Thursday, April 1, 2010

Did Jesus Survive the Crucifixion?

According to the New Testament of the Holy Bible, Jesus rose from the dead three days after He was crucified. Some believe He then moved to Kashmir, where He lived-out the remainder of His years quietly. While the grave at the Roza Bal shrine in Srinagar belongs to one Youza Asaph, a Muslim priest from the Medieval era, some believe it is the tomb of Jesus Christ.

Believers say Christ survived the Crucifixion and changed His name to Yuz Asaf, which, literally translated, is said to mean "Son of Joseph." Locals dispute the legend, saying it was forwarded by local merchants to boost tourism. And boost tourism it has: The shrine at Roza Bal has attracted so many pilgrims in the last few years that it has been closed and gated. Yet tourists are not deterred and continue to flood the small town.

The legend goes back to the 19th-Century, and has become more popular in recent years thanks to several books, including some written by the former Director of Archives, Museums, and Archaeology of Kashmir, Dr. Fida Hassnain. The legend has become so popular, in fact, that a number of documentaries and films have been made about it, including one by the BBC. However, locals and most scholars completely dismiss the idea as nonsense. What's interesting is why:

The locals are largely Muslim and do not want the grave disturbed; scientists and others want to test the DNA of the corpse (though I don't know how that will help - do we have Jesus' DNA on file?). Further, they do not believe it is Jesus' tomb specifically because the Quran states that God lifted Christ up to Heaven... which means (logically?) that the grave could not possibly be Jesus'.

Closer to the truth is that Jesus' tomb has been claimed all over the world and no proof exists in any case, largely for the same reasons no proof has been collected at Kashmir: Believers consider them sacred places, not to be disturbed.

The other part to this legend concerns Jesus' "Missing Years" - age 12 to 30 - which are not covered by the Bible. It is popularly thought that He spent these years traveling, and many think he visited Tibet. Some say He met Buddha, while others say he simply learned the principles of Buddhism. There is supposed to be documented evidence of this but, again, it is inaccessible due to the resistance of the holy men who possess it (Hemis Monastery in Ladakh).

Believers say Christ also visited Kashmir during this time, looking for the lost tribes of Israelite. Some say tales and evidence found along the ancient Silk Road - the first, major trading route in history - fill-in that 18 year gap in Jesus' history, thus proving he was in Kashmir, however briefly, during that time.

Is Jesus Christ buried in the Roza Bal Shrine in Srinagar, Kashmir?

© C Harris Lynn, 2010

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