While the authenticity of the narration in the Bhavishya-purana is questionable, it is nevertheless worth studying to gain insight into the blending of Jesus Christ and the Dharmic religions. The topic of the Jesus of Aquarian Gospel and his possible travels across India is somewhat outside the scope of this article, written merely in explaining the word Isa and commenting on apocryphal references to Jesus found in Hindu scriptures.
|"Shrine of Hazrati Yousa Asouph" — believed by some to be Jesus' tomb in Kashmir.|
For more information, see Flickr photos and The Tomb of Jesus Christ Website.
In Arabic (and Qur'an), Jesus is known as Īsā, the al-Masīḥ one of his frequent titles. "He is also a word from God and a spirit from Him." He is also called Yasu in Arabic speaking countries, much like people in India call him Yeshu or Ishu, and many others in their own variants by culture and language.
Some versions of Bhavishya-purana ("Ancient Text of Future"), a popular Hindu text of uncertain origins, have an account of a great sage known as Isa Masaha. The Bhavishya-purana itself is largely in the "Hindu Apocrypha" department, in the body of texts that are somewhat canonized, but in many cases either entirely of more recent origin, or substantially enlarged by later authors over the centuries.
|A persian miniature of Jesus / Isa |
giving the famous Sermon on the Mount
The word Isa is also an often-used short form of the Sanskrit word Isvara, "Master" or "God", not unlike the word "Lord" in English and Christian usage. In a curious parallel, the word "Father" is "isä" in Finnish; also used for the Father-aspect of the Trinity: Isä, Poika and Pyhä Henki. For a Wisdom Wheel parallel: Yang: Creator, Father/Heaven; Yin: Neutralizer, Son/Lamb/Earth; Wuji: Nondual, Uncreated Holy Spirit. We are dealing with universals, once again.
The word "isä" in Finnish comes from Proto-Uralic ičä; while Uralic languages are not directly related to Indo-European languages (such as Sanskrit and Latin), the two have shared plenty of terrain and culture with the Aryan languages over the millennia. (This is why even a language as peculiar as Finnish has some uncanny similarities with a wide range of European and Indic languages.)
It's more than likely that texts like Bhavishya-purana have been altered (read: critique that prompted this write-up) — whether by Christian missionaries eager to establish a predating legacy of Jesus for the Hindus, or by Hindus themselves in an attempt to absorb the emerging spread of Christianity under their syncretic umbrella. For reference, the relevant passage is in Bhavishya-purana, Catur-yuga Khanda, Second Adhyaya. (Link to text. The transliteration and translations there are sloppy, but sufficient to understand the meaning in the original.)
The following are summary notes of the text and the discussion of Isa Masaha and king Shalivahana, taking place following Jesus' years of preaching in the distant lands:
- Describes himself as Isa-putra (Son of Isa or God) and Kumari-garbha-sambhava (Begotten of virgin womb).
- Lives on a mountain in Western Tibet near Mount Kailash and Manasarovara (Hunadesh: Lands of the Huns).
- Acted as a teacher of dharma to the Mlecchas (barbarians and uncultured people outside Vedic civilization).
- Became Masiha (messiah) to dissipate the spread of the fearsome religions by the uncivilized, who had lost the way of the truth.
- The mind should be made pristine.
- Embodied beings are subject to good and bad taints.
- Abolishing sacrifices, one should pray in highest pristinity.
- As duty and in thoughts one should speak the truth.
- In contemplation one should worship the Lord, established in the Solar Field, the Immovable Master himself, everywhere like the light of the Sun.
- Having the Lord firmly manifest in the heart leads to everlasting purity and welfare.
- "In this way, my name came to be established as Isa Masiha (Jesus Messiah)."
The characterization of Christianity as the religion of the Mlecchas, or uncivilized barbarians, isn't particularly complementary — while certainly an accurate description from the Brahmana point of view, where people living in deserts were regarded as being of sinful birth, lacking in culture of purity and as such ineligible to study the finer truths of theology and philosophy. If this were the handicraft of a Christian missionary, I would have expected a more complementary spin to the story.
It would be interesting to read the text in its entirety at some point. Overall, the Puranas — including Bhagavata, which is relatively late — are in the habit of listing chronologies of rulers in a future tense, when the narration is placed into anciety. For reference, see the 12th book of Bhagavata-purana. The correlative tables I have drafted for some of these lists make for a reasonable match with the actual names and sequences in history, reaching well into the common era — as with king Shalivahana (Gautamiputra Satakarni), a historical ruler of the Satavahana empire who is told here to have met Jesus the Messiah.
Still, many fundamentalists subscribe to the idea of such texts being 5,000 years old in their current form, believing them to be literal and detailed predictions for some 4,000 years into the future. I'd take it all with a grain of salt when it comes to claims to the ancience of Indic scriptures from the believers — or any other scripture with an uncanny level of specific detail for a "prediction" of the future for that matter.
Predictions are based on enlightened and inspired observation and intuition of the patterns and undercurrents of the world, and are therefore by definition more abstract in nature. They are also not a proof of anything else than of themselves — they certainly do not validate a number of other unrelated claims heard in the same general direction.
Whatever the historicity of all these predictions may be, let's remember the gist of the lesson to be learned: Great teachers and prophets do not concern themselves with the particularities of the future, they address the problems of the humanity here and now. The thought of a salvation is a slim joy if the primal peace of the Kingdom of God or the Kingdom of Heaven is absent from within you during your lifetime.
On that note, souls in the Kingdom of Heaven do not wave the flag of Israel or the insignia of any collective of people on Earth, whether crosses and crucifixes or wheels of dharma. They live in both immanence and transcendence, dwelling in an absolute state of pristinity within — whatever the path they may have followed in reaching that supreme peaceful and enlightened destination of the heart.