Jesus in India (2008)


(director/writer: Paul Davids; cinematographer: Paul Davids; editors: Paul Davids/Anil Kumar Urmil; music: Brian Thomas Lambert; cast: Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein, Chidananda, Paul R. Fleischman, Arif Khan, Edward T. Martin, Elaine Pagels, Dalai Lama; Runtime: 97; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Paul Davids/Anil Kumar Urmil; Sundance Channel; 2008)

“Spiritual documentary that plays out as a mystery story about the unknown life of Jesus.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Documentarian Paul Davids (“The Sci-Fi Boys”) directs this spiritual documentary that plays out as a mystery story about the unknown life of Jesus. Unfortunately it raises questions that can’t be answered with certainty. So at the end of this exhaustive investigation we are left back where we started, believing whatever we care to about the life of Jesus. But, perhaps, we are little bit richer for asking these questions and not being kept in the dark like so many are by not thinking independently and only accepting the word of organized religion as gospel..

It’s through the eyes of Edward T. Martin that we are told of the possibilities that the story we know of Jesus is not complete, as the driven Martin even mortgaged his home to publish a book with the evidence he gathered through varied religious sources that there’s a strong connection of Jesus living and dying in India. Martin was raised in Texas as a fundamentalist Christian and as an adult has become a world traveler with an open mind about religion, a view which has estranged him from his hometown church. His book asks about the unknown years of Jesus from 12 to 30, and strongly suggests that it’s possible that Jesus lived in India during that period. Not only that shocker, but when Jesus returned at age 30 and was baptized by his cousin John and two years later was crucified by the Roman ruler Pontius Pilate, Jesus survived and was nursed back to health by his mother Mary and then they both fled to Murree, India (now in Pakistan). It’s in that region where Martin believes both are still buried, but cannot close the deal with incontrovertible evidence.

The Vatican denies this, the Dalai Lama says he does not know this to be true or not, and the esteemed Princeton University religious scholar Elaine Pagels doubts if this is true but says it’s possible. Martin takes us on a journey that also shows a number of religious scholars who believe it’s true. When he goes to the Tibetan monastery called Hemis in northern India, he’s not allowed to see if a Tibetan document from 2,000 years ago called ‘The Life of St. Issa’ (The life of the Son of God) can confirm if it’s true about Jesus living and being buried in India, that’s because their lama left word the archives where the book is kept are not to be opened until he returns from Tibet (it’s suggested that he cannot leave freely).

If you’re looking for concrete answers, you better stick with organized religion. But if you’re open-minded, this is a passionately told mystery story that deserves to be heard. As Martin states: It’s better to aim at a lion and miss, than aim at a jackal and hit it.