Tuesday

The Tibetan Gospel of Jesus in India



"Father, forgive me, for I have sinned... It has been at least 40 years since my last confession...."

Apologies for everyone that this post will certainly offend.  It will offend scientists, scholars, religious folks - oh, just about everyone on the planet in some form of other.  There's a small handful of people it will not offend, and for those who can appreciate research, I'm writing it to encourage others to examine what I'm about to share.  

If you are firmly rooted in your religion and your path - please, I beg you, ignore this post.  Move along. "These are not the droids you're looking for."
I've lived in Rome. Love visiting the Vatican and the Museum.Gelato's good too.

But I was reading Notovitch's "The life of Saint Issa" and I hadn't read it since I began this research into the afterlife, and accounts of Jesus appearing during near death experiences, and then filming three sessions where people claimed he turned up in the middle of the session.  Not in a negative way by any stretch of the imagination.  But in a positive way, and one that is so life affirming - I can't help but share it with you.

I ask you to set aside all judgment (well the negative judgment) for a moment while you read this blog.  And it will take some time to read it, because I have reprinted the entire document that Notovitch's Sherpa translated back in 1896.  In the short mini-wiki version, Nikolai Notovich was a Russian explorer who wound up in the Hemis monastery in Tibet (now part of India/Kashmir).  It was after an extended stay that the abbot of the monastery, a Tibetan monk, told him about a book that was written about the life of Jesus - or Issa as he was known in Asia, and how he come to stay at Hemis at some point.  The abbot showed Notovitch the book, which his Sherpa (a Nepalese who spoke Tibetan) was allowed to translate for Notovitch, page by page. There are other people who've seen the document, I've only researched the two, but these folks claim there were others.

The text moves from left to right, but in short concise paragraphs
  Some years later, the Indian holy man (mentioned above) saw the same document, translated it as well, and concurred with Notovitch's version - which was translated from Sanskrit (or Tibetan, I'm not sure - but that would date it, as the Tibetan language was created some years after these events.)  The point is, more than one person has seen or translated this document - so that only proves that it exists, or that it existed.  It isn't a photograph to examine, and we don't know when it was written.  

But - it was written by a fan of Issa, obviously.  So who would that narrow the author or authors to be?  Again, we've got someone translating the story either from Greek (the language of the region back then) or from Aramaic perhaps - and then into Tibetan, or directly into Sanskrit.  

Which behooves us to allow for mistakes or mistranslations. 

(NOTE: There are more than one of these manuscripts that exist. The one that was in Hemis had been translated from the original which was in Pali (and the original is somewhere in Lhasa) into the Tibetan language, which is the language that Notovich's Sherpa understood and translated.  According to Notovich: "The original scrolls brought from India to Nepaul, and from Nepaul to Thibet, relating to the life of Issa, are written in the Pali language and are actually in Lhassa; but a copy in our language—I mean the Thibetan—is in this convent."  Later, when Swami Abhedananda saw the same text, it was "translated by a local Lama" according to the cover of his book.  So this manuscript was in Tibetan - and here's the Gutenberg free version in English)

But I was most curious about the accounts that seem to parallel the Biblical accounts of Jesus, or Issa, and then, more importantly the ones that diverge from those accounts.  

We also might consider the motivation for writing this text.  It doesn't appear that anyone is trying to claim ownership of Issa, or to say that he "belonged to our version of reality."  In reading the full text, which I like to call the "The Tibetan Gospel" it seems to want to explore and examine this particular fellow's history.  It doesn't make any claims about his divinity, or claims against his divinity.  It's more of a document written by someone who felt compelled to share the history of an individual.  And I might add, it doesn't read like some of the histories of the Indian Pandits who came to Tibet, even Padmasambhava, or other stories like how and why Atisha and others came to be in Tibet.  Those accounts have a number of mystical or magical events associated with these holy men.  So the lack of those kinds of stories, (Jesus healing the sick, raising the dead, etc) also give us some clue as to who recounted these events and what kind of reporting was being done.


If you've ever examined a Tibetan text, or books, they look like this: long and only a few inches tall.  So when reading the text of this document, that's why it's in short (pre-twitter) paragraphs. Reading left to right, then down, and flipping the pages as you go along.

typical tibetan book

But I also would like to point out, the Tibetan monks were told his story by silk merchants, Jewish traders who sold them silk or purchased items along the silk route. The monks themselves would have had a type of syntax that would be related to the Buddhist Sutras, so when we take that into account, the stories themselves seem like they're told by a fan of Jesus, or an acolyte, or someone who either knew him, or had carried the stories with them for years. 
The Dalai Lama's former bedroom in the Potala palace.


I won't go into all the background here - what's the point?  I'm not going to argue the possibility of Jesus appearing in England, France and Egypt during his "gap years" - because that's not the point either.  I have researched this topic quite a bit, and I cite some of the links in the previous post below.  Believe, don't believe, that's not what I'm writing this post for.

In light of my research over the past six years into reports from the afterlife which include people under deep hypnosis and near death experiences talking about the structure of the afterlife, I found this document to be fascinating reading it a second time. Because there are things in it that are accurate, things that Notovitch would not have been aware of, nor even the Tibetan monks who wrote it.

As I mentioned in the previous post, I've interviewed about half a dozen people who claim to have known or seen Jesus speak during a near death experience or under deep hypnosis, a few of them claim they "remember" in a past life being physically at the scene of the Crucifixion, and also gathered accounts of near death experiences where they claim he's shown up to tell them "its not their time" and they need to come back.

As I'm fond of saying; these accounts are either 1. figments of the person's subconscious (imagination) which are created in order to help them come back to life, 2. someone pretending to be Jesus (a spirit guide perhaps, and there are some of these accounts) in order to make the transition back to life easier, or 3. it actually is Jesus telling these various people it's "not their time."  

And if we just examine the third possibility and question how that can be the case, what I'm hearing is that "once we're outside of time" - the quantum universe as we know and experience it - time is quite different "over there."  What seems to be centuries over here, feels more like hours over there, what seem to be millennia over here, may not feel the same over there.  And because of the science for lack of a better term of what's going on over there in the Flipside, it is possible for a person (in this case Jesus) to appear to everyone who needs to have him appear to them - simultaneously if necessary, because time and space just work differently over there.  (or so I'm told)

 Let's be clear. I'm not claiming this book is written by or about Jesus.  I'm not claiming anything, but I am saying "Let's put these accounts next to each other and see what they have in common."

tibetan library - each bundle is a text written in long hand
  Here is the entire text of the Tibetan book as translated by Notovitch's Sherpa, who translated the book for Notovitch in Russian, who then translated it into French (and it was eventually put out in English).  This is from the Gutenberg project, so it is copyright free, and available to all. 

I will make other notes in parentheses alongside the texts, for further clarification, or to compare it the the "Flipside" research. 

Are you ready?  


The Life of Saint Issa

"Best of the Sons of Men."

I.

1. The earth trembled and the heavens wept, because of the great crime committed in the land of Israel.

2. For there was tortured and murdered the great and just Issa, in whom was manifest the soul of the Universe;

3. Which had incarnated in a simple mortal, to benefit men and destroy the evil spirit in them;

4. To lead back to peace, love and happiness, man, degraded by his sins, and recall him to the one and indivisible Creator whose mercy is infinite.

5. The merchants coming from Israel have given the following account of what has occurred:

(The silk route went from the middle east to China, and Hemis is along the route, albeit remote, and was part of Tibet. The "soul of the universe" sounds more Buddhist, as well as "incarnated in a simple mortal to benefit men." A concept often used with regard to the Dalai Lama.)

II.

1. The people of Israel—who inhabit a fertile country producing two harvests a year and affording pasture for large herds of cattle—by their sins brought down upon themselves the anger of the Lord;

2. Who inflicted upon them terrible chastisements, taking from them their land, their cattle and their wealth. They were carried away into slavery by the rich and mighty Pharaohs who then ruled the land of Egypt.

(This account of the Jewish religion is pre-Egyptian, the concepts of "sin" and "anger of the lord" don't exist in Buddhist philosophy, so this document wasn't written by a monk but dictated to a monk.  Buddhists don't have a "creator" or believe in a "god" that rules the universe; it's a "non theistic religion" according the Dalai Lama, meaning, a non belief in any God that rules the hearts of men.) 

3. The Israelites were, by the Pharaohs, treated worse than beasts, condemned to hard labor and put in irons; their bodies were covered with wounds and sores; they were not permitted to live under a roof, and were starved to death;

4. That they might be maintained in a state of continual terror and deprived of all human resemblance;

5. And in this great calamity, the Israelites, remembering their Celestial Protector, implored his forgiveness and mercy.

6. At that period reigned in Egypt an illustrious Pharaoh, who was renowned for his many victories, immense riches, and the gigantic palaces he had erected by the labor of his slaves.

7. This Pharaoh had two sons, the younger of whom, named Mossa, had acquired much knowledge from the sages of Israel.

8. And Mossa was beloved by all in Egypt for his kindness of heart and the pity he showed to all sufferers.

9. When Mossa saw that the Israelites, in spite of their many sufferings, had not forsaken their God, and refused to worship the gods of Egypt, created by the hands of man.

10. He also put his faith in their invisible God, who did not suffer them to betray Him, despite their ever growing weakness.

11. And the teachers among Israel animated Mossa in his zeal, and prayed of him that he would intercede with his father, Pharaoh, in favor of their co-religionists.

12. Prince Mossa went before his father, begging him to lighten the burden of the unhappy people; Pharaoh, however, became incensed with rage, and ordered that they should be tormented more than before.

13. And it came to pass that Egypt was visited by a great calamity. The plague decimated young and old, the healthy and the sick; and Pharaoh beheld in this the resentment of his own gods against him.

14. But Prince Mossa said to his father that it was the God of his slaves who thus interposed on behalf of his wretched people, and avenged them upon the Egyptians.

15. Thereupon, Pharaoh commanded Mossa, his son, to gather all the Israelite slaves, and lead them away, and found, at a great distance from the capital, another city where he should rule over them.

16. Then Mossa made known to the Hebrew slaves that he had obtained their freedom in the name of his and their God, the God of Israel; and with them he left the city and departed from the land of Egypt.

17. He led them back to the land which, because of their many sins, had been taken from them. There he gave them laws and admonished them to pray always to God, the indivisible Creator, whose kindness is infinite.

18. After Prince Mossa's death, the Israelites observed rigorously his laws; and God rewarded them for the ills to which they had been subjected in Egypt.

19. Their kingdom became one of the most powerful on earth; their kings made themselves renowned for their treasures, and peace reigned in Israel.

(Interesting take on a story that's been around for a long time. Not that Moses was Jewish and was adopted by the Pharaoh, but that Moses was the son of the Pharaoh and a compassionate Egyptian, and identified with the slaves and their religion, and took up their cause.  And further that 7 plagues didn't destroy Egypt, as only one is reported here, but was enough.) 

III.

1. The glory of Israel's wealth spread over the whole earth, and the surrounding nations became envious.

2. But the Most High himself led the victorious arms of the Hebrews, and the Pagans did not dare to attack them.

3. Unfortunately, man is prone to err, and the fidelity of the Israelites to their God was not of long duration.

4. Little by little they forgot the favors he had bestowed upon them; rarely invoked his name, and sought rather protection by the magicians and sorcerers.

5. The kings and the chiefs among the people substituted their own laws for those given by Mossa; the temple of God and the observances of their ancient faith were neglected; the people addicted themselves to sensual gratifications and lost their original purity.

6. Many centuries had elapsed since their exodus from Egypt, when God bethought himself of again inflicting chastisement upon them.

7. Strangers invaded Israel, devastated the land, destroyed the villages, and carried their inhabitants away into captivity.

8. At last came the Pagans from over the sea, from the land of Romeles. These made themselves masters of the Hebrews, and placed over them their army chiefs, who governed in the name of Cæsar.

9. They defiled the temples, forced the inhabitants to cease the worship of the indivisible God, and compelled them to sacrifice to the heathen gods.

10. They made common soldiers of those who had been men of rank; the women became their prey, and the common people, reduced to slavery, were carried away by thousands over the sea.

11. The children were slain, and soon, in the whole land, there was naught heard but weeping and lamentation.

12. In this extreme distress, the Israelites once more remembered their great God, implored his mercy and prayed for his forgiveness. Our Father, in his inexhaustible clemency, heard their prayer.

("The Pagans from over the sea" a novel way to introduce the Romans. This account doesn't mention 40 years wandering the desert, it makes the point that once people settled into a new city and took up their old ways, they lost their religious fervor, something that does tend to occur historically anyway. Interesting that in the same paragraph, it moves from third to first person; "their great God.." and then "our Father... heard their prayer." Again, not something a Buddhist would say or write, but perhaps would transcribe from someone telling the story, perhaps from an acolyte, or a member of Issa's group of followers.)

IV.

1. At that time the moment had come for the compassionate Judge to reincarnate in a human form;

2. And the eternal Spirit, resting in a state of complete inaction and supreme bliss, awakened and separated from the eternal Being, for an undetermined period,

3. So that, in human form, He might teach man to identify himself with the Divinity and attain to eternal felicity;

4. And to show, by His example, how man can attain moral purity and free his soul from the domination of the physical senses, so that it may achieve the perfection necessary for it to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, which is immutable and where bliss eternal reigns.

5. Soon after, a marvelous child was born in the land of Israel. God himself spoke, through the mouth of this child, of the miseries of the body and the grandeur of the soul.

6. The parents of the infant were poor people, who belonged to a family noted for great piety; who forgot the greatness of their ancestors in celebrating the name of the Creator and giving thanks to Him for the trials which He had sent upon them.

7. To reward them for adhering to the path of truth, God blessed the firstborn of this family; chose him for His elect, and sent him to sustain the fallen and comfort the afflicted.

8. The divine child, to whom the name Issa was given, commenced in his tender years to talk of the only and indivisible God, exhorting the strayed souls to repent and purify themselves from the sins of which they had become guilty.

9. People came from all parts to hear him, and marveled at the discourses which came from his infantile mouth; and all Israel agreed that the Spirit of the Eternal dwelt in this child.

10. When Issa was thirteen years old, the age at which an Israelite is expected to marry,

11. The modest house of his industrious parents became a meeting place of the rich and illustrious, who were anxious to have as a son-in-law the young Issa, who was already celebrated for the edifying discourses he made in the name of the All-Powerful.

12. Then Issa secretly absented himself from his father's house; left Jerusalem, and, in a train of merchants, journeyed toward the Sindh,

13. With the object of perfecting himself in the knowledge of the word of God and the study of the laws of the great Buddhas.

(The "Sindh" is how India was referred to in those years, it's also what Thomas calls India in the gnostic "Gospel of Thomas."  It's interesting to note the rationale for Jesus to leave his home town - he was required to marry, and chose not to.  And decided to run off to explore the world instead of staying behind to do what would have been demanded of him. Also reminiscent of Siddhartha's story, around the same age, decides to leave his father's castle and wander among the people.)

V.

1. In his fourteenth year, young Issa, the Blessed One, came this side of the Sindh and settled among the Aryas, in the country beloved by God.

(According to wikipedia, Buddhism spread to India in the latter half of the first millenium. "Buddhism arose in Greater Magadha, which stretched from Sravasti, the capital of Kosala in the north-west, to Rajagrha in the south east. This land, to the east of aryavarta, the land of the Aryas, was recognised as non-Vedic." For those who consider that somehow Notovitch was enough of a scholar to correctly identify these various religious sects back in 1896 by their accurate names is a bit beyond logic. He was an adventurer, and these following accounts of where Jesus preached are accurate to what they were referred to back in the 6th century.) 

2. Fame spread the name of the marvelous youth along the northern Sindh, and when he came through the country of the five streams and Radjipoutan, the devotees of the god Djaïne asked him to stay among them.

3. But he left the deluded worshippers of Djaïne and went to Djagguernat, in the country of Orsis, where repose the mortal remains of Vyassa-Krishna, and where the white priests of Brahma welcomed him joyfully.

(The "white priests of Brahma" is unique to this document, but not unique to Brahmin history. The "white flag Brahmins" "were a class of Hindu Brahmin priests and Ayurveda teachers (acharyas) and practitioners, with significant concentrations of their populations occurring in Western and Northern India." Again, not something Notovitch was aware of, and the writers of this document left out the world "flag" either in the original or in the translation.  But if Jesus had met "white Brahmin priests" it's like they're referring to the Maga Brahmins of Northern India who were Persian in origin.)

4. They taught him to read and to understand the Vedas, to cure physical ills by means of prayers, to teach and to expound the sacred Scriptures, to drive out evil desires from man and make him again in the likeness of God.

(Interesting note on how to "cure physical ills by means of prayers..." or "drive out evil desires from man and make him again in the likeness of God."  Did these particular teachings come in handy later in life? Perhaps.)

5. He spent six years in Djagguernat, in Radjagriha, in Benares, and in other holy cities. The common people loved Issa, for he lived in peace with the Vaisyas and the Sudras, to whom he taught the Holy Scriptures.

(Vaisyas are the "merchant and farmer" caste of Hindus, and Sudras are the lowest caste - but still the caste above the "untouchables" who do all the lowest forms of work in Hindu society.)

6. But the Brahmins and the Kshatnyas told him that they were forbidden by the great Para-Brahma to come near to those who were created from his belly and his feet;

7. That the Vaisyas might only hear the recital of the Vedas, and this only on the festal days, and

8. That the Sudras were not only forbidden to attend the reading of the Vedas, but even to look on them; for they were condemned to perpetual servitude, as slaves of the Brahmins, the Kshatriyas and even the Vaisyas.

9. "Death alone can enfranchise them from their servitude," has said Para-Brahma. "Leave them, therefore, and come to adore with us the gods, whom you will make angry if you disobey them."

10. But Issa, disregarding their words, remained with the Sudras, preaching against the Brahmins and the Kshatriyas.

11. He declaimed strongly against man's arrogating to himself the authority to deprive his fellow-beings of their human and spiritual rights. "Verily," he said, "God has made no difference between his children, who are all alike dear to Him."

12. Issa denied the divine inspiration of the Vedas and the Puranas, for, as he taught his followers,—"One law has been given to man to guide him in his actions:

13. "Fear the Lord, thy God; bend thy knees only before Him and bring to Him only the offerings which come from thy earnings."

14. Issa denied the Trimurti and the incarnation of Para-Brahma in Vishnu, Siva, and other gods; "for," said he:

15. "The eternal Judge, the eternal Spirit, constitutes the only and indivisible soul of the universe, and it is this soul alone which creates, contains and vivifies all.

(Interesting that he's clarifying who "god" is here - the spirit which creates, contains and "animates" all. Also, pretty much a sacrilege, heresy for him to argue that all people are equal, despite the color of their skin or "caste." He's also saying that people on the highest caste will become the "Sudras of the Sudras" which is his way of calling them the "untouchables" - which is the only caste he could be referring to.)

16. "He alone has willed and created. He alone has existed from eternity, and His existence will be without end; there is no one like unto Him either in the heavens or on the earth.

17. "The great Creator has divided His power with no other being; far less with inanimate objects, as you have been taught to believe, for He alone is omnipotent and all-sufficient.

18. "He willed, and the world was. By one divine thought, He reunited the waters and separated them from the dry land of the globe. He is the cause of the mysterious life of man, into whom He has breathed part of His divine Being.

(The holy trinity - father/son and "breath" - from the original aramaic, or greek.  So when he says god "breathed" part of himself into humanity, that follows with the idea of the holy trinity.)

19. "And He has put under subjection to man, the lands, the waters, the beasts and everything which He created, and which He himself preserves in immutable order, allotting to each its proper duration.

20. "The anger of God will soon break forth upon man; for he has forgotten his Creator; he has filled His temples with abominations; and he adores a multitude of creatures which God has subordinated to him;

(This "anger of God" follows the tradition of the time - that the pagan gods create chaos based on anger, or even that yahweh gets furious now and then a "smites" people.  That God gets "angry" with people over perceived slights or injustices in his name is common in most religions, just not something found in Buddhist philosophy whatsoever.)

21. "And to gain favor with images of stone and metal, he sacrifices human beings in whom dwells part of the Spirit of the Most High;

22. "And he humiliates those who work in the sweat of their brows, to gain favor in the eyes of the idler who sitteth at a sumptuous table.

23. "Those who deprive their brothers of divine happiness will themselves be deprived of it; and the Brahmins and the Kshatriyas shall become the Sudras of the Sudras, with whom the Eternal will stay forever.

(Meaning that those who perpetrate the caste system upon people will eventually suffer for it - that one day (a future life perhaps) they will become the slaves of the slaves - Sudras being a lower caste and "Sudras of Sudras" would be the "untouchables.")

24. "In the day of judgment the Sudras and the Vaisyas will be forgiven for that they knew not the light, while God will let loose his wrath upon those who arrogated his authority."

(Again, God becomes wrathful for those who pretended to be more important when they aren't.  Arrogate meaning "take something without justification."  One could argue here that he's saying the "karma" will set things right, future lifetimes, etc, that "God's wrath" will be experienced in the afterlife.  However, that particular experience is not reported in the data from people who claim to have experienced being in the afterlife.)

25. The Vaisyas and the Sudras were filled with great admiration, and asked Issa how they should pray, in order not to lose their hold upon eternal life.

26. "Pray not to idols, for they cannot hear you; hearken not to the Vedas where the truth is altered; be humble and humiliate not your fellow man.

27. "Help the poor, support the weak, do evil to none; covet not that which ye have not and which belongs to others."

("Blessed are those..." seems to echo these sentiments. Interesting to note these are all accurate religious sects in India around this time, and their description could be used to date the text. The Aryas are where the terms Aryuvedic medicine comes from, the Djain are the Jain today (famous for wearing masks and sweeping the ground as to not kill any former family members) The Brahmins are Hindus, the Sudras and Kshatriyas are classes within Hinduism - classified as "castes" - warriors, holy men, etc, all classified generally based on skin tone. Jesus wanders into this caste system and tries to explain there are no classes, no caste system in the afterlife, and how everyone should be treated equally, a radical notion to these folks, and nearly caused his death.)

VI.

1. The white priests and the warriors, 2 who had learned of Issa's discourse to the Sudras, resolved upon his death, and sent their servants to find the young teacher and slay him.

2. But Issa, warned by the Sudras of his danger, left by night Djagguernat, gained the mountain, and settled in the country of the Gautamides, where the great Buddha Sakya-Muni came to the world, among a people who worshipped the only and sublime Brahma.

(Gautamides were reportedly from Nepal, but followed the teachings of Sakya-muni - this would make them an older school of buddhism - which evolved into the Sakya-pas of the 10th century. (Or they may have been followers of Gautama Buddha or just "Buddhists.") If "gained the mountain" means went up to the Himalayas, it might mean that he went up to Hemis, which is in Kashmir on the Tibetan border. They would not be people who "worshipped Brahma," but they would have lived among the people who did.  So this appears to be a bit of a misleading translation - it should have read "who lived among a people" instead of "among a people." Also interesting to note that this kind of talk caused them to try to assassinate him - a story that also happened to Gautama Buddha during his teachings.)

3. When the just Issa had acquired the Pali language, he applied himself to the study of the sacred scrolls of the Sutras.

(The Pali language is considered "dead language" but contained all the Buddhist sutras, and was the original language used to write them down.  It is was in the 5th century AD when Pali Buddhist texts were brought to Tibet ("fell out of the sky") and the country started to learn about Buddhism. But according to Sakya.org, it was the first century before Christ that Buddhism spread throughout India, and into northern India in the first century after his birth. Later, it's confirmed he left "Nepaul" after six years of study, which is pretty much the exact same thing the abbot of Hemis told me about Issa's stay at their Tibetan monastery.)

4. After six years of study, Issa, whom the Buddha had elected to spread his holy word, could perfectly expound the sacred scrolls.

5. He then left Nepaul and the Himalaya mountains, descended into the valley of Radjipoutan and directed his steps toward the West, everywhere preaching to the people the supreme perfection attainable by man;

6. And the good he must do to his fellow men, which is the sure means of speedy union with the eternal Spirit. "He who has recovered his primitive purity," said Issa, "shall die with his transgressions forgiven and have the right to contemplate the majesty of God."

7. When the divine Issa traversed the territories of the Pagans, he taught that the adoration of visible gods was contrary to natural law.

8. "For to man," said he, "it has not been given to see the image of God, and it behooves him not to make for himself a multitude of divinities in the imagined likeness of the Eternal.

9. "Moreover, it is against human conscience to have less regard for the greatness of divine purity, than for animals or works of stone or metal made by the hands of man.

(Interesting to note how the "pagan" Gods seems to offend so many.  Here he seems to be saying "any statue" or depiction of god, or man made deity can lead to being led away from spiritual adherence.  Perhaps that world was filled with the deaths and punishment for those who didn't worship or sacrifice at a particular altar, so it's hard to relate to this fatwa against images of the Eternal, when words are the same, just smaller statues in print or floating across the airwaves to the ears of listeners.  I can only assume it was a "bigger deal" back then.)

10. "The eternal Lawgiver is One; there are no other Gods than He; He has parted the world with none, nor had He any counselor.

11. "Even as a father shows kindness toward his children, so will God judge men after death, in conformity with His merciful laws. He will never humiliate his child by casting his soul for chastisement into the body of a beast.

12. "The heavenly laws," said the Creator, through the mouth of Issa, "are opposed to the immolation of human sacrifices to a statue or an animal; for I, the God, have sacrificed to man all the animals and all that the world contains.

13. "Everything has been sacrificed to man, who is directly and intimately united to me, his Father; therefore, shall the man be severely judged and punished, by my law, who causes the sacrifice of my children.

14. "Man is naught before the eternal Judge; as the animal is before man.

15. "Therefore, I say unto you, leave your idols and perform not ceremonies which separate you from your Father and bind you to the priests, from whom heaven has turned away.

16. "For it is they who have led you away from the true God, and by superstitions and cruelty perverted the spirit and made you blind to the knowledge of the truth."

(Can't imagine any Priests of the local religions being happy to hear this fellow espouse these views, no matter how accurate. Ritual sacrifice was incredibly popular in this time period, killing a cow, or a calf, or sometimes a human to "appease" God or the gods - he's clearly saying that everyone on the planet is imbued with the source, with God's essence, and therefore, everything on the planet is sacred and should not be sacrificed.)

VII.

1. The words of Issa spread among the Pagans, through whose country he passed, and the inhabitants abandoned their idols.

2. Seeing which, the priests demanded of him who thus glorified the name of the true God, that he should, in the presence of the people, prove the charges he made against them, and demonstrate the vanity of their idols.

3. And Issa answered them: "If your idols, or the animals you worship, really possess the supernatural powers you claim, let them strike me with a thunderbolt before you!"

4. "Why dost not thou perform a miracle," replied the priests, "and let thy God confound ours, if He is greater than they?"

5. But Issa said: "The miracles of our God have been wrought from the first day when the universe was created; and are performed every day and every moment; whoso sees them not is deprived of one of the most beautiful gifts of life.

6. "And it is not on inanimate objects of stone, metal or wood that He will let His anger fall, but on the men who worship them, and who, therefore, for their salvation, must destroy the idols they have made.

7. "Even as a stone and a grain of sand, which are naught before man, await patiently their use by Him.

8. "In like manner, man, who is naught before God, must await in resignation His pleasure for a manifestation of His favor.

9. "But woe to you! ye adversaries of men, if it is not the favor you await, but rather the wrath of the Most High; woe to you, if you demand that He attest His power by a miracle!

10. "For it is not the idols which He will destroy in His wrath, but those by whom they were created; their hearts will be the prey of an eternal fire and their flesh shall be given to the beasts of prey.

11. "God will drive away the contaminated animals from His flocks; but will take to Himself those who strayed because they knew not the heavenly part within them."

12. When the Pagans saw that the power of their priests was naught, they put faith in the words of Issa. Fearing the anger of the true God, they broke their idols to pieces and caused their priests to flee from among them.

(This is a pretty subjective report.  Did everyone suddenly believe that Jesus had won the argument by using reverse logic?  It's not the same as raising Lazarus, or some other miraculous event - casting out "demons" for example, but the writer of this story was impressed enough to put it in this way.)

13. Issa furthermore taught the Pagans that they should not endeavor to see the eternal Spirit with their eyes; but to perceive Him with their hearts, and make themselves worthy of His favors by the purity of their souls.

14. "Not only," he said to them, "must ye refrain from offering human sacrifices, but ye may not lay on the altar any creature to which life has been given, for all things created are for man.

15. "Withhold not from your neighbor his just due, for this would be like stealing from him what he had earned in the sweat of his brow.

16. "Deceive none, that ye may not yourselves be deceived; seek to justify yourselves before the last judgment, for then it will be too late.

17. "Be not given to debauchery, for it is a violation of the law of God.

18. "That you may attain to supreme bliss ye must not only purify yourselves, but must also guide others into the path that will enable them to regain their primitive innocence."

(Interesting variation on The Commandments here.  The idea of "supreme bliss" as a goal sounds more like the people he's preaching to, or the people who are transcribing this story.  "Supreme bliss" would refer to Nirvana, or the idea that becoming "one with God" or "one with the source would bring about a state of supreme bliss, which would have been talked about by the Hindus who experienced it through yoga and the Buddhists who experience it through meditation.  Either way, it's not a term one might find in the Bible, and seems completely normal in this narrative.)

VIII.

1. The countries round about were filled with the renown of Issa's preachings, and when he came unto Persia, the priests grew afraid and forbade the people hearing him;

2. Nevertheless, the villages received him with joy, and the people hearkened intently to his words, which, being seen by the priests, caused them to order that he should be arrested and brought before their High Priest, who asked him:

3. "Of what new God dost thou speak? Knowest thou not, unfortunate man that thou art! that Saint Zoroaster is the only Just One, to whom alone was vouchsafed the honor of receiving revelations from the Most High;

4. "By whose command the angels compiled His Word in laws for the governance of His people, which were given to Zoroaster in Paradise?

5. "Who, then, art thou, who darest to utter blasphemies against our God and sow doubt in the hearts of believers?"

(Again with the blasphemy.  Zoroastrianism, which is still practiced among the Parsi people, there's over 200k in Mumbai alone, with a belief in the idea of good/bad, darkness/light, sacredness of earth, wind and fire and that opposites that exist on the planet and need to be respected as sacred as well.  The idea that Jesus would call them less than accurate, would likely result in his death, and its interesting they don't try to kill him, just give him the boot.)

6. And Issa said to them: "I preach no new God, but our celestial Father, who has existed before the beginning and will exist until after the end.

7. "Of Him I have spoken to the people, who—even as innocent children—are incapable of comprehending God by their own intelligence, or fathoming the sublimity of the divine Spirit;

8. "But, as the newborn child in the night recognizes the mother's breast, so your people, held in the darkness of error by your pernicious doctrines and religious ceremonies, have recognized instinctively their Father, in the Father whose prophet I am.

9. "The eternal Being says to your people, by my mouth, 'Ye shall not adore the sun, for it is but a part of the universe which I have created for man;

10. "It rises to warm you during your work; it sets to accord to you the rest that I have ordained.

11. "To me only ye owe all that ye possess, all that surrounds you and that is above and below you.'"

("As it is above, so below" is a religious concept heard often in a number of religious texts. But Jesus is clearly arguing that the worship of the sun is nonsense.)

12. "But," said the priests, "how could the people live according to your rules if they had no teachers?"

13. Whereupon Issa answered: "So long as they had no priests, they were governed by the natural law and conserved the simplicity of their souls;

14. "Their souls were in God and to commune with the Father they had not to have recourse to the intermediation of idols, or animals, or fire, as taught by you.

15. "Ye pretend that man must adore the sun, and the Genii of Good and Evil. But I say unto you that your doctrine is pernicious. The sun does not act spontaneously, but by the will of the invisible Creator, who has given to it being."

16. "Who, then, has caused that this star lights the day, warms man at his work and vivifies the seeds sown in the ground?"

17. "The eternal Spirit is the soul of everything animate, and you commit a great sin in dividing Him into the Spirit of Evil and the Spirit of Good, for there is no God other than the God of Good.

(That's a pretty radical notion - the nature in and of itself should not be worshiped, as nature is just part of the larger picture of creation. Interesting that he uses the word "genii" here - to imply that their gods are like the genie's of myth.)

18. "And He, like to the father of a family, does only good to His children, to whom He forgives their transgressions if they repent of them.

19. "And the Spirit of Evil dwells upon earth, in the hearts of those who turn the children of God away from the right path.

20. "Therefore, I say unto you; Fear the day of judgment, for God will inflict a terrible chastisement upon all those who have led His children astray and beguiled them with superstitions and errors;

21. "Upon those who have blinded them who saw; who have brought contagion to the well; who have taught the worship of those things which God made to be subject to man, or to aid him in his works.

22. "Your doctrine is the fruit of your error in seeking to bring near to you the God of Truth, by creating for yourselves false gods."

(Again with the warnings of ill will that will occur to those who don't repent. "A terrible chastisement" was one way of putting some form of karmic retribution. I can only imagine it was the only way people would be taken seriously when giving a religious talk.  "Heed my words or God will smite you!" Interesting to note in the next paragraph, the mention of the Magi - which is translated as Persian priests.  So were the three Magi Persian priests?)

23. When the Magi heard these words, they feared to themselves do him harm, but at night, when the whole city slept, they brought him outside the walls and left him on the highway, in the hope that he would not fail to become the prey of wild beasts.

24. But, protected by the Lord our God, Saint Issa continued on his way, without accident.

(Again, nearly killed by those he was preaching to, except in Persia, they merely booted him outside the gates and sent him on his way.)


IX.

1. Issa—whom the Creator had selected to recall to the worship of the true God, men sunk in sin—was twenty-nine years old when he arrived in the land of Israel.

2. Since the departure therefrom of Issa, the Pagans had caused the Israelites to endure more atrocious sufferings than before, and they were filled with despair.

3. Many among them had begun to neglect the laws of their God and those of Mossa, in the hope of winning the favor of their brutal conquerors.

4. But Issa, notwithstanding their unhappy condition, exhorted his countrymen not to despair, because the day of their redemption from the yoke of sin was near, and he himself, by his example, confirmed their faith in the God of their fathers.

5. "Children, yield not yourselves to despair," said the celestial Father to them, through the mouth of Issa, "for I have heard your lamentations, and your cries have reached my ears.

6. "Weep not, oh, my beloved sons! for your griefs have touched the heart of your Father and He has forgiven you, as He forgave your ancestors.

7. "Forsake not your families to plunge into debauchery; stain not the nobility of your souls; adore not idols which cannot but remain deaf to your supplications.

8. "Fill my temple with your hope and your patience, and do not adjure the religion of your forefathers, for I have guided them and bestowed upon them of my beneficence.

9. "Lift up those who are fallen; feed the hungry and help the sick, that ye may be altogether pure and just in the day of the last judgment which I prepare for you."

10. The Israelites came in multitudes to listen to Issa's words; and they asked him where they should thank their Heavenly Father, since their enemies had demolished their temples and robbed them of their sacred vessels.

11. Issa told them that God cared not for temples erected by human hands, but that human hearts were the true temples of God.

12. "Enter into your temple, into your heart; illuminate it with good thoughts, with patience and the unshakeable faith which you owe to your Father.

13. "And your sacred vessels! they are your hands and your eyes. Look to do that which is agreeable to God, for in doing good to your fellow men, you perform a ceremony that embellishes the temple wherein abideth Him who has created you.

14. "For God has created you in His own image, innocent, with pure souls, and hearts filled with kindness and not made for the planning of evil, but to be the sanctuaries of love and justice.

15. "Therefore, I say unto you, soil not your hearts with evil, for in them the eternal Being abides.

16. "When ye do works of devotion and love, let them be with full hearts, and see that the motives of your actions be not hopes of gain or self-interest;

17. "For actions, so impelled, will not bring you nearer to salvation, but lead to a state of moral degradation wherein theft, lying and murder pass for generous deeds."

(It's interesting to note that these quotes are unlike any quotes from a religious or holy figure from any other centuries.  Certainly not anyone steeped in one or another religious tradition.  It seems that Jesus has distilled what he's learned from the various religions he's examined, and put them together with his own belief and experience as to the nature of reality.)



X.

1. Issa went from one city to another, strengthening by the word of God the courage of the Israelites, who were near to succumbing under their weight of woe, and thousands of the people followed him to hear his teachings.

2. But the chiefs of the cities were afraid of him and they informed the principal governor, residing in Jerusalem, that a man called Issa had arrived in the country, who by his sermons had arrayed the people against the authorities, and that multitudes, listening assiduously to him, neglected their labor; and, they added, he said that in a short time they would be free of their invader rulers.

3. Then Pilate, the Governor of Jerusalem, gave orders that they should lay hold of the preacher Issa and bring him before the judges. In order, however, not to excite the anger of the populace, Pilate directed that he should be judged by the priests and scribes, the Hebrew elders, in their temple.

4. Meanwhile, Issa, continuing his preaching, arrived at Jerusalem, and the people, who already knew his fame, having learned of his coming, went out to meet him.

5. They greeted him respectfully and opened to him the doors of their temple, to hear from his mouth what he had said in other cities of Israel.

6. And Issa said to them: "The human race perishes, because of the lack of faith; for the darkness and the tempest have caused the flock to go astray and they have lost their shepherds.

7. "But the tempests do not rage forever and the darkness will not hide the light eternally; soon the sky will become serene, the celestial light will again overspread the earth, and the strayed flock will reunite around their shepherd.

8. "Wander not in the darkness, seeking the way, lest ye fall into the ditch; but gather together, sustain one another, put your faith in your God and wait for the first glimmer of light to reappear.

9. "He who sustains his neighbor, sustains himself; and he who protects his family, protects all his people and his country.

10. "For, be assured that the day is near when you will be delivered from the darkness; you will be reunited into one family and your enemy will tremble with fear, he who is ignorant of the favor of the great God."

11. The priests and the elders who heard him, filled with admiration for his language, asked him if it was true that he had sought to raise the people against the authorities of the country, as had been reported to the governor Pilate.

12. "Can one raise against estrayed men, to whom darkness has hidden their road and their door?" answered Issa. "I have but forewarned the unhappy, as I do here in this temple, that they should no longer advance on the dark road, for an abyss opens before their feet.

13. "The power of this earth is not of long duration and is subject to numberless changes. It would be of no avail for a man to rise in revolution against it, for one phase of it always succeeds another, and it is thus that it will go on until the extinction of human life.

14. "But do you not see that the powerful, and the rich, sow among the children of Israel a spirit of rebellion against the eternal power of Heaven?"

15. Then the elders asked him: "Who art thou, and from what country hast thou come to us? We have not formerly heard thee spoken of and do not even know thy name!"

16. "I am an Israelite," answered Issa; "and on the day of my birth have seen the walls of Jerusalem, and have heard the sobs of my brothers reduced to slavery, and the lamentations of my sisters carried away by the Pagans;

17. "And my soul was afflicted when I saw that my brethren had forgotten the true God. When a child I left my father's house to go and settle among other people.

18. "But, having heard it said that my brethren suffered even greater miseries now, I have come back to the land of my fathers, to recall my brethren to the faith of their ancestors, which teaches us patience upon earth in order to attain the perfect and supreme bliss above."

19. Then the wise old men put to him again this question: "We are told that thou disownest the laws of Mossa, and that thou teachest the people to forsake the temple of God?"

20. Whereupon Issa: "One does not demolish that which has been given by our Heavenly Father, and which has been destroyed by sinners. I have but enjoined the people to purify the heart of all stains, for it is the veritable temple of God.

21. "As regards the laws of Mossa, I have endeavored to reestablish them in the hearts of men; and I say unto you that ye ignore their true meaning, for it is not vengeance but pardon which they teach. Their sense has been perverted."

("Not vengeance but pardon which they teach."  An appeal for compassion for others, unlike the "retribution" he'd been speaking of earlier.  Just an unusual note.)

XI.

1. When the priests and the elders heard Issa, they decided among themselves not to give judgment against him, for he had done no harm to any one, and, presenting themselves before Pilate—who was made Governor of Jerusalem by the Pagan king of the country of Romeles—they spake to him thus:

2. "We have seen the man whom thou chargest with inciting our people to revolt; we have heard his discourses and know that he is our countryman;

3. "But the chiefs of the cities have made to you false reports, for he is a just man, who teaches the people the word of God. After interrogating him, we have allowed him to go in peace."

4. The governor thereupon became very angry, and sent his disguised spies to keep watch upon Issa and report to the authorities the least word he addressed to the people.

5. In the meantime, the holy Issa continued to visit the neighboring cities and preach the true way of the Lord, enjoining the Hebrews' patience and promising them speedy deliverance.

6. And all the time great numbers of the people followed him wherever he went, and many did not leave him at all, but attached themselves to him and served him.

7. And Issa said: "Put not your faith in miracles performed by the hands of men, for He who rules nature is alone capable of doing supernatural things, while man is impotent to arrest the wrath of the winds or cause the rain to fall.

8. "One miracle, however, is within the power of man to accomplish. It is, when his heart is filled with sincere faith, he resolves to root out from his mind all evil promptings and desires, and when, in order to attain this end, he ceases to walk the path of iniquity.

9. "All the things done without God are only gross errors, illusions and seductions, serving but to show how much the heart of the doer is full of presumption, falsehood and impurity.

10. "Put not your faith in oracles. God alone knows the future. He who has recourse to the diviners soils the temple of his heart and shows his lack of faith in his Creator.

11. "Belief in the diviners and their miracles destroys the innate simplicity of man and his childlike purity. An infernal power takes hold of him who so errs, and forces him to commit various sins and give himself to the worship of idols.

12. "But the Lord our God, to whom none can be equalled, is one omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent; He alone possesses all wisdom and all light.

13. "To Him ye must address yourselves, to be comforted in your afflictions, aided in your works, healed in your sickness and whoso asks of Him, shall not ask in vain.

14. "The secrets of nature are in the hands of God, for the whole world, before it was made manifest, existed in the bosom of the divine thought, and has become material and visible by the will of the Most High.

15. "When ye pray to him, become again like little children, for ye know neither the past, nor the present, nor the future, and God is the Lord of Time."

(So according to this account, the Sanhedrin argued to Pilate that he could not kill anyone of the faith, only they could. And so they went on their own to see if Jesus was preaching anything contrary to the Torah.)

XII.

1. "Just man," said to him the disguised spies of the Governor of Jerusalem, "tell us if we must continue to do the will of Cæsar, or expect our near deliverance?"

2. And Issa, who recognized the questioners as the apostate spies sent to follow him, replied to them: "I have not told you that you would be delivered from Cæsar; it is the soul sunk in error which will gain its deliverance.

3. "There cannot be a family without a head, and there cannot be order in a people without a Cæsar, whom ye should implicitly obey, as he will be held to answer for his acts before the Supreme Tribunal."

4. "Does Cæsar possess a divine right?" the spies asked him again; "and is he the best of mortals?"

5. "There is no one 'the best' among human beings; but there are many bad, who—even as the sick need physicians—require the care of those chosen for that mission, in which must be used the means given by the sacred law of our Heavenly Father;

6. "Mercy and justice are the high prerogatives of Cæsar, and his name will be illustrious if he exercises them.

7. "But he who acts otherwise, who transcends the limits of power he has over those under his rule, and even goes so far as to put their lives in danger, offends the great Judge and derogates from his own dignity in the eyes of men."

8. Upon this, an old woman who had approached the group, to better hear Issa, was pushed aside by one of the disguised men, who placed himself before her.

9. Then said Issa: "It is not good for a son to push away his mother, that he may occupy the place which belongs to her. Whoso doth not respect his mother—the most sacred being after his God—is unworthy of the name of son.

10. "Hearken to what I say to you: Respect woman; for in her we see the mother of the universe, and all the truth of divine creation is to come through her.

11. "She is the fount of everything good and beautiful, as she is also the germ of life and death. Upon her man depends in all his existence, for she is his moral and natural support in his labors.

12. "In pain and suffering she brings you forth; in the sweat of her brow she watches over your growth, and until her death you cause her greatest anxieties. Bless her and adore her, for she is your only friend and support on earth.

13. "Respect her; defend her. In so doing you will gain for yourself her love; you will find favor before God, and for her sake many sins will be remitted to you.

14. "Love your wives and respect them, for they will be the mothers of tomorrow and later the grandmothers of a whole nation.

15. "Be submissive to the wife; her love ennobles man, softens his hardened heart, tames the wild beast in him and changes it to a lamb.

16. "Wife and mother are the priceless treasures which God has given to you. They are the most beautiful ornaments of the universe, and from them will be born all who will inhabit the world.

17. "Even as the Lord of Hosts separated the light from the darkness, and the dry land from the waters, so does woman possess the divine gift of calling forth out of man's evil nature all the good that is in him.

18. "Therefore I say unto you, after God, to woman must belong your best thoughts, for she is the divine temple where you will most easily obtain perfect happiness.

19. "Draw from this temple your moral force. There you will forget your sorrows and your failures, and recover the love necessary to aid your fellow men.

20. "Suffer her not to be humiliated, for by humiliating her you humiliate yourselves, and lose the sentiment of love, without which nothing can exist here on earth.

21. "Protect your wife, that she may protect you—you and all your household. All that you do for your mothers, your wives, for a widow, or for any other woman in distress, you will do for your God."

(Wow. An incredible argument on behalf of women being the most important people on the planet.  Imagine if this had been in the Bible instead of the redacted version we've come to know so well.)

XIII.

1. Thus Saint Issa taught the people of Israel for three years, in every city and every village, on the highways and in the fields, and all he said came to pass.

2. All this time the disguised spies of the governor Pilate observed him closely, but heard nothing to sustain the accusations formerly made against Issa by the chiefs of the cities.

3. But Saint Issa's growing popularity did not allow Pilate to rest. He feared that Issa would be instrumental in bringing about a revolution culminating in his elevation to the sovereignty, and, therefore, ordered the spies to make charges against him.

4. Then soldiers were sent to arrest him, and they cast him into a subterranean dungeon, where he was subjected to all kinds of tortures, to compel him to accuse himself, so that he might be put to death.

5. The Saint, thinking only of the perfect bliss of his brethren, endured all those torments with resignation to the will of the Creator.

6. The servants of Pilate continued to torture him, and he was reduced to a state of extreme weakness; but God was with him and did not permit him to die at their hands.

7. When the principal priests and wise elders learned of the sufferings which their Saint endured, they went to Pilate, begging him to liberate Issa, so that he might attend the great festival which was near at hand.

8. But this the governor refused. Then they asked him that Issa should be brought before the elders' council, so that he might be condemned, or acquitted, before the festival, and to this Pilate agreed.

9. On the following day the governor assembled the principal chiefs, priests, elders and judges, for the purpose of judging Issa.

10. The Saint was brought from his prison. They made him sit before the governor, between two robbers, who were to be judged at the same time with Issa, so as to show the people he was not the only one to be condemned.

11. And Pilate, addressing himself to Issa, said, "Is it true, Oh! Man; that thou incitest the populace against the authorities, with the purpose of thyself becoming King of Israel?"

12. Issa replied, "One does not become king by one's own purpose thereto. They have told you an untruth when you were informed that I was inciting the people to revolution. I have only preached of the King of Heaven, and it was Him whom I told the people to worship.

13. "For the sons of Israel have lost their original innocence and unless they return to worship the true God they will be sacrificed and their temple will fall in ruins.

14. "The worldly power upholds order in the land; I told them not to forget this. I said to them, 'Live in conformity with your situation and refrain from disturbing public order;' and, at the same time, I exhorted them to remember that disorder reigned in their own hearts and spirits.

15. "Therefore, the King of Heaven has punished them, and has destroyed their nationality and taken from them their national kings, 'but,' I added, 'if you will be resigned to your fate, as a reward the Kingdom of Heaven will be yours.'"

16. At this moment the witnesses were introduced; one of whom deposed thus: "Thou hast said to the people that in comparison with the power of the king who would soon liberate the Israelites from the yoke of the heathen, the worldly authorities amounted to nothing."

17. "Blessings upon thee!" said Issa. "For thou hast spoken the truth! The King of Heaven is greater and more powerful than the laws of man and His kingdom surpasses the kingdoms of this earth.

18. "And the time is not far off, when Israel, obedient to the will of God, will throw off its yoke of sin; for it has been written that a forerunner would appear to announce the deliverance of the people, and that he would reunite them in one family."

19. Thereupon the governor said to the judges: "Have you heard this? The Israelite Issa acknowledges the crime of which he is accused. Judge him, then, according to your laws and pass upon him condemnation to death."

20. "We cannot condemn him," replied the priests and the ancients. "As thou hast heard, he spoke of the King of Heaven, and he has preached nothing which constitutes insubordination against the law."

21. Thereupon the governor called a witness who had been bribed by his master, Pilate, to betray Issa, and this man said to Issa: "Is it not true that thou hast represented thyself as a King of Israel, when thou didst say that He who reigns in Heaven sent thee to prepare His people?"

22. But Issa blessed the man and answered: "Thou wilt find mercy, for what thou hast said did not come out from thine own heart." Then, turning to the governor he said: "Why dost thou lower thy dignity and teach thy inferiors to tell falsehood, when, without doing so, it is in thy power to condemn an innocent man?"

23. When Pilate heard his words, he became greatly enraged and ordered that Issa be condemned to death, and that the two robbers should be declared guiltless.

24. The judges, after consulting among themselves, said to Pilate: "We cannot consent to take this great sin upon us,—to condemn an innocent man and liberate malefactors. It would be against our laws.

25. "Act thyself, then, as thou seest fit." Thereupon the priests and elders walked out, and washed their hands in a sacred vessel, and said: "We are innocent of the blood of this righteous man."

(When I first read this I thought - of course.  It never made any sense to me why the Roman ruler would kowtow to these Sanhedrin.  No two ways around it, the story as presented in the Bible is that they came in to say "Get rid of Jesus" and Pilate hemmed and hawed, sent Jesus to Herod, did the reasonable thing - and then just caved to these Jewish elders who demanded Jesus be crucified.  And then went out and performed a Jewish ritual of "washing his hands" of the event.  Just weird on all levels.  This account just makes logical sense - they checked out Jesus' teaching and found it "not that different." But Pilate wouldn't have it, tried to torture a confession out of him, and when he didn't get that, argued for his death. And finally Jesus mocks him - "Why lower your dignity and ask these fellows ("those beneath you") to lie on your behalf? Don't you have the balls to lie for yourself and "condemn an innocent man?"  To which Pilate's reply is "crucify him." Jesus provoked him into acting. And the Sanhedrin go out and do the ritual of washing their hands.  Just imagine the President of the US bowing to Mecca and saying prayers to Allah... oh, right people already think that's happening.  It would have been the same equivalent for the Roman prelate - the head of the church in his region, whose responsibility it was to carry out the rites of the Roman gods and all their attendant deities - for him to perform a Jewish rite would have been heresy - off-with-his-head behavior. For no other reason this account seems logical that people behaved as reported.)

XIV.

1. By order of the governor, the soldiers seized Issa and the two robbers, and led them to the place of execution, where they were nailed upon the crosses erected for them.

2. All day long the bodies of Issa and the two robbers hung upon the crosses, bleeding, guarded by the soldiers. The people stood all around and the relatives of the executed prayed and wept.

3. When the sun went down, Issa's tortures ended. He lost consciousness and his soul disengaged itself from the body, to reunite with God.

4. Thus ended the terrestrial existence of the reflection of the eternal Spirit under the form of a man who had saved hardened sinners and comforted the afflicted.

5. Meanwhile, Pilate was afraid for what he had done, and ordered the body of the Saint to be given to his relatives, who put it in a tomb near to the place of execution. Great numbers of persons came to visit the tomb, and the air was filled with their wailings and lamentations.

6. Three days later, the governor sent his soldiers to remove Issa's body and bury it in some other place, for he feared a rebellion among the people.

7. The next day, when the people came to the tomb, they found it open and empty, the body of Issa being gone. Thereupon, the rumor spread that the Supreme Judge had sent His angels from Heaven, to remove the mortal remains of the saint in whom part of the divine Spirit had lived on earth.

8. When Pilate learned of this rumor, he grew angry and prohibited, under penalty of death, the naming of Issa, or praying for him to the Lord.

9. But the people, nevertheless, continued to weep over Issa's death and to glorify their master; wherefore, many were carried into captivity, subjected to torture and put to death.

10. And the disciples of Saint Issa departed from the land of Israel and went in all directions, to the heathen, preaching that they should abandon their gross errors, think of the salvation of their souls and earn the perfect bliss which awaits human beings in the immaterial world, full of glory, where the great Creator abides in all his immaculate and perfect majesty.

11. The heathen, their kings, and their warriors, listened to the preachers, abandoned their erroneous beliefs and forsook their priests and their idols, to celebrate the praises of the most wise Creator of the Universe, the King of Kings, whose heart is filled with infinite mercy.

END OF BOOK

 It's at this point that this story that Notovitch's Sherpa's translation came to an end.

I wonder if the Vatican library has any books about Issa.

The story then picks up a few years later, with a fellow named Yuz Asaf who is traveling with his wife or mother "Miriam" (who is buried in Muree, Pakistan) and winds up living in Kashmir with his family.  I've heard some fantastic accounts of those years, but I will close this blog post with saying that I am not an apostate, a heretic, or someone trying to upset anyone's religious beliefs. 

I've also heard an incredible story recently - told to me by people who heard it while under deep hypnosis - that there was a conspiracy to liberate Jesus from the cross, and that it was pulled off.  I'm interviewing someone this week who will go into detail what she claims she heard during her 'between life' hypnosis session (which corroborates other stories I've heard about Jesus surviving the Crucifixion as mentioned in the post below.) But that post is for another day, another time.

However, I am someone who believes in putting everything on the table.  

This document could be a hoax, but it's unlikely that it is.  A hoax requires someone's desire to pull something over on someone.  And since Notovitch didn't write it - and didn't even translate it, his Sherpa did, he's not a suspect.  Since other people have seen the document, and I heard about it from the abbot at Hemis, then I would argue that the document exists, is real.  As to who actually wrote it and why - that can only be answered in why books are in any Tibetan library.  They're there because they collect manuscripts about any number of topics.  

Is this a variation on the Gospels?  Well, I can only point to the Council of Nicea where many Gospels were brought together, and four were chosen and the rest were banished to history.  Some were found in Hammadi scrolls and became known as the Gnostic Gospels.  Anyone who has read them knows they have tales of fantastic events, miracles and other accounts that don't seem to make complete sense.

But I would argue that this particular "Gospel" has a lot of sense in it.  It reads, at least to my eye, like the account of an acolyte, a fan, or a follower of a person.  That the people who added to this document or who wrote it, were trying to put down an account they'd heard about someone who had been a major religious leader.  The question would really be, who ordered the monks to write it and why?  Why write down the stories told by silk merchants who come to your door?  They must have had a compelling reason to do so.

Again, this is a translation that has gone through many languages, and certainly doesn't represent anything that might have been said verbatim.  However it does contain enough information to get a different perspective on what might have happened two thousand years ago, especially in light of the discourse going on across the planet over who or who doesn't have the right to interpret what Jesus may or may not have said.  I'll leave it up to scholars to track this document down (there are two copies I'm aware of, one that was in Hemis as far back as tine 1960's, and one that was copied and sent to Lhasa, which may or may not reside in a library somewhere in or near the Potala Palace.)
Many scrolls still exist, but they're in the hands of the Chinese govt.

But I would suggest that the actual document - and when it was written isn't going to solve the question of whether or not these quotes were coming from Jesus, or were coming from those who wished he'd said them.  Either is a possibility.  I offer it because in some key instances, the suggestion that the incidents involved might have deserved another interpretation is important, and worth discussing.  My two cents.

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