He “earned his bread by serving the Czar as an officer in a cossack regiment ... and corresponding for a Russian newspaper with a name that was never twice alike, he was decorated after the manner of the Russians with little enamelled crosses and would unburden himself by the hour on the glorious future that awaited the combined arms of England and Russia when the great mission of civilizing Asia would begin.”
Noticed not only by Freemason Rudyard Kipling in India, Donald Mackenzie Wallace, the Viceroy’s secretary wrote in a dispatch that Notovich upon returning from Kashmir “proposed a scheme for supplying the India Office with confidential information from Central Asia and from the Foreign Office in St. Petersburg.” This would be supplied by Prince Dolgorouki.
Interesting this was the same Prince Vladimir Dolgorouki who had allowed Duleep Singh planning a revolt in the Punjab, to enter Russia initially entertained by H.P. Blavatsky’s publisher. Notovich also visited the tomb of King Ranjit Singh as stated in an interview for the Akhbar-i-am newspaper.
Next, as a spy working for some right wing faction among Russian Generals at the time, Nicholas Notovich also wrote “L’Alliance Franco-Russé”. Written ‘anonymously’ it caused a stir when the rumor spread it was written by the controversial General Bogdanovich. This was no doubt because the intentions of the book were clearly related to the intrigues of General Georges Boulanger in Paris.
Supported by right wing Generals in Russia like indeed General Bogdanovich Georges Boulanger’s “League of Patriots” party won a by-election in Paris on 27 January 1889 with the slogan “With the Czar for God and France.”
Notovich when he was living at 42 avenue d’Antin, Paris, and visited Duleep Singh after the latter returned from Russia.
Notvich pretended (?) to have been sent to India in 1887 by General Vannovksi (minister of war). He said to Duleep Singh that he has notes affecting the situation in India which he declares were furnished him by a Mr. O’Connor who occupies an official position at Simla.
Notovich presented a traveler’s notebook inscribed with the names of the Rajahs whom he knew in India, and had photographs in most cases, with dedications to him over their signatures.
He also claimed to have several voluminous ms. books containing, he said, the “secret” reports of English officials in India on the railways, the lines of march to the frontier, the military strength, and enclosed is a memo about India and the Maharajah written by him.
Notovich proposed Duleep Singh should be projected as the “chef-mogul of the whole of India,” under the protection of the White Czar.
But not only did Notovich’s travel to Ladak/’little’ Tibet paralleled the Theosophical idea of visiting the ‘Masters,’ just to show how little original Notovich’s book in fact was, he even directly copied from Blavatsky.
For example Notovitch’s broken leg story is taken from HPB’s Isis Unveiled. In the original, the traveler with the broken leg was taken in at Mount Athos in Greece and found the text of Celsus’ True Doctrine in the monastery library. The idea that Jesus was in India was also inspired by a statement in Isis Unveiled that he went to the foothills of the Himalayas.
“In seeking a model for his system of ethics why should Jesus have gone to the foot of the Himalayas rather than to the foot of Sinai, but that the doctrines of Manu and Gautama harmonized exactly with his own philosophy, while those of Jehovah were to him abhorrent and terrifying?” (Isis 2.164-5)
The origin of Notovitch’s broken leg story:
Isis 2.52n: “We have the facts from a trustworthy witness, having no interest to invent such a story. Having injured his leg in a fall from the steamer into the boat in which he was to land at the Mount, he was taken care of by these monks, and during his convalescence, through gifts of money and presents, became their greatest friend, and finally won their entire confidence.
Having asked for the loan of some books, he was taken by the Superior to a large cellar in which they keep their sacred vessels and other property. Opening a great trunk, full of old musty manuscripts and rolls, he was invited by the Superior to “amuse himself.” The gentleman was a scholar, and well versed in Greek and Latin text. “I was amazed,” he says, in a private letter, “and had my breath taken away, on finding among these old parchments, so unceremoniously treated, some of the most valuable relics of the first centuries, hitherto believed to have been lost.” Among others he found a half-destroyed manuscript, which he is perfectly sure must be a copy of the True Doctrine,” the Aogos ale thes of Celsus, out of which Origen quoted whole pages. The traveller took as many notes as he could on that day, but when he came to offer to the Superior to purchase some of these writings he found, to his great surprise, that no amount of money would tempt the monks. They did not know what the manuscripts contained, nor “did they care,” they said.
But the “heap of writing,” they added, was transmitted to them from one generation to another, and there was a tradition among them that these papers would one day become the means of crushing the “Great Beast of the Apocalypse,” their hereditary enemy, the Church of Rome.
They were constantly quarrelling and fighting with the Catholic monks, and among the whole “heap” they knew that there was a “holy” relic which protected them. They did not know which, and so in their doubt abstained. It appears that the Superior, a shrewd Greek, understood his bevue and repented of his kindness, for first of all he made the traveller give him his most sacred word of honor, strengthened by an oath he made him take on the image of the Holy Patroness of the Island, never to betray their secret, and never mention, at least, the name of their convent. And finally, when the anxious student who had passed a fortnight in reading all sorts of antiquated trash before he happened to stumble over some precious manuscript, expressed the desire to have the key, to “amuse himself” with the writings once more, he was very naively informed that the “key had been lost,” and that they did not know where to look for it. And thus he was left to the few notes he had taken.”
At one point
in Paris Notovich, writing under a pseudonym for a French newspaper in
Paris and only cited as “a Russian Agent” claimed in an article that
“Four Japanese torpedo boots under British leadership, would have shot
at the Russian fleet. And the Russian fleet thereupon sank two of the torpedo
boots. And this information would stem straight
from the Japanese and Russian Governements.”
Unfavorable for England Charles Hardinge (1845-1944) British Consul in Leningrad was the one to reveal the name of the ‘Russian Agent’ as “a story originated by the notorious Notowitch.” And the British King Edward responded: “This is most disgraceful.” And the German Kaiser Wilhelm II wrote: “Also gelogen auf unsere Kosten.” (‘So he ‘N.’ lied on our cost’)
But in 1903/1904 after having completed a book titled ‘L’Europe et L’Egypte’ N. moved to London, indicating things weren’t going that well for him in Paris after all.
His next book published in 1906 then suddenly had the title “La Russe et L’alliance angalaise,” in contrast to his former book now promoting an alliance between Russia and England instead .
Readers of the April 2004 issue of Fortean Times might not know that when Notovich’s ‘La Vie inconnu de Jesus-Christ’ (the Jesus in Tibet story claimed by FT to be factual) first came out, it was generally recognized as a fraud.
A famous example is the paper by J. Archibald Douglas written in Himis/Ladakh, June 1895 and published in a British Academic publication that time stated clearly:
“I have visited
Himis, and are endeavoured by patient and impartial inquiry to find out
the tenth respecting M. Notovitch’s
remarkable story, with the result that, while I have not found one single fact to support his statements, ail the weight of evidence goes to disprove them beyond all shadow of doubt. It is certain that no such passages as M. Notovitch pretends to have translated exist in the monastery of Himis, and therefore it is impossible that he could have ‘faithfully reproduced’ the same.
The general accuracy of my statements respecting my interviews with the Lama of Himis can further be borne out by reference to captain Chevenix French, British Commissioner of Ladakh, who is due to visit ) limis about the end of the present month, and who has expressed to me his intention of discussing the subject with the Chief Lama.
Before concluding, I desire to acknowledge my sense of obligation to the chief Lama and monks of Himis monastery, to my excellent interpreter, and to other kind friends in Ladakh, not only for the able assistance which they afforded to me ‘n my investigations, but also for the unfailing courtesy and kind hospitality which rendered so enjoyable my visit to Ladakh.”
2) (John:) I would not reproduce the above statement of Mr. Douglas in spite of his impeccable reputation if it hadn’t followed the rules as if it were a court of law and included a list of impeccable the witness testimonies, one of them a well known specialist in related subjects employed as Professor at a leading University England that time. Hence a statement by Professor Max Mueller in London is attached that reads:
I was convinced that the story told by M. Notovich in his “Vie inconnue
de Jezus-Christ” was pure fiction, Mr. Douglas has sent me the original
papers, containing the depositions of the Chief Priest of the Monastery
of Himis and of his interpreter, and I testify they entirely agree with
the extract., given in the- article; ‘signed and sealed by the Chief
Lama and by Mr. Jordan T&Mm 1,’ Postmaster of Ladakh, who acted as
interpreter between the Priest and Professor A. Douglas. The
papers are dated Himis Monastery Little Tibet, June 3, 1894, proving the Vie inconnue de Jezus-Christ is indeed fiction.
I doubt whether any Sanskrit or Pali scholar, or in fact any serious student of Buddhism, was taken in by M. Notovich, who might as well look four the waters of Jordan in the Brahmaputra..”
3) (John) I am not about to copy the whole long, paper that one by one scans through the book of Notovich and refutes it point by point.
However to just show how careful J. Archibald Douglas was in his questioning the Lama I copy here the first paragraphs of what goes on for several more A 4 book pages:
“My interpreter. Mr. Jordan, tells us that he was most careful to translate the Lama’s answers verbally and literally, to avoid all possible misapprehension. The statements are as follows:
Question 1. You are the Chief Lama (or Abbot) of Himis Monastery?
Answer : Yes.
Question 2. For how long have you acted continuously in that capacity?
Answer 2. For fifteen years.
Question 3. Have you or any of the Buddhist monks in this monastery ever seen here a European with an injured leg?
Answer 3. No, not during the last fifteen years. If any sahib had stayed in this monastery it would have been my duty to report the matter to the Wazir of Leh. I haven’t had occasion to do so.
Question 4. have you or any of your monks ever shown any Life of lssa to any sahib, and allowed him to copy and translate the same?
Answer 4. There is no such hook in the monastery, and during my term of office no sahib has been allowed to copy or translate any of the manuscripts in the monastery.
Question 5. Are you aware of the existence of any book in any of the Buddhist monasteries of Tibet bearing on the life of Issa?
Answer 5. I have been for forty-two years a Lama, and am well acquainted with all the well-known Buddhist books and manuscripts, and I have never heard of one which mentions the name of Issa, and it is my firm and honest belief that none such exists. I have inquired with our Principal Lamas in other monasteries of Tibet, and they are not acquainted with any books or manuscript which mention ay such Issa.
Question 6. M. Notovich, a Russian gentleman who visited your monastery states that you discussed. with him the religions of the ancient Egyptians, Assyrians, and the people of Israel.
Answer 6. I know nothing whatever about the Egyptians, Assyrians, and the people of Israel, and do not know anything of their, religions whatsoever. I have never mentioned these peoples to any sahib. (I was reading from M. Notovitch’s book to the Lama at the time, and, he burst out with, ‘Sun, sun, sun, manna mi dug!’)
Question 7. Do you know of any Buddhist writings in the Pali language?
Answer 7. I know of no Buddhist writings in the Pali language all the writings here, that I know of, have been translated from Sanskrit and Hindi into the Tibetan language.
Question 8. Do you speak Urdu or English?
Answer 8. I
d o not know either Urdu or English. (End quote)
At the end of the Q/A document with the chief Lama, it states:
“Signed in the Tibetan language by the Chief Lama of Himis, and sealed with his official seal.”
And to this are added the signatures of the other two people present during the interviews: J. Archibald Douglas, Professor, Governement College, Agra, N.-W.P.
Shahmwell Joldan, Postmaster of Ladakh, Himis Monastery, Little Tibet : June 3, 1895.
The article by J. Archibald Douglas also states:
“In my last conversation with the Lama we talked of the story of the broken leg. He assured me that no European gentleman ever been nursed in the monastery while suffering from a trot x’ limb, and then went on to say that no European traveller bade’ during his term of office remained at Himis for more than three days.
The Abbot called in several old monks to confirm this statement, and mentioned that the hospitality offered by the monastery to stay is for one night, and is only extended for special reasons by his personal invitation, and that he and his monks would not have forgotten such unusual a circumstance.
The Lamaistes of Ladakh are divided into two great parties: the red monks, or orthodox conservative body; and the yellow monks, a reforming nonconformist sect.
On p. 119 of the Unknown Life of Christ, the Lama of Himis, the Chief Superior under the Dalai Lama of the red or orthodox monks of Ladakh, describes himself and his fellow-monks as ‘we yellow monks.’ in one of those wonderful conversations before alluded to. It would be just as natural for his Grace the Archbishop of Canter bury, discussing the state of the English Church with an unsophisticated foreigner, to describe himself and the whole bench of bishops as ‘we ministers of the Wesleyan Methodist body.’
The Russian traveler might have remembered the dark-red robes and the red wallets of the monks who fill the monastery of Himis, unless it be that the Russian author is colour-blind, as well as blind to a sense of truth.
The religious differences of these two religious bodies are described with an inaccuracy so marvellous that it might almost seem to he intentional.
in the light of a work of the imagination, M. Notovitch’s book fails
to please, because it does not present that most fascinating feature of
fiction, a close semblance of probability.”
The composite mega myth of a Jesus-in-the-East was cobbled-together from a variety of sources over a period of time. Obviously local Muslim legends about Jesus, Mary and Moses were just one part of the regional mythic composition of Jesus in the East as a transformation of the Yuz Asaf legend, which clearly was not originally about Jesus Christ.
Muslim legends and Muslim-related ‘biblical’ names in the region does not constitute any evidence that the biblical Jesus Christ was ever there. All it proves is that some Muslims, who were all late comers to the region, were there and believed that their Muslim prophet Jesus was there.
So had the Gnostics their Jesuses, the apostolic (catholic) lineages or rites had their Jesus, the Muslims and followers of Mani had their Jesus, countless groups have had their unique Jesus/Iasas messiahs. Some traditions however cannot be taken as evidence.
It is also interesting that a personal physician of the Kashmiri Singh royalty ended up as the head of the Ahmadiyya sect. And I already pointed out in a previous mail that at the Central Library in Leningrad there are some newspaper articles that Notovich in 1889 wrote for the Russian newspaper Graschdanin titled “Political Secret Societies in the Punjab” and “The Punjab and its Rulers.” So this might indicate a confluence of historical forces and ideas in Kashmir in the mid and later 1800s.
some further reductionism ‘opinions’ to the above will not get us much
further unless some people ad new original documents into the debate stemming
from 19th century Kashmir, the document section of the Indian Office at
the British Museum Library in London, or/and the Leningrad Library.
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