Who was Sadhu Sundar
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there are several pages of devotional writings by the famous sadhu
(holy man) Sadhu Sundar Singh. India's most prominent Christian sadhu
of the 20th century, Sundar Singh was born to Sher Singh of Rampur, Punjab
in India in 1889. His mother, a deeply religious woman, left an indelible
mark on Sundar and nurtured him in the noble traditions of the devout
Sikhs. Little did anyone know what God was about to do with this keenly
intelligent and disciplined young man. When Sundar was about fourteen,
his beloved mother and elder brother passed away. This left the young
boy in despair and spiritually restless. Sundar hungered for peace. He
sought meaning for his life.
In a remarkable demonstration of grace that reached across
the barriers of culture, superstition, and tradition, Sundar Singh felt
called to renounce home, employment, marriage and family life to follow
"Yesu" (Jesus) the Lord, and to tell others of God's love!
Here's how this unique conversion to Christ took place. A few years after
his mother and brother had died, the young sadhu was bathing in cold water
in preparation for pooja, and
he said a prayer to the "all-pervading, impersonal, unknowable,
incomprehensible universal spirit of God" to appear to him as an
avatar. Singh asked for a divine
revelation that would once and for all destroy his doubts and end his
despair. His spiritual agitation was not a mere fancy, but was driving
him to consider suicide. Later, he would tell friends that he had made
a silent vow to throw himself in front of the early morning passenger
train that passed by his village if God did not reveal himself.
This vow was not empty words! Shaped by the disciplined life of a young
Sikh, this strong willed youth meant to do exactly that.
That evening as he said his prayers, asking God to reveal himself, he
became conscious of a light shining in the room. He looked outside to
make sure it was not someone shining a light into his house. Gradually
the light took the form of a globe of fire and in it he saw the
face of Yesu (Jesus).
Yesu was the last person Sundar was looking for. After all, Yesu
was the "foreign god' of the Christian teachers at the town school."
Already a devout and zealous Sikh, Sundar had publicly torn up a Bible
to protest its spurious claims. Amazed that his vision had taken the unexpected
form of Yesu, Sundar was convinced in his heart that this "Jesus
of Nazareth" was the avatar
in whom God revealed Himself.
Did Yesu speak to Sadhu Sundar Singh? No one knows for sure;
however, regardless of the nature of the "spiritual conversation
that took place that day," Sundar surrendered His life to Yesu.
At once shanthi flooded his troubled
heart. The weary struggle to seek enlightenment and moksha
was over for Sundar, for in Yesu he found shanthi. This
divine encounter with the Lord Yesu was to Sundar the rebirth
into a new life.
OUR HEART IS THE CITADEL
told in Sadhu Sundar Singh's own words; c. 1930
One day, my work being finished,
I again went into the forest to pray, and seated upon that same rock began
to consider for what blessings I should make petition. Whilst thus engaged
it seemed to me that another came and stood near me, who, judged by his
bearing and dress and manner of speech, appeared to be a revered and devoted
servant of God; but his eyes glittered with craft and cunning, and as
he spoke he seemed to breathe an odor of hell.
He thus addressed me, "Holy and Honored Sir, pardon me for interrupting
your prayers and breaking in on your privacy; but is is one's duty to
seek to promote the advantage of others, and therefore I have come to
lay an important matter before you. Your pure and unselfish life has made
a deep impression not only on me, but upon a great number of devout persons.
But although in the Name of God you have sacrificed yourself body and
soul for others, you have never been truly appreciated. My meaning is
that being a Christian only a few thousand Christians have come under
your influence, and some even of these distrust you. How much better would
it be if you became a Hindu or a Mussulman, and thus become a great leader
indeed? They are in search of such a spiritual head. If you accept this
suggestion of mine, then three hundred and ten millions of Hindus and
Mussulmans will become your followers, and render you reverent homage."
As soon as I heard this there rushed from my lips these words, "Thou
Satan! get thee hence. I knew at once that thou wert a wolf in sheep's
clothing! Thy one wish is that I should give up the cross and the narrow
path that leads to life, and choose the broad road of death. My Master
Himself is my lot and my portion, who Himself gave His life for me, and
it behooves me to offer as a sacrifice my life and all I have to Him who
is all in all to me. Get you gone therefore, for with you I have nothing
Hearing this he went off grumbling and growling in his rage. And I, in
tears, thus poured out my soul to God in prayer, "My Lord God, my
all in all, life of my life, and spirit of my spirit, look in mercy upon
me and so fill me with Thy Holy Spirit that my heart shall have no room
for love of aught but Thee. I seek from Thee no other gift but Thyself,
who art the Giver of life and all its blessings. From Thee I ask not for
the world or its treasures, nor yet for heaven even make request, but
Thee alone do I desire and long for, and where Thou art there is Heaven.
The hunger and the thirst of this heart of mine can be satisfied only
with Thee who hast given it birth. O Creator mine! Thou hast created my
heart for Thyself alone, and not for another, therefore this my heart
can find no rest or ease save in Thee, in Thee who hast both created it
and set in it this very longing for rest. Take away then from my heart
all that is opposed to Thee, and enter and abide and rule for ever. Amen."
When I rose up from this prayer I beheld a glowing Being, arrayed in light
and beauty, standing before me. Though He spoke not a word, and because
my eyes were suffused with tears I saw Him not too clearly, there poured
from Him lightning-like rays of life-giving love with such power that
they entered in and bathed my very soul. At once I knew that my dear Savour
stood before me. I rose at once from the rock where I was seated and fell
at His feet. He held in His hand the key of my heart. Opening the inner
chamber of my heart with His key of love, He filled it with His presence,
and wherever I looked, inside or out, I saw but Him.
Then did I know that man's heart is the very throne and citadel of God,
and that when He enters there to abide, heaven begins. In these few seconds
He so filled my heart, and spoke such wonderful words, that even if I
wrote many books I could not tell them all. For these heavenly things
can be explained only in heavenly language, and earthly tongues are not
sufficient for them.
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