From time to time, one hears stories about what Jesus was supposedly doing during the so-called "missing years." One that always interested me was that Jesus spent time in India during those years; here's the latest on that theory to come across my view: Did Jesus spend his missing years studying Buddhism in India? Marcel Theroux visits Ladakh to find out by Marcel Theroux.
Before I found the Utrantia Book, I might have been inclined to entertain the idea that Jesus went to India; since then, no. But there's a good reason that a story like that may have gained some traction over the years, and we'll blog about that idea below. First, here's a snip from the article:
"My journey to Ladakh began one idle summer afternoon in the dusty stacks of the London Library. I was browsing the volumes in the theology section when I came upon a 19th-century book with an intriguing title: The Unknown Life of Jesus Christ. It was a battered brown quarto, written in French by an author with a Russian name: Nicolas Notovitch.
"Notovitch's book told an astonishing story. He claimed to have discovered an ancient text in the sacred Pali language that revealed previously unknown aspects of Jesus's life. According to this text, which Notovitch had translated into French, Jesus had spent his missing years – the years between his childhood and the beginning of his ministry – studying Buddhism in India. At the age of about 30, he'd returned to the Middle East and the life that is familiar to us from the New Testament.
"It is clearly an amazing claim."
Just so you know...in the end, the author comes to the conclusion that this story has no credibility...but it is an interesting article about the region, and his search for details of this elusive story. Check it out...
Click to read more
The India Connection
As mentioned above, there's a good reason that a story like this one may have originated; there are some very real India connections insofar as the life of Jesus is concerned.
In The Urantia Book, we discover that Jesus spent two years of his life - from age 28-30 - in the company of two native Indian men; one was a wealthy merchant named Gonod and the other was his son, Ganid.
The father employed Jesus as an interpreter for himself and as a tutor for his son during a two-year tour of the Mediterranean world. The Urantia Book devotes several papers to this momentous trip. The travelers did not get to India, but they did get as far as the Swiss Alps, Cyprus, Rome, Carthage...and many other cities before it was all over.
Here's how it came about:
129:2.9 Before the end of this Passover week, by apparent chance, Jesus met a wealthy traveler and his son, a young man about seventeen years of age. These travelers hailed from India, and being on their way to visit Rome and various other points on the Mediterranean, they had arranged to arrive in Jerusalem during the Passover, hoping to find someone whom they could engage as interpreter for both and tutor for the son. The father was insistent that Jesus consent to travel with them. Jesus told him about his family and that it was hardly fair to go away for almost two years, during which time they might find themselves in need. Whereupon, this traveler from the Orient proposed to advance to Jesus the wages of one year so that he could intrust such funds to his friends for the safeguarding of his family against want. And Jesus agreed to make the trip.
The Urantia Book devotes the next three papers to this momentous trip. It begins this way in Paper 130: On the Way to Rome:
130:0.1 THE TOUR OF THE Roman world consumed most of the twenty-eighth and the entire twenty-ninth year of Jesus' life on earth. Jesus and the two natives from India —Gonod and his son Ganid—left Jerusalem on a Sunday morning, April 26, A.D. 22. They made their journey according to schedule, and Jesus said good-bye to the father and son in the city of Charax on the Persian Gulf on the tenth day of December the following year, A.D. 23.
They visited numerous cities along the way:
130:0.2 From Jerusalem they went to Caesarea by way of Joppa. At Caesarea they took a boat for Alexandria. From Alexandria they sailed for Lasea in Crete. From Crete they sailed for Carthage, touching at Cyrene. At Carthage they took a boat for Naples, stopping at Malta, Syracuse, and Messina. From Naples they went to Capua, whence they traveled by the Appian Way to Rome.
130:0.3 After their stay in Rome they went overland to Tarentum, where they set sail for Athens in Greece, stopping at Nicopolis and Corinth. From Athens they went to Ephesus by way of Troas. From Ephesus they sailed for Cyprus, putting in at Rhodes on the way. They spent considerable time visiting and resting on Cyprus and then sailed for Antioch in Syria. From Antioch they journeyed south to Sidon and then went over to Damascus. From there they traveled by caravan to Mesopotamia, passing through Thapsacus and Larissa. They spent some time in Babylon, visited Ur and other places, and then went to Susa. From Susa they journeyed to Charax, from which place Gonod and Ganid embarked for India.
In introducing this tour of the Roman world, the authors of The Urantia Book tell us:
129:3.1 The whole of Jesus' twenty-ninth year was spent finishing up the tour of the Mediterranean world. The main events, as far as we have permission to reveal these experiences, constitute the subjects of the narratives which immediately follow this paper.
Throughout this tour of the Roman world, for many reasons, Jesus was known as the Damascus scribe. At Corinth and other stops on the return trip he was, however, known as the Jewish tutor.
This was an eventful period in Jesus' life. While on this journey he made many contacts with his fellow men, but this experience is a phase of his life which he never revealed to any member of his family nor to any of the apostles. Jesus lived out his life in the flesh and departed from this world without anyone (save Zebedee of Bethsaida) knowing that he had made this extensive trip. Some of his friends thought he had returned to Damascus; others thought he had gone to India. His own family inclined to the belief that he was in Alexandria, as they knew that he had once been invited to go there for the purpose of becoming an assistant chazan.
The Son of Man, during the time and through the experiences of this tour of the Roman world, practically completed his educational contact-training with the diversified peoples of the world of his day and generation. By the time of his return to Nazareth, through the medium of this travel-training he had just about learned how man lived and wrought out his existence on Urantia.
The real purpose of his trip around the Mediterranean basin was to know men. He came very close to hundreds of humankind on this journey. He met and loved all manner of men, rich and poor, high and low, black and white, educated and uneducated, cultured and uncultured, animalistic and spiritual, religious and irreligious, moral and immoral.
On this Mediterranean journey Jesus made great advances in his human task of mastering the material and mortal mind, and his indwelling Adjuster made great progress in the ascension and spiritual conquest of this same human intellect. By the end of this tour Jesus virtually knew—with all human certainty—that he was a Son of God, a Creator Son of the Universal Father. The Adjuster more and more was able to bring up in the mind of the Son of Man shadowy memories of his Paradise experience in association with his divine Father ere he ever came to organize and administer this local universe of Nebadon. Thus did the Adjuster, little by little, bring to Jesus' human consciousness those necessary memories of his former and divine existence in the various epochs of the well-nigh eternal past. The last episode of his prehuman experience to be brought forth by the Adjuster was his farewell conference with Immanuel of Salvington just before his surrender of conscious personality to embark upon the Urantia incarnation. And this final memory picture of prehuman existence was made clear in Jesus' consciousness on the very day of his baptism by John in the Jordan.
A highly recommended read...
The remainder of Paper 130, Paper 132: The Sojourn at Rome, and Paper 133: The Return from Rome chronical the details of this amazing trip of Jesus with the two Indians. Of all the "missing years" of Jesus' life, these are some of the most interesting. Every page is filled with significant encounters of Jesus with all kinds of people, as well as a wealth of teachings and discourses that can be found nowhere but in The Urantia Book. Here's just a very small sample of the wealth of Jesus'teachings in these papers:
At Joppa—Discourse on Jonah
Discourse on Reality
At Carthage—Discoiurse on Time and Space
Good and Evil
Personal Work in Corinth and
Discourse on the Soul
Interspersed with these teachings, we travel with Jesus and the Indian pair through encounter after encounter through the cities of the Roman Empire.
A New Gallery of Paintings
Many of the events of that tour to the Mediterranean have recently been captured as fine art paintings in a new art gallery here on TruthBook; events such as:
Jesus and the Chinese Merchant,
Jesus Meets Tiberius,
The Young Man who was Afraid,
The Thoughtless Pagan, and
Studying at the Alexandrian Library
And there are many more. Please feel free to visit the gallery and browse the collection!
In connection with this last painting showing Jesus and Gnid at the Alexandrian library, the whole of Paper 131 is devoted to an extensive study made by the young Indian, Ganid, under Jesus' direction, of the world's great religions of that time. Their visit to the Library is a highlight of the journey, and a beautiful painting.
As for Ganid:
130:0.7 Ganid, the young man, learned much from Jesus during this long and intimate association. They developed a great affection for each other, and the lad's father many times tried to persuade Jesus to return with them to India, but Jesus always declined, pleading the necessity for returning to his family in Palestine.
133:9.5 In India, Ganid grew up to become an influential man, a worthy successor of his eminent father, and he spread abroad many of the noble truths which he had learned from Jesus, his beloved teacher. Later on in life, when Ganid heard of the strange teacher in Palestine who terminated his career on a cross, though he recognized the similarity between the gospel of this Son of Man and the teachings of his Jewish tutor, it never occurred to him that these two were actually the same person.
Another Indian connection
Although Jesus never made the trip to India, the apostle Nathaniel spent quite a few tears of his life in India, relocating there shortly after Pentecost; one can imagine that he was influential in spreading the good news of the gospel and of the Master's life while there, which in itself could have led to stories of Jesus himself having visited there:
Nathaniel's father (Bartholomew) died shortly after Pentecost, after which this apostle went into Mesopotamia and India proclaiming the glad tidings of the kingdom and baptizing believers. His brethren never knew what became of their onetime philosopher, poet, and humorist. But he also was a great man in the kingdom and did much to spread his Master's teachings, even though he did not participate in the organization of the subsequent Christian church. Nathaniel died in India.
Again, this section of The Urantia Book is one that describes in great detail several those "missing years" of the Master's life that contain so much material that it will engage the reader fully in wonder at this segment of the amazing life of Jesus that has heretofore been completely unknown. The teachings, the encounters, the personal stories...you won't be disappointed!