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Chapter 23: Session 23

So certainly Christians have nothing to do with that village. Only one Christian lived there and his church was not much of a church either - just a small house. Of course a cross had been placed on it, and under it was written: “This is a Christian Church.” I had always wondered why that village was called “the village of the shepherd,” and when I went to Jesus’ grave in Pahalgam, in Kashmir, the question became even more pertinent.

Strangely, Pahalgam has almost the same structure as my village. It may be just a coincidence. When you cannot figure something out you say, “Perhaps it is a coincidence” - but I am not the type of man to leave a thing so easily. I looked into the matter as far as I could at that time, but now I can look as far as I want.

Gadarwara was also visited by Jesus, and outside the village is the place where he stayed. Its ruins are still honored. Nobody remembers why it is honored. There is a stone on which it says that at one time a man called Isu visited this place, and stayed there. He converted the people of the village and the surrounding area, then he returned to Pahalgam. The archaeological department of India placed that stone there, so it is not very old.

I had to work really hard on that stone just to clean it. It was difficult because nobody had cared for it. The stone was inside a small castle. The castle was no longer habitable, and it was dangerous to even enter. My grandmother used to try to prevent me from going inside because it could collapse at any moment. She was right. Even with just a small wind the walls would start swaying. The last time I saw it, it had collapsed. That was when I had gone to Gadarwara for my grandmother’s funeral. I also went to pay a visit to the place where a man called Isu had once stayed.

Isu is certainly nothing but another form of the Aramaic Yeshu, from the Hebrew Joshua. In Hindi

Jesus is called Isa, and lovingly, Isu. Perhaps one of the men whom I love the most had been there, in that village. Just the idea that Jesus too had walked those streets was so exhilarating, was such an ecstasy. This is just by the way. I cannot prove it in any historical way, whether it is so or not. But if you ask me in confidence, I can whisper in your ear, “Yes, it is true. But please don’t ask me more..”