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Did Jesus really ever visit India and
Tibet? This is a question people all
around the world will shortly be
asking themselves when the $20 million
Hollywood blockbuster movie, The
Aquarian Gospel, is released in 2010. The
film is about Jesus' missing years and is
directed by Australian-born Drew Heriot,
who was launched onto the world stage in
2006 when he directed The Secret.
English author and poet, Alan Jacobs,
happened to be in India in 2008 when
he read about this blockbuster film in
the Indian press, and was intrigued. The
idea that Jesus travelled to India has been
called "the tale that won't go away" and
has captured the imagination and interest
of millions, Jacobs recounts. He suggested
to his publisher that he write a book
giving the evidence for and against the
hypothesis that Jesus travelled to India
and Tibet -- and the result was When
Jesus Lived in India published earlier
this year. I speak to him on the phone
about the book and his personal opinion
on the matter...
In the Bible, the only reference to
Jesus' life between the ages of 12, when
he is debating with the elders in the
temple, and 30 when he is baptised by
John the Baptist, is "the boy grew in stature
An interesting source of evidence for
the idea that Jesus did live in India is a
book entitled The Aquarian Gospel
written by the Reverend Dr Levi H
Dowling, which is now in its 53rd
reprint and 18th edition. Levi Dowling,
who lived from 1844 to 1911, was the son
of a minister and by the age of 16,
Levi himself was preaching to large
congregations. He served in the United
States Army as a chaplain during the
American Civil War and, after attending
university and medical college, practised
medicine until he retired.
According to his second wife and
biographer, in addition to practising
medicine, he also spent 40 years
studying the esoteric sciences and in
deep meditation. He found himself able
to access the Akashic records, a huge
collection of knowledge, which is believed
to record every event in the history of
the cosmos and to be stored in a non-
physical plane of existence, Jacobs
Other people who have claimed to
be able to access the Akashic records
are Madam Blavatsky, founder of the
Theosophical Society, Edgar Cayce, the
most documented psychic of the 20th
century, and Rudolf Steiner, the Austrian
In The Aquarian Gospel, Dr Levi
Dowling claims that Jesus did visit India
and Tibet during his missing years. It
describes him travelling with the royal
prince Ravenna of Orissa through India,
and studying for four years with the
Brahmins at the Jagannath Temple in
Orissa where he learnt about the Vedas,
the ancient sacred texts of Hinduism. The
Brahmins were astonished by this young
Jewish boy's understanding of these
ancient texts. But they became angry and
drove him out of the temple when he
began to question the Hindu caste system,
and why the Untouchables were not
allowed access to sacred texts and
The Aquarian Gospel also mentions
that Jesus went to Tibet's capital Lhasa
where he was given access to all the
sacred Buddhist manuscripts, before he
travelled on to the province of Ladahk in
Northern India, and then into Lahore. In
addition, it recounts that Jesus returned
to India after the crucifixion when he
arose from the dead.
Scholars have found discrepancies
with The Aquarian Gospel Jacobs
explains. For instance, it mentions that
Jesus visited Lahore, which did not exist in
his time, and also claims that Jesus knew
the Chinese sage Meng-tzu, but the latter
actually preceded Jesus by three centuries.
However, The Aquarian Gospel has a
very large following, particularly in the
United States, and has never been out of
The idea that Jesus spent his
missing years in India first came to light
at the end of the 19th century when a
Russian called Nicolai Notavitch published
his book, The Unknown Life of Jesus
Christ in the 1890s. Notavitch was an
author and historian and in 1887 he visited
a Buddhist monastery in Ladakh. There he
was told by the head lama it was believed
When the Bible says of Jesus that the 'boy grew in stature and wisdom', he may well have
been absorbing the wisdom of sages in India. Rosamund Burton traces a fascinating journey.
The Tale that
Won't Go Away
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