Buddha-Isa (The Legend of Christ in Kashmir)
At the monastery Hemis in the Ladakh area at the foot of the Tibetan Himalayas at the end of the nineteenth century, Nikolai Notovitch found scrolls which spoke of a certain
Isa or Isha. The scrolls were made in the fashion of the seventh century AD, finding themselves successively to India, then Nepal and finally Tibet.
Talk about an
Isa or Isha, a boy who arrived in Sindh in India by caravan at the age of thirteen, initially began in Israel. Being versed the Vedas, he was received by Brahma priests.
His message of equality and monotheism rendered the priests of Brahma hostile so that he had to flee to Nepal and Tibet, that is, to Buddhist territory. He then headed towards Persia where, again, he was explelled. Subsequently he returned to Israel, where he was crucified, only he was removed from a torment which was not envisioned to be a death penalty, but rather as torture. Restored by his followers he then fled to Kashmir, where he married, had children and later died. His tomb is a Sriagar in the capital of Kashmir.
The Buddhists considered
Isha to be Isa, or a reincarnation of Buddha, the Buddha-Isa.
Andreas Faber - Kaiser, "Jesus lived and died in Kashmir", ed. De Vecchi, Milan, 1975.
Kashima Aziz, "Christ in Kashmir", ed. Atlantis, Rome 1996.
Hindu texts include the words
mahesa, Masih, mishihu, in aramaic mesiha,
masiah in Hebrew or, clearer yet, masih in Arabic. In certain Hindu texts the words refer to the Christian presence in India, initially appearing in the Hindu language following the armies of Alexander the Great, whose conquering army moved upward along the river Indus River to come, in 326 BC, into contact with distant cultures, not excluding influences from ancient Aramaic and Arabic.
To Jews and Christians the words signify
king anointed with oil. Yet the meaning, rather than being associated with the Hindu world, is connected instead with the Arabic root "msh" which in addition to meaning "measure", also means to "wipe away", i.e. to remove 'impurity. The Koran, which does not nominate Jesus as Saviour but solely as prophet, uses the term "masih" in the sense of "purified from mistakes and human weaknesses, here relying only upon the Arabic root"
The Hebrew word
mesiah (translated in Greek as messias, Jn 1:41; 4:25) is usually translated in the New Testament as
Christos, from chri, ‘greasy’.
The Koran assigns the name Isa to Jesus (Sura 2, 45), while to Arab-Christians the name is
Yasu. There is currently no research to hand on how Muhammad (570 - 632 AD) arrived at the name Isa (sir) for Jesus, though we may surmise that it was from Nestorian Christians returning from India by caravan that he first heard of Isa or isha, making the name coincide with Jesus.
Islam was also to come into contact with India following territorial conquests traversing the Ganges, a meeting of civilizations which, from Kashmir to Tibet, was to forge such names as
Yusu, Yusuf, Yuz, Issa, Issana,
Yusaasaf, Yuz-Asaph, Yus Zasaf.
As in late Hindu texts the term El, to denoting God, emerges again in Semitic culture.
El ("be strong") was a Jewish name for God, albeit already in use among the Canaanites. Ugaritic uses
l, Accadic ilu, Arabic ilah. Before any contact with Islam Hindu texts speak of
allah (al-ilah), taken precisely to mean the god, and used in Arabia prior to the advent of Muhammad. Another Arab name, "Amadh", treating of contacts with ancient civilizations, may also be found in Hindu texts.
"Dictionary of the Koran, Jesus' voice, ed. Mondadori, Milan, 2007.
Further to those contained in the Gospels, three simple reasons refute the notion that 'Isa or the Kasmhir
Isha is the Jesus of Palestinian and Roman history and of the patristic Church.
1) The first is the name itself. The name Jesus does not derive from
Isa nor isha, nor Issa or Yuz, all names in Kashmir. Neither is it linked to the Persian
Iuzu. The word comes instead from Isa or
Isha, a contracted form of Ishvara (chief inspector , sir).
As is known, the name Jesus is an Italianisation of the Latin
Iesus, which derives from the Greek Iesous, which, in turn, derives from the Aramaic
Yeshua, an abbreviation of Yehoshua, which means :
Saviour God. Ye is the contracted form of Yeovč, in Hebrew ‘you’
Jahvéh which vocalises the tetra gram YHWH.
It can thus be seen that there is no relationship between the names
Jesus, Yeoshua, Iesous, Iesus, and Isha or
Isa or Issa.
2) Another reason is that crucifixion was not a torture which could be imposed without the death sentence. Here, from the wealth of Roman documentation, there remains no possibility of uncertainty. The crucifixion of Jesus was preceded by scourging, which had no limits, even as his tortured body bled. Though the wounds healed, a Roman scourging was enough to debilitate a man for the rest of his days.
Reporting during the Jewish war against Rome (Autobiography IV,
75), Josephus (37 AD - ca. 100 AD), who never mentions Jesus, saw the crucifixes of his three companions among the many crosses and asked that Titus Caesar be detached from his cross. Two of his friends were to die, one recovered. Crucifixion was performed by tying the wrists and ankles of the condemned with ropes. Execution of this kind, especially in mass crucifixions, was very common for the Romans, with the crucified dying of asphyxiation. Had the man mentioned by Josephus been affixed to the wood with nails, resulting in tetanus, no doctor would have been able to reverse his demise. The company is desperate for healing today.
The four Gospels - each of which, as is known, bears its own character - form such a compact and historically coherent front that any prroposed changes can only possibly be at the service of some ideology.
Neither are the Gospels far from agreement upon the events described, albeit drawn up as they are in decades immediately succeeding, when the Church had already testified orally and Christ had already witnessed to his faith through blood.
3) Documented by the seventh century AD, the third reason is that the story about Buddha-Isa comes from the presence of Nestorian Christian communities in India. Predating this, however, the area was of Nestorian interest because in 498 Nestoriano the patriarch of Seleucia became Patriarch of Persia, Syria, China and India, with the result that these extensive regions knew the presence of Nestorian missionaries, and consequently their cultures.
Coptic Manichaean texts show us that Christian communities of Persian origin were present in India from 260 onwards.
In the sixth century, Egyptian merchant Cosmas Indicopleuste visited communities in Malabar (south-western India). In that same period, at Madras, a Christian cross was recovered. In sixth century Kalayama, in Malabar, there was a Christian bishop, while in 639 the Indian kig Siladitya received a mission of Syrian Christians.
From what we read of
Isa Isha in Tibetan rolls, rather than in pure Nestorian literature, the news of the "Lord" came to be imbued with the gnostic doctrine of the heretics Marcion and Basilide. Basilide, author of several works during the interval between 120 and 140 AD, said, with an impressive distortion of historical reality, that Jesus was neither crucified nor died but that it was Simon of Cyrene who had instead suffered. Marcion, who in 144 initialised the first division in Christianity, argued that the body of Christ was not real flesh as is ours as Christ could not assume incarnate form. The docet Marcion (dokein: appear), of the Gnostics, followed next. Though a vehicle of Gnosticism and Manichaeism, Marcione was not a pure Gnostic. His influence remained active until the fourth century, and could therefore have influenced the Nestorians. Gnostic influence could nonetheless reach the people of India via trade caravans.
Resulting in the desire for a Hindu prophecy about Jesus Christ, the idea of
Isha or Isa is nevertheless very old. Indeed
Isha is spoken of in Pratisarga Parvana of
Bhavishya Mahapurana in the third Kanda (chapter) verses 16-33.
text does not treat of Christians but has the purpose
instead of shedding light on the Hindu world
Parvana of Bhavishya Mahapurana third Kanda (chapter)
the grandson of Bikram Jit, rose to power,defeating the
Chinese, the Parties, the Sciyti and Battriabi.
drew a line dividing the territories of Arias (the Arii)
and Mlecca, and finally ordered withdrawal to Indian
the head of Saka (Šakiai of people with capital
Kapilavastu) is directed towards Himatunga (Himalayas)
and towards the centre of the region called Huna (in
Ladak, in western Tibet. The centre of the region is
Mount Kailasc with the lakes of Manosarvar and Raksal
Tal), the powerful king Shalivahan pro vide a person
sitting on a mountain. His skin was light-coloured and
he was clothed in white.
ko iti tam praaha
putragm maam viddhi
are you, a holy man ?>.
answered with great joy:
should know that I am Isha Putra (God the Son), and am
born of a virgin.
srutva nrpa praaha
ko matah bhava
am illustrator of the religion of Mlecca, agreeing to
strictly Absolute Truth (Brahman)>.
this, the king asked him:
your opinion, what are the principles of religion ?>.
to the questions of King Shalivahan, Isha Putra said:
king, when the truth was destroyed, I, Mahiso (Great
Lord. Maha meaning 'large', iso, from
Ishvara, meaning 'sir', viz. the one who
controls), came to this country of Mlecca where the
principles of religion are not followed.
myself in this place of great irreligiosity spread from
Mlechadesch (the region of Mlecca), I have dedicated
myself to prophecy (better still : intense benevolence).
prabhuh sakshat -
king, I beseech you to heed the religious principles I
have established in Mlecca.
Living beingsare subject to good and bad influences.
The mind is to be purified by accepting right conduct
and by reciting the japa (japa-mala: a 108-bead
rosary used for the recitation of the holy names of the
gods). By reciting the holy names
you may attain to the highest purification. Just as the
sun, immoveable, attracts the elements of all living
beings fromall directions, so the Supreme solar region
which is fixed and infinitely fascinating,
attracts the hearts of all living beings.
following the precepts, by being honest, peaceful and
meditative, a descendant of Manu, you should worship the
placed the eternally pure and propitious form of the
Supreme Lord (Brahman) in my heart, oh protector
of planet Earth, I preached these principles through the
same religion of Mlecca and so my name became
Ishamasihah (Lord purifier). Masihah becomes thus
connected with the Arabic root "msh", which, in
addition to meaning "measure", means also "to
rub away", to remove impurities, so purifying the
Koran which defines Jesus Christ "Masih", i.e.
purified from the mistakes and weaknesses.
The mountain was purified by his preachingvof the
religion of Mlecca, which became Ishamasihah.
sa iti bhuupale
hearing these words and offering tributes to the person
adored by Mlecca, the King humbly asked permission to
stop in the tremendous land of Mlecca.
krtva sa sasthyabdam
king, upon leaving his kingdom (the mountain)
asvamedha, performed a yajna (horse sacrifice)
and, after ruling for sixty years, went on to the
adopted text is authentic.
Literarally, it is conducted using not the future, but
The text mentions an experience, not a prophecy.
Everything is presented as an event occurring at a given
time, rather than as something to come.
It is important to note that the king requires that
Shalivahan identify the character of the mountain
immediately without asking him who he is, which warrants
a clarifying footnote.
of historical context, we imagine a time when the spread
of Arii began to take on local religious customs,
integrating these into the religion.
it was not in a Buddhist context, considering that the
king performs a bloody sacrifice, refused by Buddha.
we have to hand converges towards identifying the
character of the mountain with the god Siva, anglicised
Indeed the mountain Kailasc is home to Shiva.
or 'Great Lord', is a title of the god Siva, so
connecting it inextricably with Mahiso.
god Shiva is often shown with light skin, contrary to
representations of Krsna, anglicised as Krishna, who has
is among the ascetically perfect Shivaiti, the
Yogishvara (for Hindus, even the gods must be free of of
karma in order to access the full awareness of Brahman),
and is presented in the text as a Yogi.
is the destroyer god, though also the benevolent god
(Shiva meaning "benevolent"), who has vanquished
sound by destroying it.
As first son of Brahma, he is the firstborn.
Brahma's wife Sarasvati makes up all which emanates from
him, assisting him. Moreover, the loving membership from
which she springs generates desire for Brahma.
It is for this reason that the text cites "born of a
The linga (foul), a symbol of Shiva, does not
specifically denote eroticism, but rather the generating
force pervading the universe which belongs to Shiva.
Evidence, here, of a definite chasm separating the
contents of the text from the Gospel.