The next morning, Saint Issa awoke to a magnificent sunrise and the glory of the Himalayan mountains. Stretching as far as his eyes could see, the mystic saint saw the world’s most sacred peaks right in front of him.
After surveying the beauty of the Himalayans for the better part of the morning, Saint Issa hurried back down the mountain to inform Vasudeva Das that he’d finally remembered his most recent incarnation. Filled with hope that he would soon recall his life just before the Buddha, he descended the awesome peak with astonishing speed and precision.
It was late afternoon when Saint Issa arrived back at the house of the great hermit-sage. Like both times prior, the Buddha-spirit knocked three times on the door of Vasudeva Das. However, unlike before, nobody answered the door.
Saint Issa then walked around to the back of the house and quietly called his name: “Vasudeva Das. Are you in here? Vasudeva Das?” At that moment, an elderly woman dressed in all white appeared in front of him. The woman spoke to the great saint:
“The sage that you seek isn’t here. Yesterday, while you were on the peak, Vasudeva Das fell ill and wandered off to the edge of town to make preparations to drop his body. His time of death now draws near. He emphasized to me that he has fulfilled his dharma here on Earth. Now he must take leave.”
Saint Issa stared compassionately at the revered messenger and asked:
“What was his dharma?”
“Guiding you to remember your last two incarnations. You have to understand that this was no easy undertaking,” replied the old woman.
“But I still haven’t remembered my second incarnation,” lamented the Prince of Peace.
“It makes no difference whether you have or not. It’s only a matter of time before you will. In any case, it’s now imperative that you find Vasudeva Das before he drops his body. This is essential for you to fulfill your own destiny.”
With these words, the woman turned and disappeared into thin air before him.
Saint Issa knelt on the ground and recited a short prayer for guidance to find the sage. Within moments of closing his eyes, vivid images arose as to where to find Vasudeva Das.
Following his own intuitive map, Saint Issa walked four miles (six kilometres) down an old dirt trail that took him deep into the forest, to an ancient cave where many sages had once found their enlightenment. The young mystic slowly poked his head inside the stone tunnel, and in it sat his guru in deep meditation.
Not wanting to disturb this wise being, Saint Issa stood in absolute stillness for a few moments. Sensing the loving presence of his faithful devotee, Vasudeva Das opened his eyes and greeted the saint with his customary words:
“I have been expecting you. Yesterday, while you were up on the mountain, reliving your most recent incarnation, I had a vision that it is now my time to pass on. Please know that I fully embrace the coming of my own death. In an hour’s time, I will go into samadhi, drop my body and continue my journey with other liberated souls into the beyond.”
Tears of sadness welled up in the eyes of Saint Issa, as he struggled to find the right words to say:
“Illumined One, I don’t know what to say, except I have no doubt that you’ll soon merge in perfect spirit with the formless essence. You’re an inspiring soul and a guiding light through the rough waters of today. May peace be with you always, noble teacher.”
Vasudeva Das bowed his head to his beloved disciple, as the young saint added:
“ Yesterday, on top of the mountain, I experienced a breakthrough deep in meditation. In vivid detail, I recalled the specific details of my previous incarnation as the Buddha. “
The dying sage bowed his head once more to Saint Issa, and responded:
“I am proud of you, my dear one. Since the fateful day of your birth, I have known that you were the Buddha, and that your soul took birth in this body to liberate all sentient beings from their bondage and restore the path of dharma. You see, your birth was of the highest kind. You are a fully liberated being and have been since your inception. But you willingly chose the path of rebirth to bring peace and compassion to all your brothers and sisters here on Earth. There is no greater path that one can follow. Similar to your incarnation as the Buddha, you rejected all the pleasures laid before you and chose a life of compassion instead. You could have dwelled for eternity with the angels in the heavenly realms of bliss.”
Saint Issa dropped to his knees at the feet of his guru and wept uncontrollably: Vasudeva Das then patted the head of the young saint and added:
“Please do not be sad. I have completed my work here in this body. My work was guiding you to the heights of all-knowing awareness.”
The young Saint spoke once more in reply:
“But oh, venerable seer, I don’t understand. I haven’t yet recalled my second incarnation. You must live on, then.”
Without responding in words, the sage rose gingerly to his feet and walked to the back of the cave. He then returned with a copy of a great holy book, The Bhagavad Gita. Vasudeva Das then instructed Saint Issa to place his hands on the sacred text, and to close his eyes while he recited a short prayer:
“You are the creator of the world, of animate and inanimate things;
its venerable teacher, most worthy of worship, without equal.
Where in all three worlds is another to match your extraordinary power?”
As Vasudeva Das read the prayer aloud, surges of energy pulsed through the young saint’s body and soul. Suddenly, memories of his incarnation just prior to the Buddha came to him.
Saint Issa recalled the moment when he counselled his closest friend, Arjuna, just before the eruption of a tragic inter-family war. He then remembered the loving manner in which he revealed his own divine nature to that same faithful devotee.
Tears streamed down the young saint’s face as he recalled scenes from his childhood as a cow herder and lovable prankster. The memories continued to flow as he remembered his father (Vasudeva) and mother (Devaki). Surely, his parents had played a substantial part in him becoming the God of compassion and love.
Saint Issa opened his eyes and stared down at the holy book in front of him. Yes, it was he, as Sri Krishna, who’d spoken every word in The Bhagavad Gita! And it was also he who’d channeled those very words directly from the Godhead. As tears continued to rain down the saint’s face, Vasudeva Das began to quietly chant the “Maha Mantra” (The Great Mantra):
Everything now became crystal-clear to Saint Issa, as he began to remember each of his nine previous incarnations as Lord Vishnu—the great preserver of cosmic order. Saint Issa turned to Vasudeva Das, who’d also been crying:
“Illumined One, you knew all along that I’ve lived as both Buddha and Krishna. I have one final question to ask you. Were you, too, my father in both incarnations? Is that why you’ve taken the name Vasudeva Das in this life?”
Vasudeva Das bent down on his knees, touched the feet of the great saint and replied:
“Oh, noble son. It was I who fathered you as Krishna and it was I who fathered you as the Buddha. In your incarnation as Krishna, it was I, Vasudeva, who raised you. And in your incarnation as Buddha, it was I, King Suddhodana, who desperately tried—with every ounce of my being—to keep you from acknowledging your fate as the restorer of dharma. We have travelled with one another through each of your incarnations. The time has now arrived for you to fulfill your destiny here on Earth. You have completed this task with inspiring ease many times in the past. Now you are called to do so one more time. Inspire the people to remember God again. The time has arrived for me to drop my body.”
These were the final words from Vasudeva Das. Moments later, the great sage fell into samadhi and left his body.
For Saint Issa, his adventures were just beginning. For the next 15 years, he’d remain in the Far East, healing the sick and feeding the poor, before departing once more on the long silk trade route back to Jerusalem. Once there, at age 31, he would establish one of the most influential ministries the world had ever seen.
Up until his crucifixion two years later, for preaching the truth of creation, Saint Issa never forgot the hallowed teachings of his beloved soul-father, Vasudeva Das.