Dan Brown’s highly popular Da Vinci Code has revived a tidal wave of questions about traditional religious beliefs. While the questions may encompass other religions as well, the precursor to the questions raised by Dan Brown in his book came several years ago from a German theologian, Holger Kersten.
Kersten ‘s amazing document “Jesus Lived In India—his unknown life before and after the crucifixion” has the potential to turn traditional Christian beliefs on their heads in a manner quite different from Dan Brown’s version.
It may also give heart to Indologists, with its premises that Jesus Christ not only learnt his early philosophy from Oriental Masters, but that he died at a ripe old age, a much venerated Bodhisattva in Kashmir where he lies buried; and that belief in reincarnation is implicit in his teachings.
Kersten traveled to all the places connected to the life and times of Jesus Christ and produced his book after five years of painstaking and intensive research. He reasons that the Gospels offer very little detail of the philosophy of the man credited with founding one of the major religions of the world.
The Gospels, Keratin reasons, give very little information on the lives and times of Jesus Christ, apart from the meager description of his birth, his first appearance at the Temple at thirteen, and finally his barely three years of preaching before his crucifixion. Even these three years, in the four gospels do not offer much detail about the philosophy of the man who is credited with founding one of the major religions of the world.
Even the account of the Sermon on the Mount is scanty, to say the least. Nor do the gospels provide anything more than a few parables that he gave his disciples and some miracles credited to him. What happened to Jesus between his birth and age thirteen and then age thirty?
None of the official histories of his times, Jewish or Roman, is reported to make any mention of Jesus Christ, which is quite astonishing for a man with his later influence.
In his book, Kersten has examined in complete and logical detail the known facts, as depicted in the Gospels and co-relates them with the history of those times and the written records left all over Israel, Egypt, the Middle East, Ladakh and North India upto Jagannath which Jesus is believed to have visited as a young man before he took up his ministry. He is reported to have fled because he stepped on the toes of Brahmans over his outbursts against the rigid caste system.
The outcome of the Kersten co-relation is truly amazing, in content and scope and in the implications on ongoing ecclesiastical debates within the various Christian churches and between the different religions of the world. Details of recorded history superimposed on Biblical legends, examined under the light of the natural developments, the lunar and solar calendars and scientific advances paint a picture of Jesus Christ and his life, which is quite different from the one propounded by the New Testament of the Bible.
One of the primary facts that emerges from the Kersten investigations is that Jesus did not die on the cross and ascend into Heavens three days later. He was taken down from the cross merely possibly comatose, after being administered drugs with the drink of vinegar. When he was interred in the sepulcher, he was alive and he was completely restored by the total rest of three days in the cave.
The key to the revival of Jesus is reckoned to be the Shroud of Turin, which was permeated with myrrh and aloe. Both these materials served to help the revival, by “sweating out “ the fever caused by his torture, wounds and the effects of the drug that was administered which enabled the appearance of a premature death. Death by crucifixion is otherwise reckoned to take upto even four or five days, while the gospels indicate that Jesus died within three hours.
According to Kersten and some scientists, it was the “sweating” of the body under the shroud permeated with aloe and myrrh that left the unique and detailed impression on the linen shroud which confounded investigations for centuries.
Using the latest available scientific techniques, Kersten has established the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin and used it to bolster his argument that Jesus lived:
One, that the marks of blood on the shroud from the hands and feet which were nailed, the head which bore the crown of thorns and the lance wound in the side prove that the body in the shroud was breathing, otherwise the blood would not have flowed. Blood does not flow from corpses.
Secondly the positioning of the hands, crossed in front are proof of the fact that he was alive when put into the shroud. Had Jesus been dead, rigor mortis would have set in, in the position that he died i.e. with his arms spread out. Once rigor mortis sets in, it is virtually impossible to change the position of the limbs immediately.
Kersten proves from authentic documentation scattered all over the Middle East, written by Persian, Moslem and other scholars that after the so-called Resurrection, Jesus was forced to flee. In flight he was accompanied, amongst others, by his mother Mary, who could not be left behind at the mercy of those who had ordered his death in the first place. She accompanied him in all his travels to ultimately die soon after reaching India. There is Jewish grave at More, 70 kms from Taxila in Pakistan, which is believed to be that of Mother Mary.
Unlike Muslim graves that face north south, Jewish graves point east west. It is the similar east-west alignment of the underground grave at Anzimar in old Shrinagar, which lends authenticity its claim of being that of Jesus or Yuz Asaf. Additional proofs are the close-by engraving of his footprints, with the obvious marks of the crucifixion on the feet, accompanied by a crucifix and a rosary.
After his resurrection, Jesus is reported to have headed first for Damascus. Scholarly sources like the Persian scholar Facquir Muhammed’s Jami-ut-Tawarikand Imam Abu Jafar Muhammed’s Tafsir-Ibn-I-Jarir at-Tabri record the arrival of Jesus’ retinue after that of his disciple Thomas, who was later destined to first introduce Jesus’ teachings to India in the first century A.D; this would make Jesus’ brand of Christianity a compassionate home grown religion, with startling similarities to the religion propagated by His guru, Gautam Buddha. And this occurrence takes place centuries before “Christianity“ officially came to India in the wake of Islam.
It was in the Damascus phase that Jesus converted Paul, his greatest persecutor. But according to the Kersten findings, the conversion of Paul also saw the mangling of the teachings of Jesus Christ. Kersten has credited Paul with the current theories of Christ as a savior who takes on the sins of the world and most of the features of modern Christianity which do not sit well with either logic, science or recorded history; he feels that it was the twisting of Jesus’ philosophy which led to the megalomania of an organized church. He had never prescribed, with forced celibacy and conversions and other features which have put it at variance with other religions of the world.
From Damascus, Jesus’ wanderings were continuously eastwards through Persia and beyond, where the far-flung Children of Israel gave him refuge. Earlier tracing the tragic history of the Jews, the author explains the scattering of the Jews throughout the Middle East, right upto India, where, he propounds, the ten lost tribes of Israel found refuge in Kashmir. Proof is the distinctly Jewish cast of the many of the ‘native’ Kashmiris and the similarities in the Kashmiri language and the ancient Jewish tongue.
The journey to Kashmir took almost sixteen years, by which time, Jesus had become Yuz Asaf, a preacher of note capable of extraordinary healing and miracles who converted King Gundafore of Taxila in 47 A.D. Tarikh-I-Kashmir, a 1413 history book recounts the restoration of the millennium old Temple of Solomon that bears two inscriptions relating to Yuz Asaf who is “Jesus, prophet of the sons of Israel”. The history book records that he came from the Holy Land who made God accessible to the people and spent his life in this valley.
There are at least 21 historical documents bearing witness to Jesus’ stay in Kashmir, apart from the number of place names in Kashmir which offer geographical proof of sorts: Yuzu dhara, Issa Brari, Kal Issa, Issa Kush, Issa Mati etc.
Perhaps one of the most astounding proofs of Jesus’ India sojourn is said to be two of his maxims, not found in any of the gospels, which are inscribed at the Bulund Darwaza, built by Akbar the great in the sixteenth century at Fatehpur Sikri.
Islam has always accepted Jesus as one of the earlier Prophets and deprecated the formation of a separate Church by his followers. The tomb of Jesus, along with his ‘staff’ are maintained in Muslim shrines in Kashmir with due reverence.
But ancient manuscripts in the monasteries in Ladakh reveal that Jesus was, in fact, drawn to the Buddhist principles he had imbibed as a youth during his first sojourn in India. On his return, he took up the same trend and finally came to be accepted as a Bodhisattva who is believed to have perhaps even participated in the grand Council of Haran assembled by Kanishka. The outcome of the Council was the conversion of Kanishka and his entire administration to Buddhism.
According to the gospels, his disciples are aware that Jesus was a reincarnation, of an earlier Prophet, but not sure which one. They had occasion to question him on this matter. At another place, the disciples ask Jesus who was healing a blind man “Master, who did sin, this man or his parents?”
The idea that someone could have been born blind because of previously committed sins can only be based on the premise of a previous life and subsequent rebirth, implicitly reinforcing the Hindu Karma concept. Kersten has traced other references that would indicate that Jesus himself never refuted rebirth, which is the bedrock of Buddhism and Hinduism. As a matter of fact, he refutes the austere punishments favored by Paul, who prescribed the automatic salvation of those who took refuge in the Lord and the automatic ex-communication of all others, no matter how virtuous they may otherwise be.
Instead, he opts for the more ‘kindly’ representation of the Boddhisttava Yuz Asaf, pointing out that the entire destruction of the rebirth doctrine in the Christian faith was actually a “tremendous historical error” of the sixth century to pander to the imperious wife of Emperor Justinian.
Kersten’s final argument however is that acceptance of the rebirth philosophy need not run counter to faith in the teachings of Jesus Christ, his resurrection and his long life.