IN PART II, I GAVE YOU a few hooks to ponder the possible interpretation of the Resurrection of Jesus by (modern) Islam according to Ahmad. You can breathe – this will not be an academic essay – academia or Theology has nothing to do with God. I will also break up the paragraphs and keep it light so I don’t fall asleep at the wheel. Secondly, you do understand that there is NO possible blasphemy on these pages – I am looking at the validity of the evidence, that’s all. “Looking” being the clue…
So, I return to the mind-games of considering Jesus in India and His survival on the Cross.
A few of my correspondents have mooted to me that there is no evidence that Jesus existed. Others have said the Bible is a fairy-tale, and refuse to accept allegory, and that the New Testament was written mostly by illiterate fishermen. We actually don’t know. Assuming that a holy and revered man in Galilee did exist, and we will call him Jesus, the evidence is oral tradition and incalculable literary volumes scribed by esteemed scholars down the ages in the two Abrahamic religions here. We can accept that as a premise.
There’s no doubt Ahmad’s entire postulation is fascinating. But his hypothesis is based on a disagreement with the facts of what Jesus might or might not have ‘believed’ – that is – (quote) ‘as He knew God, [God] would save him from an accursed death’. This is an entire projection of mind in supposition of (1) the nature of God and (2) what God decides to do. Just because a man knows God, does not exempt him from the cross of life or an early death. Prophecy? We don’t know about that.
As for surviving the Cross and living to the age of 120 (this I didn’t mention before), and preaching in Kashmir and Tibet – the latter is also deliciously contentious. There appears to be evidence of His tomb in Khan Yar Street in Srinigar, and I have read in the writings of Nicholas Roerich, my favourite artist, that he too saw this tomb in person in the 1920s. I am sure Roerich had read the other book I mentioned in Part I, The Unknown Life of Jesus Christ, by his fellow Russian, Notovitch, who was a contemporary at that time.
Yogananda wrote that the missing 18 years of Jesus’ life from the age of 12-30 (which no Christian scholar has ever been able to clarify) were spent in the Himalayas training with the yogis. He made his way via the active trade route from Palestine to the North-West Frontier and across into the majestic mountains of the subcontinent. This, says Yogananda, explains Jesus’ apparent ability to create miracles because adepts have siddhis – so-called paranormal powers which is the ability to control energy. Sai Baba who died a few years ago was one such adept.
Yogananda was a Hindu yogi. Our Muslim author, Ahmad, speaks of the similarity between Christianity and Buddhism – taken from the Preface, if you recall. If Ahmad’s evidence came from Buddhist records, it is entirely possible Jesus spent time with the Buddhist monks too (or instead of), as they also can have paranormal abilities and produce miracles, of course. So would you if you’d spent years meditating in the snows.
So, Jesus may have been there for 18 years and returned to Palestine for his mission. But did he die on the Cross? Here comes the departure of the rational into the metaphysical – we move into religious mysticism. (Off the record, there is nothing religious about mysticism.)
Bernadette Roberts, to whom I dedicated my latest publication, was a Carmelite contemplative (d. 2017), and she has described this in the Christian tradition par excellence in her 3 books about the Self. I beg Bernadette’s forgiveness for these rash ramblings, but we must not become imprisoned in concepts. She claims that Jesus did die on the Cross (of course), but that as He died, his agonised plea, “God, Why hast Thou forsaken me?” was when He realized the No-Self described in Buddhism (and Advaita Vedanta). This state is beyond unity with God the Father, also described in Hinduism. Frankly, that coming from a deeply Catholic reverent, based on her own body/mind experience, was a show-stopper and profoundly upset many Christians.
His ascension and re-birth is the life in the emptiness of Buddhism (which is the Great Love Itself). Roberts does not really explain physical death and resurrection because, believe it or not, she was a tough rationalist! When she was vested with siddhis, she refused to let them arise, believing they were not kosher. Islam says that the soldiers only pierced Jesus’ sides and not vital organs, so he did not die.
To make life complicated, what is death? Is it the Great Death of Zen, or the physical death and decay of the body? What did it mean that Jesus ‘died on the Cross’? When he appeared to his disciples after the Crucifixion, could this have been one of the many cases annotated in spiritual literature of omniscience? Or bi-location? Ramana and many, many other Indian masters have performed this. In a time of great anguish and separation, both my parents did this. You will know of stories from your family lore also, for sure.
In short, we don’t know if Jesus died on the Cross and if he went from the ages of 12-30 to the subcontinent and its mountains, returned after His death, all three or none at all. About his tomb in Kashmir – possible, but maybe another up and coming spiritual ego hijacked the idea and died in Kashmir calling himself Jesus of Nazareth. Everybody loves a great story, and two thousand years ago, well – records, DNA and birth certificates? Who knows? A few mushrooms and a swig of the local potion as the locals told tales of the miraculous? – how on earth can anything be proven?
I misbehaved recently, and told a highly qualified scientist that there is no such thing as a fact. That was a gleeful moment. I think she has a couple of Bachelors and a Masters.
“Oh, I have to disagree with you there!” she said.
I pointed out that Pythagoras and his masters had given us his insuperable body of work without the zero. It hadn’t been discovered in 570 BCE. Information is inaccurate (!) but it is assumed that from 700 AD onwards, the Indian mathematicians (sources disagree which one) discovered the phantom missing factor. So, for over 1200 years, mathematics had no zero. Maths was not what it looked like.
We can only say that at any one time, something appears to be valid. Fact.
Which brings me to what is actually true. This is all interesting and blood-curdling knife-twisting in parts, BUT from the place of what is actually happening – you know by now that this is all mind-drama, and memory games. Fascinating, but so what?
When I stood in the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem at New Year 1995, my skin was bristling with aliveness, with privilege and humility, and I was struck dumb. It is a moment that I will never forget in one of the most beautiful cities I have ever visited. I watched as the sun went down when a magnificent Arab in full dress was sitting on a camel. He stopped at a zebra-crossing to permit a Hasidic Jew to cross. The faces of these people! Etched with history, and long, contentious culture all buzzing in the fluid but dynamic colours of the market-place! What a picture that is now in my mind!
You know, we live our lives around stories and memories. But – what was actually happening in the Via Dolorosa was that I was looking at a street (or something that we have decided to call a street). The entire story of Jesus’ suffering and torture was projected by my mind because I had been taught it. Without the learnt story I would not know. I cannot call any of it a fact, and nor can you.
Anything that is brought up from the past as a memory is just a thought. It is present for a short while then dies away back into the spiritual Ground Zero. As soon as you have read this, you will forget it and go about your daily chores. Therefore, it is not real. The story is not a fact as much as God is not ‘out there’.
Your ineffability has amused Itself as spiritual semiotics go round in circles pointing to the inescapable fact that all melodramas of the human condition, the fabulous stories we tell, and the noise we make simply happen in front of us – in our Presence. Silent, simple, Presence.
You further know that the Presence is the real you. You do.
Selima Gurtler is a spiritual writer, philosopher, poet and Jnana yogi.
Her modern teachings to Self-Realization and Liberation are uniquely flavoured through the perceptive eyes of her Indian and European heritage.
Free copies of her books are available for download here: https://www.emwpeace.org/publications/
His Holiness the Dalai Lama and His Grace Archbishop Desmond Tutu are patrons of her work.
 I know. I’m sorry.
 I’m sorry again.
 I know.
Image under CCO by https://pixabay.com/en/users/windhaven1077-808708/