Have you ever wondered why, when so much has been written about Jesus's three year mission with His disciples, while we have nothing about Him from the age of about twelve, when He seems to have walked in the mists of time, and disappear, only to re-appear twenty years later, on the banks of the river Jordan to be baptised by His cousin, John the Baptist? It's not surprising John did not recognise Jesus on that occasion, as they had not seen each other since childhood.
We have only the few words of Luke 2:52, "And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favour with God and man."
This enormous gap in Jesus's life makes Him all the more interesting a figure because of these omissions, and makes the quest for more information about the most important Being on this earth for the last two thousand years, that much more vital. Never-the-less, a great deal has been written over the years, about Jesus's lost years, and are available from equally credible sources.
Sathya Sai Baba has spoken of Jesus on many occasions, particularly at His Christmas discourses, in Prasanthi Nilayam, when many Christians and members of other faiths, gather from all parts of the world, to commemorate Jesus' birthday. Sai Baba has said that Christmas is not celebrated anywhere in the world like the way it is in Prasanthi. Over-eating or drinking, has no place at this blessed event; this birth of a Christed Being. Baba spoke of Jesus at a Christmas Day discourse in 1976, "He (Jesus) came to propagate the Omnipresence of God and His Might and Glory. Mary is the symbolic representative of the heart of man. Christ is the Joy principal that arises in the heart. That is the reason why the idea of immaculate conception is laid down. That is the reason also why Mary is pictured with the Child Jesus on her lap." At this point of the discourse, Swami materialised a medal with Mary and Jesus on one side, and Joseph on the reverse. This was handed around for those present to admire and touch. The Divine Mother represents the gentler qualities of human nature, much needed in the world today. He went on to state, "What the Christmas story signifies is this: There was a huge aura of splendour illuminating the sky over the village where Christ was born. This meant He who was to overcome the darkness of evil and ignorance, had taken birth, that He would spread the Light of Love in the hearts of men and the councils of humanity. Appearances of splendour or of other signs of the era that has dawned are natural when Incarnations happen on Earth. Jesus was to shatter the darkness that had enveloped the world and the Aura of Light was a sign that announced the event "
Sai Baba stated at a Christmas Day discourse in 1979, that Jesus was
born at 3.15 am. on December 28th, and it was a Sunday, in Bethlehem.
"The star which appeared that day appeared only once in 800 years.
Its appearance had nothing to do with the birth of Jesus. There is no
rule that when Divine Energy or Divine Incarnation, descends on Earth,
a star has to appear. That's the opinion of devotees only. But Jesus was
a Star of infinite value, spreading brillance of infinite dimension. Why
posit another less brilliant glow?"
Jesus was the first born to Mary, who later had three other sons and several daughters. Although He is known today as Jesus, His parents called Him by the common name of Yeshi'a (Joshua) meaning "help of the Yahveh." Later the Greeks made this into "Jesous" and the Romans "Iesus".
Sai Baba says that Jesus had "the wisdom of the Word" by the time they returned from Egypt, at the age of thirteen., and was taken in by the Essenes, the tribe of Hebrews who lived by the Vedic prescriptions and laws of Ashrama. Jesus the Nazarene means "Jesus the convert." According to Judaic laws, anyone who converts away from the Chosen People becomes a Gentile (Sudra). Jesus never called Himself a Nazarene. He never denied His God. He knew He was the Christ. Jesus left home around the age of betrothal, usually after the age of thirteen, as He attracted the attention of wealthy merchants, who saw this well-informed youth as a suitable suitor for their daughters. He chose instead to leave home and travel, before such an arrangement could be made. His mother, Mary, sold many household possessions to help Him on His journey East by merchant's train. He travelled through Persia, on route to the Sindh area, in Western India, travelling almost penniless, and eating just one meal a day, arriving there in His fourteenth year, clothed in a loin cloth or dothi, much like He wore on the cross. His fame spread, according to legend, amongst the Jains, a 500 years old religious group, founded by a young noble-man named Varadhamana, dedicated to non-violence, peace and love, and practising celibacy and vegetarianism, as well as doing good for the poor. Where other religions, including Judaism at that time, practised the sacrificing of animals, the Jains taught that it was the animal qualities within man which should be sacrificed, not animal life itself. The young Jesus, now referred to as Issa, was being taught to look at worshipping and perceiving God, in another way, than that which He was familiar with in His homeland. (Sai Baba said the name should be correctly spelled "Isa", as in India the Master was known as Isa which when rearrainged is Sai. Isa and Sai both mean "Isvara", God the Eternal Absolute. So for accuracy, we shall use this spelling). The Jains will not injure any form of life, indeed they would wear masks and sweep the floor in front of them as they walked, lest they would kill any insect. He stayed awhile to study with them before moving on to Puri, to visit the temple of Jagannath, a Hindu temple carved out of solid rock-face.
Later, as a young yogi, Isa/Jesus went to the ancient city of Benares, known then as Varanasi, the centre of Hindu learning 2000 years ago, and to Rajhriha, the centre of Buddhist learning. In these holy cities, Isa continued His studies as a Buddhist or Hindu monk, assimilating their teachings, which is why there are similarities between His later teachings and those of Hinduism and Buddhism. It is written that Isa was a great yogi, meaning that He was adept in the science of Raja Yoga, and becoming well established in that state of higher inner meditation and super-consciousness. Raja Yoga is also called Astanga Yoga or Patanjali's Yoga having the eight states of discipline, the ultimate being the state of Samadhi. Because Isa was a master of this science, all the miracles He performed in public were the result of attaining these yogic levels, these higher states which are called Siddhis. These powers are acquired over a long learning period, resulting in one having control over the internal as well as external nature. One acquires control over the elements as well as control over life and death. That which is impossible to the ordinary human, is possible to such a master. Although Isa/Jesus can be referred to as an Avatar, He did not have the full attributes of One such as Krishna and now Sathya Sai Baba, who are born with the full 16 Kalas, or attributes. None-the-less, Jesus was a major Avatar.
Sathya Sai Baba referred to Jesus Christ, on many occasions, corroborating the journey which, legend says, Isa took. He said, "At all times Jesus Christ had a mind which was pure and which was unwavering and selfless. All the work He did was dedicated to the good of the world. In the early days He used to proclaim Himself as a Messanger of God and would say He had come to serve all the peoples of the world."
"While calling Himself the Messenger of God, He conducted Himself as the servant of the people and for twelve years, He was found in meditation. As a result of His meditation He proclaimed Himself as Son of God. He was moving closer to God."
"He spent five years in the Himalayan regions of India. After coming to India and practising spiritual disciplines He proclaimed, 'I and My Father are One."
"After experiencing this identity with the Father, and proclaiming Himself One, identical with the Father, He returned to His own country."
As I stated earlier there is nothing about Jesus in the Bible from the age of twelve years, to the time He was baptised by John the Baptist, at the River Jordan. Traditionally it is understood that Jesus became Christed at this baptismal event by the Jordan, when the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in the form of a dove. However, other sources, including Sathya Sai Baba, state that Jesus attained Christ consciousness at the age of 26, when He became known as "Yesu", meaning I am He - He and I are One in Sanskrit. Returning home to Israel through Tibet, Afganistan, Persia, and areas of southern Russia, and arriving when He was about thirty years old. Tiberius Caesar had reigned for fifteen years by this time, and Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, while Herod was tetrarch of Galilee.
Great changes had taken place since His departure almost twenty years earlier. Jesus commenced His ministry in a land torn apart by strife and high Roman taxes levied on every household, to support the Roman garrisons and strongholds in His homeland.
Jesus never felt in any danger from His own people, but the same couldn't be said of the Romans, as it was unsafe to teach in that land ruled by Roman terror. The Roman cure for any suspects of rebellion was to seize them, flay them alive, or crucify them. It was a time of unrest, and as in all such times in history, spies and traitors were plentiful, with reports of anything suspicious, like large gatherings, being speedily reported back to the authorities. It wasn't too long before Jesus attracted the same attention because of the crowds who gathered to hear His spiritual message.
On the occasion of the Last Supper, it is written that Jesus changed the bread and wine into His body and blood; this is called Transubstantiation, the most reverential point of the Mass. Sai Baba explains the true meaning of this incident as follows, "Jesus said that the bread taken in the Last Supper was His flesh and the wine was His blood. He meant that all beings alive with flesh and blood are to be treated as He Himself and no distinction should be made between friend or foe, we or they. Every- body is His body, sustained by the bread: every drop of blood flowing in the veins of every living being is His, animated by the activity that the wine imparted to it. That is to say, every man and woman is Divine and has to be revered as such."
When the end came for Jesus, He was examined and judged by Pontius Pilate the Roman governor, on the evidence of spies. Taken by His Roman accusers, Jesus was tortured and starved for seven days, according to Sai Baba, prior to the crucifixion. In this weakened state He was forced to drag the cross the long distance to the site of execution, collapsing with exhaustion many times along the way.
The site itself was of hard rocky ground, making it impossible to dig holes to contain the crosses of those to be executed by crucifixion, in that place called Golgotha; the place of the skull. It has always been my understanding that the Romans had constructed an elaborate permanent trellis structure on which the crosses were hung by way of a hole on top of the cross, onto a stout iron nail. Sai Baba attested to this, and to the fact that Jesus did not feel any pain on the cross.
There the crucified victim was to hang in the heat of the day, or perhaps several days, and die of suffocation. When Jesus 'died' at five o'clock, on that fateful day, the skies darkened, thunder and earthquakes arose, as if heralding the departure of a Great Spirit from the Earth.
Where the New Testament is our chief source of information about the life of Jesus, there are other versions of the crucifixion, which differ widely from the traditional Testament. For example, manuscripts found in Nag Hammadi, Egypt, inform us that Jesus said, "I did not succumb to them as they had planned. I did not die in reality but in appearance, and it was another who drank the gall and the vinegar. It was another, Simon, who bore the cross on his shoulder. It was another upon whom they placed the crown of thorns. I was laughing at their ignorance."
Sai Baba has said that Jesus did not die, but slipped into a comatose state. To the Roman soldiers He would have appeared dead, and consequently they did not break His legs to induce death, as was the procedure for dispatching the unfortunates.
The most momentous question now arises; had Jesus not died on the cross, then we must assume He survived to live on into old age. A few brave writers agreed that Jesus survived the crucifixion, running counter to the traditional Christian belief. They suffered for their convictions. So much for freedom of faith!
At this juncture I would like to refer to an anecdote, involving Sathya Sai Baba, told by a New Zealand lady called Barbara McMalley;
I had gone to Puttaparthi with a friend from New Zealand. We both supported and encouraged each other, since it was our first visit to India. While I was happy with everything, my friend had been very much caught up in the suffering of Christ. She had with her two items she hoped Baba would bless for her, a crucifix and a black and white photo of the image of Christ from the Turin Shroud. Daily we would attend Darshan (audience with the Master), and on one occasion, Sri Sathya Sai Baba stopped before us. He looked at the items held out to him for His blessing, and refused to accept the crucifix.
As I watched, spellbound, Sai Baba, with a lift and wave of His hand, drew the black and white image of Christ from the photo until there was nothing but a blank sheet of gloss photo paper. By the same token, he then drew up and through that blank sheet, just as if it were laid in a darkroom developing tray, the image to be seen today on the photograph; that of the risen Jesus Christ, in colour. A Christ whose eyes are haunting, so full of love and compassion are they.
With a blessing for the two women from New Zealand, the Baba went on His way.
Dr. John Hislop, (1904-1995) and author of "My Baba and I", was walking with Sai Baba, one day, when Baba broke off two twigs from a bush, and placing them on His palm in the shape of a cross, asked Dr.Hislop what it was. "A cross, Swami" replied Hislop. Swami blew three times on the twigs, and instantly they changed into a crucifix about two inches long. Pointing to the silver figure of Christ, being only 7/8 of an inch in height, upon the cross, Baba stated, "This was how Jesus really was when He died", and said that the wood was that of the original cross, and went on to state, "When I went to look for the wood, every particle of the cross had disintegrated and had returned to the elements. I reached out to the elements and reconstituted sufficient material for a small cross. Very seldom does Swami interfere with Nature, but occasionally, for a devotee, it will be done". This should put a major question mark over the many claims that pieces of the True Cross continue to exist; here and there throughout the world.
There are a number of books by Hindu and Muslim authors, which attest to the Risen Christ, that He did live and travel with His mother Mary, to India. One such book is worth considering in pursuing this study, "A Search for the Historical Jesus", by Prof. Fida Hassnain. He quotes an ancient Hindu sutra of the Nath Yogis, known as "Natha-nama-vali", which gives a unique version of the crucifixion of Jesus.
Isha Natha came to India at the age of fourteen. After this he returned
to his own country and began preaching. Soon after, his brutish and materialistic
countrymen conspired against him and had him crucified. After crucifixion,
or perhaps even before it, Isha Natha (Jesus) entered samadhi or profound
trance, by means of yoga.
Since Jesus belonged to the East, with its Eastern traditions, such writings should not be dismissed, and could be as important as traditional Christian Gospels.
An Essene source tells us; Joseph and Nicodemus examined the body of Jesus, and Nicodemus greatly moved drew Joseph aside and said to him: "As sure as is my knowledge of life and nature, so sure is it possible to save him". After this, according to the prescriptions of medical art, they slowly untied his bonds, drew the spikes out and with great care laid him on the ground. Thereupon, Nicodemus spread strong spices and healing salves on long pieces of byssus, which he brought. These he wound about Jesus's body. These spices and salves had great healing powers and were used by our Essene brothers. Joseph and Nicodemus were bending over his face and their tears fell upon him, and they blew into him their own breath (artificial resuscitation?) and warmed his temples.
Nicodemus spread balsam in both the nail-pierced hands, but he believed it was not best to close up the wound in Jesus's side, because he considered the flow of blood and water therefrom helpful to respiration and beneficial in the renewing of life.
The body was laid in the rock sepulchre which belonged to Joseph.
They then smoked the grotto with aloe and other herbs and placed a large
stone in front of the entrance that the vapours better fill the grotto.
Sathya Sai Baba attested recently, that Jesus's body was physical, not spirit-materialised body, at the "resurrection". "The physical! Yes, He travelled to Kashmir but also to Calcutta and Malaysia."
Both the Hindu and the Essene versions tally in that they imply the survival of Jesus from crucifixion. The Hindu version refers to miracles, while the Essene version, in the way herbal/medical treatment was applied. A prescription of an ointment known as Marham-i-Issa, is recorded in many medical books, compiled by Christians, the Magi (Persians), Muslims and by the Jews, was known in earlier times and handed down by word of mouth. The twelve ingredients of the ointment used on Jesus were;
1. whitewax; 2. gum gugal, also known as balsamo dendron mukul; 3. plumbi
oxidum; 4. myrrh, also known as balsamo dendron myrrh; 5. galbanum; 6.
aristoelchia longa; 7. sub-acetate of copper; 8.gum ammanicum; 9. resin
of pinus longifolia;
These twelve ingredients were first recorded in the Greeks Pharmacopoeia and copied in later times by others.
There is much written evidence that Jesus did not die on the cross, but, in fact, lived to a ripe old age. One Muslim text suggests that He lived to one hundred and twenty five years! It is true that Jesus was revered by the Muslims as a great teacher and prophet. Indeed, the wife of the Prophet of Islam, Hazrat Muhammed, said that the Prophet once told her that Jesus, son of Mary, had lived to this great age.
Jesus was aided in leaving Israel, once again on a journey East, but this time He had to hide His identity, becoming known as Yuzu-Asaph, when He finally settled in Kashmir. (He assumed different names when in different cultures, Isha Natha, by Hindus, Yuzu-Asaph, by Muslims.) He preached His doctrines in many towns and cities along the way, and many believed in Him, while others saw Him as a threat.
A Persian dictionary called Farhang-i-Asafiyah, referred to the name Yuzu Asaph by way of explanation: Hazrat Issa, who cured many lepers, came to be known as Asaph. He was known as Yuzu, and as He had cured lepers, He came to be known as Yuzu Asaph, for He not only cured them but gathered them under His merciful protection.
Jesus travelled with His mother, Mary, His sister and Mary Magdalene on this arduous journey, staying awhile in Taxila (now in Pakistan) before continuing to Kashmir. The Gospel of Philip states that, "There were three who always walked with the Lord: Mary His mother and His sister, and Magdalene, the one who was called His companion. His sister and His mother and His companion were each a Mary." The hardship of the journey took its toll on His mother, she died in a small town now called Muree, named in her honour, 30 miles from Rawalpindi. Her tomb, at Pindi Point, is an important shrine for Muslims and Hindus alike to this day, and is called "Mai-Mari-de-Asthan" or the "Resting place of Mother Mary." She would have been 70 years old.
Jesus' long journey to Kashmir, was the fulfillment of a journey He had made in a previous incarnation, as Moses. On that occasion, after "wandering 40 years in the wilderness", Moses only succeeded in gazing down from the mountains on to the valley and lakes of Kashmir, before he died.
Jesus finally settled in Kashmir, often referred to as the Holy Land, where many of the lost Jewish tribes resided. One interesting, and lesser-known fact, is that Moses took his people to this Promised Land, and while he never actually entered it, many of his people finally settled there. So, Moses, Mother Mary and Jesus are buried in Kashmir.
Madam Blavatsky, founder of the Theosophical Society, and other philosophers, have claimed, as the result of their research, that King Solomon's Temple and the grave stone of Moses, are situated just south-west of Srinagar. This temple dates back to at least 1000 BC., and having fallen into a state of disrepair, was restored by Raja Gopadatta with the aid of a Persian architect. Inscriptions were carved as follows;
1) The mason of this pillar is the most humble Bihishti Zagar. Year
Raja Godapatta is thought to have reigned from about 50 AD untill 109 AD.
The following was recorded by historian, Mulla Nadiri: "At the time of the rule of Gopadatta, Yuzu Asaph came from the Holy Land up to this valley and announced that he was a prophet. He exemplified the heights of virtue and piety, and claimed that he was himself his own message, and had made God accessible to the people of Kashmir. When the Hindus came to Gopadatta in indignation, exhorting him to deal with the man, he turned them away."
This area was Hindu in that time, and contains no Hindu graves, because they are cremated. The Muslims conquered this region in the seventh century AD, and the monuments of "infidels" were destroyed, while Mary's tomb was spared because she was one of the "People of the Book", honoured by Islam.
One Sheikh Al-Said, who died in 361 AD, referred to a Hindu legend, in which the Kushan Emperor, Kanishka, who conquered Kashmir, was one day at a place ten miles north of Srinagar called Wien, -a place noted for its sulphurous springs. There he met an auspicious man, robed in white, of fair skin, who replied when asked who he was, that he was Yuzu Asaph come to preach Truth and purify religion. Kaniska asked what was his religion, and he replied, "O King! When Truth had disappeared and there was no limit to evil in my country, I appeared; and through my work the guilty and the wicked suffered, but later I suffered at their hands."
Further questionad regarding His principles, He replied: "I have come to establish Truth, Love and purity of heart, and for this I am called 'Isa Masih' (Jesus the Messiah). Having cleansed the mind, and purified the impure body, man will find the way to God in the centre of light."
One of Yuzu Asaph's sayings was: "As long as there is light, travel therein; but keep your good deeds secret, lest they be for the show only. Treat others as you would like to be treated; shun worldly desires; give up calumny, anger and back-biting; your minds and actions should be pure and identical." Also, a saying of Jesus' which was carved on the main gate of the city of Fatehpur, 100 miles south of Delhi, "The world is a bridge. Pass over it, but do not settle down on it!"
(Sai Baba often stated: "Life is a bridge over a sea of change. Pass over it, but do not build a house on it.")
It is suggested that when Jesus reached old age, He instructed His disciple Thomas, to continue His work, and to place a tomb over the exact spot where He should die. It is a simple tomb, called Rosabal, meaning "Tomb of the Prophet", situated in the Khanyar district of Srinagar, adjacent to a Muslim cemetery in which all the graves are orientated in a North-South direction, according to Muslim tradition. Whereas He is buried in accordance to Jewish custom, being positioned East-West, feet towards the West and His head to the East. It is said that coloured lights could be seen dancing around the tomb for many years later.
We must accept that Jesus came for all mankind, not just for those who became known as Christians. For all religions! For all races! Not for one people, nor to found a new religion. One might be tempted to say that Christians "hi-jacked" Jesus, claiming Him exclusively for themselves. We should appreciate that Jesus is recognised and accepted as a Messenger of God by all religions.
Had this been understood and accepted these two thousand years, think of what a wonderful world this would have been; no religious wars, no bigotry, nobody claiming to have the one True church. Each religion respecting the faith of the other.
On one occasion Sai Baba spoke at length about Jesus, and I quote briefly here Baba's reference to the One religion, the religion of Love; "The followers of each religion call upon the One God, Who is Omnipresent and Who listens to their prayers from whichever clime, or clothed in whatever language; but, it is the same God Who confers upon all mankind health, prosperity, peace and happiness. Each religion has no separate God showering Grace upon those who profess to abide by that faith alone!" He also said: "All religions are facets of the same Truth."
Thomas stayed on in India to which he came in 52AD, arriving first in Kerala on the West coast. Three years after his Master's death, he travelled to South Tamil, Tamil Nadu, residing in Little Mount, and later to be speared to death on St. Thomas Mount, as it is now known. He was buried there, where a great bascilica was built over his tomb in Madras, Mylapore, in recent years, and as the Pope was unable to attend, Cardinal Conway, the Primate of Ireland, was asked to officiate at the Centenary celebrations.
* Gateway Books, The Hollies, Wellow, Bath, England.