Meher Baba (February 25, 1894-January 31, 1969) is another example of the fact that Eastern and Indian peoples, high and low, have been aware for a long time that Jesus died in Kashmir, India at a ripe old age. It appears to have been common knowledge, especially amongst religious and literate peoples of the East.
One such man of the East is the late Meher Baba, who amassed a following of tens of thousands in India. He also amassed a following in the West, especially amongst entertainers and other celebrities. He is the person who coined the now-famous saying (popularized by the entertainer, Bobby McFerrin), "Don't worry. Be happy." This is what Meher Baba had to say about Jesus in India:
“There is one secret about Jesus which the Christians do not know. When Jesus was crucified, he did not die. He entered the state of Nirvikalp Samadhi (the I-am-God state without bodily consciousness). On the third day, he again became conscious of his body, and he traveled secretly in disguise eastward (with some apostles) to India. This was called Jesus' resurrection. After reaching India, he traveled farther east to Rangoon, in Burma, where he remained for some time. He then went north to Kashmir, where he settled. When his work was finished on earth, he dropped his body and entered Nirvikalp Samadhi permanently. Saints in India have verified these facts about Jesus' travels. Mankind will soon become aware of the true life of Jesus.” [23 August 1925, Meherabad, LM3 p752]
It is very interesting that Meher Baba, back in August of 1925, stated that "Mankind will soon become aware of the true life of Jesus." Other people from the East, such as Dr. Fida Hassnain, Basharat Saleem, Sai Baba, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, all have made similiar statements.
Jesus in India, Thomas & Kerala Christians
Unfortunately, this knowledge almost became lost for various reasons, not the least of which was outside (Church) interference. For example, the original teachings of the St. Thomas Christians of India, also known as the Kerala Christians, did not include the idea that Jesus was the son of God. Those teachings also did not include the idea of the virgin birth, and Mary was not considered the “mother of God.”(See W.R. Phillips', The Thirty-four Conferences between the Danish Missionaries and the Malabar Brahmans (Christians) in the East Indies, 15.)
Portugese coercion against the St. Thomas Christians of India also accounted for the change in their original teachings, as the Portuguese were determined to force St. Thomas Christians to adopt the doctrines of Western Christianity, specifically, in their case, the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church. An example of this coercion can be found in the Decree of the Synod of Diamper, near Cochin. This Synod was presided over by Archbishop Manzes. This decree forced the St. Thomas Christians of India to formally renounce their previous beliefs, and to adopt such Western Christian beliefs as Mary being the "mother of God."
The decree also forced them to use images, something that they had previously abhored. In fact, when the Portugese first introduced images to the St. Thomas Christians, their reply was, "We are Christians, not idolaters." (Gibbon, Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire, Vol. 6, 52).
As it says at the Church of South India website:
"Great confusion resulted from the arrival of Portuguese missionaries and Portuguese colonial rule at the end of the 15th century. Some of the Malabar Christians were converted outright to Western Christianity; others, although preserving parts of their liturgy and some of their customs, recognized the supremacy of the pope. Force and coercion were widely used to achieve these results."
Some Jesus-in-India writers believe that St. Thomas was with Jesus in Kashmir, and then went to south India to preach Jesus' message--a message, as you can see from above, that apparently had nothing to do with Western Christianity. Some Malabar history reports that the Portuguese would even resort to murder to coerce St. Thomas Christians to accept Western Christianity.
These days, opponents of the Jesus-in-India theory attempt to point to the St. Thomas Christians of India as "proof" that Jesus could not have gone to India. They claim that since the St. Thomas (Kerala, Malabar) Christians practiced Western Christianity, this shows that the Jesus-in-India theory is not true, since it opposes the idea that Jesus died on the cross. But the St. Thomas Christians did not originally believe that Jesus was the "son of God," as we mentioned above. So, it is fair to state, or speculate, that their original canon, before the Portugese interference, may not have included the doctrines of the standard Christian canon of the Church of Rome, such as the death, physical resurrection, and ascention of Jesus. Might the Kerala Christians have know, in fact, that Jesus had journed to Kashmir?
It is interesting to note that the Catholic Encyclopedia online claims that in the year 1604, a Jesuit recorded the original teachings of the Kerala Christians in what is called a "Report." Now, what is interesting is that that "Report" has not been made public since the year 1604, when it was first written. In short, for 404 years, the Catholic Church has apparently hidden from public this Jesuit priests' report that recorded what the original teachings of the St. Thomas Christians of India were. Even if the report were published tomorrow, after 404 years one would naturally wonder whether or not the report remains unchanged. Did the original report contain information about Jesus in India? Does it seem reasonable that that report has not been published in 404 years?
We believe that this is an example of why it is now important to begin to listen to those people of the East who not only have documents that show that Jesus went to India, but also have their oral traditions which state the same.