Did Jesus go to India as a child and learn from Hindu gurus?
Many New Agers say that Jesus went to India as a child to learn from Hindu gurus. He allegedly later went to Israel and performed miracles learned from these gurus, and taught doctrines He derived from them.
Such an idea is preposterous. To begin with, Jesus' teaching about God was not pantheistic ("all is God"), as was that of the gurus of India. Jesus never cited the Hindu Vedas but always the Jewish Old Testament which proclaimed the monotheistic God of Judaism (see Mark 12:29). There is virtually NO evidence that Jesus studied in India.
Though the Gospels do not directly address Jesus' childhood, there are convincing indirect evidences that He remained in Palestine. Luke 2:52 summarizes Jesus' life from age 12: "And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man."
Jesus, of course, was both God and human. As God, He was omniscient (all-knowing) and all-wise; He could never "grow in wisdom" from the divine perspective. In His humanity, however, He probably gained wisdom as did other Jewish boys, by studying the Old Testament Scriptures (Psalm 1:2) and listening to the wisdom of the elders.
Jesus was known in His community as a carpenter (Mark 6:3) and a carpenter's son (Matthew 13:55). It was customary among the Jews for fathers to teach their sons a trade. Joseph would have taught Jesus the trade of carpentry as Jesus matured in the Palestine area. That carpentry played a role in His life is clear because some of His parables and teachings drew upon that experience. For example, He told of building a house on rock as opposed to sand (Matthew 7:24-27).
Luke 4:16 is a key text to refute the idea that Jesus went to India. At the beginning of His three-year ministry, Jesus "came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath and stood up to read." Jesus was brought up in Nazareth, not India, and His custom was to visit the synagogue, not Hindu temples.
After Jesus finished reading on this occasion, "all were speaking well of Him, and wondering at the gracious words which were falling from His lips; and they were saying, 'Is this not Joseph's son?'" (Luke 4:22). Those in the synagogue recognized Jesus as a local resident.
It is also noteworthy that Jesus read from the Old Testament Scriptures. The Old Testament, for which Jesus often displayed reverence (see Matthew 5:18), warns about staying away from false gods and religious systems such as Hinduism (Exodus 20:2- 3; 34:14; Deuteronomy 6:14; 13:10; 2 Kings 17:35). The Old Testament clearly distinguishes the creation from the Creator, unlike Eastern (Hindu) pantheism, and teaches the need for redemption, not enlightenment.
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