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The Unknown Life of Jesus Christ

by Nicolas Notovitch

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The Unknown Life of Jesus Christ was originally published in 1894 by its author, the Russian-born and well-traveled aristocrat, Nicolas Notovitch. It consists of a lengthy and entertaining account of his travels throughout India and Tibet, where he met a number of lamas who insisted that according to their folk legends, Jesus Christ had once visited their land. By sheer chance, Notovitch claimed, he broke his leg during his journey, and was taken to a monastery to recover for a few weeks. It was there that he was able to acquire a copy of the sacred Tibetan scripture, The Life of St. Issa: Best of the Sons of Men, which was translated by Notovitch and is reproduced in this volume, followed by an analysis of the text from the author. According to the text, Jesus spent his early years from age 12 to 29 (the so-called "lost years" not recorded in Christian scripture) traveling throughout India and Tibet, learning from the local religious leaders, until he was driven out through persecution by the ruling castes for challenging their authority. Although held by some to be a forgery, Notovitch's "discovery" sparked a series of books by other authors on the subject of Jesus in the Orient that were published in the early half of the twentieth century, and the concepts which he introduced have now become staples of modern mystical thought.

"Issa [Jesus] is a great prophet, one of the first after the twenty-two Buddhas. He is greater than any one of all the Dalai Lamas, for he constitutes part of the spirituality of our Lord. It is he who has enlightened you, who has brought back within the pale of religion the souls of the frivolous, and who has allowed each human being to distinguish between good and evil. His name and his acts are recorded in our sacred writings. And in reading of his wondrous existence, passed in the midst of an erring and wayward people, we weep at the horrible sin of the pagans who, after having tortured him, put him to death."

- A Tibetan lama, as quoted by Nicolas Notovitch.

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