Faithful Heroes: Sadhu Sundar Singh, Spread Gospel through India

 

Sadhu Sundar Singh into a Sikh family in northern India on September 3, 1889. As a child, his mother took him to a holy man where he learned English and about God.

Sadhu Sundar Singh

But, life changed for him when he turned fourteen and his mother died. He was pitched into a world of violence and took his anger out on the missionaries and Christians in the area. He ridiculed believers and in complete defiance, he bought a Bible and burned it page by page while his friends watched.

He said, “Although I believed that I had done a very good deed by burning the Bible, I felt unhappy.”

He felt as if he had no meaning and decided to kill himself. He called out, asking for the “True God” to appear to him or he would throw himself upon the railroad track. That night a vision of Jesus appeared to him. Sundar committed his life to Christ.

When he announced his conversion, his father denounced him, when he cut his hair from the traditional Sikh style, and his brother tried to poison him. He was poisoned multiple times and people in the community even threw snakes in his house. One of his followers died from poisoning.

He was saved from the persecution, when he went to live at the Christian Leprosy Home.

Sadhu Sundar Singh

On his sixteenth birthday, he was publicly baptized in the parish church in Simla.

He viewed himself as a sadhu, or religious monk, but stayed true to his Christian faith, instead of in the Hindu faith of the Indian culture. He donned the yellow robe of India’s holy men, but did not torture his body as other gurus. He took to preaching the gospel of Christ.

He traveled the area and became known by the Christian communities as the apostle with the bleeding feet. He was arrested, stoned and experienced mystical encounters for his beliefs.

“I am not worthy to follow in the steps of my Lord,” he said, “but, like Him, I want no

Sadhu Sundar Singh

home, no possessions. Like Him I will belong to the road, sharing the suffering of my people, eating with those who will give me shelter, and telling all men of the love of God.”

He was stoned while visiting Tibet in 1908, while bathing in cold water because it was believed that holy men never wash.

He realized the the Indian people would not readily convert to the Western style of Christianity. In late 1909, he began studying at the Anglican college in Lahore {a Pakistani province} to study for the ministry. He had difficulty adapting and left after eight months.

Singh had many stories of those that helped him and whom he helped. He began to build his spiritual life around estatic visions. He kept no written records and did not travel with others who may have witnessed these events.

Sadhu Sundar Singh

Many people said, “He not only looks like Jesus, he talks like Jesus must have talked.” He became well known throughout the world for his faith.

He traveled throughout China, Japan, Malaya and other areas. He claimed powers over wild things and to have healing gifts, but he never allowed these to be publicized.

In the early 1920s, his father became a Christian and provided him with money to travel to Britain, the United States, Australia and Europe on two trips in 1920 and 1922. He is stated to have been appalled by the materialism, emptiness and irreligion he found.

His only desire was the follow Jesus’ example and to repay evil with kindness and win his enemies with love. He retained a modest nature and lived on the goodness of others.

In 1923, when he returned from the last of his yearly summer visits to Tibet, trips in which he endured considerable persecution, he was exhausted and noticeably frailer. Upon his return, he began to write some of the things he had preached.

Sadhu Sundar Singh

In 1929, he decided to make one last journey to Tibet. In April, he arrived in a small town named Kalka, and was described as a “prematurely aged figure in his yellow robe”.

Where he went and what happened after that is unknown. Whether he died from exhaustion, was murdered, died of disease or even made it to his beloved Himalayan mountains remains unknown.

In the early 1940s, a missionary to Indian, converted Sundar’s brother to Christ. The brother stated that Sundar Singh performed many miracles and led many to Christ during his ministry.

The book At the Master’s Feet is a collection of remarkable visions between God “The Master” and Sundar Singh “The Disciple”.

Sadhu Sundar Singh is treasured as a formative figure in the development of the Christian Church in India.

 

 

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