “Swami Abhedananda: The Patriot Saint” he wrote: “He reached Himis Monastery on October 4th and there he found a manuscript about the unknown life of Jesus Christ, previously published by the Russian traveler Nikolai Notovich, and with the help of the senior lama, he translated important passages about life of Jesus, which he then included in his book “Kashmir O Tibbate”, written in Bengali 70 .
The specificity of communication between Abhedananda and the lamas in Himis was completely different than in the cases of Notovich or Douglas. Abhedananda was not a journalist or professor of an alien culture for them. He was a disciple of Ramakrishna, a scientist, preacher, traveler and former ascetic who lived for three months in a cave in the Himalayas at the source of the Ganges. He was close enough to them and too perceptive to be deceived by the “pranksters-monks,” as Mueller called them.
However, there are some inconsistencies between the Notovic and Abhedananda versions of the text, possibly due to the fact that both have undergone many translations. The Pali original was first translated into Tibetan. It is not known in what language Notovich first wrote down the parables, when they were translated to him – perhaps in his native Russian or French. But we do know that they were eventually printed in French and later translated into English. The parables published by Abhedananda underwent a similar odyssey: Tibetan, English, Bengali, then English again.
Abhedananda added a few details that are missing from the Russian narrative and included a note describing “how Jesus stopped on the shore of a lake near Kabul to wash his hands and feet and rest there. This lake still exists today. It is called Lake Issy.” in honor of the event by the lake hosts the annual fair. this is mentioned in the Arabic book “Tariq-A-Ajhan” 71 . it is difficult to say whether this is evidence of the existence of other versions go a complete exposition of the same text.
Like Douglas, Abhedananda traveled to Himis with the clear purpose of checking Notovich’s story. But, unlike Douglas, he stated that he not only saw, but also wrote down the parables given by the lama from the same book that was read to Notovich. While this largely corroborates Notovich’s account – especially the existence of the document itself and the faithful reproduction of the parables – it does not provide conclusive evidence. Abhedananda brought no photographs or copies of the text. And he was completely dependent on the lama for translation from Tibetan.
More proofs were required, and their appearance was not long in coming – this time thanks to the talented pen of Nicholas Roerich, a remarkable man who wrote a lot about Saint Issa’s travels in the East. From 1924 to 1928, he led an expedition to Central Asia – Sikkim, Punjab, Kashmir, Ladakh, Karakorum, Khotan, Kashgar, Karashar, Urumchi, Irtysh, Altai, Oirot region, Mongolia, Central Gobi, Kansu, Tsaidam and Tibet. During the trip, he wrote down a living story about Issa’s stay in the East, embodied in legends carefully preserved by people belonging to different nationalities and professing different religions, throughout the vast territory of Asia and discovered one, and possibly more than one manuscript on this topic. What he wrote about Saint Issus is presented in the fourth chapter of this book.
Nicholas Roerich – born in St. Petersburg in Russia on October 10, 1874 – studied at St. Petersburg University and the Academy of Arts. In 1898 he was appointed a lecturer * at the Imperial Archaeological Institute and by 1920 he had become a world famous artist. / “In 1898 – 1899, Nicholas Roerich, as a freelance teacher, read at the Archaeological Institute a course of lectures on the subject” Artistic technique as applied to archeology ” on the importance of the successes of archeology for the development of historical painting See, for example, VP Knyazev, “N. Roerich”, Publishing House “Art”, L.-M., 1963, p. 21. Approx. /
Usually referred to in biographical references as “a Russian-born artist, poet, archaeologist, philosopher and mystic” 72 , Roerich was also a diplomat, writer, critic, teacher, theater artist who created sets and costumes, and a traveler who explored unexplored places.
“Probably none of the Western travelers was better prepared scientifically, spiritually and psychologically for a trip to the East,” wrote Dr. Garabed Pilian in his monograph “Nicholas Roerich.” “Few, of course, went there out of higher motives, with ideas about synthesis, service and with the desire to find truth and beauty ” 73 .
Nikolai, his wife Elena and son Yuri were the “main forces” of his Central Asian expedition, which consisted of nine Europeans, thirty-six local residents and 102 camels, yaks, horses and mules. During their journey through Sikkim, they were accompanied by the second son of Roerich, Svyatoslav, and a famous scholar, expert in Tibetan literature, Lama Lobsang Min-por Dorje.
The expedition set itself many goals. Its main task was to create picturesque evidence of the lands and peoples of Central Asia. During the trip, Nicholas Roerich painted 500 paintings. The expedition also pursued other goals – to study the location of ancient monuments and the state of modern religions, to trace the migration routes of different nations, to consider the possibilities of future archaeological research and to collect a promising collection of ethnographic and linguistic materials about the culture of Inner Asia.
Thanks to his unique knowledge and abilities, Yuri Roerich made an invaluable contribution to the work of the expedition. He was a prominent archaeologist and orientalist, educated at Harvard and the School of Oriental Languages in Paris, not to mention elsewhere, * and was also a student of Lama Lobsang Mingyur Dorje.
Yuri studied Persian, Sanskrit, Chinese and Tibetan languages. “This vast knowledge in the field of languages gave him the key to the secrets of the” closed land “, – wrote Louis Marin, the former president of the Ethnographic Society in Paris, in the preface to Yuri Roerich’s report-monograph on the expedition -” Along the paths of Central Asia “, published in 1931 * / GN Roerich. “Trails to Inmost Asia”. London, 1931. The monograph was published in Russian in 1995 (in excellent design, including color reproductions of N. Roerich’s paintings, depicting the landscape and views of settlements along the route of the expedition ) ed. “Agni” under the above title, although in domestic literature it is sometimes referred to as “Paths to the Heart of Asia” or “Paths to Intimate Asia.”
“Thanks to his knowledge of the languages, traditions of these countries, – continued Marin, – Yuri Roerich visited Buddhist monasteries, usually completely closed to foreigners. He discovered a complete collection of the sacred books of the Bon-Po religion – three hundred volumes, which represent an invaluable treasure for the history of religions and Oriental Studies ” 74 .
To ensure the success of the expedition, Yuri Nikolaevich spent one year (1924) in Sikkim, in the Eastern Himalayas, improving his language skills. “It was necessary to acquire good conversational skills in the Tibetan language before embarking on a journey that would require constant communication with the locals,” he wrote in his book On the Trails of Central Asia 75 . Obviously, this time was not wasted, as later Nikolai Konstantinovich noted: “How wonderful that Yuri knows all the necessary Tibetan dialects!” 76
There seemed to be another, albeit less official, reason for this trip. Long before Leonard Nimoy sent millions of Americans to investigate various intriguing mysteries, Nicholas Roerich was looking for real events hidden in the folk legends of the East. According to Garabed Pylian, Roerich, like Pliny, believed that “through the interpretation of the myth we come to the truth” 77 .
“In every city, at every camp site in Asia,” Roerich reported, “I tried to unravel what memories are stored in the people’s memory. Through these protected and guarded legends you can discern real events of the past. Each spark of folk art contains a drop of the Great Truth. embellished and distorted ” 78 .
Traveling through Asia, he collected legends about a race of underground inhabitants 79, legends and facts testifying to the ancient migrations of Europeans (including the Goths and Druids) to Asia and beyond, stories about Solomon and his flying carpet, about the coming of Maitreya, as well as the legends about Shambhala and, of course, the legends about Saint Issus. The experience of Professor Roerich’s expedition provided him with an abundance of materials, which were subsequently included in a number of books. In particular, in three of them much attention is paid to the expedition: “The Himalayas” (1926), “The Heart of Asia” (1929) and Roerich’s travel diary “Altai-Himalayas” (1929), which “more than any other of the books written, is like remarked a columnist for the American Journal of Arts * (December 1929), – reflects the supreme triumph of beauty in the mind of a true artist and at the same time testifies to the greatness and uniqueness of the author’s personality “
Altai-Himalayas is a unique work because it is more of a series of observations by the author – notes made on horseback or in a tent – than a book with a formal structure or a storyline. In this book, Roerich wrote a lot about Issa’s stay in the East – and among other things – for the reason that he often met evidence of this, starting from Kashmir, the starting point of his journey.
“In Srinagar, for the first time, a curious legend about the stay of Christ reached us. Subsequently, we became convinced how widespread the legend about the stay of Christ is throughout India, Ladakh and Central Asia, during his long absence indicated in the scriptures,” Roerich says in “The Heart of Asia” 81 …
Since the legend appeared again and again – in Kashmir, Ladakh, Mongolia, Xinjiang and other places – Professor Roerich became convinced of the “authenticity of the legends about Issus” and that “the lamas know the meaning of the document” 82 . He heard several versions of the legend, but in the book “The Heart of Asia” he noted that “they all claimed that during the years of absence Christ was in India and Asia” 83 .
Professor Roerich, however, found something more than a legend. He repeatedly mentions “scriptures” and “manuscripts”. For example, being in Ladakh, he noted that the writings of the lamas speak of how Christ exalted the woman – the Mother of the World and related to the so-called miracles.
In the book “The Himalayas”, in the introduction, which is preceded by a long quotation from an ancient manuscript, we read: “Let us listen attentively to how they talk about Christ in the mountains of Tibet. In documents that go back 1500 years into antiquity, one can read:” Issa secretly left his parents and, together with merchants from Jerusalem, went to the Indus for the improvement and study of the laws of the Teacher [Buddha]. ” 84 The story that follows is in many places almost the same as in Notovich’s“ Life of Saint Issa ”.
One long passage from the book “Altai-Himalayas”, written during Roerich’s stay in Leh, definitely deserves attention and raises important questions.
“In one day, three information about the manuscript about Jesus. An Indian says:” I heard from one of the Ladakhi * / Here and further in the quotes, the spelling of the authors / officials was left according to the words of the former abbot of the Khemi monastery that there was a tree and a small pond in Leh. around which Jesus taught. “(Some new version of a tree and a pond, previously unheard.)
The missionary says: “An absurd invention, invented by a Pole who has been in Chemi for several months.” (The question is, why is it composed? Why does it coincide with other versions and arguments?)
… A good and sensitive Indian says significantly about the manuscript, the life of Issa: “Why is Issa always sent during (his) absence from Palestine to Egypt? His young years, of course, were spent in study. Traces of [Buddhist] teachings, / , affected the subsequent sermons. To what sources do these sermons lead? What is Egyptian in them? And are traces of Buddhism, India not visible? It is not clear why Issa’s caravan route to India and to the area now occupied by Tibet is so vehemently denied.
… There are such amateurs blatantly deny if something is difficult for their consciousness. But then knowledge also turns into seminarian scholasticism, and the natural need for slander reaches high technology. How could a recent forgery have penetrated the consciousness of the whole East? And where is the scholar who wrote the long exposition in Pali and Tibetan? We do not know this ” 85 .
Naturally, while in Ladakh, Roerich visited Himis. But he found it a place that did not live up to expectations, where “a strange atmosphere of gloom and despondency is felt”, “black crows are circling” and “semi-literate lamas”.
In the Himalayas, as an introduction to his comments about Himis, he wrote: “On the manuscripts about Jesus. First, complete denial. To our surprise, denial first of all comes from missionary circles. Finally it turns out that old people in Ladakh have heard and know about the manuscripts. “
Further, speaking exclusively about Himis, he continues: “Such documents as manuscripts about Christ and the book about Shambhala lie in the darkest place. And the figure of the lama who compiled the book about Shambhala stands like an idol in some fantastic headdress. still other relics killed the dusty corners. * and tantrik-lamas there until they’re doing. You should have seen the reverse side of Buddhism ” 86 . / Now we understand why it is quite probable that the lama in Himis told Notovich about his inability to immediately indicate where the manuscript about Issus was kept in the monastery /.
In short, Roerich’s notes did almost everything that could be done to prove the existence and authenticity of one or more documents describing Jesus’ sojourn in the East – he just did not get one of them. Throughout Asia, he found this legend, preserved by people of various nationalities and religions. He repeatedly refers to “written documents” and “manuscripts” – some he himself saw, others he heard from people – which spoke of Issa’s journey to the East. His mention of the Himis manuscripts stored in the “darkest place” suggests the citadel of the “Dark Treasury” described by the Tibetologists Snellgrove and Skorupski. He even recorded the story of the abbot Lama Himis, where he talks about this legend.
Although Roerich was undoubtedly familiar with the work of Notovich, he found his sources for this legend himself. “Much resembles lines from Notovich’s book,” he wrote while in Leh, “but it is even more surprising to find the same version of the legend about Issus in several versions. The locals do not know anything about the published book, but they know the legend and with deep respect talk about Issa. ” 87
Moreover, along with the identification of similarities between the texts found by Notovich and Roerich (sixty verses from ten chapters of Notovich’s book “The Life of St. Issa” coincide with the text included in the “Himalayas”), Roerich published materials about St. Issus from manuscripts that did not exist at Notovich’s.
Roerich described an example of the initial denial of a legend, followed by the emergence of vivid details, and then an open and sincere discussion about the legends and / or manuscripts. He wrote that in Leh “Issa talked here with the people on the way from Tibet. Secret and carefully kept legends. It is difficult to find them, because lamas know how to keep silent better than all people. Only by finding a common language – not only physical, but also inner understanding, – you can get closer to their significant secrets. As I had to make sure, every educated Gelong (monk) knows a lot. You can’t even guess by the eyes when he agrees with you or laughs inwardly, knowing more than you. “scientists” who found themselves in the most ridiculous situations … The time has come for the enlightenment of Asia ” 88 .
Undoubtedly, Professor Roerich believed in the authenticity of the texts. When the historical accuracy was less certain, as is the case with some materials about Issa, which he published in the “Himalaya”, he considered it his duty to point this out 89 .
Thanks to the ability of Yuri Nikolaevich to speak different Tibetan dialects, the Roerichs did not experience difficulties in communicating with people in Ladakh, just as they did not depend on the lama-translator in Himis. Not to mention the fact that Yuri, better than anyone else, could make expert assessments of these documents.
In the end, a prominent specialist in Tibetan literature Lama Lobsang Mingur Dorje accompanied the Roerichs part of the way. It is not clear from the notes of Nikolai Konstantinovich and Yuri Nikolayevich whether he was with them in Khimis or in other places where manuscripts were discovered, where he could also draw a conclusion as an expert and warn them if the documents were fake or had a dubious origin. And, assuming the improbable, if Professor Roerich published fake manuscripts, no doubt the lama would express his opinion on this matter and save his friend from an awkward situation in the future.
Did Nicholas Roerich find the same documents that Notovich and Abhedananda announced they had found? We do not know. Roerich himself does not specify this. Yuri Roerich, focusing on scientific data, does not discuss documents. If Notovich’s find really existed, then it is quite possible that Nicholas Roerich saw a copy of it. Perhaps he found another version of the text. Or both.
After the publication of three books in which Nicholas Roerich wrote in detail about Issa’s stay in the East (“The Himalayas”, “Altai-Himalayas”, “Heart of Asia”), he continued to return to this topic from time to time in his later works. However – and this turn of events would have stopped any detective in his search for him – despite the fact that Roerich described this topic more extensively than Notovich, there were no violent attacks in the press, as was the case with the Russian journalist when he first reported about the discovery of documentary evidence that Jesus was in the East. Indeed, as far as we know, Roerich was not criticized at all by recognized scientists, linguists, theologians and even reporters.
When Roerich published the report on the discovery, Literary Collection (September 1, 1928) treated him very superficially: “Professor Roerich has already sent 250 of his Tibetan paintings to the New York Museum … Two years ago, when the first batch of Himalayan paintings arrived his fans have published a monograph about them, where among other things they say about the documents that Roerich found in ancient Buddhist monasteries of Tibet and that he believes, are proof of Jesus decade of training in the part of Asia before the start of his mission in Palestine ” 90 .
And later, when Penelope Chetwood – the author of the book “Kulu: The End of the Inhabited Earth” (1972) – took up this topic, she assessed the “discovery” by Roerich of the documents about Issus as a rediscovered obsolete topic. She wrote: “In Tibet, as he stated, ancient Buddhist chronicles were discovered which claim that Christ spent the ‘hidden years’ partly in Tibet and partly in India. This is not really new, and the tradition is always claimed that Jesus spent these years in Kashmir, where the sayings of our Lord relating to this mysterious period of his life were preserved: one of them was quoted by Akbar at the Gate of Victory in Fatehpur Sikri: “Jesus said, may peace be upon him! The world is a bridge, cross it, but do not build your dwelling there. He who hopes for an hour can hope for eternity; this world is just an hour91 .
Be sure, the Roerichs met their share of opposition. The British government suspected them of espionage, Henry Wallace (Secretary of Agriculture in 1933-40 and Vice President of the United States in 1941-45), who was once a devoted friend and associate, became an enemy, and many legal battles took place between them. But the accusations never concerned the authenticity of the legends or chronicles found by Roerich about Jesus’ stay in India and Tibet.
Despite the fact that Roerich was a famous scientist, neither academic nor religious circles were worthy to revise the theory of Jesus’ stay in India. However, when Notovich’s book The Unknown Life of Jesus Christ was reprinted in 1926, the eminent theologian Edgar J. Goodspeed criticized it in his book The Unknown New Gospel.
Goodspeed’s book was published in 1931, he had plenty of time to hear about the travels of Abhedananda and Roerich to Himis. However, in his article he only mentions that when The Unknown Life of Jesus Christ was first published, “the book caused a lively controversy, attracted the attention of an authority of such magnitude as Professor F. Max Müller from Oxford. “Nineteenth Century” and then forgotten. ” Goodspeed recalled the “destruction” of Notovich by Douglas, and also added his own personal comments as evidence that “The Life of Saint Issa” must be a fake 92 .
But there was no mention of the manuscripts and travels of Professor Roerich, who – if Abhedananda was an insignificant figure for the author – was often the hero of articles in The New York Times and other major newspapers.
Then the story took an unexpected turn. Like a ghost ship lurking in the fog, documents whose existence was being questioned appear to have disappeared. In an interview with Richard Bock, Abhedananda’s disciple, Swami Prajnananda, confessed:
“I heard from his own lips that he [Abhedananda] saw the scrolls [in Himis] and made a translation from them. Several years later he inquired about them, but he was told that there were no more scrolls there. I also asked to show me the scrolls. but they were not. There are no manuscripts. They were carried away, but by whom, we do not know. ” Swami Prajnananda also reported that the original, written in Pali, was removed from the Marbur Monastery in Lhasa 93 .
Boks do not say in what year Abhedananda inquired about the manuscripts. But just before his death, on September 8, 1939, the ghost ship again briefly swam out of the fog. This time he appeared to a lone traveler from the West, who allegedly saw (and thereby provided another confirmation of this) the documents in question – Elizabeth G. Caspari.
In the summer of 1939, Elizabeth Kaspari, a Swedish music performer and professor of music education, and her husband, Charles, made a pilgrimage to Mount Kailash, organized and led by the well-known religious leader Mrs. Clarence Gasky. Kailash, located in Tibet at the source of the Brahmaputra, Indus and Sutlej, is known in Sanskrit literature as Shiva’s paradise and is a popular pilgrimage site.
The travelers chose the same route as Notovich – through the Zodji pass, through Mulbek and Lamayura, to Himis on the way to Mount Kailash. They planned to get to Himis in order to see the three-day festival held annually in honor of Saint Padma Sambhava.
Their journey was not in the least unusual. There is only one road that leads from Srinagar to Leh, and this is the road to get to Himis from this part of India. It was also not unusual that they arrived in Himis in time for the annual festival, which has always attracted the most attention from tourists. But there was something unusual about their journey as opposed to the fatal bad luck that Notovich experienced in his own words.
The Russian journalist stated that he took many photographs in Ladakh and during the entire trip, but lost them due to the negligence of one of his servants, who inaccurately opened the box with the photographic plates that had been filmed and ruined the pictures. Max Müller made a lot of noise about these “unfortunate” lost tapes, which at one time could prove that Notovich really was in Himis. Later, of course, Douglas established that the Russian writer had indeed visited Lech, and possibly Himis, but as for the photographs, only a miracle could bring them back.
Well, miracles do happen from time to time. Was it Divine Providence? Destiny? Or some other invisible force that, so to speak, brought back the lost pictures to the world? Whatever it was, the Caspari couple took photographs of the entire journey and re-captured the scenes that Notovich had once witnessed — even the festival in Himis.
Mrs. Gasky was internationally renowned and received a cordial welcome throughout the journey, and her companions as well. One day, an Indian maharaja literally spread a red carpet to welcome their visit. And in Himis, despite the fact that the travelers arrived at the end of the show, the lamas played it a second time in honor of their arrival!
But that is not all. A few days after the show, while Madame Gasky and Elizabeth Caspari were sitting on the roof of the monastery, the library keeper and two other monks approached them. They brought three manuscripts in beautifully decorated cases, one of which was solemnly opened by the librarian lama. Then, handing Mrs. Gasky the sheets of parchment, he said with deep reverence: “These books say that your Jesus was here.”
Those same manuscripts. Three books presented by the monastery librarian claiming to be about Jesus being here?
Although we have no reason to doubt the words spoken by the monks, unfortunately we do not know what these books were talking about. They were written in Tibetan and none of the women asked to translate them. True, Elizabeth Caspari took photographs of the lama proudly displaying the books.
Mrs. Kaspari as a new witness in terms of the degree of her preparedness differs significantly from Douglas, Abhedananda and Roerich, each of whom was familiar with Notovich’s work by the time of the trip to Himis. Although Madame Caspari once heard mention of Jesus’ wanderings to India, she had long since forgotten about it. She was unaware of Notovich’s discovery and the publication of the book “The Unknown Life of Jesus Christ” in 1894, as well as of further controversy, and even of the subsequent works of Swami Abhedananda and Professor Roerich on this topic. She did not intend to search for the manuscripts with the aim of confirming their authenticity or for any other purpose. Quite simply, the lamas took out the documents from the depository and, on their own initiative, brought them to our ladies.
Elizabeth Caspari, now eighty-five years old, recently shared with us her memories of a trip to the Himalayas and graciously allowed us to publish photographs of her and her husband during the trip – including a snapshot of a monk in Himis showing books. in which he said it was said that “Jesus was here.” Tibet was invaded by the Chinese communists in 1950. Since the Chinese quelled an uprising in 1959 in fact, all monasteries were destroyed or used for secular and monks barred from worship 94 . If the original, written in Pali, was still in Lhasa in 1959, it may have been confiscated or destroyed.
Ladakh is the last surviving refuge of the Tibetan Buddhist culture. Thanks to his unique geographical position and the diplomatic ability of one of the abbots of the monastery, Himis escaped destruction by the invading armies and became a repository of books, paintings, sculptures, costumes and valuables from other monasteries. In 1947, Ladakh was closed to outsiders by the Indian government due to tensions with China and Pakistan. But in 1974 it was reopened, and now everyone who is interested can go to Himis and “see with their own eyes” whether these documents really exist, if they are still there. Stories like this are always full of intriguing footnotes. Chief Justice of the United States William O. Douglas traveled to Himis in 1951. Describing your impressions in the book ” Beyond the Himalayan Peaks “, * / Ravich and Noak, professional photographers, kindly provided us with some pictures, including a photograph of a monk in Khimis who told Noak about the chronicle of Issus / Douglas noted:“ Himis, the first monastery in all of Ladakh, still then it is an ideal place for solitude; and over the centuries it became richer not only in lands and other goods, but also in legends. One of these apocryphal stories speaks of Jesus. There are people who to this day believe that Jesus visited this place, that he came here at the age of fourteen and left it, going west at the age of twenty-eight, and have never heard of him again. The legend tells in detail how Jesus came to Himis under the name Issa ” is still an ideal place for solitude; and over the centuries it became richer not only in lands and other goods, but also in legends. One of these apocryphal stories speaks of Jesus. There are people who to this day believe that Jesus visited this place, that he came here at the age of fourteen and left it, going west at the age of twenty-eight, and have never heard of him again. The legend tells in detail how Jesus came to Himis under the name Issa ” is still an ideal place for solitude; and over the centuries it became richer not only in lands and other goods, but also in legends. One of these apocryphal stories speaks of Jesus. There are people who to this day believe that Jesus visited this place, that he came here at the age of fourteen and left it, going west at the age of twenty-eight, and have never heard of him again. The legend tells in detail how Jesus came to Himis under the name Issa ” went to the West at the age of twenty-eight and was never heard of again. The legend tells in detail how Jesus came to Himis under the name Issa ” went to the West at the age of twenty-eight and was never heard from again. The legend tells in detail how Jesus came to Himis under the name Issa “95 .
In 1975, Dr. Robert S. Ravich, professor of anthropology at California State University, Northridge, made his first trip to Leh. Dr. Ravich is an anthropologist with a long history of studying South Asia and Latin America. During this trip and his other trips to India and Ladakh, he lived for a long time in monasteries and religious communities and observed the customs of the indigenous people – from Buddhist rituals, weaving and agriculture traditions to family life. He met with the Dalai Lama three times and was well aware of the problems and aspirations of the peoples of Tibet.
During this trip, he investigated the problem of Tibetan refugees and visited Himis in the course of his research. There, his friend, a well-known doctor in Ladakh, said that according to rumors, documents were kept in the monastery, stating that Jesus was in Himis. To Dr. Ravich, who had never before heard or suspected that Jesus traveled to the East, this was truly news.
Is it possible to conduct research in Himis? Yes, says Dr. Ravich, if you are committed to this goal. In his opinion, it will take you at least a few months to gain enough confidence from the lamas to gain access to whatever manuscripts they may have. Further, in order to read them, you will need to perfectly master the classical Tibetan language. Although Dr. Ravich does not claim to have direct proof of the existence of books on the life of Jesus in Himis, he bore witness to the oral narration of a legend told to him by a venerable citizen . [ 96]
Further testimony came from Edward F. Noack of Sacramento, California, a traveler whose greatest passion is traveling the forbidden lands of the East. Since 1958, he and his wife Helen have undertaken eighteen expeditions to places such as Tibet, Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan, Ladakh, Afghanistan, Baluchistan, China and Turkestan, and they have visited Leh four times.
Eighty-six-year-old Noack is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society in London and the Academy of Sciences in California. His forthcoming book “Among the ice and nomads of High-Mountain Asia” is a record of travels to the north-western borders of Pakistan, Nagara, Khunza, the Wakhan gorge and the harsh Pamir mountains. Not long ago, Noak told us that during his stay in Himis in the late seventies, a lama in the monastery informed him that the manuscript describing Jesus’ journey to Ladakh was locked in vault 97 .
Thus, right before the meeting with the journalists, fresh testimony appears in this chapter of the Issus case, coming from three independent contemporary sources: from a judge from the Supreme Court, an anthropological scientist and an experienced traveler. None of them, going to Himis, set themselves the goal of understanding this story. But each of them was told that Jesus was there.
Three more pieces of evidence at the end of a long investigation, the freshest evidence in our hands – facts that have remained a mystery for almost a century … Imagine yourself as a detective once again. This time, not a yellowed folder, but a book appears on your desktop – this book.
Did Jesus Visit India During The Lost Years? Are the manuscripts and reports of the lamas in Himis, the testimonies of Notovich, Abhedananda, Roerich and Kaspari accurate and authentic? Can you give another explanation for these chronicles? Did Jesus spend those lost years in Palestine? Or Egypt? Or somewhere else?
To provide you with some information for your investigation and to help you draw your own conclusions, we present in this book the work of Nikolai Notovich “The Unknown Life of Jesus Christ”, including “The Life of Saint Issa” and maps of the author’s journey; translation of the main parts of Swami Abhedananda’s book “In Kashmir and Tibet” along with his version of the text; information and records about Saint Issus, collected in the books of Nicholas Roerich “Himalayas”, “Altai-Himalayas” and “Heart of Asia”; and, finally, the credible testimony of Elizabeth Caspari about her accidental discovery of the texts, as well as photographs taken by her and her husband during their pilgrimage.