Jesus: A Story of Enlightenment Paperback – Nov 3 2009
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“A gripping tale of one man’s archetypal journey through confusion, doubt, and despair to self-annihilation and the realization of his true identity as the ‘light of the world.’” (Eckhart Tolle, author of A New Earth and The Power of Now)
“Once again, Deepak Chopra combines spirituality with dramatic narrative to breathe new life into a story that we all assumed we knew. This unique and intriguing story inspires as well as educates. Chopra’s JESUS is every bit as compelling as his groundbreaking retelling of BUDDHA.” (Tim Kring, creator of Heroes & Crossing Jordan)
“A la the Da Vinci Code, this thought-provoking tale is sure to ignite exciting questions and controversy.” (Jill Gregory, co-author of the international bestseller THE BOOK OF NAMES and the forthcoming thriller THE ILLUMINATION)
“It is such an original and intriguing approach to imagine which Jesus was ‘left out of the bible.’ Chopra’s novel is a fascinating read.” (Petru Popescu, author of the forthcoming GIRL MARY)
“If you think all that could be said about Jesus has already been said, then this book will be an eye opener in the best and truest sense of those words. Do a major favor to your soul and read it.” (Miceal Ledwith, L.Ph., L.D., D.D., LL.D, former member of the Vatican's International Theological Commission and co-author of THE ORB PROJECT)
“Deepak takes on the story of Jesus in a way that is both respectful and common. If as a Christian you are afraid of what is inside these pages, don’t be. It quietly succeeded in restoring my faith in my own faith.” (Kevin Costner)
“In Jesus: A Story of Enlightenment, Deepak Chopra dares us to ponder paradigms imbedded deep within our very DNA and question unquestionable truths. Chopra introduces a breathtaking epistemology that is altogether fresh and divine. His powerful revelation threatens our ability to live our lives in darkness.” (Cheryl Woodcock, Correspondent & Producer, Entertainment Tonight & The Insider)
“We journey with a very human Jesus through a tough and turbulent landscape to discover his greatest message, that of personal transformation and enlightenment. Deepak Chopra’s story is an inspiring gift for those who truly care and have the courage to seek.” (Michael Baigent, author of The Jesus Papers)
As a Jew I was taught to reject Jesus. As a mystic I was drawn to his light. This brave book invites me to approach Jesus anew, with great curiosity and a humble heart, and to love him, in the end, as my Self.” (Raphael Cushnir, author of THE ONE THING HOLDING YOU BACK)
From the Back Cover
The New York Times bestselling author captures the untold story of Jesus in this surprising, soul-stirring, and inspiring novel.See all Product Description
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`Crippled' is a strong word, and this book will undoubtedly anger some. Yet Chopra's Jesus maintains the divinity at the heart of mainstream Christianity - he is not just some average Joe who happens upon God. Nor is he simply a spiritual teacher or `guru', as other Eastern teachers have characterized him. The novel mostly covers the 'lost years' of Jesus' life left out of the Bible - the years in which he transforms from a serious and insightful young man into the son of God - and throughout that period he is surrounded by signs of his future divinity.
Chopra's Jesus himself is not comfortable with these signs, but they draw others to him. The early part of Jesus' spiritual journey is dominated by his relationships with Mary Magdelene and Judas - both of whom of course feature prominently in the later part of his life, as told in the New Testament. Chopra's earlier versions of these figures each have delusions about Jesus, and want to possess him for their own purposes. It is through them that he comes to understand the human condition, and the forces - both external and internal - that prevent many from pursuing a deeper relationship with God.
After leaving Mary and Judas, Jesus studies with the Essenes, a mystic Jewish religious community now believed by many to have authored the Dead Sea Scrolls. Ultimately he disappoints them also, as he will not conform to their view of him as King of the Jews. After leaving them, Jesus travels to a mysterious holy man in distant mountains, also the story's narrator, and it is here that the path of Chopra's Jesus most closely resembles that of his Buddha (as told in his novel of Buddha's life.) Both struggle with their concepts of good and evil, and both are tempted by demons with promises of greatness. They both come to understand they must abandon all concepts and personal identity to truly allow God to work through them. As Jesus' mysterious teacher tells him, "Only someone who can see the demons as part of God is free. Good and evil dissolve. The veil drops away, and all you see is divine light - inside, outside, everywhere...Your soul is the world's soul. In your resurrection will be the resurection of the world."
Jesus' awakening is powerfully told, and the new Jesus returns to his homeland as an agent of enlightenment. Encountering Judas and Mary once again, he transmits a grace that literally wipes away their past. Or, as Mary puts it when asked `what has he done to me' by others who receive Jesus' grace, "He killed who you were, so that who you are can be reborn."
Chopra's Jesus is not a perfect book. Scenes change rapidly, and many conversations seem stunted in a way that occasionally left me disoriented. But it conveys a profound message in an accessible and passionate voice. If you are interested in considering a new vision of Christianity, and of all religions, give it a read, and consider reading Buddha: A Story of Enlightenment as well.
I don't think Chopra would be happy with the tag "religious," however, since his ambition is to portray Jesus as someone who belongs to the world, not simply to Christianity. for that purpose, he takes the young Jesus to a far-off mountain setting somewhere in the East, where he meets an enlightened master. Here Chopra is tapping into the lore that has Jesus going to the Himalayas, although he never explicitly mentions if this nameless master is Buddhist or Hindu -- no religious affiliation is given at all. Orthodox Christians may rebel at that, but there's a long tradition of sending Jesus to other countries during his missing years. Albert Schweitzer, among others, speculated that Jesus learned from other traditions, and many Biblical scholars (not the fundamentalist stripe, of course) find many links between Jesus's teachings and the Buddha's.
If those things intrigue you, then this book will prove fascinating. But even if you come to it fresh, the tale holds lots of surprises. Having young Jesus be friends with Mary Magdalene and Judas, for example, throws a new perspective on how those characters fit into the New Testament. There have been many there attempts to write a prequel to the four gospels, but I think Chopra's is one of the most successful, thanks to his deep knowledge of consciousness and his growing ability to tell a riveting story.
I read the Power of Now by Echkart Tolle and I feel that there was more insightful information in that book about Jesus's message to the world and it was amazing how Jesus made the teachings simple and easy to understand or maybe is was Echkarts Interpretation that was truly wonderful. I know Deepak has read "the Power of Now", Deepak wrote a review on the Back of the "The Power of Now" telling how great it is. This story about Jesus is not a great story and at times I think it sells Jesus short and Jesus doesn't get the credit he deserves. Deepak does a great job on making you Hate Judas in this story. At times it was distracting because Judas was so annoying! If you are looking for a Great Story that Deepak wrote and are open to learning about Buddha then check out Deepak's Book: Buddha: A Story of Enlightenment. If you are not open to learning about Buddha and reading fiction then check out the Non fiction Book By Echkart Tolle called "the Power of Now". Or if you want a very different, or as she puts it an Uncommon perspective on Jesus, then check out Sylvia Browne's "The Mystical Life of Jesus: An Uncommon Perspective on the Life of Christ" This book will blow your mind =] Maybe in a good way or a bad way, overall it will answer a lot of questions about Jesus and his life.
Happy reading all!
The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment
The Mystical Life of Jesus: An Uncommon Perspective on the Life of Christ
In the beginning note from the author, Chopra explains that his novel is about the "Jesus who is left out of the New Testament." Since the Bible does not tell about "the lost years" Chopra had no boundaries to stay within as he told how Jesus attained enlightenment. Most people have wondered and fashioned some ideas about what Jesus was like as a child which makes crafting the life of Jesus risky. What Chopra proposes is bound to contradict the images Christians have already formed. I give Chopra credit for taking the risk even though his story differs from what my mind has conjured.
I appreciate how the author describes the scene and familiarizes the reader with the time. Jesus: A Story of Enlightenment is a bit of a history lesson in that regard. First century culture is not common knowledge so Chopra includes details and descriptions to acquaint the reader with the way of life.
Now for the nitpicks. I had trouble connecting Jesus in the book to Jesus in the Bible. There wasn't a seamless flow from Chopra's story leading into the Biblical account of Jesus' life. Chopra's character has major personality differences compared to the facts recorded in the gospels. I didn't feel like the unknown story meshed with the known truth.
My other nitpick is the wandering plot. Jesus: A Story of Enlightenment depicts Jesus as a man roving from town to town with no direction or intentions. While that very well may be how life was for the young Jesus, I don't like a plot that wanders. Characters came and went every few chapters leaving the reader to wonder why they were even brought into the book. It seemed as though the author wasn't sure where the book was going or the end of the story. Chopra writes, "You would think that the messiah knew the road ahead, but in fact his mind was completely blank." The same can be said of the author.
This book wasn't for me but that doesn't mean it's not worth reading for some people. For those who enjoy reading about other times, places and cultures, read Jesus for a glimpse of the past.
I, too, will stress what Chopra states, Jesus: A Story of Enlightenment is a piece of fiction and should be read as such.
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