The Life of Saint Issa
Best of the Sons of Men
Translation by Notovitch
1 The earth has trembled and the heavens have wept because of
a great crime which has been committed in the land of Israel.
2 For they have tortured and there put to death the great and
just Issa, in whom dwelt the soul of the universe,
3 Which was incarnate in a simple mortal in order to do good to
men and to exterminate their evil thoughts
4 And in order to bring back man degraded by his sins to a life
of peace, love, and happiness and to recall to him the one and
indivisible Creator, whose mercy is infinite and without bounds.
5 Hear what the merchants from Israel relate to us on this subject.
1 The people of Israel, who dwelt on a fertile soil giving forth
two crops a year and who possessed large flocks, excited by their
sins the anger of God
2 Who inflicted upon them a terrible chastisement in taking from
them their land, their cattle, and their possessions. Israel was
reduced to slavery by the powerful and rich pharaohs who then
reigned in Egypt.
3 These treated the Israelites worse than animals, burdening them
with difficult tasks and loading them with chains. They covered
their bodies with weals and wounds, without giving them food or
permitting them to dwell beneath a roof,
4 To keep them in a state of continual terror and to deprive them
of all human resemblance.
5 And in their great calamity, the people of Israel remembered
their heavenly protector and, addressing themselves to him, implored
his grace and mercy.
6 An illustrious pharaoh then reigned in Egypt who had rendered
himself famous by his numerous victories, the riches he had heaped
up, and the vast palaces which his slaves had erected for him
with their own hands.
7 This pharaoh had two sons, of whom the younger was called Mossa.
Learned Israelites taught him diverse sciences.
8 And they loved Mossa in Egypt for his goodness and the compassion
which he showed to all those who suffered.
9 Seeing that the Israelites would not, in spite of the intolerable
sufferings they were enduring, abandon their God to worship those
made by the hand of man, which were gods of the Egyptian nation,
10 Mossa believed in their invisible God, who did not let their
failing strength give way.
11 And the Israelitish preceptors excited the ardor of Mossa and
had recourse to him, praying him to intercede with the pharaoh
his father in favor of their co-religionists.
12 Wherefore the Prince Mossa went to his father, begging him
to ameliorate the fate of these unfortunates. But the pharaoh
became angered against him and only augmented the torments endured
by his slaves.
13 It happened that a short time after, a great evil visited Egypt.
The pestilence came to decimate there both the young and the old,
the weak and the strong; and the pharaoh believed in the resentment
of his own gods against him.
14 But the Prince Mossa told his father that it was the God of
his slaves who was interceding in favor of these unfortunates
in punishing the Egyptians.
15 The pharaoh then gave to Mossa his son an order to take all
the slaves of the Jewish race, to conduct them outside the town,
and to found at a great distance from the capital another city
where he should dwell with them.
16 Mossa then made known to the Hebrew slaves that he had set
them free in the name of their God, the God of Israel, and he
went out with them from the city and from the land of Egypt.
17 He led them into the land they had lost by their many sins,
he gave unto them laws, and enjoined them to pray always to the
invisible Creator whose goodness is infinite.
18 On the death of Prince Mossa, the Israelites rigorously observed
his laws, wherefore God recompensed them for the ills to which
he had exposed them in Egypt.
19 Their kingdom became the most powerful of all the earth, their
kings made themselves famous for their treasures, and a long peace
reigned among the people of Israel.
1 The glory of the riches of Israel spread throughout the earth,
and the neighboring nations bore them envy.
2 For the Most High himself led the victorious arms of the Hebrews,
and the pagans dared not attack them.
3 Unhappily, as man is not always true to himself, the fidelity
of the Israelites to their God did not last long.
4 They began by forgetting all the favors which he had heaped
upon them, invoked but seldom his name, and sought the protection
of magicians and sorcerers.
5 The kings and the captains substituted their own laws for those
which Mossa had written down for them. The temple of God and the
practice of worship were abandoned. The people gave themselves
up to pleasure and lost their original purity.
6 Several centuries had elapsed since their departure from Egypt
when God determined to exercise once more his chastisements upon
7 Strangers began to invade the land of Israel, devastating the
country, ruining the villages, and carrying the inhabitants into
8 And there came at one time pagans from the country of Romeles,
on the other side of the sea. They subdued the Hebrews and established
among them military leaders who by delegation from Caesar ruled
9 They destroyed the temples, they forced the inhabitants to cease
worshipping the invisible God, and compelled them to sacrifice
victims to the pagan deities.
10 They made warriors of those who had been nobles, the women
were torn away from their husbands, and the lower classes, reduced
to slavery, were sent by thousands beyond the seas.
11 As to the children, they were put to the sword. Soon in all
the land of Israel naught was heard but groans and lamentations.
12 In this extreme distress, the people remembered their great
God. They implored his grace and besought him to forgive them;
and our Father, in his inexhaustible mercy, heard their prayer.
1 At this time came the moment when the all-merciful Judge elected
to become incarnate in a human being.
2 And the Eternal Spirit, dwelling in a state of complete inaction
and of supreme beatitude, awoke and detached itself for an indefinite
period from the Eternal Being,
3 So as to show forth in the guise of humanity the means of self-identification
with Divinity and of attaining to eternal felicity,
4 And to demonstrate by example how man may attain moral purity
and, by separating his soul from its mortal coil, the degree of
perfection necessary to enter into the kingdom of heaven, which
is unchangeable and where happiness reigns eternal.
5 Soon after, a marvelous child was born in the land of Israel,
God himself speaking by the mouth of this infant of the frailty
of the body and the grandeur of the soul.
6 The parents of the newborn child were poor people, belonging
by birth to a family of noted piety, who, forgetting their ancient
grandeur on earth, praised the name of the Creator and thanked
him for the ills with which he saw fit to prove them.
7 To reward them for not turning aside from the way of truth,
God blessed the firstborn of this family. He chose him for his
elect and sent him to help those who had fallen into evil and
to cure those who suffered.
8 The divine child, to whom was given the name of Issa, began
from his earliest years to speak of the one and indivisible God,
exhorting the souls of those gone astray to repentance and the
purification of the sins of which they were culpable.
9 People came from all parts to hear him, and they marveled at
the discourses proceeding from his childish mouth. All the Israelites
were of one accord in saying that the Eternal Spirit dwelt in
10 When Issa had attained the age of thirteen years, the epoch
when an Israelite should take a wife,
11 The house where his parents earned their living by carrying
on a modest trade began to be a place of meeting for rich and
noble people, desirous of having for a son-in-law the young Issa,
already famous for his edifying discourses in the name of the
12 Then it was that Issa left the parental house in secret, departed
from Jerusalem, and with the merchants set out towards Sind,
13 With the object of perfecting himself in the Divine Word and
of studying the laws of the great Buddhas.
1 In the course of his fourteenth year, the young Issa, blessed
of God, came on this side of Sind and established himself among
the Aryas in the land beloved of God.
2 Fame spread the reputation of this marvelous child throughout
the length of northern Sind, and when he crossed the country of
the five rivers and the Rajputana, the devotees of the god Jaine
prayed him to dwell among them.
3 But he left the erring worshippers of Jaine and went to Juggernaut
in the country of Orissa, where repose the mortal remains of Vyasa-Krishna
and where the white priests of Brahma made him a Joyous welcome.
4 They taught him to read and understand the Vedas, to cure by
aid of prayer, to teach, to explain the holy scriptures to the
people, and to drive out evil spirits from the bodies of men,
restoring unto them their sanity.
5 He passed six years at Juggernaut, at Rajagriha, at Benares,
and in the other holy cities. Everyone loved him, for Issa lived
in peace with the Vaisyas and the Sudras, whom he instructed in
the holy scriptures.
6 But the Brahmans and the Kshatriyas told him that they were
forbidden by the great Para-Brahma to come near to those whom
he had created from his side and his feet;
7 That the Vaisyas were only authorized to hear the reading of
the Vedas, and this on festival days only;
8 That the Sudras were forbidden not only to assist at the reading
of the Vedas, but also from contemplating them, for their condition
was to serve in perpetuity as slaves to the Brahmans, the Kshatriyas,
and even the Vaisyas.
9 "'Death only can set them free from their servitude' has
said Para-Brahma. Leave them then and come and worship with us
the gods, who will become incensed against thee if thou cost disobey
10 But Issa listened not to their discourses and betook him to
the Sudras, preaching against the Brahmans and the Kshatriyas.
11 He inveighed against the act of a man arrogating to himself
the power to deprive his fellow beings of their rights of humanity;
"for," said he, "God the Father makes no difference
between his children; all to him are equally dear."
12 Issa denied the divine origin of the Vedas* and the Puranas*.
"For," taught he to his followers, "a law has already
been given to man to guide him in his actions;
*[The Abhedananda version of the Himis
transcript does not include this denunciation]
13 "Fear thy God, bend the knee before him only, and bring
to him alone the offerings which proceed from thy gains."
14 Issa denied the Trimurti and the incarnation of Para-Brahma
in Vishnu, Siva*, and other gods, for said he:
*[The Abhedananda version of the Himis
transcript does not include this denunciation]
15 "The Judge Eternal, the Eternal Spirit, comprehends the
one and indivisible soul of the universe, which alone creates,
contains, and vivifies all. *Inasmuch as Jesus' closest disciple,
John, begins his Gospel with a quote from the Vedas, "In
the beginning was the Word . . . ," the authenticity of this
passage may be questioned. (Notation added by Notovitch)
16 "He alone has willed and created, he alone has existed
since all eternity, and his existence will have no end. He has
no equal either in the heavens or on earth.
17 "The Great Creator has not shared his power with any living
being, still less with inanimate objects, as they have taught
to you; for he alone possesses omnipotence.
18 "He willed it and the world appeared. In a divine thought,
he gathered together the waters, separating from them the dry
portion of the globe. He is the principle of the mysterious existence
of man, in whom he has breathed a part of his Being.
19 "And he has subordinated to man the earth, the waters,
the beasts, and all that he has created and that he himself preserves
in immutable order, fixing for each thing the length of its duration.
20 "The anger of God will soon be let loose against man;
for he has forgotten his Creator, he has filled his temples with
abominations, and he worships a crowd of creatures which God has
made subordinate to him.
21 "For to do honor to stones and metals, he sacrifices human
beings, in whom dwells a part of the spirit of the Most High.
22 "For he humiliates those who work by the sweat of their
brow to acquire the favor of an idler seated at his sumptuous
23 "Those who deprive their brethren of divine happiness
shall be deprived of it themselves. The Brahmans and the Kshatriyas
shall become the Sudras, and with the Sudras the Eternal shall
24 "Because in the day of the last judgment the Sudras and
the Vaisyas will be forgiven much because of their ignorance,
while God, on the contrary, will punish with his wrath those who
have arrogated to themselves his rights."
25 The Vaisyas and the Sudras were filled with great admiration
and asked Issa how they should pray so as not to lose their eternal
26 "Worship not the idols, for they hear you not. Listen
not to the Vedas, for their truth is counterfeit. Never put yourself
in the first place and never humiliate your neighbor.
27 "Help the poor, support the weak, do ill to no one, and
covet not that which thou hast not and which thou seest belongeth
*Sir John Wodroofe notes: "The fourth Gospel opens grandly,
'In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God
and the Word was God.' These are the very words of Veda.
Prajapatir vai idam asit: In the beginning was Brahman.
Tasya vag dvitya asit; with whom was the Vak or the Word...
Vag vai paramam Brahma; and the word is Brahman"
(The Garland Letters, 7th ed. [Pondicherry: Ganesh & Co., 1979] p.4)