One of the most debatable issues ever to prevail would be the unanswered premise as to did Jesus ever visit India, Tibet and Kashmir.
There still remains as a controversial topic and a lot of people have different opinions on whether or not Jesus went to these places.
However, in the midst of all the uncertainty and conjectures, a hint of fact still remains of those 18 years notably known as the “Lost Years” of Jesus. It is also called the “Silent Years” or “Missing Years” of Jesus Christ.
The Lost Year was apparently said to be the time when Jesus aged between 12 and 30.
From Jesus’s birth until the age of 12, the Bible tells very little about what happened in his life and from 12 onwards, there is no information whatsoever.
This is why it has led many to speculate as to what exactly went through Jesus’s life during those years.
Hence, the inferences made about Jesus visiting India, Tibet and Kashmir were all in account to what happened in the lost years of Jesus.
Despite the anonymity of the lost years, there are few fillings in the gap of Jesus’s life with extraordinary tales of adventure and mystery.
From the unsubstantial tales of Jesus’ early life to the supposed tales of his journey to India, there is no shortage of sources that claim to have “definitive proof” of Jesus’ lost years.
The Tales of the “Lost Years” in India
In the modern era, there have been innumerable references to the travel of Jesus in India and Tibet.
The most recent author to promote this prominent reference would be Holger Kersten. His book “Jesus Lived in India: His Unknown Life Before and After the Crucifixion (1994), presents the irrefutable evidence that Jesus did live in India.
Another noteworthy publication that amplifies the theory is “The Second Coming of the Christ” by Paramahansa Yogananda.
In this Yogananda puts light on the teachings of Jesus which were seemingly in accordance to the Eastern Philosophy, stating that Jesus was influenced by Hinduism and Buddhism and the higher esoteric Eastern wisdom.
Yogananda claimed that the influence in the teachings of Jesus all came from the insights received from his youthful days lived with monks and teachers in India.
It is even said that Issa, Arabic name of Jesus, crossed the Indus River and went across the continent to the Temple of Jagganath in the province of Orissa in Southeast India.
There, he is believed to have welcomed by a white Brahmin priest and spent six years studying Vedas and learning how to teach, heal the sick and perform exorcism.
The Tales of the “Lost Years” in Tibet
A predecessor to Holger Kersten is Nicolas Notovitch, a Russian war correspondent, who visited Tibet and India in the late 19th century.
Notovitch published a book called “The Unknown Life of Jesus” which quite predominantly attracted a lot of attention.
In the book, Notovitch claimed that during his sojourn to Ladakh in 1887, he visited a Tibetan monastery in Himis where the monk read out to him an ancient document called the “Life of Saint Issa”, Best of the Sons of Men.
The document majorly contained information about Jesus’ visit to Tibet, Kashmir and Ladakh where he studied with Buddhist masters and of his eventual return to Palestine where he taught and was later crucified and dead.
However, many scholars and researchers, such as J. Archibald Douglas seem to disagree with Notovitch’s theories. Douglas claims that Notovitch’s findings were pure fabrication.
Just as there were many opposers of Notovitch’s findings during the time, there were also those who supported his findings.
According to some scholars there are few similarities between the teachings of Buddha and Jesus which further add up to the possibility that Jesus learned his teachings from Buddhists in Tibet.
Here are some of the excerpts of Jesus and Buddha that justifies the similarities drawn.
– “There is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile”.
– “Stealing, deceiving, adultery, this is defilement. Not the eating of meat”- Sutta Nipata
– “Jesus spoke onto them saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life”.
-“When a Bodhisattva descends from heaven, there appears in this world an immeasurable, splendid light surpassing the glory of the most powerful glow. And whatever dark spaces lie beyond the world’s end will be illuminated by this light.” Digha Nikaya
The Tales of the “Lost Years” in Kashmir
There is a belief that Jesus survived the crucifixion and spent his remaining years in Kashmir. This has led to a run-down shrine in Srinagar making it firmly on to the tourist series.
The shrine on a street corner is a modest looking stone building with a traditional Kashmir multi-tired sloping roof.
It is allegedly believed that the Rozabal Shrine is the tomb of Jesus which is in the name of Yuz Asaf, a name supposedly adopted by Jesus when he was in Kashmir.
The widespread belief states that Jesus survived the crucifixion almost 2,000 Easters ago and went to live out his days in Kashmir.
In the north of Srinagar, there is a Buddhist monastery which seems to be quite a spectacular location.
According to some of the locals, it is believed that Jesus was among one of the religious leaders who attended a famous Buddhist meeting there in AD80. The local also pointed out the place where he sat.
The stories of Jesus in India is said to be an attempt to explain the striking similarities between Christianity and Buddhism.
There is also an alleged desire among some Christians to root the story of Jesus in Indian soil.
Modern day views of the locals in Srinagar, however present a different view of the tomb. Any suggestions directed towards the tomb are faced with fierce hostility and mockery.
As a result, attempt of an additional research ever made on the tomb is received by hardening attitude and reluctance.