The life of Sadhu Sundar Singh was most remarkable in its Christlikeness. He was born amidst the depths of Indian culture and religion, and into a Sikh family. During the early part of his life, Sundar’s mother would take him week by week to sit at the feet of a sadhu, an ascetic holy man, who lived some distance away in the rainforest.
But with the death of his beloved mother when he was only fourteen years old, the young Sundar grew increasingly despairing and aggressive. His hatred of the local missionaries and Christians culminated in the public burning of a bible, which he tore apart page by page and threw, into the flames.
Yet before long Sundar was intent on taking his own life. Sundar had arrived at a point of desperation: he had decided to throw himself under the Ludhiana express if God did not reveal to him the true way of peace.
At three in the morning, he rose from his bed and went out into the moonlit courtyard for the ceremonial bath observed by devout Hindus and Sikhs before worship. He then returned to his room and knelt down, bowed his head to the ground and pleaded that God would reveal himself. Yet, nothing happened.
He had not known what to expect: a voice, a vision, and a trance? Still nothing happened. And it was fast approaching the time for the Lothian express.
He lifted his head and opened his eyes and was rather surprised to see a faint cloud of light in the room. It was too early for the dawn. He opened the door and peered out to the courtyard. Darkness. Turning back into the room, he saw that the light in the room was getting brighter. To his sheer amazement, he saw not the face of any of his traditional gods, but of Jesus the Christ.
Jesus Christ was there in the room, shining, radiating an inexpressible joy, peace, and love, looking at him with compassion and asking, “Why do you persecute me? I died for you…”
From here on the life of Sundar Singh became most Christ-like. Being unwilling to denounce his Master, it was not long before his family had rejected him. Sundar took the saffron robes of the sadhu and began a life of spreading the simple message of love and peace and rebirth through Jesus. He carried no money or other possessions, only a New Testament.
He traveled India and Tibet, as well as the rest of the world, with the message that the modern interpretation of Jesus was sadly watered down. He visited the West twice, traveling to Britain, the United States, and Australia in 1920, and Europe again in 1922.
With the large number of “spiritual paths” and “techniques” facing the world of today it is of special value to consider the life and insights of one who truly embraced the simplicity, love and freedom offered through devotion to Christ.
“I am not worthy to follow in the steps of my Lord,” he said, “but like Him, I want no 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 people of the love of God.”
Publisher’s preface from the book, “The Visions of Sadhu Sundar Singh of India” by Sadhu Sundar Singh. Text is public domain.