The ‘Missing Years’ of Jesus

The ‘Missing Years’ of Jesus
Nicolas Notovitch is an important character in the history of studies surrounding the theory of Jesus in India. He has become most famous for his book, The Unknown Life of Jesus Christ (also available through The Unknown Tree of Life Publications). Notovitch was an aristocratic Russian “Jew” born in the Crimea in the year 1858. We have the word Jew in quotes because though his parents were Jews, he and his brother, Osip Notovitch, converted to the Greek Orthodox Christian religion when they were young.Notovitch began his career as a journalist. Later he authored twelve books, mostly centering on the politics of Russia. His political books were studied amongst the political elite of Europe, as he had command of both French and Russian, writing in both languages. His book, Pravda Obevrejah, won him universal condemnation from the Jews [the book was considered anti-Semitic], but he was at first praised by the Christians. That was not to last. Feature clip from ‘Did Jesus Die?’

Unknown Life of Jesus Christ
The book is the in two distinct parts. Part I details the story of Notovitch’s journey to Hemis and the circumstances which led to his seeing the St Issa scroll. Part II is a full translation of the scrolls in to English.The St Issa scroll is mentioned repeatedly by ‘Jesus in India’ scholars and was ground breaking in starting to piece together the life of Jesus.Recent attempts to obtain the scroll and gain more information about it have failed.
The Discovery
During the latter part of the 1870s, Notovitch decided to embark on an “extended journey through the Orient.” 

In 1887 Notovitch visited the famous Golden Temple at Amritsar India, eventually moving on to Ladak. He went to Kargil where he began a horseback trek on his way to Leh, the capital of Ladak. At a place called Mulbek near the Wakha River, he decided to visit two monasteries, one of which was Buddhist, located above a hill. There he met a Lama, and the two conversed about religion. At one point in the conversation, the monk stated:

“We also respect the one whom you recognize as Son of the one God. The spirit of Buddha was indeed incarnate in the sacred person of Issa [Jesus], who without aid of fire or sword, spread knowledge of our great and true religion throughout the world. Issa is a great prophet, one of the first after twenty-two Buddhas. His name and acts are recorded in our writings.”

Notovitch then left the area, but while riding his horse near Hemis Monastery, Notovitch suffered a terrible fall from his horse and broke his right leg, and he was forced to remain under the care of the Buddhist monks at Hemis until his leg healed. During this time he had the scrolls read to him and his translators translated it for him. Notovitch took notes, and this formed the core content for his book. Read extracts here .
The Name Issa 
Kersten states that the name “Isa”, or “Issa”, derives from the Syrian, Yeshu (Jesus), “being altered to conform to Musa (=Moses).” It is very interesting that Jesus is referred to as “Issa” in Buddhist documents, as “Isa” in the scripture of Islam, the Quran, and as “Isa” in the Hindu scripture, the Bhavishya Mahapurana. 

That the religious documents of these three religions mention Jesus as “Isa” suggests that this was actually a name by which he was known in the East. Buddhism and Hinduism predate Islam.
Notovitch – Was he Really There?
There are those that say Notovitch never visited Hemis and that the St Issa scrolls do not exist, yet the following diary entry is a powerful vindication of the account of Notovitch:“When I visited the Lamasery [Monastery] at Hemis, and together with the Lama Ishe Tundup and Mr. Stobden interviewed the ‘Manager’ (The young head Lama being in Tibet studying), the other Lamas who also were present belonging to the Monastery immediately said that their older monks did remember an Englishmen being injured and brought to their Monastery and that some MSS [manuscripts] were shown to him.”This account was given in the ‘PS’ section of a diary entry for the ‘Moravian Mission’ who had in the rest of the entry tried to discredit and write of the St Issa scroll.This translated diary entry is now well known and documented in several books on Jesus in India.In addition Dr Fida Hassnain during his own enquiries in to the scrolls spoke to people at the monastry who talked about both Notovitch’s visit and the scrolls. So was he really there? The anwers appears to be a resounding Yes.
Diary Entry ClueWe have obtained from Dr. Fida Hassnain a copy of the English translation of portions of the German Mission Diary. View them hereThe photo of the pages of the diary was made in 1958 by the journalist Mrs. Amlabai Ketkar. Mrs. Ketkar brought the photograph from the Moravian Mission house in Leh/Ladakh, got it translated into English, and furnished copies, along with her comments, to Mr. Aziz Kashmiri.

Others Hemis visits 
Name of VisitorYearReported
Nicholas Notovitch1887Saw documentHenrietta Merrick1921Visited and later wrote in her book, In the World’s Attic “In Leh is the legend of Jesus who is called Issa, and the Monastery at Himis holds precious documents fifteen hundred years old which tell of the days that he passed in Leh where he was joyously received and where he preached.”Swami Trigunatitananda1895Visited and confirmed Notovitch had spent time there – this is cited in ‘Swami Trigunatita: His Life and Works” by Marie L Burke
Swami Abhedenanda1922Saw documentNicholas Roerich & son1925Saw documentMrs. Gasque1939Saw document: Shown by Lama Nawong ZangpoE. Caspari1939Saw document by Lama Nawong ZangpoEdward Noack & Wife1970sA monk there told him: “There are manuscripts in our library that describe the journey of Jesus to the East.”Dr. R. Ravicz1973Oral reference: informed by Tibetan friendU. Eichstadt1974Saw document
The ‘Missing Years’ of Jesus
Nicolas Notovitch is an important character in the history of studies surrounding the theory of Jesus in India. He has become most famous for his book, The Unknown Life of Jesus Christ (also available through The Unknown Tree of Life Publications). Notovitch was an aristocratic Russian “Jew” born in the Crimea in the year 1858. We have the word Jew in quotes because though his parents were Jews, he and his brother, Osip Notovitch, converted to the Greek Orthodox Christian religion when they were young.Notovitch began his career as a journalist. Later he authored twelve books, mostly centering on the politics of Russia. His political books were studied amongst the political elite of Europe, as he had command of both French and Russian, writing in both languages. His book, Pravda Obevrejah, won him universal condemnation from the Jews [the book was considered anti-Semitic], but he was at first praised by the Christians. That was not to last. Feature clip from ‘Did Jesus Die?’Unknown Life of Jesus Christ
The book is the in two distinct parts. Part I details the story of Notovitch’s journey to Hemis and the circumstances which led to his seeing the St Issa scroll. Part II is a full translation of the scrolls in to English.The St Issa scroll is mentioned repeatedly by ‘Jesus in India’ scholars and was ground breaking in starting to piece together the life of Jesus.Recent attempts to obtain the scroll and gain more information about it have failed.
The Discovery
During the latter part of the 1870s, Notovitch decided to embark on an “extended journey through the Orient.” 

In 1887 Notovitch visited the famous Golden Temple at Amritsar India, eventually moving on to Ladak. He went to Kargil where he began a horseback trek on his way to Leh, the capital of Ladak. At a place called Mulbek near the Wakha River, he decided to visit two monasteries, one of which was Buddhist, located above a hill. There he met a Lama, and the two conversed about religion. At one point in the conversation, the monk stated:

“We also respect the one whom you recognize as Son of the one God. The spirit of Buddha was indeed incarnate in the sacred person of Issa [Jesus], who without aid of fire or sword, spread knowledge of our great and true religion throughout the world. Issa is a great prophet, one of the first after twenty-two Buddhas. His name and acts are recorded in our writings.”

Notovitch then left the area, but while riding his horse near Hemis Monastery, Notovitch suffered a terrible fall from his horse and broke his right leg, and he was forced to remain under the care of the Buddhist monks at Hemis until his leg healed. During this time he had the scrolls read to him and his translators translated it for him. Notovitch took notes, and this formed the core content for his book. Read extracts here .

The Name Issa 
Kersten states that the name “Isa”, or “Issa”, derives from the Syrian, Yeshu (Jesus), “being altered to conform to Musa (=Moses).” It is very interesting that Jesus is referred to as “Issa” in Buddhist documents, as “Isa” in the scripture of Islam, the Quran, and as “Isa” in the Hindu scripture, the Bhavishya Mahapurana. 

That the religious documents of these three religions mention Jesus as “Isa” suggests that this was actually a name by which he was known in the East. Buddhism and Hinduism predate Islam.
Notovitch – Was he Really There?
There are those that say Notovitch never visited Hemis and that the St Issa scrolls do not exist, yet the following diary entry is a powerful vindication of the account of Notovitch:“When I visited the Lamasery [Monastery] at Hemis, and together with the Lama Ishe Tundup and Mr. Stobden interviewed the ‘Manager’ (The young head Lama being in Tibet studying), the other Lamas who also were present belonging to the Monastery immediately said that their older monks did remember an Englishmen being injured and brought to their Monastery and that some MSS [manuscripts] were shown to him.”

This account was given in the ‘PS’ section of a diary entry for the ‘Moravian Mission’ who had in the rest of the entry tried to discredit and write of the St Issa scroll.This translated diary entry is now well known and documented in several books on Jesus in India.In addition Dr Fida Hassnain during his own enquiries in to the scrolls spoke to people at the monastry who talked about both Notovitch’s visit and the scrolls. So was he really there? The anwers appears to be a resounding Yes.Diary Entry ClueWe have obtained from Dr. Fida Hassnain a copy of the English translation of portions of the German Mission Diary. View them hereThe photo of the pages of the diary was made in 1958 by the journalist Mrs. Amlabai Ketkar. Mrs. Ketkar brought the photograph from the Moravian Mission house in Leh/Ladakh, got it translated into English, and furnished copies, along with her comments, to Mr. Aziz Kashmiri.

 

Name of Visitor

Year

Reported

Nicholas Notovitch

1887

Saw document

Henrietta Merrick

1921

Visited and later wrote in her book, In the World’s Attic “In Leh is the legend of Jesus who is called Issa, and the Monastery at Himis holds precious documents fifteen hundred years old which tell of the days that he passed in Leh where he was joyously received and where he preached.”

Swami Trigunatitananda

1895

Visited and confirmed Notovitch had spent time there – this is cited in ‘Swami Trigunatita: His Life and Works” by Marie L Burke

Swami Abhedenanda

1922

Saw document

Nicholas Roerich & son

1925

Saw document

Mrs. Gasque

1939

Saw document: Shown by Lama Nawong Zangpo

E. Caspari

1939

Saw document by Lama Nawong Zangpo

Edward Noack & Wife

1970s

A monk there told him: “There are manuscripts in our library that describe the journey of Jesus to the East.”

Dr. R. Ravicz

1973

Oral reference: informed by Tibetan friend

U. Eichstadt

1974

Saw document

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