In 1894 NicolasNotovitchpublished abook called The Unknown Life of Christ. He was a Russian doctor who journeyed extensively throughout Afghanistan, India, and Tibet. Notovitch journeyed through the lovely passes of Bolan, over the Punjab, down into the arid rocky land of Ladak, and into the majestic Vale of Kashmir of the Himalayas. During one of his jouneys he was visiting Leh, the capital of Ladak, near where the buddhist convent Himis is. He had an accident that resulted in his leg being broken. This gave him the unscheduled opportunity to stay awhile at the Himis convent.
Notovitch learned,while he was there,that there existed ancient records of the life of Jesus The Christ. In the course of his visit at the great convent, he located a Tibetan translation of the legend and carefully noted in his carnet de voyage over two hundred verses from the curious document known as “The Life of St. Issa.”He was shown two large yellowed volumes containing the biography of St. Issa. Notovitch enlisted a member of his party to translate the Tibetan volumes while he carefully noted each verse in the back pages of his journal. When he returned to the western world there was much controversy as to the authenticity of the document. He was accused of creating a hoax and was ridiculed as an imposter. In his defense he encouraged a scientific expedition to prove the original tibetan documents existed. One of his skeptics was Swami Abhedananda. Abhedananda journeyed into the arctic region of the Himalayas, determined to find a copy of the Himis manuscript or to expose the fraud. His book of travels, entitled Kashmir O Tibetti, tells of a visit to the Himis gonpa and includes a Bengali translation of two hundred twenty-four verses essentially the same as the Notovitch text. Abhedananda was thereby convinced of the authenticity of the Issa legend.
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