Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Lost Years of Jesus|
Actors: William Marshall, Rod Colbin
Genres: Educational, Documentary
For centuries followers of the Bible have wondered where Jesus was and what he did during the so-called "silent years." Biblical writings leave gaps in the life of Jesus. Evidence points to a long pilgrimage made by Jes... more »
Gary Peterson | Omaha, Nebraska USA | 12/07/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a film I remember seeing on the late, late show back in the days before infomercials filled those wee small hours. After watching it again on DVD, I found that this movie is actually an infomercial of sorts for that grabbag of popular Eastern spirituality often termed New Age, but packaged in an informative and engaging film reminiscent of MONDO CANE and those world-spanning documentaries of yesteryear.
THE LOST YEARS, as the on-screen title reads, is a 1977 documentary of the old school jam-packed with information, fascinating location filming and professionals doing the narration. In fact, it was the arresting narration that first engaged me when I saw this film on televison years ago. I knew those voices. Rod Colbin, an underrated character actor with a wonderful voice and delivery, had around this same time appeared in a well-done biopic of the early Reformer John Hus. William Marshall, another underrated actor best remembered as Blacula or as Dr. Daystrom in "The Ultimate Computer" episode of Star Trek, is on hand to lend his vocal talents to the readings from the Legend of St. Issa.
This film sets out to explore the 18 unrecorded years of Christ's life, from age 12 to 30. The film starts on a note of legitimacy, speaking with Professor John C. Trever of the Claremont School of Theology, who mentions that some people place Jesus' missing years in India, and while we see Trever's mouth still moving, Colbin's voiceover announces, "Our search for the missing years of Jesus Christ takes us to India!"
This next and primary section of the film describes and draws from The Unknown Life of Jesus Christ, a manuscript discovered in a Tibetan monastery by the Russian Nicolas Notovich in the 1880s. "In the archives of an ancient Tibetan monastery are said to be records . . . dealing with the life of an extraordinary saint known to the Buddhists as Issa. The life story of Saint Issa closely resembles the life of Jesus Christ, revealing what may well be the lost years of Jesus." On that highly qualified premise the film recounts the Legend of Issa, following the young Jesus' sojournings to India at 14 where he lived with the ascetic Jains, then to study with Brahmin priests the Vedas and Upanishads and then north to the Himalayas where he spent six years "mastering the teachings of Buddha." At 26 Jesus left India, went to Iran and Athens ("land of the philosopher-kings") and then pressed on to Alexandria, Egypt "where he learned the secrets of the great pyramids." Finally, at age 29, Jesus "returned to Palestine to fulfill his destiny," which destiny could almost appear anticlimactic after the wisdom-gathering, globe-trotting travelogue we have jut witnessed.
This first half of the film features many fascinating and beautiful scenes along the Ganges, intercut with various yogis and swamis plugging their ashrams and saying how it is well known among them that Jesus was in India. According to one, "Jesus Christ was an adept in the occult science of raja yoga . . . all the miracles he performed during his public life were the result of yogic powers which accrue to a master yogi." And that is really the message of the movie, that all these Eastern religions informed Christ and made him who he was and that instead of his being God enfleshed as the Bible declares, Jesus is a mere avatar.
Why isn't this stuff about Jesus being a great yogi found in the Bible? Why haven't we heard about any of this at church? Anticipating an aspect of the DaVinci Code conspiracy theory, the film pictures Constantine and the Council of Nicaea like politicians in a smoke-filled backroom, where "deletions and additions to the church doctrine were agreed upon" and later on those documents contradicting "Constantine's Nicene Creed" were burned in an "excess of zeal." Among them, presumably, the real history and nature of Jesus' miraculous power.
At this point there comes an end to the exploration of Jesus' lost years and recounting of the St. Issa Legend and the film strikes out into new territory. There is a lengthy section detailing the history and claims surrounding the Shroud of Turin, which then transitions into an especially interesting segment on the Lance of Longinus, the spear that pierced Christ's side while he hung upon the cross. (Hitler and Himmler's fascination with this object is an interesting footnote to World War II history.)
A lot of names and topics are tossed into this film, such as Edgar Cayce, Kirlian photography of auras and halos; St. Thomas' bringing Christianity to India in AD 52 and a look inside the church in Madras which claims to contain his body; the ablutions of the Hindu faithful along the Ganges, rituals in a Tibetan monastery and scores of paintings and illustrations that are all beautiful to behold. It's a packed 88 minutes. The film only bogged down for me in its last segment, an extended puff piece on Satya Sai Baba, a "man of miracles" whom some say is a "reincarnation of Krishna." Nothing in the movie will lead you to that conclusion; the only "miracle" filmed is his supposedly manifesting and sprinkling ashes on people.
As for the DVD itself, it features a letterboxed print that shows its age with a little grain. I admit I was nervous about ordering this DVD because the case misspelled Rod Colbin's name as "Colen." The case also says the film runs 93 minutes, but I clocked it at 88, and that it was released in 1976 when the end credits state it's a 1977 Aura Production. Blame the errors on the packagers; Richard Bock's film stands as a well-done, wide ranging and engaging documentary that is certain to provoke thought and maybe some further research. (A good place to start would be with The Jesus Mystery by Janet Bock, one of the film's writers and wife to its producer.)
The film closes explicitly restating its new age themes, that the title "Christ" describes the "God that is in all men" and that the "sublime truths of the East are in harmony with the teachings of Jesus." As strenuously as I disagree with the film's interpretations of Scripture and its conclusions about Christ, I greatly appreciated and enjoyed watching it and would highly recommend others to watch it too, albeit thoughtfully with discernment and with a critical eye open to its new age agenda."
The spiritual buffet of Jesus?
golgotha.gov | Texas | 10/07/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
LOST YEARS OF JESUS (1977)
directed by Richard Bock
approx. 1 hour 30 minutes
Near the end of the ninteenth century, a man named Nicolas Notovitch published a book which was said to have been translated from ancient texts from the Hemis Buddhist monastery. The book is titled 'The Unknown Life of Jesus' and gives an account of years of Jesus' life that are not detailed in the New Testament. According to this story, Jesus left home as a teenager and travelled to India where he was known as "Issa". He sampled the country's spiritual salad bar, studying with Jainists, Hindus and Buddhists before leaving for Persia. Notovitch's writings have been republished many times and circulated widely within different branches of the New Age movement. When I was younger, the prime mover of this theory was Mark and Elizabeth Clare Prophet's Church of the Universal and Triumphant.
This video starts off as a documentary version of Notovitch's book, going from country to country and showing various Swamis stating why they are convinced of the theory. One statement which is made over and over again is that Jesus was able to perform miracles because he had mastered yoga techniques. Also one of the narrators sounds like James Earl Jones and is very good. We go from area to area, hearing traditional music and seeing local religious ceremonies. Visually the movie is very nice, but after a point, Jesus' "lost years" seem to take a backseat to the various interpretations of his actions. That is to say that his life in the Bible is viewed through the lense of his supposed life in India. I would say that this movie is more about the history of people who have believed the Jesus-in-India story than it is an in depth study of that story.
There are also two other segments on questionably relevant subject matter: the spear that pierced Jesus' side and the shroud of Turin. The spear, called the spear of Longinus or spear of destiny, has changed hands amongst powerful men throughout history. The movie presents it as an object with extraordinary powers that led to the rise of the Third Reich and Hitler's suicide! As for the famous shroud, the movie notes that there are high hopes to evaluate the cloth with the Kirilian photography.
The problem that I have with a lot of this sort of thing is that many people who believe in these lines of thought open a Pandora's box of things that are totally alien to Biblical thought. This is fine for people who aren't serious about religious study, but it does a disservice to both Hinduism and Christianity to say that Krishna and Jesus were some kind of counterparts. Similarity doesn't mean equivalence and each has his own rich tradition that is more complicated than trans-religionists want to acknowledge. For example, one "expert" shown in this movie says that not only was Jesus in India, he also believed in reincarnation, in fact Jews believe in reincarnation. Well some do, but that doesn't mean that it is a part of Jewish religion! As if that wasn't bad enough, the video includes what is basically an infomercial for Sathya Sai Baba, an Indian guru who is said to perform supernatural feats. The relevance is supposed to be that Jesus unlocked something within himself that we all have (a "Christ nature") whereby the limitations of the physical world can be overcome in a yogic fashion. Indeed this is presented as the "moral of the story" when all is said and done!
One last note: The entertainment magazine VARIETY has reported that Drew Heriot, the director of the DVD based on "The Secret", is now making a movie titled 'AQUARIAN GOSPEL' about the Jesus-in-India myth. The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus is actually a totally different text which tries to link Christianity to astrology. Be on the lookout for the renewed interest in these stories to start a new "Alternative Jesus" fad, embraced by celebrities in a similar way as Kabbalah in the early 2000s!"
Align your Head, Heart and Hand
SYAAM | California, USA | 04/22/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a great video which shares different perspectives about a single
truth- that there is one supreme God. It is amazing in its research unraveling the vast knowledge and depth of understanding of Lord Jesus. He travelled far and wide and understood the philosophies of East especially Sanatana Dharma or Vedic concepts.
There maybe disagreements based on various schools of thought in the Christian Church organization. However, it is a revelation."