The Lost Years Of Christ: Did He Go To India?
If you’re somewhat familiar with the New Testament, you’ll remember there is a bit of a gap in the historical timeline of Christ. From age 12-30 years, his life is relatively undocumented. All the Bible offers is the line he “advanced in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men”. Not very forthcoming! 18 years is a significant gap for someone that has had such a profound impact on the history of the world. But in 1887, a German man named Nicolas Notovitch may have changed that with his trip to India…
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Nicolas Notovitch and India
Nicolas Notovitch was an interesting man. A Russian war correspondent that traveled the world, he believed in seeking the truth no matter the consequence. Notovitch spent most of his time in the east, learning and reporting the various conflicts that were happening.
In his travels, he came upon a Buddhist monastery called Hemis that intrigued him. After spending time there, he decided to leave; but upon his outset, he broke his leg. Having nowhere to go, he returned back to the monastery where he could heal. It was during this time that he began to hear ancient tales of a certain “Issa” that sounded remarkably similar to Jesus. Intrigued at the story, he asked to have the manuscript read to him, which they did (it’s customary for guests to be treated like royalty in the east).
The story recounted a man who traveled to India at the age of 13 and studied with Buddhist monks until he was 29 when he returned back to his own country to preach. He then visits Jerusalem, where Jewish leaders and Pilate are skeptical of him. He is eventually put to death for blasphemy. Excited by the story and possible implications that it was Jesus Christ, Notovitch decided to translate significant portions and publish them. When he returned to Europe, he published the book The Unknown Life of Jesus Christ, detailing his trip to India as a young man and eventual return and crucifixion.
Immediately after publishing the book, there was massive controversy. Allegations of forgery and lies were abundant, and there are claims that Notovitch even recanted the story and confessed to making it up.
Notovitch’s name was significantly hurt by the publication and ensuing incident. However, as time has gone by, there have been several confirmations by prominent people in the east and west. Swami Abhedananda, a colleague of Swami Vivekananda, went to the Hemis Monastery to verify the story in 1922. Upon arriving, the lamas confirmed the story and even gave him a Tibetan translated copy which he published in a monthly publication called Visvavani.
In the 50’s, William O. Douglas, a Supreme Court Justice, traveled to Hemis and wrote how the town surrounding the monastery had legends about Jesus, who they called Issa. He wrote about it in his book, Beyond the High Himalayas.
Dr. Robert S. Ravicz, a professor of anthropology in CSU, traveled to Hemis in 1975 where he heard from a physician that Jesus had visited India. He even said they had a manuscript in the monastery which confirmed it. The funny thing is that Ravicz had not even heard of this controversy before visiting.
Is it real?
I suppose the only people that really if it’s real or not are the Buddhist monks at Hemis.
However, they may have an incentive to keep it under wraps…because if they really did have those manuscripts, the entire western world would be wanting to take a look. All that controversy and interest may be a little too much for those that want to simply live their lives in peace.
What do you think?
Did Jesus really travel to India as a young man?
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