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제 목    the tomb of Virgin Mary-Mother of Isa (AS) or Jesus Christ. Murree

Among various fascinating legends connected with the popular tourist resort of Murree, self-styled as 'Queen of the Hills' in Pakistan, is a unique one about the tomb of Virgin Mary.

Believe it or not, but some claim that located on a peaceful Murree hilltop, is the very site thought to be the final abode or resting place of the Mother of Isa (AS) or Jesus Christ – better known to Muslims as Hazrat Marium (AS).

The site has been maintained and honoured as far back as anyone can remember. Its importance can be judged from the fact that the surrounding country is named after the supposed gravesite.

According to old legend, the name ‘Murree’ is derived from ‘Marium’ or Mary. Among locals it is know as “Mai Mari da Asthan” ("Resting Place of Mother Mary"). Indeed, when the British first arrived here in 1850s to establish a new hill-station in India, Murree was still known as Mari. The spelling was later changed to the present one in 1875.

The exact origin of the shrine has become obscured by the waves of time. Since ancient period the Hindus had worshipped it, and the Muslims paid their homage on Thursdays by lighting earthen lamps filled with oil.

Commanding, as one book puts it, “magnificent views over forest-clad hills into deep valleys, studded with villages and cultivated fields, with the snow-covered peaks of Kashmir in the background” and overlooking the plains of Punjab, it stood naturally eligible to be selected by the British for defence purposes who built a watchtower at the site.

According to old records, “in 1898, Richardson, the Garrison Engineer, wished to demolish the tomb at the time of the construction of the defence tower. Shortly afterwards he died in an accident, and the locals connect the incident with his evil intentions towards the tomb.”

The grave was thereafter promptly repaired.

A little further down the ridge, the British built a convent and named it the Convent of Jesus and Mary. Today, it is one of the best girls’ boarding schools in Pakistan.

After partition the government of Pakistan procured this site from private landowners. This place was preferred due to its suitable elevation for the purpose of installation of TV transmitters.

More recently in 1968, two towering antennas were added adjacent to one another on ‘Pindi Point’, which is the new name given to the location. One of them arises from the same place where Mary is believed to rest.

A crude looking cemented structure marks the spot nowadays where the alleged grave exists. The area is closed to general public due to security concerns for the safety of the TV boosters. Barbed wire surrounds the antennas to prevent anybody from getting near and civil guards keep a vigil on the installations night and day.

Various superstitions surround the story of the tomb. Local residents have reported occasional sightings of unexplained luminosities in the vicinity of the grave at night. Others describe rare encounters with a ball of light condensing into a fuzzy apparition of a veiled female form. Most of the eyewitnesses questioned believed the images were genuine and are connected to the woman buried on the hilltop who many also regard as a saint.

It has been learnt that a low-key investigation by a team of archaeology experts from Islamabad was carried out a few years ago to validate the tomb claim. However, their findings were never made public.

Skeptics from the field argue that regardless of the outcome of the team’s findings, it cannot be accepted as the final verdict on the issue. One authority figure who did not wish to be named, informed: “While serious research of this nature requires extensive excavation, the visit by those archaeologists in the past was merely a superficial survey.”

Amongst the Christians, there is a group that believes in a post-crucifixion life of Jesus Christ. They insist that Christ traveled to Kashmir with his mother and died there. They believe that Mother Mary was also laid to rest in the same region.

The Muslim view conflicts with the theory that Christ was crucified or that he ever died. Islam holds that Hazrat Isa (AS) ascended into heavens by Divine command. Nevertheless, many Muslim devotees do not rule out that Hazrat Marium (AS) may have been buried in Murree. They quote the following verse from the Holy Quran in order to substantiate their claim:

“And we made the son of Marium and his mother a sign, and we gave them shelter on a lofty ground having meadows and springs” [Surah: 23 Al-Mominoon (The Believers) Ayah 50]

They argue that the aforementioned scripture does not correspond to any landscape description in Bait-ul-Muqadas or Jerusalem. Furthermore, they point out that the mention of ‘lofty ground’ with ‘meadows and springs’ may perhaps be a reference to the place in question in Murree.

Uncertainty surrounds other ‘Tombs of Mary’ located around the world as well. One exists in Turkey. Others claim Mary was buried in France, some suggest England.

Claims of similar nature and practice of ‘tomb assignment’ to persons of significant standing is not uncommon in our own regional belt. It is thought that Hazrat Musa (AS) or Moses is buried in Bandipore, Hazrat Haroon (AS) or Aaron at Harwan, and Hazrat Suleman (AS) or Solomon at Takht-i-Suleman in Indian occupied Kashmir.

Lately, there has been growing international interest in these tombs. "I am only helping Kashmir,” says Suzanne Marie Olsson, a New York based researcher, who is on a mission to find the truth, “if the authenticity of all the holy places in Kashmir is established, it will place Kashmir firmly on global map as a leading pilgrimage site of Christians and Muslims and you will have the pilgrim traffic from all over the world."  

Ms Olsson’s contention is equally relevant in the case of the mystery tomb in Murree. In the absence of historical records, one is forced to rely on local legend. If any connection with Mary can be established through scientific means then the ensuing benefits to the tourism industry can well be imagined.

Whilst many people remain doubtful of the claim of the tomb’s existence, it is interesting to note that a section of Lahore’s Badshahi mosque houses a collection of relics which are believed to belong to the holy prophet Muhammed (SAWS). These include, the ‘Mue Mubarak’ or the hair, his turban and a cloak among various other items on display. Hundreds of local and foreign visitors queue up daily to view these relics and to pay homage without ever questioning their authenticity.

On the other hand, after undergoing extensive tests, most western scientists agree now that the famous Shroud of Turin, a woven cloth with an image of a man on it and widely rumoured for a long time to be that of Jesus Christ himself, appears to be a medieval art forgery more than anything else.

The unprecedented technological advances made in recent years in carbon isotope dating and DNA testing methods can investigate with reasonable accuracy similar claims.

In the interest of research, it is demanded that the gravesite be opened for scientific study so that the issue may be resolved. Until then a question mark will always loom large over this riddle whether Virgin Mary is really buried in Murree? It remains an unravelled mystery.

Source: Dr Ali Jan (additional citation: http://www.tombofjesus.com/MaryTombJune2001.htm)

Holger Kersten: "It is simply of vital importance to find again the path to the sources, to the eternal and central truths of Christ's message, which has been shaken almost beyond recognition by the profane ambitions of more or less secular institutions arrogating to themselves a religious authority. This is an attempt to open a way to a new future, firmly founded in the true spiritual and religious sources of the past".


Thus begins Holger Kersten's book "Jesus Lived in India". This German book is a thorough, methodical and authoritative examination of the evidence of Christ's life beyond the Middle East before the Crucifixion and in India and elsewhere after it.

This article is a summary of Kersten's exhaustive research into Christ's travels after the Crucifixion, his arrival in India with the Mother Mary and finally his death and entombment in Kashmir. Kersten notes the many parallels of Christ's teachings with other religious and cultural traditions and suggests that at least some of these figures may have been one and the same personality. It is not possible, Kersten asserts, to disprove that Christ went to India. The current information documenting Christ's life is restricted to the gospels and the work of Church theologians. One can hardly trust these sources to be objective considering their obvious interest in maintaining the authority of their Church and its grip on the masses.

The Russian scholar, Nicolai Notovich, was the first to suggest that Christ may have gone to India. In 1887, Notovich, a Russian scholar and Orientalist, arrived in Kashmir during one of several journeys to the Orient. At the Zoji-la pass Notovich was a guest in a Buddhist monastery, where a monk told him of the bhodisattva saint called "Issa". Notovich was stunned by the remarkable parallels of Issa's teachings and martyrdom with that of Christ's life, teachings and crucifixion.

For about sixteen years, Christ travelled through Turkey, Persia, Western Europe and possibly England. He finally arrived with Mary to a place near Kashmir, where she died. After many years in Kashmir, teaching to an appreciative population, who venerated him as a great prophet, reformer and saint, he died and was buried in a tomb in Kashmir itself.

The first step in Christ's trail after the Crucifixion is found in the Persian scholar F. Mohammed's historical work "Jami-ut-tuwarik" which tells of Christ's arrival in the kingdom of Nisibis, by royal invitation. (Nisibis is today known as Nusaybin in Turkey) . This is reiterated in the Imam Abu Jafar Muhammed's "Tafsi-Ibn-i-Jamir at-tubri." Kersten found that in both Turkey and Persia there are ancient stories of a saint called "Yuz Asaf" ("Leader of the Healed"), whose behaviour, miracles and teachings are remarkably similar to that of Christ.

The many Islamic and Hindu historical works recording local history and legends of kings, noblemen and saints of the areas thought to be travelled by Jesus also give evidence of a Christ like man; the Koran, for example, refers to Christ as "Issar". Further east, the Kurdish tribes of Eastern Anatolia have several stories describing Christ's stay in Eastern Turkey after his resurrection. These traditional legends have been ignored by the theological community.

Kersten also suggests that prior to Christ's mission in the Middle East, he may have been exposed to Buddhist teachings in Egypt. After his birth in Bethlehem, his family fled to Egypt to avoid Herod's persecution. Surprisingly some scholars now acknowledge that Buddhist schools probably existed in Alexandria long before the Christian era.

More clues are drawn from the Apocrypha. These are texts said to have been written by the Apostles but which are not officially accepted by the Church. Indeed, the Church regards them as heresy since a substantial amount of the Apocrypha directly contradicts Church dogma and theology. The Apocryphal 'Acts of Thomas', for example, tell how Christ met Thomas several times after the Crucifixion. In fact they tell us how Christ sent Thomas to teach his spirituality in India. This is corroborated by evidence found in the form of stone inscriptions at Fatehpur Sikri, near the Taj Mahal, in Northern India. They include "Agrapha", which are sayings of Christ that don't exist in the mainstream Bible. Their grammatical form is most similar to that of the Apocryphal gospel of Thomas. This is but one example giving credibility to the idea that texts not recognised by the Church hold important clues about Christ's true life and his teachings.

In tracing Christ's movements to India and beyond, Kersten also discovered that many of his teachings, which have been gradually edited out of the modern Bible were originally Eastern in nature. Principles such as karma and re-incarnation, for example, were common knowledge then, and seem to have been reaffirmed by Christ. Imagine the implications that this discovery holds for Western Christianity and its churches, who have kept Christ in their doctrinal top pockets and have constrained the entire Western culture within the narrow teachings of blind faith, organised religion and original sin!

Further clues are cited from The Apocryphal Acts of Thomas, and the Gospel of Thomas which are of Syrian origin and have been dated to the 4th Century AD, or possibly earlier. They are Gnostic Scriptures and despite the evidence indicating their authenticity, they are not given credence by mainstream theologians. In these texts Thomas tells of Christ's appearance in Andrapolis, Paphlagonia (today known as in the extreme north of Anatolia) as a guest of the King of Andrappa. There he met with Thomas who had arrived separately. It is at Andrapolis that Christ entreated Thomas to go to India to begin spreading his teachings. It seems that Christ and Mary then moved along the West coast of Turkey, proof of this could be an old stopping place for travellers called the "Home of Mary", found along the ancient silk route. From here Christ could easily have entered Europe via France. He may have even travelled as far as the British Isles, for in England there is an ancient oak tree called the "Hallowed Tree" which (says local legend) was planted by Christ himself.

In his travels through Persia (today's Iran) Christ became known as Yuz Asaf (leader of the Healed). We know this because a Kashmiri historical document confirms that Isa (the Koranic name for Christ) was in fact also known as Yuz Asaf. The Jami - uf - Tamarik, Volume II, tells that Yuz Asaf visited Masslige, where he attended the grave of Shem, Noah's son. There are various other accounts such as Agha Mustafa's "Awhali Shahaii-i-paras" that tell of Yuz Asaf's travels and teachings all over Persia. It seems that Yuz Asaf blessed Afghanistan and Pakistan with his presence also. There are for example two plains in Eastern Afghanistan near Gazni and Galalabad, bearing the name of the prophet Yuz Asaf. Again in the Apocryphal Acts of Thomas, Thomas says that he and Christ attended the Court of King Gundafor of Taxila (now Pakistan), in about 47AD, and that eventually both the King and his brother accepted Christ's teachings. Kersten claims that there are more than twenty one historical documents that bear witness to the existence of Jesus in Kashmir, where he was known also as Yuz Asaf and Issa. For example the Bhavishyat Mahapurana (volume 9 verses 17-32) contains an account of Issa-Masih (Jesus the Messiah). It describes Christ's arrival in the Kashmir region of India and his encounter with King Shalivahana, who ruled the Kushan area (39-50AD), and who entertained Christ as a guest for some time.

{Christ's life in India, after the crucifixion, challenges current Church teachings at their very foundation. The theology of Saint Paul, the major influence on modern Christianity, is empty fanaticism in the light of this discovery.|

The historian Mullah Nadini (1413) also recounts a story of Yuz Asaf who was a contemporary to King Gopadatta, and confirms that he also used the name Issar, ie. Jesus. There is also much historical truth in the towns and villages of Northern India to prove that Jesus and his mother Mary spent time in the area. For instance, at the border of a small town called Mari, there is nearby a mountain called Pindi Point, upon which is an old tomb called Mai Mari da Asthan or "The final resting place of Mary". The tomb is said to be very old and local Muslims venerate it as the grave of Issa's (ie Christ's) Mother. The tomb itself is oriented East-West consistent with the Jewish tradition, despite the fact it is within a Muslim area. Assuming its antiquity, such a tomb could not be Hindu either since the Hindus contemporary to Christ cremated their dead and scattered their ashes as do Hindus today.

Following Christ's trail into Kashmir, 40km south of Srinagar, between the villages of Naugam and Nilmge is a meadow called Yuz-Marg (the meadow of Yuz Asaf, ie. Jesus). Then there is the sacred building called Aish Muqam, 60km south east of Srinagar and 12km from Bij Bihara. "Aish" says Kersten is derived from "Issa" and "Muqam" place of rest or repose. Within the Aish Muqam is a sacred relic called the 'Moses Rod' or the 'Jesus Rod', which local legend says, belonged to Moses himself. Christ is said to also have held it, perhaps to confirm his Mosaic heritage. Above the town of Srinagar is a temple known as "The Throne of Solomon", which dates back to at least 1000BC, which King Gopadatta had restored at about the same time as Christ's advent. The restoration was done by a Persian architect who personally left four inscriptions on the side steps of the temple. The third and fourth inscription read: "At this time Yuz Asaf announced his prophetic calling in Year 50 and 4" and "He is Jesus -- Prophet of the Sons of Israel"! Herein lies a powerful confirmation of Kersten's theory. Kersten suggests that Christ may have travelled to the South of India also, finally returning to Kashmir to die at the age of approximately 80 years. Christ's tomb, says Kersten, lies in Srinagar's old town in a building called Rozabal. "Rozabal" is an abbreviation of Rauza Bal, meaning "tomb of a prophet". At the entrance there is an inscription explaining that Yuz Asaf is buried along with another Moslem saint. Both have gravestones which are oriented in North-South direction, according to Moslem tradition. However, through a small opening the true burial chamber can be seen, in which there is the Sarcophagus of Yuz Asaf in East-West (Jewish) orientation!

According to Professor Hassnain, who has studied this tomb, there are carved footprints on the grave stones and when closely examined, carved images of a crucifix and a rosary. The footprints of Yuz Asaf have what appear to be scars represented on both feet, if one assumes that they are crucifixion scars, then their position is consistent with the scars shown in the Turin Shroud (left foot nailed over right). Crucifixion was not practised in Asia, so it is quite possible that they were inflicted elsewhere, such as the Middle East. The tomb is called by some as "Hazrat Issa Sahib" or "Tomb of the Lord Master Jesus". Ancient records acknowledge the existence of the tomb as long ago as 112AD. The Grand Mufti, a prominent Muslim Cleric, himself has confirmed that Hazrat Isa Sahib is indeed the tomb of Yuz Asaf!

Thus Kersten deduces that the tomb of Jesus Christ Himself is in Kashmir!

The implications of Kersten's discovery are monumental. Christ's life in India, after the crucifixion, challenges current Church teachings at their very foundation. The theology of Saint Paul, the major influence on modern Christianity, is empty fanaticism in the light of this discovery. Threatened also are the doctrines of obedience to the Church, original sin, salvation through blind faith and the non-existence of reincarnation, etc. Yet these ideas underlie the morality and ethics, (or lack of them), that govern the entire Western social structure, from the legal system to medical health care schemes. It is no wonder that the modern Churches and their secular interests refuse to consider such a proposition as Kersten's!

The Synopsis of "Jesus Lived In India" by Holger Kersten was written by Dr Ramesh Manocha & Anna Potts.


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