The message of Jesus Christ was to alleviate the suffering of the people and to teach them to focus on the transcendental reality of the world within rather than on the utterly relative existence of the physical world. Those who took his message to heart found a completely new point of view and gradually learnt to place their trust and fate in divine grace and accepting physical circumstances as an effect of inner causes whether they originate in this life or in previous lives. Hence the all-importance of inner purification as symbolised by the sacraments of baptism and of confession.
Most of this, however, seems to have been forgotten nowadays. The young people of today now enter into a world that is hopelessly divided between the monopolistic claims of some of the major religions and the utterly hedonistic lifestyle of a cosmopolitan mob. It is almost predictable that during the next decades the religious factor will be further on the wane. Mother nature seems to be far away in the huge city-conglomerates and its 24/7 economy.
Travelling to the kingdom within
On a more practical level the implications of Jesus’ education in India would be that Jesus’ example could and should be followed by Christian scholars and scribes and any other committed seekers, eager to follow the road to the kingdom that is within. The truth is that the ancient Indian–Vedic–tradition is very old and has been handed down to us from generation to generation first by means of the oral tradition and as from about 1500 BC by means of the written word.
It is sad to notice the Western preoccupation with written evidence as against the traditional evidence of the spoken word. In his dialogue Phaedrus Plato gives the Myth of Theuth or ‘Thoth’ where he warns against the weaknesses and dire consequences of the written word. He says: the fact is that this invention will produce forgetfulness in the souls of those who have learned it because they will not need to exercise their memories, being able to rely on what is written, using the stimulus of external marks that are alien to themselves, rather than, from within, their own unaided powers to call things to mind. It seems that his warning has gone unheeded in the West for the last 2400 year.
Respecting the source
What if Jesus did indeed receive his higher education in India/Tibet? In the first place Christianity should learn to respect the true source of its monotheistic tradition. If we go back to the patriarch Abraham who came from the city of Ur (near present day Basra in Iraq) we find that he was the first one to adopt the absolute formless Oneness as the divine source of creation. There is little doubt that he only resounded the Vedic message which had come to him from across the Arabian sea.
Having paid tribute to the ancient masters of the ancient tradition it is now time to bring back to unity the three great religious traditions of Buddhism, Hinduism and Christianity. Together with the Jewish tradition and Islam they go back to the same source: the ancient tradition as it is still alive here and there in the mountain ranges of the Himalayas or in small centres tucked away in corners of the world unseen by the public eye. This ancient knowledge incorporates a fully developed system of universal unity which is so much lacking in the Christian tradition where even Jesus’ own words are far from certain.
It is not without meaning that so many monasteries in the West have taken to eastern philosophy to fill in the knowledge gap of how to practice what in the Eastern Orthodox church is called deification. Neither is it without meaning that Christian mysticism and the ‘mystic union’ with God of the ardent seeker is so close to the yogic practices of the East. The search to merge in the reality of Oneness is on. It will end only when it meets the most suitable and satisfying set of values and practices which allow no further overflow of desires or enquiries. That certainly will be the religion of the Self which is One and Absolute, always and everywhere and beyond the scope of the established church and religions. In this age of globalisation only universal values will give satisfaction and not the limited values of separate entities. The established churches and religions in East and West would be well advised to seek this universal unity and support the search for the truth within.
In the earlier stages of spiritual education character-building comes into the picture. It is directed at an honest and disciplined life and based on the earnest desire for truth. The desire for truth is like a river, such as the river Ganges. She starts somewhere with a small beginning facing the high mountains of the Himalayas. They hold her up but she fills the gaps and flows over them intertwining around the mountain ranges and finally she finds her way into the ocean where she belongs. Like the ocean, one day truth will be found.
No attraction, howsoever lofty, no obstacle howsoever deep could stop a spirit if the search for truth is honest and true. Spirit will find the truth one day. Honest and spiritually developed souls are those who do exactly as they say and say exactly as they feel with universal emotions and not just personal. Leading a disciplined and measured life based on honesty and the desire for truth will deny nothing needful and will provide nothing that is unnecessary. That should evolve a religion of the Self, of the oneness between I and the Father. It is universal. This is the example that Jesus left to us to consider and to follow: to become, like him, universal and a Son or child of God.
Paul van Oyen has done extensive research into the “Lost Years” of Jesus, and has done a translation of Nicholas Notovitch’s Unknown Life of Christ. His work can be found at his Dutch website, The Gospel of Issa.