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Who was Sadhu Sundar Singh?
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In The Murry Reading Room on The Words web site (www.thewords.com) 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 of CHRIST
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 to do."

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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