MGA and his team lied about Jesus in India. See here: https://ahmadiyyafactcheckblog.com/2017/01/03/lahori-ahmadis-cast-doubt-on-the-jesus-in-india-theory/. Also read here: https://ahmadiyyafactcheckblog.com/?s=Yuz+Asaf
We found the essay in the below here: https://www.ozy.com/flashback/when-jesus-trekked-through-india-and-tibet-allegedly/85663
Who is Max Muller?
Friedrich Max Müller, a German-born Oxford Orientalist. Soon after Notovitch’s book was published, Müller wrote an article titled “The Alleged Sojourn of Christ in India,” which expressed in a gently ribbing manner his reservations about Notovitch’s discovery, stating that it was “unfortunate” the Russian had “lost the photographs” of his expedition. Müller also suggested Notovitch “may have traveled in disguise” as no one seemed to remember him visiting the monastery. He also found it odd that the Sutra of Issa “should not have found a place either in the Kandjur or in the Tandjur [the Tibetan Buddhist canon].”
James Douglas, a history professor at Government College in Agra, India, at the time, read Müller’s article and, intrigued, headed up to Ladakh the following summer to investigate. Doubt crept in early as he trekked up the Sind Valley, which Notovitch had described as teeming with “panthers, tigers, leopards, black bears, wolves and jackals.” The best Douglas could summon on this ancient leg of the Silk Road was a timid bear.
Scholars of Buddhism generally agree that Notovitch was a fraud — he went on to publish other sketchy historical tomes and once claimed that a cardinal in Rome told him of hidden Vatican documents backing up his discovery of Jesus in India. (He may or may not have recanted his Issa story; it depends on the source.)
And he goofed on some basics. Donald Lopez, professor of Buddhist studies at the University of Michigan, describes dozens of factual errors in Notovitch’s book. At one point the author refers to The Life of Saint Issa as scrolls and at another as two bound volumes. “Tibetan Buddhists use neither scrolls or bound volumes,” says Lopez, “but xylographs [wood engravings].”
Notovitch’s wild tale didn’t arise simply out of a craving for fame and fortune. Tony Burke, an associate professor of early Christianity at York University in Toronto, points out that “only two noncanonical gospels mention Jesus’ adolescence and early adulthood,” with neither text diving into the “lost years” (ages 12 to 29). That ambiguity gives imaginative types like Notovitch plenty of murky historical leeway when reconfiguring religious traditions, or, as Burke notes, license to “reimagine” Jesus to fit the trends of the epoch they’re living in.
Plus, the Russian may have intended to align the Jesus narrative more closely with his own religious philosophy, Theosophy. This esoteric religion espoused by another Russian aristocrat, Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, places the world’s wisest “masters,” or mahatmas, in Tibet. Blavatsky wanted to “identify a mystical core at the foundation of all religions” via “her mystical communication with the mahatmas,” including the Buddha and Jesus, says Lopez.
The late 19th century was a time of religious appropriation, notes Lopez. Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the charismatic founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, “had Jesus [Isa in the Islamic tradition] come to India to die,” says Lopez. In the city of Srinagar, local legend holds that the carpenter’s son is entombed in the Roza Bal shrine.
And there may be a darker undercurrent to Notovitch’s tale. Many Christians of the era disliked the “idea that their religion originated with the Jews,” says Gary Lachman, author of Madame Blavatsky: The Mother of Modern Spirituality. Lopez believes the development of now-discredited race theories forced bigoted Christians to confront the fact that Jesus was a Semite. Placing Christ in Asia was a nifty anti-Semitic loophole, in which Jesus, as a young man, wasn’t “in a synagogue,” says Lopez, “but in a Buddhist monastery in the Himalayas.”
Max Muller’s essay in 1894
Max Muller, “The Alleged Sojourn of Christ in India,” The Nineteenth Century 36 (1894): 515f., cited by Edgar J. Goodspeed, Modern Apocrypha (Boston: Beacon Press, 1956, 10.)
In October 1894, preeminent Orientalist Max Muller of Oxford University (who himself was an advocate of Eastern philosophy and therefore could not be accused of having a Christian bias) published a refutation of Notovitch in The Nineteenth Century, a scholarly review. Four of his arguments are noteworthy:
(1) Muller asserted that an old document like the one Notovitch allegedly found would have been included in the Kandjur and Tandjur (catalogues in which all Tibetan literature is supposed to be listed).
(2) He rejected Notovitch’s account of the origin of the book. He asked how Jewish merchants happened, among the millions of India, to meet the very people who had known Issa as a student, and still more “how those who had known Issa as a simple student in India saw at once that he was the same person who had been put to death under Pontius Pilate.”
(3) Muller cites a woman who had visited the monastery of Himis and made inquiries about Notovitch. According to a letter she wrote (dated June 29, 1894), “there is not a single word of truth in the whole story! There has been no Russian here. There is no life of Christ there at all!”
And (4) Muller questioned the great liberty Notovitch took in editing and arranging the alleged verses. Muller said this is something no reputable scholar would have done.
Notovitch promptly responded to Muller’s arguments in the preface to the London edition of The Life of Saint Issa which was published the following year (1895). But his response did little to satisfy his critics. He said:
(1) The verses which were found would not be in any catalogues because “they are to be found scattered through more than one book without any title.” (But in his first preface he said the Convent of Himis contained “a few copies of the manuscript in question.”)
(2) Regarding the unlikeliness of Jewish merchants encountering those who knew Issa as a child in India, Notovitch said “they were not Jewish but Indian merchants who happened to witness the crucifixion prior to returning home from Palestine.” (Even so, it would still be unlikely that — among the millions in India — the merchants would come upon the precise people who knew Issa as a child.)
(3) As for editing and arranging the verses in The Life of Saint Issa, Notovitch said that the same kind of editing was done with the Iliad and no one ever questioned that. (But how does this legitimize Notovitch’s modus operandi?)
(4) As to the refusal by the lama of Himis to affirmatively answer questions about the manuscript (as he apparently did with the lady who wrote Muller), Notovitch says this was because “Orientals are in the habit of looking upon Europeans as robbers who introduce themselves in their midst to despoil them in the name of civilization.” Notovitch succeeded only “because I made use of the Eastern diplomacy which I had learnt in my travels.” (This was a convenient rationalization, for Notovitch could always point to a lack of “Eastern diplomacy” on the part of a European challenger whenever a monk refused to corroborate the Issa legend.)
Assuming (wrongly) that his response to Muller laid criticism of his work to rest, Notovitch suggested that in the future his critics restrict themselves solely to the question: “Did those passages exist in the monastery of Himis, and have I faithfully reproduced their substance?”
8 Max Muller, “The Alleged Sojourn of Christ in India,” The Nineteenth Century 36 (1894): 515f., cited by Edgar J. Goodspeed, Modern Apocrypha (Boston: Beacon Press, 1956, 10.
9 Ibid., 11.
10 Notovitch, cited by Goodspeed, 11.
11 Ibid., 11-12.
12 Notovitch, in Prophet, Lost Years, 30.
13 Ibid., 103.
14 Ibid., 103.
15 Ibid., 108
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