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Jesus and Plato and the India-Tibet Connection

"Heresey might be annoying to the Church, but was not, as such, contrary to the spirit of primitive Christianity." --Bertrand Russell
Did the source of ancient Greek, Egyptian, and Roman spirituality actually originated in India and Tibet? The early Christian Church labeled these religions as "pagan" and heretical and destroyed ancient libraries that contained the texts of these works.

Linda Johnsen in her recent book, LOST MASTERS points to an India connection in ancient Greek and Roman thought:

"Plato was recognized as one of the greatest mystics in the history of Western civilization, and Plotinus (who carried on Plato's tradition five hundred years later in Rome)towered over the centuries as a giant of Western spirituality. These men were not just thinkers--they were considered sages, transmitters of profound and inspired wisdom that paralleled the mystical lineages of India."

"Ironically, it was my Indian researches that led me back to Greece. I learned that a Greek magus named Apollonius of Tyana had visited India in the first century CE and that a fairly detailed account of his travels had actually survived. Reading Apollonius story was a galvanizing experience, revealing astonishing connections between the Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Persian and Indian cultures, which most modern historians neglect."

In the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th centuries CE, early Christianity and Greek scholarship, Neoplatonism (essentially an hellenization of eastern religious thought), existed peacefully side by side. This peaceful coexistence continued until the early Christian church and an emerging church doctrine began to take shape in fourth century. In 380 CE, sixty-eight years after Constantine legalized the Christian religion, Roman Emperor Theodosius' decreed, to the exclusion of all other religions, that Christianity was the Religion of the Empire. Before 380 CE, the Roman government was largely tolerant of all religions in the Empire, including, after 312, Christianity. The decree in 380, promoted new attitude of religious intolerance that swept the Empire as the early Christian Church, through a series of ecumenical councils, that started in 325 and began to solidify Christian theology and Christology.

The decree of 380 gave the Christian Church authority to use Roman troops to destroy all non-Christian temples throughout the Empire and murder anyone who stood in the way. According to some accounts the early Church moved quickly to enforce the decree, leaving those individuals who were not Christian with no alternative but to convert to Christianity as their shrines and temples were destroyed. Many non-Christians lost their lives when they rebelled against the destruction of their sacred places. The early Christian Church proved as brutal in carrying out the new decree as the Romans were in persecuting early Christians.

Theodosius's decree in 380 lead to the beginning of the end of classical scholarship and all teaching and research in the Empire. The Alexandrine University, located in Alexandria, Egypt was eventually closed with its faculty and librarians fleeing to higher education institutions and libraries in Persia. Fortunately some classical texts in the libraries were saved from destruction by being transported to libraries in Persia. But in the main, library collections were burned and scholars and librarians who tried to defend their libraries were murdered by Christian fundamentalists.

In assessing the lost of just one of the empire's libraries, the great library at Alexandria, Egypt, J. Harold Ellens in his short book titled, The Ancient Library of Alexandria and Early Christian Theological Development had this observation:

"Undoubtedly, the destruction of the ancient Library at Alexandria was one of the greatest, if not the greatest, of tragedies in human history. The loss of scientific knowledge, social order, urban organization, economic stability, political wisdom and freedom, and civilized idealism, concommitant with decline and destruction of the library, had the very palpable consequence of nearly cutting in half the mean life span of Western humankind."

The destruction of these ancients texts, essentially gave the Christian Church an opportunity to rewrite history to serve their own purposes leaving a huge gap in our knowledge about the early mystery religions that were practiced by the Greeks and Romans. However some information has been passed down to us. The remarkable thing about the mystery religions before the rise of the Christian Church and Church doctrine maybe just how universal and really spiritual these religions were. These early religions incorporated ideas from the ancient civilization of India. Today, we recognize the return of general interest in the ancient mystery religions as the New Age movement which many contemporary Christians consider satanic or pagan, just as they did 1,600 years ago.

Ironically, the desert fathers inhabiting the deserts of Egypt, Palestine, Arabia and Persia were really tuned into ideas of Plato's mystical message that were a part of these ancient mystery religions. Many of the Christian monks in Egypt were educated in Neoplatonism at the great Alexandria School in Alexandria, Egypt, and their individual pursuit of a mystical union with the Ultimate one in the deserts of Egypt was in the Neoplatonic tradition. Not all the monks in the Egyptian were educated. The Coptic monks were indigenous Egyptians who converted over to Christianity and most were largely uneducated and more likely to be fundamentalists in line with the Alexandrian Church in Alexandria, that was becoming increasingly orthodox in its outlook. This, no doubt, caused some friction within the monastic movement in Egypt.

In the 4th century as Neoplatonism and all classical studies were condemned as heretical, the Alexandrian Church, this was the Coptic Christian Church that declared Christ as fully divine and equal to God the Father, began enforcing their doctrine opposing Neoplatonism. In a coup like fashion, Neoplatonic monks were evicted from the Egyptian monasteries. Those monks fled east into Palestine, Arabia and Persia, and some traveled to Europe giving rise to European monasticism.

What was lost in all this confusion was the largely unknown connection of the western mind with the eastern religions. In fact it might said that if you could trace the primal source of all the world religions today, you would find an India-Tibet connection.

Here are two books that attempt to recreate some of the our missing knowledge about the "mystery religions" of the Romans, the Greeks and even some early Christians.

Plato and the India-Tibet connection

Notes from the book:Lost Masters, by Linda Johnsen.

Research by Ms. Johnsen reveals a connection between ancient Greek philosophy and India's spiritual masters over 2,500 years ago.

"I very much want to introduce the great spiritual masters of our past, Western "gurus" whose traditions, unfortunately, we've forgotten. Their life stories, like those of sages everywhere, are remarkable. And their distinctive approaches to spirituality will remind you of similar Hindu, Buddhist, yogic, and tantric lineages."

Ms. Johnsen presents an interesting new look at the "mystery religions" before Christianity. Were these religions that were branded "pagan" and "heretical" by the early Christian Church, even more spiritual than contemporary Christianity? I think so, because, rather than focusing on the end times, hell and damnation, these mystery religions constructively focused on actually preparing an individual for the next life. Just as the desert fathers were doing for themselves in the deserts of Egypt, Palestine, Arabia and Persia. And they are continuing to do so in the very same places today.

What were these mystery religions that made the early Christian Church was so afraid? Did the Church destroyed ancient library collections in the 4th century CE, throughout the Roman empire, in an attempt to rid the world of these ideas?

This book is worth a read!

Bio from: Linda Johnsen (Wikipedia)

Chapter 1.

p. 1

...until the modern period, Plato was recognized as one of the greatest mystics in the history of Western civilization, and Plotinus (carried on Plato's tradition five hundred years later in Rome) towered over the centuries as a giant of Western Spirituality. These men were not just thinkers--they were considered sages, transmitters of a profound and inspired wisdom tradition that paralleled the mystical lineages of India. As late as the Renaissance, the stature of the ancient Greek philosopher as spiritual masters of the first magnitude was acknowledge throughout the Christian and Islamic worlds.

p. 2 Indian researches...lead me back to Greece. I learned that a Greek magus named Apollonius of Tyana had visited India in the first century CE and that a fairly detailed account of his travels had actually survived. Reading Apollonius'story was a galvanizing experience, revealing astonishing connections between the Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Perisan, and Indian cultures, which most historians neglect.... Was Apollonius correct when he claimed that the Greeks had learned their doctrines from the Egyptians--and the Egyptians learned them from India?

p. 3

...The 'mystery religions' that so inspired Greek and Roman Civilization were also clearly related to the wisdom of India, especially in their doctrines of karma, reincarnation, and spiritual transcendence.

Jesus and the India-Tibet Connection

Notes from the book: The Lost Years of Jesus, by Elizabeth Clare Prophet.

bio: Elizabeth Clare Prophet (Wikipedia)

Ms. Prophet provides a well researched account of of a Russian's visit to a Tibet Monastery.

What Jesus did during his so called "lost years", between when he was 13 and 30?
According to one account, written in the late 1800s, he traveled to India and Asia and studied eastern religions and that even today he is known throughout those regions. The Russian who wrote the account told a story of visiting a Tibetan monastery and seeing a scroll about Jesus's visit. He claims that Jesus was called Issa or Saint Issa and was respected and revered by the Tibetan monks. Subsequent followup and research in the early 20th century supports the Russian's story.

The Russian's name is Nicolas Notovitch and his book is: The Unknown Life of Jesus Christ.

Is it any wonder that the account of Jesus' India and Tibetan journey is not generally known. After all, today as was the case 1,600 years ago, anything not Christian is pagan. And pagan is evil. Certainly Jesus' interest in and practice of eastern religious practices blurs the distinction between Christian and non Christian.

So one question that begs to be answered is the modern day Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibet, really a "pagan" in the Christian sense? And was Jesus's journey to Tibet to study and teach, during his so called "lost years" really an "unChristian" thing to do?

The India-Tibetan connection brings a new life and a new perspective to Christianity.

The individualistic orientation of the eastern religions and the fact that you are going to be returning to earth time after time until you get it right places squarely on the shoulders of the individual the responsibility for their own salvation. Maybe that is what scares Christians today.
Additional Sources
  • Early centers of Christianity - India (Wikipedia)

  • Christianity in India (Wikipedia)

  • Lost years of Jesus (Wikipedia)

  • Jesus in India

    "Ahmadi Muslims hold the unique belief that Jesus (peace be upon him) survived the crucifixion and travelled towards India to continue his ministry among the Lost Tribes of Israel. Furthermore, they claim that his tomb, containing his body, has been recently re-discovered in India where it can be seen to this day. Ahmadi Muslims also assert that this belief is not only upheld by the Holy Quran and the Sayings of Muhammad, but even by the Holy Bible itself."
  • The Lost Years of Jesus in Tibet (A Tibetan View)

    "The undocumented portion of Jesus’s early life, popularly known as “The Lost Years of Jesus, have aroused many questions about Jesus of Nazareth’s whereabouts and activities during this period. “The Lost Years of Jesus” are generally said to comprise of Jesus’s life after 12 years of age and prior to 30 years of age. These years have been suitably labeled the “Lost Years” since there has been no biblical or middle eastern/western records of Jesus’s activities during this period to date."
  • Jesus, the Teenage Years

    A large map of one possible itinerary via ancient roads and trade routes.
  • Nicolas Notovitch (Wikipedia)

  • The Jesus of the New Age Movement...Ron Rhodes

    "Did Jesus travel to the East to study under gurus? Did He become "the Christ" as a result of what He learned and accomplished there? Are there mystical "gospels" that have been suppressed by the church, keeping us from knowing the real Jesus? In this article, we will look at these and other important questions related to the Jesus of the New Age movement. We begin by examining the claims of a controversial Russian writer."
  • Lost years of Jesus (Wikipedia)


    "The "lost years" evidence due to Notovitch in 1894 of Jesus being in India during his youth, along with its debunkings, are reexamined and the latter are found not to have been scholarly in any sense. Later evidence fully confirming Notovitch's find is presented. The implications that Jesus taught reincarnation and karma, not resurrection, are summarized and found entirely plausible. The ramifications this has for ecumenism with respect to the Eastern religions cannot be overstated, though for Christianity they remain unacceptable. "
  • Was Jesus a Buddhist?...James M. Hanson

    "Twenty-five years prior to Notovitch's expedition Muller had written, "Between the language of the Buddha and his disciples, and the language of Christ and his apostles, there are strange coincidences. Even some Buddhist legends and parables sound as if taken from the New Testament, though we know that many of them existed before the beginning of the Christian era." (13) Muller then was joined by other scholars. De Bunsen stated: "The most ancient of the Buddhistic records known to us contain statements about the life and the doctrines of Gautama Buddha which correspond in a remarkable manner, and impossibly by mere chance, with the traditions recorded in the Gospels about the life and doctrines of Jesus Christ." (14) Doane wrote, "The history of Jesus of Nazareth, as related in the books of the New Testament, is simply a copy of that of Buddha, with a mixture of mythology borrowed from other nations." (15)"
  • Jesus in Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad

    "Being an account of Jesus' escape from death on the cross and of his journey to India "
  • The Missing Years of Aerik Vondenburg

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