Excerpts from Swami Abhedananda’s book “In Kashmir and Tibet” with his translation of the manuscript from Imis
In 1922, Swami Abhedananda traveled to Himis Monastery to determine whether Nikolai Notovich actually possessed a translation of an ancient Buddhist manuscript describing Jesus’ sojourn in the East, as he stated in his book The Unknown Life of Jesus Christ. Abhedananda said that the lama who showed him the monastery confirmed Notovich’s story, showed the book that served as the primary source for The Life of Saint Issa, and helped translate part of the text.
Abhedananda published notes about his trip, as well as the text he wrote down at Himis, in a book published in Bengali called “Kaznir O Tibale” – “In Kashmir and Tibet.”
This work was compiled in several stages, partly by Abhedananda and partly by the brahmacari Bhairav Chaitanya, the assistant who processed the diary and Swami’s own notes. Abhedananda later refined the first version of the translation of the manuscript. Since the literary style of the text is nowhere near as sophisticated as in his other works, and Abhedananda is often referred to in the third person as “Swamiji”, it is clear that he did not check the entire text. In 1954, 15 years after Abhedananda’s death, the book was edited again by Swami Prajnananda and published in a second revised edition.
Along with the publication of this collection of eyewitness accounts of the chronicles confirming Jesus’ travels in the East, we are pleased to announce that the following passages – i.e. from the 13th to the 15th chapter of the book “In Kashmir and Tibet”, – were first translated into English by three adherents of ancient wisdom, who are eager to see how this information in the most accurate form will reach Western students: Prasan Kumar De, a native of Calcutta, now living in Los Angeles, Per Sinclair, an American translator with a deep interest in Indian culture and religions, and Jayashri Majumdar, a teacher and translator from Calcutta, now living in Los Angeles. To these friends of Truth, the author and publisher express their deep gratitude.
At dawn, Swamiji left with the lamas to visit the monastery. He and the abbot lama settled down in the waiting room. The lamas brought in a large visitor registration book and wrote down our names and addresses. Swami wrote in English the following: “Swami Abhedananda, Vice President of the Ramakrishna Mission, Belur Math, near Calcutta” * / At that time (1921-1924) Swami Abhedananda was the Vice President of the Math and the Ramakrishna Mission /. Out of interest, Swami read all the names in the book, but could not find a single Bengali.
The room was great. It contained a wide mattress (like a thick gymnastic mat), spread on the floor in the style of the Marwari people. Several secretary lamas were filling up accounts or writing letters. The main church and the courtyard in front of the monastery were undergoing renovation work. About thirty Tibetan laborers and masons worked there. For restoration work, soil, stones and wood were used. Many boys, girls and nuns helped the masons as carriers. The foreman of the masons approached Swamiji for a donation for the benefit of the workers and Swamiji gave him some money. After receiving the money, the happy workers sang mountain songs [folk songs] in their incomprehensible Tibetan language.
I was told that the former Maharaja Pratap Singh from Kashmir donated thirty thousand rupees for restoration work. When Pratap Singh from the Punjab attacked this province, the abbot of the monastery lama joined the Maharaja of Kashmir and promised his entire army food and stay for six months. Since then, this monastery has been linked by an unbreakable friendship with the royal family of Kashmir.
Prayer wheels could be seen throughout the monastery. Some of them are constantly rotating under the pressure of water from a nearby stream. A bell attached to the wheel rings all the time. In other places, smaller wheels, made in the form of small drums, are lined with rows.
Ten to twelve rooms are full of images of gods and goddesses. We have already met these gods and goddesses in other temples and described them. In one dark room there is a portrait of the lama-guru Stag-Sang-Rom-Chen. His divine beauty, noble posture and broad forehead testify to the exclusivity of his nature. He is the founder of the monastery. We have already mentioned that many people call him “tiger lama”.
Most of these images are made of gold and silver and only a few are made of other metals. The stupas on which they stand are entirely made of silver and inlaid with precious stones and gold ornaments. The adornments on the bodies of deities are entirely made of gold and precious stones. The main jewelry is ankle, wrist and shoulder bracelets, necklaces and gold crowns.
There is one sculpture of the goddess Mandara, or Ku-mari, which we have never seen anywhere else. She is the wife of Padma Sambhava (Guru Rinpoche) and the sister of Shanti Rakshita * / A well-known anthology of theoretical knowledge, written by him, was recently published by the Baroda authorities /. In 749 A.D. she and her husband left Udian, a place in northern India, and went to preach Buddhism in Tibet. They professed the Mahayana Buddhist school. In such monasteries as Sang-Ye, Ching-Fuk and others, their images are worshiped with devotion every day. The Lamas consider Pad-mu Sambhava to be the embodiment of Manjushri.
The Himis monastery is home to 150 gye-loang, or monks belonging to the Dug-Pa order. They wear red hats. Each has a separate room. And in the room on the roof lives Khang-Po, or the abbot of the monastery. He speaks some English and Hindi. Except for the person who served us, no lama knows any other language besides Tibetan. If we had not brought with us a good translator from Lech, we would have faced great difficulties. The monastery is located on approximately two acres of land. Apart from the eastern side, it is surrounded by mountains everywhere. Several outbuildings were made, directly connecting the monastery with the mountain slopes.
In this monastery there are several more temples, large and small, as well as villages and cultivated lands. The kushak, or chief lama, of this monastery has countless disciples and devotees among the homeowners. Once a year he visits all his disciples and collects large donations as monastic tithes. In addition, if someone is sick or frightened by evil spirits, he visits them and receives a solid payment for his services. All the needs of the monastery are met thanks to such earnings.
Several years ago, Dr. Nikolai Notovich, a Russian traveler who was touring Tibet, fell in the mountains near this secluded abode and broke his leg. The villagers brought him to the guest house of the monastery and the lama provided the patient with medical assistance. He recovered after a month and a half. During this time, Notovich learned from one of the monastery lamas that Jesus Christ was in India and that this is stated in one of the manuscripts in the library of the monastery. With the help of the lama, he was able to obtain this manuscript and translated it into English, and when he returned home, he wrote a book called “The Unknown Life of Jesus Christ.” In it, he discusses this topic in detail.
Swamiji read this book when he was in America and it inspired him. To confirm this story, he took it upon himself to come here and see the Khi-Mis orphanage with his own eyes. Swamiji questioned the lamas and found out that the records were indeed accurate. Swamiji wished to see a book that covered this topic.
The lama accompanying Swamiji took a manuscript from a shelf and showed it to him, saying that it was a copy, and the original was kept in a monastery near Marbur, near Lhasa. The original was written in Pali and the copy was a Tibetan translation. It consists of 14 chapters and 224 verses. With the help of Lama, Swamiji translated part of it.
Here are only those verses that describe the deeds of Jesus Christ during his stay in India. * / In chapter 13 of the book “In Kashmir and Tibet” Swami Abhedananda writes about his stay in Himis and reproduces only a part of the Himis manuscript concerning Jesus’ journey through India. He placed the rest of this manuscript in chapter f5 of his book. We have extracted extracts from chapter 15 and inserted them into chapter 13 to arrange the verses in their original and chronological order. The Himis manuscript in Abhedananda’s version almost completely coincides with Notovich’s “Life of Saint Issa”, starting with chapter 5, verse 4. With this in mind, Abhedananda arranged the quoted parts of the manuscript according to the arrangement of the verses in the “Life of Saint Issa”, starting with chapter 9, verse 1. – Ed.] /
Jesus Christ, the Leader of the Human
As narrated in the manuscript of the Himis monastery
- The Jews, the descendants of Israel, committed such terrible sins that the earth shook and the gods in heaven wept,
- For they subjected to endless torture and then killed Issa, the great soul in which the Divine Soul dwelt.
- In order to bestow good on everyone and drive out all sinful thoughts from the minds of men, the Divine Soul descended into him.
- And in order to bring peace, happiness and God’s love to sinners and remind them of God’s infinite mercy, She came down.
- So say the merchants who came to this country from the land of Israel.
- The tribes of Israel lived on very fertile lands, which gave two harvests a year. And they had flocks of sheep and goats. By their sinful deeds, they aroused the wrath of God.
- Therefore, God took away all their wealth and gave them into slavery to Pharaoh, the powerful ruler of Egypt.
- Pharaoh brutally oppressed the descendants of Israel. He bound them in chains, covered their bodies with wounds, deprived them of their homes and put heavy work on them,
- So that they always remain in fear and do not consider themselves free people.
- The Sons of Israel, thus falling into dire need, prayed to the Father of the Universe, the Savior of their forefathers, and asked Him for mercy and help.
- At this time, famous for his conquests, the rich Pharaoh, whose palaces were built by the hands of slaves, became the ruler of Egypt.
- Pharaoh had two sons. The youngest of them was called Mos. He was well versed in the arts and sciences.
- And he was dear to everyone, thanks to his good disposition and compassion for the suffering.
- He saw that the descendants of Israel endure extreme hardships, but do not lose faith in the Father of the Universe and do not begin to worship many of the minor gods of the Egyptians.
- Moza believed in one God.
- The priestly teachers of the Israelites convinced Moza that if he begged his father, the ruler, Pharaoh, to help their laborers, it would lead to the common good.
- When Moza conveyed this petition to his father, he became very angry and began to oppress his subjects even more as slaves.
- But after a short time, Egypt was visited by a great pestilence, which began to kill the little and the old, the rich and the poor. The ruler-Pharaoh thought that the gods were angry with him and that he was punished by this.
- And then Mosa told his father that it was the Father of the Universe who punished the Egyptians, showing His mercy to the poor oppressed subjects.
* * *
In due time, by the grace of the Father of the Universe, the sons of Israel found freedom and prosperity.
- The Almighty God, the Father of the Universe, out of great compassion for sinners, wished to appear on earth in the form of a man.
- That Incarnate appeared as a kind of soul, separated from the Highest Soul, Which has neither beginning nor end, and Which is above all.
- [He] came down to show how the soul can unite with God and know eternal bliss,
- And he took the form of a human to show with his own life how a mortal can achieve righteousness and separate the soul from the mortal body in order to gain immortality and go to those heavens of the Father of the Universe, where eternal bliss dwells.
- [He] appeared as an innocent baby in the land of Israel. The child became the mouth of the Father of the Universe, explaining the transitory nature of the body and the glory of the soul.
- The parents of this baby were poor, but very pious and of high birth. They despised worldly goods in order to glorify the name of God and His glory, and believed that the Lord of the Universe sent them suffering only in order to test them.
- The Lord of the Universe blessed this firstborn, rewarding them for their patience, and sent him to save sinners and heal the sick.
- This divine child was named Issa. Even as a child, he urged people to be loyal to the one Lord of the Universe and to honor Him, and sinners – to leave their sinful deeds and repent.
- People came from everywhere to listen to the wise speeches from the lips of this child, and the sons of Israel unanimously proclaimed that the infinite merciful Supreme Soul, knowing neither beginning nor end, dwells in him.
- With the passage of time, Issa entered his thirteenth year. Israelis, according to national custom, got married at this age. His parents lived like ordinary householders.
- Their modest home became noisy with the arrival of rich and noble people. Everyone wanted to see Issa as his son-in-law.
- Issa did not want to marry. Even then, he became famous for his sermons on the nature of God. And when he was offered to marry, he decided to secretly leave his father’s house.
- At that time, in his thoughts, he fervently desired to achieve perfection by faithfully serving the Lord, and to study religion with those who had already attained enlightenment.
- He left Jerusalem, joined a group of merchants and went to the lands of Sindh [lower Indus valley, southern Pakistan], where they usually bought goods for sale in different countries.
- He (Jesus) at the age of fourteen crossed the northern Sindh and entered the sacred land of the Aryans …
- When he wandered alone in the land of the five rivers [Punjab], his wonderful features, a face breathing with peace, and a high brow allowed the devout Jains to recognize him as one who had received the grace of the Lord.
- And they invited him to stay at their temples. But he did not accept their invitations, because at that time he did not want to attract any attention to himself.
- In due time he came to the homeland of Jagan-natha, the land of the mortal game * of Vyasa-Krishna, and became a disciple of the Brahmins. He was loved by everyone, and there he began to read, study and interpret the Vedas. / The expression “mortal play” denotes the actions of a god who plays a certain role – for example, assumes a mortal form, which begins with birth and ends with death – in pursuit of a specific goal, as an incarnation of Krishna. – Approx. English per. “The modern city of Varanasi (Benares). At that time, Jesus stopped at a roadside reservoir near Kabul to wash his hands and feet and rest a little. This reservoir still exists today. It is known as the” Issa Pond. ” This is mentioned in the Arabic book “Tariq-A-Ajkhan” /.
* * *
Then he lived for six years in Rajagriha, Kasi * and other holy places. Then he went to Kapilavasta, the birthplace of Lord Buddha.
After living for six years with Buddhist monks, he learned Pali and began to study Buddhist scriptures …
From there he traveled through Nepal and the Himalayas … and then moved west.
Later he reached Persia, where the teachings of Zarathustra flourished … *
… Soon the fame of him spread everywhere …
So, he returned to his homeland at the age of twenty-nine and began to preach the word of peace to his oppressed countrymen.
His Reverend Lama said: … after three or four years he [Jesus] left his body; the original Pali text was compiled both from the descriptions of the Tibetans who met him at that time, and from the descriptions of merchants who witnessed with their own eyes his crucifixion, carried out by the order of the ruler of the country.
There is no doubt that if all the scientific opinions circulating in various places regarding the stay of Jesus in India were collected and published in one book, then a valuable document would be obtained.