Sadhu Sundar Singh was born in 1889 in Patiala which is in Punjab, India. His family was very religious and raised him up teaching Hinduism and visiting temples regularly. By the age of 7, he had memorized the Bhagvad Gita and by the age of 16, he had mastered the Vedas and also the Quran. Growing up Sunder attended a school conducted by the missionaries for some time but he was not at all interested in the Bible and resented it.
At the age of 14, suddenly his mother passed away. Sunder was very close of his mother. He was shattered by the loss. He was undergoing a major faith crisis in his life. He was looking for peace and truth. He was very confused in his mind and was sad. He even thought about committing suicide. He was never convinced that Jesus and his teachings were completely wrong and so he tore the Bible and would throw stones at preachers.
The Night that Changed Everything
It was a cold night of December in 1903 when he decided he would throw himself under the train, when the train Ludhiana Express passes by his home. That night he prayed several hours. He said, “O God, if there is a God, reveal yourself to me tonight.” The train was about to come early the morning. Suddenly the room filled with a glow. It was not dawn yet and Sunder opened the room and peeped outside. It was sheer darkness. He closed the door and the light grew brighter. While he was watching this he suddenly saw a figure appeared before him and he heard a voice say, “How long will you deny me? I died for you; I have given my life for you.“He saw the man’s hands, pierced by nails. Sunder was astonished he was not at all hoping to see Jesus but some of the traditional gods whom he worshipped. Sunder realized the Jesus is still alive today and he fell down on his knees and prayed to him. He experienced amazing peace and joy in his heart which he has never experienced before. The vision disappeared but the joy and peace lingered in his heart. He was now changed forever.
In 1905, on his birthday, he was baptized in an English church in Shimla. At that time, he decided to become a Christian Sadhu, so that he could dedicate himself to the Lord. As a Sadhu, he wore a yellow robe, lived on the charity of others, abandoned all possessions and maintained celibacy. He was convinced that this was the best way to introduce the Gospel of Jesus Christ to his people since it was the only way which his people were accustomed to. In addition, he also wanted to be free to devote himself to the Lord. His family ostracized him.
He traveled extensively all over India and Ceylon. He visited Malaysia, Japan and China between 1918-1919. He also went to Western Europe, Australia and Israel in between 1920-1922. He preached in many cities; Jerusalem, Lima, Berlin and Amsterdam among others. Despite his growing fame, Sadhu Sundar singh retained a modest nature, desiring only to follow Jesus’ example: to repay evil with kindness and to win over his enemies by love. Towards the end of his life, he had many health issues due to excessive traveling. He wrote many books during these times. Following are list of some of the books he wrote. They were written in Urdu and translated by different authors.
- At the masters feet (1922)
- Reality and religion (1923)
- Search after Reality (1924)
- Spiritual Life (1925)
- Spiritual World (1926)
- Real Life (1927)
- With and Without Christ (1928)
Finally in 1929, Sadhu Sundar Singh was on a trip to Tibet with some other traders. He had walked several miles beyond Badrinath on the snowy mountains. The road to Tiber is very steep and difficult mountainous trail. He was on this road and he never returned back. His friends went all the way to search him but never found him. Nobody knows exactly what happened to him.
Sadhu Sundar singh is called the “Apostle with bleeding feet”. He was a Christian monk, and his work and ministry to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ in India and South Asian region is matchless. He represented Christ and Christianity in a Indian form. He was truly a Sadhu, who found his Salvation, only through life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, his Guru.
Check out more about Sadhu Sundar singh’s life and his work on http://sadhusundarsingh.info/