THIS little book was originally intended for the use
of Christian women of the Malayalam country, but the
writer has been persuaded to issue an English edition.
Nearly the whole of the matter has been the subject
of conversations with the Sadhu himself, with whom we
have enjoyed much inspiring companionship and with
whose permission the book is issued.
This word picture of a true servant of the Great
Master should be an inspiration to all Christian men and
women in India, and it docs not seem too much to hope
that Indians of all classes will see how truly Jesus
Christ can manifest Himself in and through the people
of this great land, and how worthy He is to be India's
Lord and Saviour.
London Mission, Trivandram.
A LETTER FROM SADHU SUNDAR SINGH
(WRITTEN IN ROMAN-URDU)
Jab main is chhothi kitab ka MSS dekh raha tha to
yih bat safai so dekhne men ai ki Khuda ki Ruh ne kaise
ajib taur se Mrs. R. J. Parker ki madad aur hidayat ki, ki
sari baten bagair kisi galati ki likhin, aur mujhe yaqin hai,
ki musannif ki mihnat Khuda ke jalal aur bahuton ke
ruhani faida ki bais hogi. Aur unko madad milegi jo
mushkilat men hain, jis tarah ki main tha, aur khass
kar yih malum, karke, ki Khudawand kis tarah mujhe
jaise bare gunahgar ko bacha kar apni muhabbat aur
fazl se apni khidmat ke liye chun leta hai. Aj main
shukarguzari ke sdth apne tajruba 13 baras ke experience
se kah sakta him ki Masih aj kal aur hamesha yaksan
hai (Hebrews xiii. 8).
Men dua hai ki Khuda in chand baton ke auron ki
ruhani madad aur apni jalal ke liye istiamal kare. Amin.
(Signed) SUNDAR SINGH.
September 3, 1918.
When I saw the manuscript of this little book I saw
clearly in what a wonderful way the spirit of God had
helped and guided Mrs. R. J. Parker so that she had
written it without any mistake, and I am certain that
the author's work will be for the glory of God and a
means of spiritual benefit to many. Also that those who
are in the midst of difficulties such as I was, will receive
help, and especially will learn how the Lord saved so
great a sinner as myself, and by His love and grace chose
me for His service.
To-day I can say with thankfulness after thirteen
years of experience that Christ is the same yesterday,
and to-day, and for ever (Hebrews xiii. 8).
My prayer is that God will use these few words for
His glory and for the spiritual help of others. Amen.
(Signed) SUNDAB SINGH.
September 3, 1918.
HAST thou heard Him, seen Him, known Him,
Is not thine a captured heart ?
Chief among ten thousand own Him,
Joyful choose the better part.
What has stripped the seeming beauty
From the idols of the earth ?
Not a sense of right or duty,
But the sight of peerless worth.
Not the crushing of those idols,
With its bitter void and smart ;
But the beaming of His beauty,
The unveiling of His heart !
'Tis that look that melted Peter,
"Tis that face that Stephen saw,
'Tis that heart that wept with Mary
Can alone from idols draw.
Draw and win and fill completely,
Till the cup o'erflow the brim ;
What have we to do with idols
Who have companied with Him ?
INTRODUCTION - - xiii
I. SADHU AND SANYASI - l
II. SUNDAR SINGH AS SADHU - 5
III. SUNDAR THK MAN - 8
IV. NATIONALITY AND BIRTH - - 13
V. CALLED TO SEEK - - 16
VI. CALLED OF GOD - - 19
VII. CALLED TO SUFFER I - 22
VIII. CALLED TO SUFFER II - - 28
IX. CALLED TO SERVE - 32
X. CALLED TO PREACH - - 35
XI. WHAT WISDOM is THIS ? - 89
XII. EARLY EXPERIENCES AS A SADHU - 42
XIII. OBEDIENCE BY SUFFERING - 46
XIV. THE FAST - - 50
XV. FURTHER JOURNEYS AND PERSECUTIONS - - 54
XVI. TIBET - 59
XVII. SUNDAR IN TIBET I - 61
XVIII. SUNDAR IN TIBET II - 04
XIX. FURTHER EXPERIENCES IN TIBET - 67
XX. MARTYRS OF THE FAITH - - 72
XXI. SUNDAR'S MYSTICISM - 78
XXII. THE SADHU'S LOVE FOR THE CROSS - 83
XXIII. SUNDAR SINGH AND THE SANYASI MISSION - 80
XXIV. SUNDAR SINGH AND THK MAHARISHI OF KAILASH - 91
XXV. SADHU SUNDAR SINGH IN SOUTH INDIA - - 95
XXVI. SADHU SUNDAR SINGH AT A GREAT CHRISTIAN
CONVENTION - - 98
XXVII. CEYLON - - 102
XXVIII. " UNTO THE UTTERMOST PARTS OF THE EARTH " - 108
XXIX. " CALLED, CHOSEN, FAITHFUL " - - 118
XXX. " CHRIST SENT ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL " - 118
THE MESSAGE OF THE BOOK 124
APPENDICES : THE SADHU AND His FATHER TIBET THE
SIKHS SOME OF THE SADHU'S ILLUSTRATIONS - 125
SADHU SUNDAR SINGH
CALLED OF GOD
FEBBUARY, 1918, is a time that will linger in the memory
of Christians of all denominations in Trivandram, for
the visit of Sadhu Sundar Singh was an unprecedented
event that brought to many profound spiritual blessing.
One of our missionaries rightly said, " Such a figure has
never passed through the Indian Church before " ; and in
passing he left the deep consciousness that God had
visited His people.
The fame of the Sadhu had preceded him, for a few
had read the books published about his life and work,
and of these some looked for a day of miracles to dawn.
Most, however, were filled with desire to see and hear
him that they might receive the spiritual blessings
they believed possible from his ministry. That God
did not disappoint these hopes there arc numbers to-day
who could give joyful testimony.
As the train bringing Sadhu Sundar Singh to
Trivandram drew into the station, besides the mission
ary, a group of Indian Christians stood ready to accord
a welcome to him ; and upon arrival at the Mission
House a crowd had gathered for the same purpose, and
would hardly be persuaded to disperse in order to allow
the Sadhu to get a wash and some food.
A Wesleyan missionary thus describes the appearance
of the Sadhu : " The Sadhu has a noble presence. He
is tall, with a well-shaped head and fine features. . . .
His hands and feet are delicately formed and exquisitely
kept. He is scrupulously clean in person and attire.
The only dress he wears is the long orange robe of the
ascetic, which falls in graceful and dignified folds about
his body. No one can look upon him for the first time
without being struck by his close likeness to the tradi
tional portrait of Christ."
There are many things in this old land that give a
fresh understanding of the Bible, but no man of my
experience has made us realize so fully how our Saviour
lived and moved about in His day. During his visit to
Trivandram, whenever Sadhu Sundar Singh appeared in
public, wondering crowds followed him. Even the
children gathered behind him that they might touch
his yellow robe, and the sick were brought that he
might pray with them. It is almost impossible to
convince the people that he does not heal the sick, even
when the assurance comes from his own lips.
At one of his meetings a pathetic incident occurred
that brought vividly to mind how pur Lord was sought.
It was at a large open-air meeting. Some men appeared
carrying a sick man on a bed. They placed it gently
upon the ground in a place where the afflicted man
could behold the face and hear the words of the Sadhu.
He was a Christian from a village seven miles away,
and had been brought in overnight so as to be present
at this great gathering.
That very night another incident took place that
reminded us of the visit of Nicodemus to our Saviour.
At two o'clock, when all the world was locked in sleep,
a low rapping at the door announced the arrival of a
midnight guest. A caste man desirous of discussing
religious matters had come to see him. When explain
ing that he had felt ashamed to come in the daylight
the Sadhu replied, " Jesus Christ was not ashamed to
suffer for you on the cross in the daylight, so cannot
you suffer a little for Him ? " At the service next day
this gentleman took his courage in both hands, and
appeared amongst the crowd of Christians to listen to
the Sadhu preaching.
Sundar Singh has brought fresh visions of God and
Christ to us all, and many of us realize how by close
fellowship with Jesus, and complete obedience to His
will, he has become so conformed to his Lord that
wherever he goes people say, " How like Christ he is ! "
To see and hear him makes one's heart beat high
with hope for India's future, and with confidence that
the day will come when the east will have some new
aspect of our Saviour to discover to the west. For
thirty years we have waited for men to rise up who can
reach the heart of India, and surely none has come nearer
to doing this than this humble lover of the Cross', Sadhu
PERHAPS in no country in the world is more impor
tance attached to the proper observances of religion
than in India, and the greatest reverence is felt towards
men who adopt a religious life. For ages Indians have
learnt to place the man who renounces the world above
him who rules and conquers it. The power of the priest
is too well known to need mention here, and although the
spread of western education has done much to under
mine his influence, the family priest still reigns supreme
in the homes of India. But outside the priestly caste
there are numbers of men who take up a religious life,
and chief amongst them are those known as sddhus and
sanydsis. There is often confusion between these terms,
and they are supposed to be identical. The main differ
ence seems to be that the sadhu's is a life vowed to
religion from the beginning, whilst the sanyasi's may
begin at any time, even in old age.
Many Indians desire to consecrate their last years
to religion, so they cast off all family ties and all worldly
ambitions and responsibilities, and for the remainder
of their days practise the austerities of the sanyasi life.
It is generally understood that such men have fulfilled
all the ordinary obligations of life, having married and
had a family, and done * share of the world's work.
2 SADHU SUNDAR SINGH
A sadhu, however, early in life renounces the world and
all its pleasures. He never marries or enters upon the
ordinary occupations of the world.
The sadhu life is one of untold possibilities, of
tremendous temptations : a life that commands the
respectful attention of India, for it is a type of heroism
which dares to lose the world and all the world may
offer in its absolute self-abandonment. To one who
perfectly carries out this ideal, the proudest head in India
will always bow in reverence and humility. Both
sanyasi and sadhu adopt the saffron robe the time-
horioured dress which gives them the freedom of all
India. The simplicity of their life is such that they have
no home and carry no money, and amongst Hindus it
is an act of religious merit to provide them with shelter
From the earliest days this kind of life has had great
attractions for the pious minds of India, and during
the centuries men have voluntarily sacrificed the world
and all it stands for, that by all kinds of hardships and
self-denial they might satisfy the deep longings of the
soul. Numberless times men of noble aspiration have
by this means striven to obtain peace of soul and absorp
tion in the deity.
The commonest sight in any of the holy cities of India
is that of one or many sadhus practising the austerities
of their chosen lot, either by swinging over a slow fire,
holding up the right arm until it has stiffened and the
nails have grown through the back of the hand, sitting
on a bed of spikes, or under a vow of silence in medita
tion on the banks of some sacred stream. Unfortunately
this kind of life has been subject to the most terrible
abuse, and there is scarcely a more disgusting sight in
the world than the filthy beggar who, donning the saffron
robe, passes from house to house terrorizing the ignorant
SADHU AND SANYASI 3
inhabitants, and cursing them when he cannot wring
from their unwilling hands the gifts he asks.
The ordinary winter visitor to India cannot but be
impressed by the numerous signs he sees in all the holy
places he passes through, that many Indians are seek
ing God, " if haply they might feel after Him and find
Him." And whilst the sight of numberless filthy fakirs
awakens a sense of disgust and repulsion, surely no
Christian man can see the self-torture of many sanyasis
without a deep yearning to discover to them the great
secret of the peace they so arduously strive to find.
In India life can be lived at its simplest. The
climate enables men to do with little clothing, and to live
largely an out-of-door life. Except where the stream of
western life has turned men aside to greater luxury, the
Indian still feels satisfied with a simple diet and life.
Hence through the centuries, as earnest souls have gone
in quest of higher spiritual things, it is not surprising
that they have chosen the simplest possible life, and
added to its hardships by self-imposed austerities.
To people of western nations, with their harder climate
and different customs, such simplicity is impossible,
and to many even difficult to understand. The true
sadhu does not retire to a monastery where food and
shelter are assured. He wanders homeless from place
to place, possesses only the meagre clothes he wears,
and is utterly destitute.
Dr. Farquhar, in his Crown of Hinduism, says :
As long as the world lasts men will look back wjth wonder
on the ascetics of India. Their quiet surrender of every
earthly privilege, and their strong endurance of many forms
of suffering will be an inspiration to all generations of thinking
Indians. For nearly three thousand years the ascetics of
India have stood forth, a speaking testimony to the supremacy
of the spiritual.
4 SADHU SUNDAR SINGH
The ideal, is a great one. Christianize this ideal,
make it a renunciation for the sake of others, that
remaining " in the world but not of it " a man " shall
endure all things " in an untiring search for other souls,
and we have the noblest life attainable on earth.
SUNDAR SINGH AS SADHU
The Christian Patriot, a Madras paper, recently published
the following :
Sadhu Sundar Singh is the embodiment of an idea running
in the veins of every Indian, and inherited by him from the
distant past. Standing before men as the homeless Sadhu,
not knowing where his next meal will come from, without
worldly goods, he recalls to men's minds in these days the
great ideal of renunciation.
But in this case the ideal 'is realized in perfection, since
not for his own soul, but for the souls of others, he
" counts all things but loss " ; and his great renunciation,
entailing untold hardship, privation, suffering, and per
secution, is his daily offering to the Saviour who gave
His life for him.
Obeying the wishes of his dead and greatly loved
mother, Sundar unflinchingly faced the anger of his
Hindu relatives, the ridicule of his Christian brethren,
and even the mild hostility of his European friends, and
became a Christian Sadhu. Thirty-three days after his
baptism, when only a boy of sixteen, he took this step in
the firm belief that God had called him to this particular
kind of life and work. Since that day he has never
ceased to interpret the life of Him who had not where
to lay His head to Indians who have been taught to
6 SADHU SUNDAR SINGH
revere a holy life of self-denial. Thus does he commend
to his countrymen in truly eastern manner the great
things for which the Saviour gave His life. This new
method of preaching Christ has laid the Sadhu open to
a considerable amount of criticism in the past, but in
the form of a parable he explains that a Hindu will not
drink water from a foreign vessel even when dying of
thirst, but if that same water be offered to him in his
own brass vessel he will accept it.
It may be that the time has come when Indian
Christians must venture upon new forms of spiritual
enterprise, for they know the needs of their own country
men, have received the same traditions, and have the
same outlook on life. Beyond question the Sadhu's new
venture has brought untold blessing to many thousands
all over this great land of India.
By adopting the recognized dress of the sadhu, Sundar
Singh not only opens the door to all castes and classes
of society, but also even to the sacred precincts of the
zanana homes of India, where on various occasions
he has had unique opportunities of speaking for his Lord
to the great ladies of the land. His own words are :
The day I became a Sadhu I was wedded to these garments,
and I will never divorce them of my own will.
He has frequently been asked how long he means to
continue this life of self-abnegation, to which he replies :
As long as I am in this world, I have vowed my life to
Him, and His grace abiding I shall never bieak my vow.
Never long in one place, he wanders over the length
and breadth of India, meeting with all sorts and condi
tions of men, suffering the changes of climate from the
steamy tropical heat of Travancore and Ceylon to the
icy cold of Tibet. Without knowledge of how food or
raiment or lodging shall be provided from day to day,
SUNDAR SINGH AS SADHU 7
carrying no money or worldly possessions, Sadhu Sundar
Singh continues his pilgrimage in the service of his
fellowmen and to the glory of his Master Christ. In cold
or heat he wears the same clothes, and even in the bitter
cold of farthest Tibet he wears no shoes, for by " his
bleeding feet he attracts men to Christ." Wherever he
goes he carries a small copy of the New Testament in
Urdu, which with the help of nature and his own experi
ence is all he needs to enforce his powerful teaching.
In his book, The Manhood of the Master, Dr. Fosdick
says that " Jesus must have been the most radiant Man
of His time in Palestine." Looking at Sadhu Sundar
Singh it is easy to realize this, for to him suffering for
Christ is a real joy, and his face is expressive of the deep
peace and abounding joy he has in his dearest Saviotir,
Christ. During fourteen years of sadhu life Sundar
Singh has known all manner of trials, and endured much
suffering and persecution. Like his great predecessor
Paul, he has been " troubled on every side . . . per
plexed, but not in despair ; persecuted but not forsaken ;
cast down but not destroyed ; always bearing about in
the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life
also of Jesus may be made manifest " in his body (2 Cor.
SUNDAR THE MAN
A WESTERN missionary who has loved India through
a long life may perhaps be pardoned for writing this
chapter. Ever since meeting Sundar Singh the question
as to the great difference between him and most other
Christians, and also the Sadhu's unusual power of
drawing men to Christ, has been uppermost in his mind.
Absolute loss of all things and an entire submission to
the will of Christ together with a profound enthralling
love for his Saviour gives at least a partial answer to
In India as in our Lord's day " to the poor the Gospel
is preached," and has found acceptance, and brought to
many thousands a better life and a freer heritage. In
some cases there is trouble and loss and even persecu
tion, but the cases are few and far between where absolute
loss of all things is the price of following Christ.
But, as will be seen in a succeeding chapter, the
conversion of Sundar to Christ brought with it not only
the loss of all things but great persecution and hardship.
All he got by becoming a Christian was Christ ; and
this incomparable gift swamped everything else, so
that since that time it has been an ecstasy of delight to
him to suffer with and for his Master. When more of
India's sons accept the Saviour in this spirit, the
Christian Church in this land will enter into her rightful
SUNDAR THE MAN 9
heritage and become the evangelizing power that shall
bring India to her Saviour.
Wherein lies Sundar Singh's power to draw men to
Christ ? Early in life he had an awakened conscience,
and for long sought peace in the sacred books with
which he was familiar. Failing to find in them what
he sought he turned to the New Testament. Imagine
his ardent and highly-strung mind intent on the story
of Christ as related there ! A new Book not a worn-out
creed, nor the story of how Old Testament prophecies
had been fulfilled, nor yet a thing he had read from
a child and grown accustomed to ! There was no stale-
ness in the Gospel story to him. Christ walked this
earth again, lived and spoke in every line ; and as he
read, the marvel of the story grew, until obsessed by
the vision he counted all things as dross that he " might
win Christ and be found in Him." He had no books to
explain the New Testament or to cloud its meaning.
There were just the New Testament, God and his own
highly attuned soul a soul that had sought long and
hopelessly for God, and had found here all, and more
than he had sought.
The picture of this Hindu boy sitting under a tree
out of sight of friend, or foe, immersed in the reading of
his Urdu Testament ' and sobbing over its contents, is
one that brings tears to the eyes, and calls us to pause
and ask ourselves, " Have we so learned Christ ? " It
takes us back to foundation things, and stripped of our
learning and knowledge we cry out for that same simple
experience just to meet Christ as he did.
From those days to the present, Sundar Singh has
wandered in company with his Lord over the length
and breadth of India, with his Urdu New Testament in
his hand, and with Christ in his heart, and a look of
Christ upon his face.
10 SADHU SUNDAR SINGH
In The Goal of India the Rev. W. E. S. Holland says :
India is the spiritual mother of half mankind. . . . No
book that sets out to unveil for other peoples the heart of
India could put anything else but religion in the very fore
front. ... To the Indian that is all that really matters
. . . nothing else can ever satisfy his soul. The climax of
India's religious ideal has ever been renunciation. There is
something of the magnificent in the sadhu's measureless
contempt for suffering and hardship. . . . Christ will redeem
India's ancient ideal : India needs to see Christ as well as
hear about Him. . . . India needs the simple Christian, who
in a life of gentleness and patience, of lowly love and humble
service, will unveil to her the beauty of Christ.
Herein lies one great secret of Sadhu Sundar Singh's
power over men wherever he goes. Taking the old ideal
of renunciation he has spiritualized it, and men see in
him a reflection of the great renunciation of Christ Him
self not seeking suffering for suffering's own sake, as
is the case with Hindu asceticism, but enduring it with
cheerful acceptance as being the will of God for him.
In the words of Keshab Chandra Sen :
Behold Christ cometh to us as an Asiatic ... to fulfil and
perfect that religion of communion for which India has been
panting yea, after long centuries shall this communion be
perfected in Christ.
Sadhu Sundar Singh in himself reminds men of this
great fact, and looking beyond him they " Behold the
Man " who " for our sakes became poor."
Can one wonder that whenever he makes his public
appearances large crowds gather to hear him ? India
must be won for Christ by her own sons, and in Sundar
Singh we see a man whose appeal goes straight to the
heart of an Indian, be he Christian or otherwise. His
appearance, his utter self-abnegation and poverty, his
presentation of the Gospel message, even the manner of
his conversion combine to make that appeal irresistible
SUNDAR THE MAN 11
to the people of India. They 'understand and believe in
such a man. Thus this son of India possesses a key to
the hearts of his countrymen no foreigner can ever hope
to have, however great his love for India and her people
An Indian gentleman thus speaks of him :
A tall young man in flowing toga and a short black beard
delivering his message with the fire of a prophet and the
power of an apostle ! As the sweet words flowed from his
lips the Sadhu stood before us as a symbol of the spiritual
culture of the East set aglow in the resplendent light of the
Whilst an American adds :
The beauty that he daily gazes upon draws the deep souls
of India who have not yet beheld it, but have seen it in him.
His life is his power, and that life has to be lived to make
that power felt.
The Young Men of India for July, 1918, publishes the
It is almost an impossible task to present any appreciation
of him (the Sadhu) in words. He is a man who has taken
up the life of a sadhu because he believes that God has called
him to this method of labour for Him. He utterly disowns
the idea that in the life of the sadhu there is any intrinsic
and special holiness. . . . His addresses, like his personality,
are radiant with a calm, deep and glowing faith in God,
and it is impossible to be in his company without realizing
that he is one to whom God is a familiar friend. . . . He
conveys the message which is the heart of his own life through
addresses filled with vivid and often piquant illustrations
drawn from his own experience . . . and he presses home
his points with unforgetable similes and illustrations. It is
a fortunate thing for the Indian Church that the first man
who has become widely known as a Chi 1st i an Sadhu should
be one of such simple humble faith, and so purely a Christian
The Sadhu is not emotional or fanatical. Every gift
SADHU SUNDAR SINGH
he possesses he ascribes to Christ, and to Christ alone.
He belongs to no sect and is not a member of any
order. In himself he calls Indians back to simplicity,
self-sacrifice, and a pure whole-hearted devotion to
Christ, that seeks only after God and works perpetually
for the souls of men. Life to him is only of value so far
as it serves these great ends, and standing before men as
the embodiment of these ideals his appeal to India is
NATIONALITY AND BIRTH
SADHU SUNDAR SINGH is a Sikh by birth. The Sikhs arc,
for various reasons, of peculiar interest. Arising first
as a religious sect resolved to reform abuses and to
lead men back to a simpler purer worship, they eventu
ally developed into an organized military power.
Through four centuries they have had many and bitter
experiences, but pride of race, love of arms, and a stiff
clinging to their religious doctrines, are to this day
their great characteristics.
Cunningham, in his History of the Sikhs, says : -
During the sixteenth century whilst the Punjab was a
scene of endless contention for power amongst foreign races,
the religious sect of the Sikhs, humble in its origin, unpre
tending in its primitive character, silently arose amidst the
tumult of arms, and in spite of persecution laid the foundations
of a great state.
The home of the Sikhs is " The Country of the Five
Rivers," and a remarkable circumstance of the popula
tion 'of the Punjab is the comparative paucity of the
Sikhs in a country once ruled by them. The Sikhs do not
form a numerous sect, yet their strength is not to be
estimated by numbers, but by their unity and energy of
religious fervour and warlike temperament. They will
dare and endure much ; they arc not easily discouraged
14 SADHU SUNDAR SINGH
by defeat ; and they look forward hopefully to the day
when the double mission of Nanak and Govind Singh
shall become a dominant religion.
Some further account of the Sikhs will be found at
the end of the book, and from it will be seen some of the
national and religious influences under which Sundar
Singh was born. Captain Cunningham says :
A Sikh chief is not more distinguished by his stately person
and manly bearing than a minister of his faith is by a lofty
thoughtfulness of look, which marks the fervour of his soul,
and his persuasion of the near presence of the Divinity.
In religious faith and worldly aspiration they are wholly
different from other Indians.
From such a stock sprang Sundar Singh. His father
was Sirdar Sher Singh, a Sikh by descent, and to this
day a wealthy landowner in Rampur, in the State of
Patiala, where on September 8, 1889, Sundar was born ;
the youngest son in the family, but called to a higher
destiny than them all. One of the family is Sirdar
A. Nath Singh, commander of an Indian force in one of
the Sikh States, while others have risen to even higher
As a child Sundar was brought up in the lap of luxury.
Every year as the hot weather drew on, he was taken
with the family to spend the summer in the cooler air
of the Himalayas, usually to Simla.
His mother was a refined and gifted lady ; very
broadminded in her sympathies. She was on friendly
terms with the American Presbyterian Mission ladies,
and permitted their visits to her home. From his earliest
days the relationship between Sundar and his mother
was of the tenderest character. He was the youngest
of the family, and he seldom left her side. She would
often say to him, " You must not be careless and worldly
like your brothers. You must seek peace of soul and
NATIONALITY AND BIRTH
love religion, and some day you must become a holy
So frequently did he hear such words as these from
his mother's lips that he never contemplated any other
life than this of which she spoke. Wherever she went
her little son accompanied her, and she never ceased
to teach him the best things she knew. By the time he
was seven years of age he had learnt the Bhagavadgitd
from beginning to end in Sanskrit. And then, at the age
of fourteen, Sundar lost his dearest earthly friend. How
he missed her gentle companionship no one knows, but
to-day when he speaks of her his voice grows tender,
and he believes that were she alive she would be satisfied
to see him living and working as he is this day.
CALLED TO SEEK
" Ye shall seek Me and find Me when ye shall search for Me with
all your heart." Jeremiah xxix. 13.
IT has often been remarked that great men owe much
to the early training given by their mothers, and iu
the case of Sadhu Snndar Singh this is especially true.
From his earliest days the child not only accompanied
his mother on her visits to the temples but was carefully
taught by her to regard religion as the supreme thing
in life. He saw her reverence for the holy men she
often went to consult, and very early in life his impres
sionable mind seized upon the idea that of all lives that
of a holy sadhu was the best worth living.
Sundar learnt from his devout mother that there was
a peace of heart which needed earnest seeking, and
which, when found, would be the greatest treasure on
earth. So frequently did she speak of this to him that
as he grew in understanding the desire to gain this
precious gift grew in intensity. The little child who had
" rubbed his forehead on the temple door " and sat at the
feet of Hindu holy men, now began to seek for the
inestimable treasure he had learnt to regard as the one
thing worth obtaining in the world.
The Granth of the Sikhs, the sacred books of the
CALLED TO SEEK 17
Hindu religion, and even the Qur'an of the Muhammad-
ans, were all ceaselessly read and searched. Often when
his family lay asleep Sundar would sit poring over the
pages of one or other of these books. Many passages
and verses he learnt by heart, and yet with all his
increasing knowledge there only came to him a deeper
unrest of soul.
The priests of the temple, the sadhus he so often saw,
and even his pious mother, failed to bring him rest of
heart, although they quoted many passages from their
sacred books in the hope of helping him. Thus built up
in, but unsatisfied with, the faith of his fathers, and
without knowledge of Christ and Christianity, Sundar
was sent to learn at the mission school carried on by the
American Presbyterians in his own village. Here every
day the Bible was taught, and Sundar heard things that
aroused in his mind feelings of the deepest antagonism.
His Sikh blood was roused on the very first day by
his being told to read the Bible. "Why should I?
We are Sikhs and the Granth is our sacred book." But
Sundar, with a friend of his own age and standing, were
persuaded to obey the rule of the school, and then he
bought for himself a copy of the New Testament and
began to read it. But his horror was only increased
when he found its teaching utterly subversive of all
he had learnt and treasured from his childhood. A deep
inbred reverence for his own religion, almost amounting
to fanaticism, roused him beyond endurance. Soon he
became the ringleader of the boys in the school who
hated Christianity. Openly he tore up the hated pages
of his New Testament and burnt them in the fire.
Hearing of this his father expostulated with him, declaring
the BibJe to be a good book, and telling him that he
should have returned it to the missionary rather than
have treated it thus.
18 SADHU SUNDAR SINGH
Again Sundar turned to his own sacred books, this
time with an abhorrence for Christ and a greater deter
mination to find the peace of which his mother had
taught him. He not only arduously studied the Indian
religious systems and holy books, but also practised
" Yoga " under a Hindu sadhu, and learnt how to throw
himself into mystic trances, which brought temporary
relief, although when he came out of the trance he was
more miserable than before. He was taken away from
the mission school and sent to a government school three
miles away from his home. The daily long walk in the
fierce Indian sun soon began to tell on his health, and
before long it became apparent that he must return to
the mission school if he was to finish his education.
All this time he had been diligent in his search for
peace, and the constant cry of his heart was for shanti
that comprehensive Hindi term that means not only
peace but a full satisfaction of soul. But the more he
longed the greater was his disappointment when he
found himself growingly filled with a deep soul-hunger
that nothing would satisfy.
Back in the mission school Sundar once more found
the Gospel in his hand, and again listened to the daily
teaching of the Bible. Then returned upon him his
old hatred of Christianity, and the very name of Christ
filled his mind with angry resentment. So strong
were his feelings at that time that on one occasion, when
the shadow of a Christian missionary fell across him, he
spent a whole hour in washing away the pollution.
Sundar speaks of this period as one of the most trying of
his life, for he had come to the end of his own religion
without discovering the shanti he was in search of, and
his deep-rooted hatred of Christianity prevented him
from even looking into the Christian sacred book for
this "pearl of great price,"
CALLED OF GOD
" Blessed are they .that hunger and thirst after righteousness :
for they shall be filled." Matthew v. 6.
" Come unto Me . . . and I will give you rest." Matthew xi. 28.
THUS far God had led Sundar by a way he knew not,
and it seemed only to lead him into blacker night.
Having studied line by line all the religions he knew,
having heard from the lips of many religious teachers
all they had to tell, and in spite of all still experiencing
a deeper and more unsatisfied longing for the slianti he
believed possible, Sundar was led by God to see that in
none of these things could he find what he sought. In
the silent sanctuary of his own heart came the thought
at last, that perhaps in the despised book he had so
furiously destroyed there might be some help, and so he
yet again took the Testament in hand. Torn with
anguish and driven to despair he read there, " Come
unto Me . . . and I will give you rest." The words
arrested him, and as he continued to read the story of
the cross the wonder grew. No longer did he join with
His class-mates in their open abuse of the Christian
religion. Sometimes he was discovered in quiet con
verse with the Christian teacher. Eventually these
20 SADHU SUNDAR SINGH
things were noticed and duly reported to his parents, but
his father took little notice, for the boy had been well
grounded in the Sikh religion by his devout, mother, and
was imbued with its beliefs.
But the leaven of the Gospel had entered his heart,
and as he read, " God so loved the world that He gave
His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him
should not perish but have everlasting life," a whisper of
comfort came to his sore heart. But still the burden of
anguish prevented him finding rest. At last he felt he
must put an end to the struggle. So one night he made
a firm resolve that he would obtain peace before dawn
either in this world or the next. He knew that at five
o'clock each morning the Ludhiana express passed at
the bottom of his father's garden, and to end his misery
seemed no sin to the Hindu boy.
In Hindu fashion he bathed, and with Testament in
hand he retired to his room to spend the long night in
reading, meditation and prayer. Just before dawn
Sundar became conscious of a bright cloud filling the
room, and in the cloud he saw the radiant figure and
face of Christ. As he looked upon the vision it seemed
to him that Christ spoke saying, " Why do you oppose
Me ? I am your Saviour. I died on the cross for you."
His determined enmity was broken down for ever as he
looked upon that Face so filled with Divine love and
pity, and with conviction came a sublime sense of
forgiveness and acceptance with Christ. At that moment
there flashed into his heart the great shanti he had
sought so long. Rising from his knees the vision faded,
but from that hour Christ has remained with him, and
shanti has been his dearest possession. With a heart
brimming over with joy Sundar went to his father's
room and told him that he was a Christian. Unable to
believe that his son could be in earnest, the father urged
CALLED OF GOD
him to go to rest, and believing all was right he fell
asleep again. But that memorable night the thorn-
crowned Jesus had called Sundar Singh to follow in His
steps, and from that night the cross of Jesus was to be
his joyous theme, until that cross shall lift him into the
presence of his Saviour for evermore.
CALLED TO SUFFER I
" A man's foes shall be they of his own household." Matt. x. 30.
" For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to
believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake." Phil. i. 29.
FOR nine months from that night onwards Sundar
Singh was to pass from sorrow to sorrow, until he had
drunk the cup of suffering to its bitterest dregs, for all
that time he remained in his father's house.
When it became known that he had chosen Jesus as
his master, it seemed too heinous a thing for any member
of his family to believe. That one of their number,
belonging as they did to a proud and influential family,
should dream of joining the despised sect of the Christians,
none could contemplate. The father, with much earnest
pleading and tenderness, urged his son to put aside
such degrading and foolish thoughts ; to remember the
high estate he had been born to, and the noble prospects
that lay before him. He unrolled before the eyes of
Sundar visions of wealth and honour, of high positions
awaiting him ; but, seeing these things made no impres
sion, he portrayed to him the shame and disgrace that
would befall his family if he persisted in his present
course. The father knew his son's heart, and the love
that heart still held for his mother and kindred.
CALLED TO SUFFER 23
None but Sundar can tell the temptations of that
dreadful hour. Anguish filled his soul that he should
bring reproach on those he loved. At that moment
too were spread before him the temptations, ambitions
and glitter of the world ; and once more he was to
feel the power of earth's attractions and earth's love.
But God had not called Sundar from despair and dark
ness to let him fall a prey to . these temptations. It
seemed to him that Jesus whispered, " He that loveth
father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me,
and he that taketh not his cross and followeth Me is not
worthy of Me." Only when he saw his father's tears
did poor Sundar's heart almost break, but even as he
declared his love for his father he had strength given to
speak of a greater love for One who had called him to
follow Him, and whom he could not disobey. Such scenes
of pathos are not to be dwelt upon in the pages of a book.
About this time, when it was fully realized that
Sundar had made up his mind to follow Christ, a fresh
attempt was made to turn him aside and to win him back
to his old faith. An honoured uncle, the possessor of
great wealth, one day took him off to his large house,
and led him to a deep cellar below the main building.
Taking him inside the uncle locked the door and Sundar
wondered whether his last hour had come. But, taking
a key, his uncle stepped forward and unlocked a large
safe. Throwing open the door there was revealed to
the boy's eyes such wealth as he had never dreamt of.
Rolls of bank notes, priceless jewels, and quantities of
money were what he saw. His uncle then besought
him not to disgrace the family name by becoming a
Christian, and taking his puggaree from his own head he
laid it on Sundar's feet, as the last and humblest suppli
cation he could make, with the words, " All these shall
be yours if you will remain with us."
24 SADHU SUNDAR SINGH
Sundar felt this temptation keenly, for not only did
the sight of such riches dazzle his eyes, but his heart was
deeply moved by his uncle's condescension in thus
humiliating himself to the youngest son of the house
hold. Sundar's eyes filled with tears as he beheld the
puggaree lying on his feet marking the disgrace which
he must bring on those he loved, and his uncle standing
bareheaded before him. But at that moment his heart
became filled to overflowing with such love and devotion
to Christ that refusal came easily to his lips, and with
it came such a sense of divine approbation and accept
ance of his dearest Saviour as strengthened every holy
resolution to be faithful to his Lord. After that his
father made it plain to him that he was no longer a
son of the house but an outcast.
Both Sundar and a Sikh class-mate had read the
New Testament with the same result, that they found
Christ. But they were not of an age to take the great
step of confessing Christ publicly, and so were obliged to
remain in their Hindu homes. The relatives of Sundar's
friend brought a case into the law courts charging the
American missionaries with compelling the boy to
become a Christian. Upon appearing before the magis-
strate the boy bore steady witness to the faith that was
in him, and being questioned, he took a New Testament
from his pocket and holding it in his hand replied,
" Not because of the Padri Sahib but by reading this
Injil, I believe on Christ, so let the Padri Sahib go."
Thus the case fell through, and for some time longer
Sundar and his friend were forced to remain with their
relatives until they were able to take the momentous
step that was to mean so much to them both later on.
It is easy to see how, when all persuasion and the
temptations of a great career failed to turn aside the
boy from his set purpose, the bitterest hostility was
CALLED TO SUFFER 25
aroused amongst his people. His own brother proved
his fiercest enemy, and day by day Sundar suffered bitter
persecution at his hand. No language was too foul to be
used against him and his " Jesus," and with redoubled
care he had to steal away where no eye could see him, if
he was to refresh his soul by the reading of his precious
New Testament. He was taken away from the mission
school, which was eventually broken up and had to be
closed because of the persecution. Nor was this all, for
the open hostility of the villagers became so great that the
small Christian community, no longer able to procure
food at the shops, was obliged to withdraw to more
friendly quarters, leaving Sundar alone and friendless.
As the storm increased in fury Sundar saw that it
was impossible for him to remain in his father's house,
and so eventually he made his way to the headquarters
of the American Presbyterian Mission in Ludhiana,
where the missionaries received him kindly and took care
of him. Special arrangements were made for the cooking
of his food to prevent trouble with his family, and
Sundar entered the high school to continue his educa
tion. The sensitive boy had high ideals as to what
Christians ought to be, and before long he discovered that
his school-mates were for the most part only nominally
Christian, and the conduct of some of them caused him
to leave the mission and retrace his steps homewards.
Arrived at Rampur his parents naturally thought he
had given up Christianity and received him with great
kindness. But they were speedily disillusioned, for
they soon found him to be a more determined follower
of Jesus than before.
Sundar now took the final step that was to place
him hopelessly outside the pale of his religion, commu-
nityi and family, by cutting short his long hair the sign
to all that he was no longer a Sikh. Sikhs are instructed
26 SADHU SUNDAR SINGH
in their sacred book, the Granth, never to cut the hair,
and every true Sikh glories in his hair. Among various
races of India the long tuft of hair is regarded with
special reverence, and is the last sign of Hinduism a
caste man lays aside when he becomes a Christian. So
Sundar in cutting his hair brought ostracism on himself,
and at the same time it was an unmistakable declaration
for Christ and His cross. Then fell on this poor boy
the bitterest blow of all. He was to be disowned, cast
out, treated only as the lowest of the low, and that by
those who loved him best. The Apostle Paul wrote,
" We are made as the off scouring of all things," and this
was the treatment meted out to a boy of sixteen, who
up to this point had not entirely cast in his lot with
Christians. He was ho longer counted as one of the
family. His food was served to him outside the house,
just as if he belonged to the * untouchables,' and he was
made to sleep in the same place. The first time this was
done the poor boy's eyes filled with tears, and the weight
of his cross seemed more than he could bear.
Shortly after this, one of Sundar's brothers-in-law,
who was in the service of the Raja of Nabha, took him
for a day or two to stay at his own house, in the hope
of bringing him to a different state of mind. It was then
that the Raja heard of the matter, and he summoned
Sundar to appear before the bar of the State Assembly
(Durbar) to account for his conduct. The Raja used
much persuasive language, and made glowing offers to
him ; moreover he made a stern appeal to his pride of
race, reminding him that he was a Singh (lion) and that
to be a Christian was to become a dog. Whatever
answer Sundar made it must have been given to him in
that 'very hour what he should speak, for neither argument
nor appeal nor yet offers of high position were able to
move him in his resolution to follow Christ at all costs.
CALLED TO SUFFER 27
He then returned home, and immediately all the
pent-up anger of his father was let loose upon him.
The helpless boy was cursed, disowned, and told that
on the following morning he must go forth from his
ancestral home. With a sorely wounded heart that
night he lay down for the last time on his father's
verandah to sleep. Before sunrise the following day he
was cast forth with nothing but the thin clothes he
wore, and enough money to take him to Patiala by rail.
Homeless, friendless, and utterly destitute, Sundar
turned his back on the home of his childhood.
Jesus, I my cross have taken,
All to leave and follow Thee ;
Destitute, despised, forsaken,
Thou from hence my All shalt be.
CALLED TO SUFFER II
" Thou art called, and hast professed a good confession before
many witnesses." 1 Timothy vi. 12.
As Sundar sat in the train the thought came to him
that in Ropur there was a little colony of Christians
some from Rampur, whither they had fled when persecu
tion made life impossible in their own village and so
stepping out of the train he made his way to the house
of the kind Indian pastor and his good wife. It was by
the providence of God that Sundar did this, for very soon
after his arrival he fell violently ill and a physician had
to be called in. Then it became known that a deadly
poison had been mixed in the food given him before
leaving home. It was not the intention of his friends that
they should be degraded in the eyes of the world, but
rather that he should die in the train. All that night
the good pastor's wife sat by his side waiting for the
end to come, for the physician pronounced the case
hopeless and departed with the promise to come in the
morning to the funeral.
Sundar lay in mortal pain with blood flowing from
his mouth and his strength ebbing fast. But as he lay,
there came to him the profound belief that God had not
called him out of darkness to die without witnessing to
CALLED TO SUFFER 21
his faith in Christ, so he began to pray with all his
remaining powers. When morning came he was still
alive, though exceedingly weak. The physician came
according to his promise and was amazed to find the
boy alive. So deeply impressed was he that he took a
copy of the New Testament and began to study it.
In this way the physician himself became a believer
in Christ, and to-day is working as a missionary in
Sundar's friend, in taking the same step, received
similar treatment, for his relatives also offered him
poisoned food to eat. While Sundar lay between life and
death his friend's short but heroic witness to the power
of Christ came to an end, and he passed to the presence
of his Redeemer to be " for ever with the Lord."
When Sundar was sufficiently strong to undertake
the short journey to Ludhiana he went back to the kind
care of the American missionaries there. Whilst there
several attempts were made by his relatives to get
him away, and violence was used on one of these occa
sions, so that the police had to be called in to quell the
disturbance. But the most trying occurrence to Sundar
was when his aged father came to make a last appeal
in the hope of drawing him away. The sight of the
father's stricken face and figure made a deep impression
on the boy, and as the old man spoke of the great love
of his mother and happy days of his childhood, there
passed in fleeting panorama before Sundar's mind all
the happiness of his old home, and the love that had
sheltered his early days. His tears scorched his cheeks,
whilst a mighty struggle went on in his heart. But
he was not left to struggle alone, for One stood by him
and reinforced his soul's resolve to take up his cross
and follow Him. As his father turned to go away the
last great sacrifice was made, and Sundar stood as he
30 SADHU SUNDAR SINGH
does to-day stripped of all that life can offer but
accepted of his Lord. These long months, so full of
trial and hardship, had been a supreme test, and every
fresh sorrow only added sweetness and firmness to the
character of this remarkable boy.
After these events it became necessary for Sundar
to go away where he would be protected from his enemies,
and he was sent to the American Medical Mission at
Sabathu, a small place twenty-three miles from Simla,
where he was free from persecution, and able to give his
mind completely to the study of his beloved New
Testament. Set free from all earth's ties, he became
increasingly anxious to confess Christ by baptism.
Again and again he begged that he might be allowed to
take this step, and eventually on his birthday, September
3, 1905, the Rev. J. Redman baptized him in the Church
of England at Simla. Next day Sundar returned to
Sabathu, and knowing that he was " buried with Him in
baptism . . . risen with Him through faith " (Col. ii. 12)
his heart was filled to overflowing with happiness. The
Aveary struggles of the past months faded in the presence
of this new joy of bearing the name of the dear Master
for whom already he had suffered so much.
His heart now became filled with a burning desire
to make known to others the Saviour to whom he had
given himself so unreservedly, and with eager joy he
began to look forward to the great work to which his
life was to be dedicated. During the hard days of his
search after God Sundar had made a vow that if God
would lead him into peace he would sacrifice all that
life could offer him. And now the day had come when
he could make an utter self-surrender for Jesus Christ.
He had long felt drawn to the life of a sadhu, and know
ing what ' such a life involved, he willingly made the
final sacrifice for it. His books and personal belongings
CALLED TO SUFFER 31
were soon disposed of, and on October 6, 1905, just
thirty-three days after his baptism, he adopted the
simple saffron robe that was to mark him off for all time
as one vowed to a religious life. With bare feet and no
visible means of support, but with his New Testament
in his hand and his Lord at his side, Sadhu Sundar
Singh set out on the evangelistic campaign that has
lasted to this day.
CALLED TO SERVE
" It pleased God who . . . called me by His grace to reveal His
Son in me, that I might preach Him among the heathen. 1 '
Galatians i. 15-16.
" Ye shall be witnesses unto Me ... in Jerusalem." Acts i. 8.
SUNDAR was now embarked on a life of such complete
self-abnegation and suffering as falls to the lot of few
men in this world. His path from Hinduism to Christ
had been one of thorns all the way. But, after his
vision of the thorn-crowned Jesus and his acceptance
of the peace his Saviour brought, nothing seemed too
great to give up for Him. In the undying words of
Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were an offering far too small ;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.
Nothing less than 'all sufficed to satisfy his ardent nature,
and one cannot wonder that on entering the sadhu
life in that spirit he determined, as he says, that " His
grace abiding " he would live no other, so long as life
was his to spend for Christ.
Though but a boy in years, the heart of Sadhu Sundar
CALLED TO SERVE 83
Singh then, as now, was filled with a divine passion
for human souls, and his intense devotion and love
for the Lord Jesus caused him to choose as his first
field of labour his own village, from which he had been
driven only u short time previously. Only a few months
after his rejection by his family the young Sadhu
returned to the familiar streets of Rampur, and there in
every street he bore faithful witness to the power of the
Saviour and the new-found happiness he had in Him.
Not only so, but even the zanana doors of Rampur were
opened to him, and he went from house to house telling
the women the same wonderful story. From there, and
alone, he passed on to the villages round about, and fear
lessly testified to the people everywhere of the great
peace, only obtainable through Jesus Christ.
He then continued his way through many other
towns and villages of the Punjab, working his way up
towards Afghanistan and Kashmir. This was a long and
extremely arduous tour, and, unused to the hardships
of sadhu life, Sundar suffered severely from the cold
and privations of the way. Moreover the work was
difficult, for his message met with little response. It
was however at the ancient city of Jalalabad in Afghanis
tan that he met some Pathans, who, planning his destruc
tion, were eventually willing to receive his message.
An account of this will be found in a later chapter.
Up to this point it seems as if God had, little by little,
weaned Sundar from all that life holds dear. Relatives,
wealth, home, had all gone for Christ. Entering the new
world of Christians the comfort and almost certain
preferment that would have been his, were to count for
naught to him who had set out on his first t?ur to make
Christ known in the heathen villages amongst the moun
tains. The cold pierced his thin clothing, the thorns and
stones cut his bare feet. The nights came with no
34 SADHU SUNDAR SINGH
certainty of shelter from the bitter winds and pouring
rain, and the grey dawn often brought days of hunger and
suffering such as he had never known. Even his fervent
soul quailed at the hardship that seemed to bring so little
return, for often his message was discredited and he him
self cast forth to spend a hungry night in caves or any
poor shelter the jungle might afford. His sadhu's clothes
gave him entrance everywhere, but often when it was
discovered that he was a Christian, Sundar was driven
hungry and helpless from the villages to live or die.
But nothing can discourage him. Incapable of
drawing back in face of danger or death itself, Sadhu
Sundar Singh continues his sublime mission in the
darkest corners 1 of India and the regions beyond. Year
in and out he has laboured for the souls of men in plain
and mountain, in city and village, and amongst the
scattered peoples and wandering tribes on the frontiers
of India. It has been amongst these peoples that he has
suffered so severely, but amongst them too he has had
the supreme joy not only of making Christ known, but
of leading men to His feet. His chief work has been
done amongst non-Christians, to whom he feels God's
call to be clear and unmistakable.
CALLED TO PREACH
" For I determined not to know anything among you, save
Jesus Christ, and Him rrucified." 1 Corinthians ii. 2.
VERY weary after his long and hard journey through
the Punjab, Kashmir, Baluchistan and Afghanistan, the
Sadhu retraced his steps and came to Kotgarh, a small
place beyond Simla in the Himalayas, where he remained
a time for rest. This little place will always be associated
with Sundar Singh, for early in his career he laboured
there, and it is to Kotgarh still that he retires for a brief
rest between his tours, or before starting on his arduous
journeys into the closed lands of Tibet and Nepal.
During the summer of 1906, Sundar met Mr. Stokes,
who was staying near Ketgarh. This wealthy American
gentleman had come to India to labour for her people,
and for the glory of God. Meeting the Sadhu fired
his heart, and filled him with a desire to join him in
his arduous life. After prayer and thought Mr. Stokes
took this step, and the two Sadhus took a journey
together through the Khangra valley.
Food and shelter were difficult to obtain, and the
two brothers suffered much, but their work was good
and their fellowship sweet. It was during this journey
36 SADHU SUXDAR SINGH
that Sundar Singh fell ill. The two Sadhus had travelled
together for some hundreds of miles, sharing the same
hardships, often being obliged to seek shelter in the
common filthy serais, and often subsisting on the barest
and roughest diet, and little enough of that. They were
passing through very unhealthy country when Sundar
was seized with fever and severe internal pains.
Shaking with ague, burning with fever and always in
pain, he dragged on until at last he could walk no
longer. He sank on the .path almost unconscious, and
Mr. Stokes moved him into an easier position, enquiring
at the same time as to how he was. No complaint ever
passes the lips of the Sadhu whatever his lot, and Mr.
Stokes was not at all surprised to receive the reply he
did. With a smile, though in a feeble voice, the Sadhu
answered, " I am very happy. How sweet it is to suffer
for His sake." Those who know the Sadhu best know
that " this is the key-note of .iis life."
It was a wild and jungly place where this happened,
and Mr. Stokes was in great difficulty, but he succeeded
in getting the sick man to the house of a European some
miles away, where he was nursed to health again. The
kind host was at that time without any care for religion,
but day by day he saw the example of the Sadhu and
heard such things from his lips as caused him to think
deeply, until he became a truly converted man. Thus
was this illness blessed to the saving of one soul who
found joy and peace in Christ Jesus.
Mr. Stokes possessed a magic lantern which the Sadhu
borrowed and used in Rampur and other places for
street preaching at night, when large numbers of people
gathered to see the pictures and hear the explanation.
Thus unwearicdly, night and day, the two Sadhus passed
from place to place, doing most of their travelling by
night, because the sun was too fierce for Mr. Stokes
CALLED TO PREACH 87
to bear its rays on his unprotected head. It was at
this time that Mr. Stokes spoke so appreciatively of the
work of the Sadhu, who, though not much more than a
boy, was so filled with his message that wherever he
went people were under a strange compulsion to listen
to what he said.
In 1907 the two Sadhus laboured in the Leper Asylum
at Sabathu, and later in the year they went down to
Lahore to work amongst the plague-stricken in the
Plague Camp there. They toiled unremittingly day and
night, allowing themselves only brief hours of respite,
and even these were spent lying on the ground amongst
the sick and dying.
The next year Mr. Stokes went to America on
furlough and Sundar was once more left alone. From
Lahore he went on to Sindh, returning through Rajputana
to North India again, and then as the hot weather drew
on he made his first journey into the closed land of
Tibet. In all these places the Gospel was preached
incessantly, and no man who came across the Sadhu
went away without hearing that Jesus had come into
the world to save sinners.
After his return from 'Tibet he had a great desire to
go to Palestine, in the belief that to see the place where
his Saviour had lived and died would inspire him to
fuller and better service. But when he reached Bombay
he found it impracticable, so in 1909 he returned to
North India through the Central Provinces, preaching
as he went.
WHAT WISDOM is THIS ?
" From whence hath this Man these things ? and what wisdom
is this which is given unto Him . . . ? Mark vi. 2.
THAT Sundar Singh was taught of God was unmistak
ably shown by the wonderful hearing he got amongst
non-Christians thus early in his career. His friends
recognized that he possessed unusual powers, and that
his presentation of the Gospel held people by its attrac
tiveness and persuasiveness. So much was this the case
that they felt it desirable to widen the sphere of his
operations by including the Christian community among
those to whom he went. But for this some definite
preparation was needed and they advised him to join
the St. John's Divinity College, Lahore. This he did,
passing on entry the examination usually imposed at the
close of the first year, and proceeding at once to the
second year's course. The years 1909 and 1910 were
spent in study, and during vacation time he continued
his evangelistic werk as heretofore.
Sundar still wore the saffron robe. The sadhu idea
for a Christian was something quite new at that time,
and was a cause of considerable doubt to many. But
he never swerved from his first resolution, although the
40 SADHU SUNDAR SINGH
criticism he was often subjected to, tended to make
these years hard for him.
Whilst Sundar was in college Mr. Stokes returned
from furlough, having gone to England and there started
the idea of a brotherhood, whose work should be exclu
sively for the glory of God and the help of man, in what
ever form it might present itself not necessarily the
work of preaching. The humbler and harder the labours,
the better ! The Archbishop of Canterbury was
approached on the matter, and seemed to think it would
be a good thing, so that after Mr. Stokes returned
to India this brotherhood was started with five persons,
the only Indian being the Sadhu. The brotherhood was
inaugurated in a solemn service in Lahore Cathedral,
when two of the five took the vows, but Sundar remained
a novice, having already vowed himself to the life of a
sadhu for Christ's sake.
Upon leaving college he was recommended for
deacon's orders by the Diocesan Mission Council and
was granted a licence to preach. Soon after leaving
college his heart turned to Tibet, whither he went for
the six months of hot weather, returning to Kotgarh,
where he worked in connexion with the Church Mission
ary Society for some time.
Like the great English preacher, John Wesley, the
Sadhu looked upon the world as his parish, and he
preached everywhere and to all who would give heed to
his message. It was not long before dissatisfaction was
expressed at his methods of work. He was told that
in deacon's orders it was undesirable, and that as a priest
it would be impossible, to continue working in this way.
The pure and simple spirit of the man never for a moment
staggered or stayed to contemplate what would be the
result if he declined to obey. The sheltered life of a
priest with its possibilities of preferment held no temptation
WHAT WISDOM IS THIS?
for Sundar. On his knees and in the quiet of his
own spirit he settled the momentous question, and then
took the step that for ever set him free of all sects. He
returned his licence to preach, to his Bishop, explaining
that he felt called to preach to all, and wherever God sent
him. Bishop Lefroy (late Metropolitan of India), with a
generous large-hcartedncss, accepted the reason with the
The great crisis of his career was safely past. From
that day Sadhu Sundar Singh made himself the possession
of Christians of all creeds, and also set himself free for a
mighty work amongst non-Christians all over India.
EARLY EXPERIENCES AS A SADHU
' He which converteth a sinner from the error of his way shall
save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins." James
" Joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth."
Luke xv. 7.
THE years 1911 and 1912 were spent in touring in
Garhwal, Nepal, Kulu, the Punjab, and many other
places, whilst each year during the six months of hot
weather the Sadhu went alone to Tibet. The following
incidents give some idea of his life and work at that time.
Sundar Singh was one day making his way to a certain
village when he caught sight of two men in front of him,
one of whom suddenly disappeared. A little further on
he overtook the remaining man, who accosted him, and
pointing to a sheeted figure on the ground told the Sadhu
that this was his friend who had died by the way, and
he had no money to bury him. Sundar had only his
blanket and two pice which had been given him for the
toll bar, but these he gave to the man and passed on his
way. He had not gone far when the man came running
after him, and sobbed out that his companion was really
dead. The Sadhu did not understand, until he began to
explain that it was their custom to take it in turns to
prey on the public by pretending one of them was dead.
EARLY EXPERIENCES AS A SADHU W
This they had done for years, but that day when the man
went back to call his friend there was no response, and
on lifting the cloth he was horror-stricken to find him
actually dead. The wretched man sought the Sadhu's
forgiveness, being assured that here was some great saint
whom he had robbed of all he had, and thus had the dire
displeasure of the gods fallen upon them. Then Sundar
spoke to him of the Lord of life, and in that penitent
moment the man accepted the message. He sent him
to a mission station near Garhwal, where in due time he
On one of his long journeys in the mountains the
footpath divided at a certain point, and he was in doubt
as to which path to take. He chose the wrong one, and
upon arrival at a village he found he had gone eleven
miles out of his way. Turning back Sundar met a man
with whom he entered into conversation, and began to
speak to him of Christ. Then the man produced, from
the folds of his clothes a copy of the New Testament,
which he confessed to having hid when lie saw the Sadhu
coming, in the belief that he was a Hindu sanyasi. The
man had doubts to which he could find no solution, but
Sundar so dealt with them that the man found Christ.
In speaking of this to the writer, Sundar remarked :
" Then I knew why I had gone astray, for Christ had
sent me to help this anxious soul."
At Narkanda the Sadhu found some men reaping in
a field. Joining them he spoke to them, as they worked,
of Jesus and eternal things. At first they listened with
indifference and then with disapprobation. They had no
mind to hear about a strange religion. Some of the men
began to curse and threaten him, and one took a stone
and hit him on the head. After a time the man who had
thrown the stone was seized with a severe headache and
had to stop work. The Sadhu then took up the scythe
44 SADHU SUNDAR SINGH
and reaped with the others. This softened their hearts
and at the end of the day the men invited him to accom
pany them home. In the quiet of the evening a better
opportunity was afforded for the giving of his message,
and then he went away. The reapers, having rested,
began to take stock of the harvest gathered that day,
and to their astonishment found a greater yield than
they had had in previous years. They were then afraid,
and declared amongst themselves that a holy man had
visited them and this increase was proof of .it. Then
they strove to find the Sadhu, that they might give better
heed to his message, but found him nowhere.
This incident was published in a North Indian paper,
TJie Nur Afshan, by one of the men present on the
occasion, who made an appeal through its pages to Sundar
to return amongst them that they might receive his
At the ancient city of Jalalabad the Sadhu found
himself amongst a cruel and treacherous people, who
seeing he was a Christian laid a plot to take his life.
Sitting to rest himself, the news was brought to him by
one less evil-disposed than the rest, but as he had done
nothing to warrant such a thing he, found it difficult to
believe it possible. However, he decided to take the
warning and to seek a safer retreat. Only the common
serai, infested with mosquitoes and viler insects remained,
so to this he went. Next morning, when he had lit a fire
and was drying his wet clothes, a number of Pathans
arrived. Much to his amazement the foremost of these
men came in and fell at his feet. The Pathan then
explained how they had sought to take his life, but seeing
him had altered their intention, for instead of his being
frozen as they had expected, he was well and none the
worse for his experiences. They were driven to believe
that here was one favoured of Allah, and they begged
EARLY EXPERIENCES AS A SADHU
that he would accept of their hospitality and accompany
them home. The Sadhu spent a very happy week with
them, and they gave good heed to his teaching, so that
he believes there will be fruit of his labours amongst
these rough and hardened men.
OBEDIENCE BY SUFFERING
' Yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered."
Hebrews v. 8.
** I count ull things but loss . . . that I may know Him . . .
and the fellowship of His suffering." Phil. iii. 8, 10.
Xo one but Sadhu Sundar Singh' himself knows hcnv
great have been his sufferings during his years of service
for his Master. He admits that very often he has gone
without proper food, being reduced to eating the berries
and produce of the jungle, and many a night he has
been driven from the villages and been obliged to sleep
under trees or in eaves of the earth. The parts of India
where the chief of his work has been done are no places
for such a life, so that it is not surprising that on more
than one occasion the Sadhu has shared his miserable
shelter with a snake or wild animal.
At a village in the district of Thoria the people behaved
so badly to him that his nights were always spent in the
jungle as long as he was working amongst them. On a
particularly dark night, after a discouragingly hard day,
the Sadhu found a cave where he spread his blanket and
lay down to sleep. When daylight came it revealed the
horrible spectacle of a large leopard still asleep close to
him. The sight almost paralysed him with fear, but
once outside the cave he could only reflect upon the
great providence of God that had preserved him while
OBEDIEN'CE BY SUFFERING 47
he slept. His own words are : " Never to this day has
any wild animal done me any harm/'
On another occasion, being driven out of certain
village, Snndar went to meditate on a rock close to a
cave. Deep in contemplation, it was some time before
he noticed that he was being stealthily observed by a
black panther that was crouching not far away. ' Filled
with fear but putting his trust in God, he quietly rose
and walked forward as if nothing were there. He got
away safely to the village, and when the people knew
of his escape they declared he must be a very holy man,
since this very panther had killed several people from
that village. They then gathered round to receive the
message which they had spurned before, and so Sundar
again thanked God and took courage.
One morning a number of sadhus were gathered on
the banks of the Ganges at a place called Hishi Kesh
amidst a crowd of religious bathers, and amongst them
stood Sadhu Sundar Singh, Testament in hand, preach
ing. Some were listening in a mildly interested way,
whilst others joked and scoffed at the man and his
message. Unexpectedly a man from the crowd lifted up
a handful of sand and threw it in his eyes, an act that
roused the indignation of a better-disposed man, who
handed the offender over to a policeman. Meanwhile
the Sadhu went down to the river and washed the sand
from his eyes. Upon his return he begged for the release
of the culprit and proceeded with his preaching. Sur
prised by this act and the way he had taken the insult,
the man, Vidyananda, fell at his feet begging lu's forgive
ness, and declaring a desire to understand more of
what the Sadhu was speaking about. This man became
a seeker after truth, and afterwards accompanied him
on his journey, learning with meekness from his lips the
story of redeeming love.
48 SADHU SUNDAR SINGH
Very early in his pilgrimages Sundar travelled through
a number of villages, one of which was called Doliwala.
The day had been a hard one, the march very long, and
the Sadhu arrived utterly exhausted and badly in need
of food and rest. Walking down the village street he
asked again and again for some shelter where he ;night
spend the night, but in every place -when it was dis
covered that he was a Christian he was driven away.
Heavy rain was falling and it was bitterly cold. Wearied
almost to death, Sundar sought refuge in a ruined hut of
two rooms, without doors or windows. At least he was
out of the rain, and thanking God he laid his blanket in
the driest spot and went hungry to bed.
Soon he fell asleep, and did not wake until the chilly
grey dawn came. In the half-darkness he saw a black
object coiled up in his blanket close beside him, and
looking closer he discovered that a huge cobra had also
sought shelter and warmth beside him. Speedily he
escaped from the hut, leaving the snake asleep, but on
further thought he returned. Seizing a corner of the
blanket he shook it free of the venomous reptile, which
sluggishly wriggled oft* to the furthest corner of the room.
Sundar then took his blanket with a feeling of great
thankfulness that God had taken care of him in the hours
of sleep, and. spared him for further service.
An educated Arya Samaj gentleman relates how
one day when he * r as descending a mountain he met a
young Sadhu going up. Curiosity prompted him to
watch what would happen, so instead of joining him for
a talk as he at first thought of doing, he waited, and this
was what he saw. When the Sadhu got to the village
he sat down upon a log, and wiping the perspiration
from his face he commenced singing a Christian hymn.
Soon a crowd gathered, but when it was found that the
love of Christ was the theme many of the people became
OBEDIENCE BY SUFFERING
angry. One man jumped up and dealt him such a
severe blow as felled him to the ground, cutting his cheek
and hand badly. Without a word Sundar rose and
bound up his bleeding hand, and with blood running
down his face prayed for his enemies and spoke to them
of the forgiving love of Christ. In writing of this inci
dent this gentleman adds that he himself, by seeing the
Sadhu's conduct, was " drawn out of the well of contempt,
and brought to the fountain of life." The man, Kripa
Ram, who had thrown Sundar down, sought long and
earnestly for him, in the hope that he might be baptized
by " that wounded hand," but not finding him, he openly
confessed Christ by baptism, and still hopes to see Sadhu
Snndar Singh some day.
" When thoii prayest . . . pray to thy Father which is in
secret." Matthew vi. G.
" When thou fastest . . . appear not unto men to fast, but to
thy Father, which is in secret." Matthew vi. 17, 18.
Towards the end of 1912 a letter was received by the
Rev. Canon Sandys of Calcutta, from Canada, asking for
" A Christian Sikh to he sent as a preacher to work amongst
4000 Sikh lumbermen in British Columbia. The request was
laid before Sundar Singh, who at once agreed to go. . . .
Everything was ready for him, when the shipping agents
declined to send him, on the ground that the Canadian Govern
ment had passed immigration laws which made it impossible
for them to book him through." Sundar Singli felt the
disappointment keenly, but simply said, k% Perhaps it is not
God's will I should ever go to Canada."
Later Canon Sandys wrote, " I failed to get a pass
port for him, as the Government no doubt was at that
time receiving private information about the Columbian
Sikhs." And so to the Sadhu's sorrow the -idea had to
He then worked his way across the country from
Calcutta to Bombay, and eventually north again. After
his baptism he had two strong desires, one being to
visit Palestine, the scene of our Saviour's life and work,
THE FAST 51
and the other to imitate Jesus in fasting forty days and
forty nights. By these means he hoped to obtain fresh
spiritual" enlightenment. To achieve the first in 1908 he
made his way to Bombay, but found that for various
reasons the journey at that time was impracticable.
Some four years later, when the proposed visit to Canada
fell through, the Sadhu's mind turned to the idea of
retirement for prayer and fasting, in the belief that
these things would minister to the great need for a closer
communion with God and increased power for service.
It was about this time that he came in contact with
a Roman Catholic medical man, a Franciscan, calling
himself Dr. Swift, and travelling with him up north they
discussed the idea of a fast, the latter striving to dissuade
the Sadhu from attempting it, and declaring that death
would surely result if he did. Seeing, however, that he-
still desired to accomplish it, the Doctor begged him to
give him the addresses of his chief friends, that in case
of necessity he might communicate with them.
This was done and the two men parted, the Doctor
with the intention of joining a Catholic fraternity, and
the Sadhu with the determination to seek retirement
that he might give himself to fasting and prayer. The
Doctor wrote to a friend of his near Dehra Dun telling
him of what was happening, while away in the jungly
country between Hard war and Dehra Dun, Sundar Singh
went alone to meet his God.
The days passed without any news of him filtering
through to the outside world, and meanwhile he remained
in the jungle without food, and growing weaker every
day. Having been warned as to what might happen to
him the Sadhu made provision for increasing weakness
by collecting forty stones, one of which he dropped each
day in order to keep the count, but at length he was
unable even to do this. His hearing and sight left him
52 SADHU SUNDAR SINGH
and he lay as one in a trance, conscious of what was
going on about him but unable to make any outward
sign of life. As physical powers declined and extreme
exhaustion set in he felt within himself a great quicken
ing of the spirit, and in this state his complete depen
dence upon God, and other matters of intense spiritual
importance, were revealed to him, so that since that
time none of the doubts that once assailed him have had
any power over him. In this condition he was found
by some bamboo-cutters who. seeing his saffron robe,
lifted him into his blanket, and conveyed him to Rishi
Kesh and then to Dehra Dun. From thence he was sent
in a carriage to Annfield. So altered was he in appear
ance by what he had passed through that he was not
recognized by his Christian friends at Annfield. But
they knew who he was by the name in his Testament,
and carefully nursed him back to life.
Meanwhile Dr. Swift received news from his friend
that a man corresponding to his description of the Sadhu
had been discovered in the jungle at the point of death.
Surmising that his predictions had come true the Doctor
(possibly through a friend) wired to the Sadhu's friends
that " Sundar Singh slept in Jesus." The Metropolitan
and Canon Sandys were two of the six who received these
telegrams. The latter wrote to the station master from
whence the telegrams had been sent, making enquiries as
to who the sender was, and the reply came that they had
been handed in " by a black-coated gentleman."
Whilst Sundar was lying weak and ill at Annfield,
unconsckms of the reports being circulated about him,
obituaries appeared in the papers, and a memorial service-
was held in the church at Simla, money also being contri
buted for a tablet to be placed there in his memory. By
March he was well enough to resume his travels, and
went up to Simla, when he heard the story of his reported
THE FAST 53
This fearful experience did bring the spiritual enlighten
ment the Sadhu had believed it would, and although
count of time was lost, and the fast could not have lasted
for forty days, this enlightenment was gained almost at
the loss of his life.
FURTHER JOURNEYS AND PERSECUTIONS
" Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life or
by death." Phil. i. 20.
ALTER his recovery from the effects of the fast, Sadhu
Sundar Singh went again to Tibet for the six months of
the hot weather of 1913. and returning spent the cold
season touring through North India. Early the follow
ing year he was again in Bengal, and working his way
up to Darjeeling he entered Sikkini. The Native States
bordering Northern India, chief of which arc Nepal,
Sikkim, and Bhutan, are ruled by princes of their own,
and arc as hostile to Christianity as Tibet itself. The
people are superstitions and ignorant, and the preaching
of a foreign religion is strictly prohibited within certain
areas. In 1914 Sadhu Sundar Singh entered Nepal
knowing that he ran every risk of ill-treatment and
possibly death. For some time, however, in spite of
opposition and threats, he went from place to place
publishing the good news until he came to a town called
Horn. He had not been there long when he was told
he must discontinue preaching or some evil would befall
An order was issued for his imprisonment, and whilst
delivering his message he was sei/ed and hurried off to
FURTHER JOURNEYS AND PERSECUTIONS 55
the common prison, to spend his days and nights with
murderers and thieves. Here was an opportunity for
him to speak for his Master, and soon he began to tell
the unhappy prisoners of the power of Christ to change
men's hearts and to bring peace to their consciences even
within the dismal walls of a prison. Many believed his
message of joy and accepted Christ, and thus were these
fearful days converted into seasons of blessing both to
the Sadhu and to those whom he taught.
The news that he was changing the hearts of his
fellow-prisoners was told in high places, and on this
charge Sundar was removed from the prison and taken
to the public market for punishment. Here he was
stripped of his clothes and made to sit on the bare earth.
His feet and hands were fastened into holes in upright
boards (stocks), and in this crippled position, without
food or water, he was made to remain all day and the
following night. To add to his tortures a number of
leeches were thrown over his naked body, and these
immediately fastened upon him and began to suck his
life-blood. He carries the marks of this horrible treat
ment to-day, so that of him it may be truly said, " I
bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus." A
mocking crowd stood round to watch his torture, and
none offered him even a drink of Avater to relieve his
physical misery. In speaking of this experience to the
writer the Sadhu said, " I do not know how it was, but
my heart was so full of joy I could not help singing and
Through the long night he agonized, growing hourly
weaker with loss of blood, but when morning came he
was still alive. When his persecutors saw the Sadhu's
tranquil face they were filled with superstitious dread,
and being sure that he held some strange power they
did not understand, they took him out of the stocks and
56 SADHU SUNDAR SINGH
set him free. This dreadful experience had made him
so weak that he fell unconscious, and only after some
time and many attempts did he manage to crawl away
from the spot. In that place were some secret believers
belonging to the Sanyasi Mission (spoken of in a later
chapter) and these kind people received their wounded
brother and cared for him until strength returned.
The Sadhu's brief record of his days in the prison of
Horn will be found in a later chapter, and, as in his case
it is to be expected, he ascribes his great joy in that
dreary place to the near companionship of his never-
failing Friend, Jesus Christ.
At Srinagar in Garhwal, he had a most unexpected
experience. He knew that this was a dangerous place
in which to speak of Christ, but one day when he was
preaching outside the city some young men taunted
him by saying he dare not say such things inside the
city. He felt impelled to accept the challenge, and
entering the city he went to the market place and there
started to preach. Upon seeing this some of the by
standers hurried off to bring the pandit of the place,
hoping he would controvert the Sadhu's statements and
put him to shame.
When the pandit arrived he went up to Sundar, and
in front of all the people he placed his two forefingers
in the Sadhu's mouth with the words, " I have done
this to prove that we are brothers, and not enemies as
you suppose, for we both believe in Jesus Christ as
Saviour." The effect upon the crowd was electrical, and
before many minutes had passed all his enemies had
vanished away. Sundar then passed one of the happiest
days of his life in conversation with this good man,
discovering, much to his joy, that the pandit only pro
longed his stay in that dark place in order to bring others
to the light. Already he had by God's grace secretly
FURTHER JOURNEYS AND PERSECUTIONS 57
won sixteen souls, and intended to carry on this work
so long as it was God's will he should.
In the wild and inhospitable regions which Sadhu
Sundar Singh often needs to pass through in the course
of his missionary journeys, he naturally has varied and
often most extraordinary experiences. One such oc
curred when he was passing through the thickly wooded
forests of Bhulera, which is a favourite haunt of thieves
and murderers. Four men suddenly intercepted him
and one rushed on him with a drawn knife. Unable to
protect himself, and believing the end had come, he
bowed his head to receive the blow. This unexpected
conduct caused the man to hesitate, and to ask instead
that the Sadhu should hand over all he had. He was
searched for money, but finding none his blanket was
seized and he was allowed to pursue his way.
Thankful to escape with his life he went on, but before
he had gone far one of them called to him to return,
and now certain that death awaited him he turned
back. The man then enquired who he was and what
was his teaching. Sundar told him that he was a
Christian Sadhu, and opening his Testament he read to
him the story of the rich man and Lazarus. The man
listened attentively, and in reply to the question as to
what were his thoughts, he replied that the end of the
rich man had filled him with dread, adding that if such
a terrible punishment followed so small a sin what would
become of greater sinners.
The opportunity thus afforded was quickly seized by
the Sadhu. He immediately opened up the riches of
God's grace to him, and listening, the man's heart was
deeply moved. He poured out a miserable story of guilt
and sin, amidst many sobs and tears. He then took
Sundar to his cave, prepared food for him, and begged
him to eat. After some more conversation and a short
58 SADHU SUNDAR SINGH
prayer, the two men retired to rest. Very early next
morning the man awoke Sundar and, bringing him out
side took him, to a cave where there was a ghastly heap
of human bones. With loud weeping he pointed to the
bones and said, " These are my sins ; tell me, is there
any hope for such as me ? " The Sadhu's heart was
touched by the man's anxiety and contrition, and he
told him of the thief who was forgiven on the cross.
Then they knelt together and the poor sinner sobbed
out his repentance to God. Before the Sadhu had
finished with him, the man had made a start on the strait
and narrow way, and together they went to Labcha,
Sakkum, where he was handed over to the missionaries
and eventually baptized. The other three men also gave
up their bad life and took to honest occupations. Thus
was the Sadhu used for the help of four great sinners.
THE Chumbi valley on the northern side of Darjeeling
is an indescribably lovely and seductive spot, and is one
of the approaches to the barest and most inhospitable
country of Asia Tibet.
Tibet has not always been a closed land. Until the
end of the eighteenth century only physical obstacles
stood in the way of entry into Lhasa itself. Jesuits and
Capuchins reached Lhasa and made long stays there,
and were even encouraged by the Tibetan government.
As early as 1325 it is known that foreigners visited the
country, but the first Europeans to reside in Lhasa
arrived there in 1661.
Two centuries ago Europeans might travel in remote
parts of Asia with greater safety than is possible to-day,
for now the white man inspires fear where he used only
to awaken curiosity. At the end of the eighteenth
century the Nepalese overran Tibet, and the Chinese being
called in to aid, almost annihilated the Gurkhas. From
that time China practically ruled in Lhasa. The policy
of strict exclusion dates from then. Since the decline
of China's power, a Tibetan Mission to the Czar, supposedly
of a religious character, brought Tibet somewhat under
the influence of Russia. Several Euriat lamas had been
educated in Russia, chief of whom was one Dorjieff, who
60 SADIIU SUXDAR SINGH
headed the Russo-Tibetan Mission of 1901. Dorjieff and
others inspired dreams of a consolidated Buddhist
religion, under the spiritual control of the Dalai Lama,
backed by the military power of Russia ; this was
believed possible because the ignorant lamas imagined
Russia to be a Buddhist country.
Tibet is a mysterious country with an ancient but
arrested civilization ; a land where prayer flags flutter
in the wind, and where men spend half their time in
turning mechanical prayer wheels. The people are
mediaeval in government. Witchcraft, incantations, and
ordeals by fire and boiling are still common. The entire
population is only about six millions.
In Lhasa, the home of the Buddha and the Dalai Lama,
is a superbly detached building on a hill of rock called
the Potala. " Its massive walls, its terraces and bastions
stretch upward from the plain to the crest, and are
crowned with glittering domes shining with turquoise
and gold. At its feet lies the squalid city of Lhasa.
Buddhism holds all life sacred, yet this place, where
dwells the divine incarnation, has witnessed more murder
than even the bloodstained castles of mediaeval Europe."
The Buddhist religion is the one thing that keeps the
nation together, and every family must contribute one
son to the priestly order of Lamas. Hundreds of years
ago a Buddhist saint predicted that Tibet would one day
be invaded and conquered, and Buddhism would become
extinct. Thus it is that a blind fear and fanaticism
combine to keep all doors of entrance closed to this
land, and the teaching of a foreign religion more than
anything else brings down on the head of the offender
the severest persecution, and even the most cruel death.
SUXDAR IN TIBET I
' When I came ... to preach Christ's gospel, a door was
oj>ened unto me of the Lord " (2 Cor. ii. 12) ... a great door
. . . and there are many adversaries." 1 Cor. xvi. 9.
" Their feet are swift to shed blood . . . and the way of peace
have they not known." Romans iii. 15-17.
BORN and bred in the far north and familiar with the
mountainous regions of the Himalayas, Sundar's heart
turned to the dark places where no vision of Christ has
Feeling as he does about Christ it is not surprising that
he eventually made choice of the most difficult and
dangerous fields " where Christ is not named " as his
peculiar sphere. It therefore seems quite a natural
thing that the mind of Sadhu Sundar Singh should have
turned to the closed land of Tibet soon after he set out
to preach, the Gospel. For more than a century the vast
continent of India had had its missionaries, and hundreds
of thousands of India's children had responded to the
call of Christ, many of whom in their turn had become
messengers of peace to their own people. In his own
words, " There are many to proclaim the truth in India,"
but as he turned towards Tibet and the contiguous
country of Nepal, his heart went out to the people who
have no means of hearing of Christ.
02 SADHl" Sl'XDAR SINGH
Foreign missionaries are debarred from entering the
country, and it is scarcely easier for an Indian, for he
must not only face the inhospitality of the bitter climate,
but the active hostility of a half-civilized and wholly
fanatical people. But to suffer for the Master's sake has
been a great mark of the life of Sadhu Sundar Singh, and
so, undismayed by what probably lay before him, he set
out whilst still a boy on his first journey into that land
of bigotry and darkness.
Christ the Son of God hath sent me
Through the midnight lands,
Mine the mighty ordination
Of the pierced hands.
Unfortunately the Sadhu has not kept any connected
account of his work and journeys through Tibet, so that
all there is to tell is in the shape of fragments of his
experiences, sufferings, and successes in that fascinating
and yet terrible land.
On his first journey in 1908, when he was scarcely
nineteen years of age, he started alone and was unac
quainted with the language spoken in Tibet. He was
very glad to avail himself of the help offered to him by
two Moravian missionaries working at Poo, a little
frontier town. He stayed a week with these good men,
and then they gave him a worker of their own who was to
accompany him for some distance, and instruct him in
the dialect of the people. Except that he knew the
intense hostility of the Tibetans to every religion but
their own, the Sadhu had little knowledge of place or
people, but it was not long that he remained in
He soon found they resented his teaching, and
wherever he went he was met with bitter opposition
and hatred, especially from the Lamas. These men were
particularly venomous, and often assumed a threatening
SUXDAR IX TIBET I 63
attitude on the border of the crowds that gathered to
hear his preaching. Notwithstanding this, he reached
the important town of Tashigang in safety, and was
astonished and pleased to receive kindly treatment at
the hands of the head Lama of the place. This man was
a person of importance, and under him served some
hundreds of inferior lamas.
The Lama not only received the Sadhu with kindness
but provided him with food and shelter, and as the
weather was bitterly cold this hospitality was most
acceptable. Moreover the Lama called a gathering of
those under his control to hear the Sadhu's message,
and so the Gospel was preached by him with great thank
fulness of heart.
Journeying on from this place he was fortunate enough
to arrive at a town under the rule of another Lama who
was a friend of the Lama of Tashigang, and here again
he was accorded a welcome and a good hearing. From
this place he visited several other towns and villages, but
in these he met with even greater opposition than in his
earlier work. He was constantly threatened and warned
to get out of the country lest some evil befall him. But
he was not to be thus terrorized, and he continued his
work amidst many difficulties.
Thus has Sadhu Sundar Singh " besieged this strong
hold of bigotry and fanaticism," and in doing so has
passed through many tribulations ; but to him persecu
tion and infamy are as nothing if he may win but one
soul for his Saviour. A Ceylon friend says, " His resolu
tion to walk barefooted amidst the perpetual snows of
Tibet is the mark of his invincible determination to
bring men to Christ."
SUNDAR IN TIBET II
" For the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding
his life." Phil. ii. 30.
" I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die ... for the
name of the Lord Jesus." Acts xxi. 13.
WITH a deep determination to make the name of Christ
known in this hostile country the Sadhu continued his
work, knowing that sooner or later bitter persecution
would be his lot. At a town called Rasar he was
arrested and arraigned before the head Lama on the
charge of entering the country and preaching the Gospel
of Christ. He was found guilty, and amidst a crowd
of evil-disposed persons he was led away to the place
of execution. The two favourite forms of capital
punishment are being sewn up in a wet yak skin and put
out in the sun until death ends the torment, or being
cast into the depths of a dry well, the top being firmly
fastened over the head of the culprit. The latter was
chosen for the Sadhu.
Arrived at the place he was stripped of his clothes,
and cast into the dark depths of this ghastly charnel-
house with such violence that his right arm was injured.
Many others had gone down this same well before him
never to return, and he alighted on a mass of human
bones and rotting flesh. Any death seemed preferable
SUNDAR IN TIBET II 65
to this. Wherever he laid his hands they met putrid
flesh, while the odour almost poisoned him. In the
words of his Saviour he cried, " Why hast Thou forsaken
me ? "
Day passed into night, making no change in the dark
ness of this awful place and bringing no relief by sleep.
Without food or even water the hours grew into days,
and Sundar felt he could not last much longer. On the
third night, just when he had been crying to God in
prayer he heard a grating sound overhead. Someone
was opening the- locked lid of his dismal prison. He
heard the key turned and the rattle of the iron covering
as it was drawn away. Then a voice reached him from
the top of the well, telling him to take hold of the rope
that was being let down for his rescue. As the rope
reached him he grasped it with all his remaining strength,
and was strongly but gently pulled up from the evil
place into the fresh air above.
Arrived at the top of the well the lid was drawn over
again and locked. When he looked round his deliverer
was nowhere to be seen, but the pain in his arm was gone,
and the clean air filled him with new life. All that the
Sadhu felt able to do was to praise God for his wonderful
deliverance, and when morning came he struggled back
to the town, where he rested in the serai until he was
able to start preaching again. His return to the city
and his old work was cause for a great commotion. The
news was quickly taken to the Lama that the man they
all thought dead was well and preaching again.
The Sadhu was again arrested and brought to the
judgment seat of the Lama, and being questioned as to
what had happened he told the story of his marvellous
escape. The Lama was greatly angered, declaring that
someone must have secured the key and gone to his
rescue, but when search was made for the key and it
SADHU SUNDAR SINGH
was found on his own girdle, he was speechless with
amazement and fear. He then ordered Sundar to leave
the city and get away as far as possible, lest his powerful
God should bring some untold disaster upon himself and
his people. Thus was Sundar delivered from a fearful
death, and praised God for interposing on his behalf.
FURTHER EXPERIENCE IN TIBET
" Most gladly will I rather glory in my infirmities that the
power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure . . .
in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake." 2 Cor. ix. 10.
Dr. Fosdick, in his Manhood of tlie Master, says :
Jesus made the right attitude toward hostile men not a
negative refraining from vengeance, but a positive saviour-
hood, that prays for them, blesses them, and sacrificially seeks
This is the attitude of Sadhu Sundar Singh in all his
work and life of suffering amongst the peoples of Tibet
and other hostile states to whom he carries the Gospel
of Christ. In the course of his addresses he sometimes
gives illustrations from his own experiences. In speaking
on the text, " He that loseth his life shall save it," he
told this amazing story. He was one day making a
journey across some mountains in Tibet on a bitterly
cold day when snow was falling. Both he and a Tibetan
companion who was travelling with him were almost
frozen to death, and despaired of reaching their journey's
end alive. They came to a deep precipice to find a man
lying there apparently dead. Sundar suggested they
should carry him to a place of safety, but the Tibetan
declined, saying it was all they could do to get into
08 SADHU SUNDAR SINGH
safety themselves, and he passed on his way. With
difficulty the Sadhu lifted the man on his own back,
and began to struggle forward with his heavy load. Soon
the exertion brought warmth to him, and communicated
itself to the helpless body over his shoulders. He had
not gone very far when he overtook his Tibetan com
panion, who had fallen stone-dead across the path. Even
tually Sundar arrived at the village, by which time the
half-dead man had recovered consciousness, and they
both thanked God for lives snatched from the jaws of
death. The Sadhu said he had never known a better
practical exposition of the words, " Whosoever will save
his life shall lose it, and whosoever will lose his life for
My sake shall find it."
On another occasion the Sadhu had been climbing
over rough crags when he came to a cave in which he
saw a man praying. In order that he should not fall
asleep the man had tied his long hair to the roof of the
cave, and with closed eyes he strove hour by hour to
meditate and pray. Sundar entered the cave and asked
the man why he was thus suffering. Like many others
this man had spent most of his life in worldly pursuits,
but deep down in his mind there was a haunting fear of a
dreadful unknown future. This at length drove him
to forsake the world, and he had come to this remote spot
iu the hope of finding satisfaction in prayerful medita
tion. He explained that no relief had come to his spirit.
The Sadhu opened his Testament and read to him such
words as, " Come unto Me . . . and I will give you
He proceeded to explain the true way through Jesus
Christ. Spellbound the poor fellow listened to the
wonderful words, and at last he jumped up crying out,
" Now is my soul at rest ; make me His disciple, lead me
to Him." He begged hard for immediate baptism at the
FURTHER KXPERIKNCK IX TIBET 60
Sadhu's hand, but was persuaded to accompany him to
the nearest mission station, where he was left in the care
of the missionaries for further instruction.
Sundar tells of another place where his message had
met with great hostility and the people were converted
into friends by an accident. He was climbing a steep
mountain when he slipped and fell, and in his fall a large
stone was displaced and rolled over the precipitous cliff
on to a place beneath. It happened that just where the
stone fell a huge cobra was lying, and was immediately
killed. A boy who was herding cattle saw what had
happened, and ran to tell the Sadhu, explaining that this
very snake had been the cause of some deaths in the
village, so that nobody dared to pass along that road.
Then he ran to tell the villagers, who were so impressed
and so grateful that they welcomed the Sadhu, and here
he had the blessed privilege of making known the love
of Christ to the ignorant people.
THE FEET THAT BLED.
The rough mountain track had torn his feet, and
Sundar sat down to bandage the wounds. Another man
traversing the same road and seeing what had happened
stopped to ask him how he felt. They entered into
conversation, and the stranger learnt how that Sundar
for his Master's sake day by day walked many weary
miles to teach people of Him whose feet had bled on
Calvary. The two men held sweet converse together,
for he found that his companion, Tashi by name, was
an earnest seeker after salvation. But in his quest
for truth he was perplexed with many doubts, and
these the Sadhu tried to solve. Tashi afterwards said
to him, " Looking at your bleeding feet something
within me seemed to say there must be some great power
70 SADHU SUNDAR SINGH
behind this happy life of self-denial." And so Tashi
urged Sundar to remain with him, and he spent more
than a week at his house instructing him and praying
Tashi then sent him on to a Lama who was friendly
with him and kindly disposed to Christianity. When
he returned he found Tashi full of hope and happi
ness, for he had found Christ, and now nothing but
baptism would satisfy him. All doubts were gone, and
Tashi and his family begged that they might now receive
baptism. So before leaving, Sundar had the great joy
of baptizing Tashi and his whole family nine persons in
all. Being chief secretary to the Lama of the district
and a man of importance, Tashi has not been called
upon to suffer for his faith, but he is under strict orders
not to persuade others to follow his example or in any
way to propagate the new faith.
Many a time and oft Sadhu Sundar Singh feels the
loneliness of soul that must come to all whose entire
lives are given to spiritual things. Extreme exaltation
of spirit accompanied with tremendous expenditure of
nervous power must be followed by moments of reaction.
Ordinary missionaries and ministers may find respite
in change of occupation, but not so the Sadhu. His
changes are of place not of work. Day by day his
unwearied search for souls continues, and whether in
the chiirches and conventions of Christians or amongst
the non-Christian peoples the strain never relaxes. A
missionary rightly said of him in Travancore, " He must
live very near to God to stand it," and that is the true
secret of his being able to continue. Never impatient,
never too wearied to meet people who seek him, always
gracious, and ready night or day for the tasks that fall
to him, he is a living copy of his Master. Sharing his
Master's spirit he also shares His loneliness. Speaking
FURTHER EXPERIENCE IX TIBET 71
of such a time as this he tells of a day when he was
unusually tired, hungry, and footsore. Utterly dejected,
he was painfully trudging along when he was joined by
a man who entered into conversation with him, and so
led him out of himself that he forgot his misery in the
charming companionship of his new friend. They went
on together until they came close to a village, when
much to the Sadhu's perturbation he found himself once
more alone. He cannot explain it, but his own words
are, " I now know that it was an angel of the Lord sent
to strengthen and uphold me in my hour of weakness."
MARTYRS OF THE FAITH
" The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church."
" He laid down His life for us ; and we ought to lay down our
lives for the brethren " (1 John iii. 16).
SADHU SUNDAR SINGH is in the great succession of
noble men who have " climbed the steep ascent of
heaven," and during his sojourns in Tibet he has come
across well-authenticated cases of the martyrdom of
godly men who have preceded him in carrying the Gospel
message to that dark land. Strangely enough the first
of these martyrs came from the State of Patiala where
he himself was born. Kartar Singh was a Sikh and the
son of a rich zamindar. All the hopes of the family
were centred in this boy, for there were no other sons to
carry on the name. Like Sundar he was brought up in
the midst of luxury, and preparations for his future
were made by giving him the best education possible.
Nothing was forgotten that could make his training
complete for the fulfilment of his father's ambitions for
the boy. But ia spite of the utter neglect of religion in
his education, there grew up in his mind a desire after
spiritual things which his secular training could not
satisfy. He heard of Christianity, and little by little got
to know and understand its claims, until a deep convic-
MARTYRS OF THE FAITH 73
tion of its truth laid hold of him. The more he studied it
the more he felt it supplied the craving of his own soul,
until at last he saw but one path before him and that
the strait and narrow one.
Kartar now took the irrevocable step of declaring
himself a Christian, a fact that filled the hearts of his
people with dismay. Many attempts of various kinds
were made to win him from persisting in this determina
tion, but finding him not to be tempted by ordinary means
his father sent to him the beautiful girl who was his
chosen wife. This poor girl came before him in all her
tender promise of life, and with tears besought him to
desist from taking a step that would mean such terrible
loss to her. Looking upon her misery his heart was
touched, yet even in this last temptation God gave him
strength, and with much tenderness he put the sweet
Hindu child from him, declaring that his heart already
belonged to Christ his Saviour. The broken-hearted girl
returned to her future father-in-law's house to tell how
useless had been her protests, since Kartar had said all
his love had been given to Another.
Not long afterwards Kartar was driven forth home
less from his father's house. To enable him to buy food
and clothes he .took up the work of a labourer, and,
undiscouraged by his hard lot, bent his back to tasks
such as his own father's servants would have despised.
Very soon, however, Kartar began his mission to the
people of his own country, and went preaching among
the towns and villages of Patiala, where he trod the
thorny and difficult path that was to prepare him for
the harder future awaiting him. After preaching in
many places in the Punjab, Kartar turned his steps
towards the mountains that lay between him and darkest
Tibet, and after some weeks of weary journeying over
rough country he found himself in the land of his choice.
74 SAflHU SUNDAR SINGH
The Buddhism of Tibet has.no place for Christ, whose
very name arouses the deepest feelings of hatred and
opposition. No record remains that Kartar met with
much personal kindness or that his message was accepted,
but no thought of going back seems to have occurred
to his mind. These people were without Christ and
had need of Him, and as Christ had given His life, so
Kartar was prepared to sacrifice his life also, that at
least his witness should be borne and his love testified to
before his persecutors. Although hearts were touched by
the sight of his youth and the fervour of his message,
there was little courage to take his part, and it was only
after his death that the fruit of his labours and testimony
came to light.
Kartar saw, as our Saviour did before him, that the
thorny path could only end in one way. In spite of
numerous efforts to drive him out of the country, he
continued his preaching in many places for some time,
but eventually he was haled before the Lama of Tsing-
ham and charged with unlawfully entering the country
with intent to teach a foreign religion. The end he had
looked forward to had come, and with undaunted courage
he faced the inevitable, trusting to God to give him the
necessary grace to witness to his faith to the end. As
Sundar afterwards heard, Kartar heard his sentence
without a quiver, and with firm step turned away from
the judgment seat to walk to the place of execution.
On the way he delivered his last message, urging on
the crowd the necessity of seeking salvation through
Jesus Christ, and one at least of those who heard his
words remembered them, and through them found the
Arrived at the place of execution Kartar was stripped
of all his clothes and was sewn up in a wet yak skin,
which was then put out in the sun. A cruel mocking
MARTYRS OF THE FAITH 75
crowd stood about to witness his tortures, and as the skin
shrank and tightened roiind him they laughed to hear
the bones cracking in the slow process of death. By his
side on the ground lay the New Testament that had
been his one and only comfort through the hard days
that had followed his confession of his Master. Unheeded
it lay until on the third day, when Kartar knew the end
was drawing on, he asked that his right hand might be
set free for a moment. This was done, probably more
from curiosity than mercy. Collecting all his strength
Kartar wrote his last message on the flyleaf of his Testa
ment. In Persian character :
Jan Khwaham az Khuda na yake balki sad hazar,
Ta sad hazar bar bamiram brae yar.
Khasrawa dar ishq aukamtarzi Hindu zan mubash,
Ki in brae murda sazad zinda jan i Khwesh ra.
In Urdu character :
Jan de di di hiii usi ki thi ; haqq to yih hai, ki haqq ada
In English :
Is this a death-bed where a Christian lies ?
Yes, but not his ; 'tis death itself there dies.
From God I life besought, not once but a hundred thousand
That to that Friend again as oft I might return it.
That love for Him, Khasrawa, shall not be less than hers
The faithful Hindu wife,
Who on the burning pyre draws to her heart the loved one,
And lays her life beside him.
The life He gave to me was what I gave to Him ;
True is it that though I did all, yet all I could not do.
No cry of anguish escaped the brave lips, but as
70 SADHt; SUNDAR SIX(iII
evening came on Kartar gave thanks aloud to God for
comfort in death, and quietly passed away with the
words, " Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."
Sadhu Sundar Singh found that Kartar's father was
still alive, and upon his return to the plains he sought
the old man out. Telling him the story of the death of
his heroic son and speaking of the great love of Christ
that had borne him through, the old man listened with
a softened heart, and Sundar had the joy of hearing
him say, " I, too, believe in Him."
Amongst the crowd who watched the passing of
Kartar Singh was the chief secretary of the Lama of
Tsingham. He noticed the little Testament in which
this hero of the cross had written his last message, and
taking it up he carried it home and commenced to study
it. With the memory still fresh in his mind of the words
and conduct of a brave man, his heart was open to
receive the message the Book had for him, and in reading
it there came new light and joy to him. For some time
he pondered the wonderful things he now believed, but,
as the realization of them more and more filled his soul,
he could no longer keep his secret, and one day revealed
to his master, the Lama, that he had given his heart to
Jesus. The Lama then declared that he also must die.
Pitilessly he was judged and sentenced to the same
death as Kartar. Lying in the wet yak skin in the sun
was not cruel enough to teach the onlookers that this
sort of thing if persisted in would add to the bitter
punishment, so red-hot skewers were thrust into his
body to increase his agonies. As if his tormentors were
weary of waiting for the inevitable end, he was then
taken out of the skin, a rope was tied round his mutilated
body, and he was dragged through the streets of the
town, splinters of wood also being driven under the
nails of his feet and hands. His bodv was then thrown
MARTYRS OF THE FAITH 77
on to a dust heap outside the town and he was left for
Having satisfied their lust for revenge his persecutors
departed, and for long he lay unconscious. Very
gradually the poor fellow came back to life, and little
by little strength returned until he was able to crawl
away. When he had recovered from his many wounds,
great fear came upon the people to see him whom they
had left for dead alive and well again, and to this day
no one dares to interfere with him. Superstitious dread
of a supernatural power they believe him to possess,
prevents attempts to take his life, so that when Sadhu
Sundar Singh heard from his lips the story of Kartar,
he also heard how wondrously God enables this brave
man to continue preaching Christ boldly among the
people of Tibet.
These and other histories like them Sadhu Sundar
Singh has himself gathered during his missionary journeys
through darkest Tibet and other regions where the light
of the Gospel has scarcely pierced. To the people of
these benighted countries his gentle heart turns with
infinite longing and pity, and his burning zeal for Christ
and desire to make Him known, convince him that there
his appointed task lies. He says, " This is the field
which God has given me to work in. I have heard His
call to serve Him in these hostile provinces. I am not
afraid of the risks. I have to win the crown of martyr
dom by laying down my life in these parts for Him."
That Sundar Singh may be used of God to bring
Gospel light to the people of these dark places is the
prayer of those who know, love, and revere him. But
none can pray without earnestly pleading with God to
spare his wonderful life, that rather by " labours more
abundant " than by the supreme sacrifice he may serve
his Master and his generation.
THE study of a character like that of Sadhu Sundar
Singh cannot fail to be both interesting and instructive,
for in a materialistic age he is a man untouched by
materialism. Mr. K. J. Saunders, in the Adventures of
the Christian Soul, says :
Mysticism is the passionate search of the soul in love with
God, and the claim that this search has been rewarded . . .
The mystic consciousness is marked by simple, clear, and
insistent ideas. . . . Possessing God, the mystic desires
nothing more. . . . The passionate love aroused in the heart
by Christ . . . explains his clear insight into spiritual things,
and the tenacity of his pursuit of lofty ideals.
Thus is Sundar Singh a true Christian mystic, and
so closely has he studied the life of Christ as it is written
in the New Testament, and so constantly has he imitated
His example, that naturally he lives in an atmosphere
only now and then enjoyed by the ordinary Christian.
His wandering life of poverty in a country like India
brings endless opportunities of recognizing his Father's
hand in all things, so that often where others would see
only the common mercies of daily life the Sadhu praises
God for special help in special need. He is familiar
with the deepest agony of soul and with the most intense
joy. Nights of prayer alternate with long days of toil
SUNDAR'S MYSTICISM 79
for his Lord. Close and prayerful study of the New
Testament is combined with equally close communion
with Christ. A yearning desire to save lost souls that
gives him no respite from his labours is balanced by a
deep devotion and love for his Saviour that fills his heart
with peace, and shines in his face. The things of the
spiritual life are more real to him than those of the
temporal. So near does he live to the great world of
spirits that to him there is nothing strange in the ministry
of angels. He looks upon it as God's provision for a
great need, and when in his own experience some unusual
event has come to pass he simply believes that God
cares enough for the individual soul to interpose on its
behalf. The mysteries of life and death and the great
beyond bring no distress or doubt to his mind, and he
does not puzzle the minds of his hearers with them.
But deep down in his contemplative mind they hold
their place, and are a source of infinite satisfaction to
The marvellous records of some of the Sadhu's experi
ences have preceded him in most places he has visited.
Matter-of-fact people have been prejudiced by them,
and emotional ones have looked for revelations, and even
for miracles performed by him. Yet one and all, after
seeing and hearing him, have been struck by his sane
teaching and well-balanced mind.
His own version of the deliverances he has had falls
so naturally from his lips that it sounds like the straight
forward simple statement of a second " Acts of the
Apostles." In relating these experiences, Sadhu Sundar
Singh says that God has stretched forth His hand to
save when nothing else could avail. This is the simplest
explanation in view of the fact that for so long, and
under such signal difficulties and dangers, the Sadhu has
worked in the closed lands of Tibet and Nepal.
80 SADHU SUNDAR SINGH
Incidents such as the following show the spirit in
which the Sadhu takes his deliverances. On one occasion
he was preaching in a village of Nepal called Khantzi,
where considerable opposition was being shown. The
villagers seized him, and rolling him up in a blanket,
hustled him out of the place, but a stranger passing by
took his part and released him. The day following he
was again preaching in the same place, and this so
angered the villagers that they took him and bound him
by his hands and feet to a tree and left him there. Slowly
the day wore on, and being faint for want of food he
looked longingly at the fruit on the tree just out of reach.
In that strained position he at last fell asleep from
exhaustion. In the morning he awoke to find to his
amazement that his bonds were loosed. He was lying at
the foot of the tree and by his side lay some fruit. He
then praised God for the suffering he had endured for
Christ's sake, ate the fniit with thankfulness of heart,
and went on his way filled with fresh courage to preach
the word to those who know it not.
On another occasion when he was in a place called
Tcri some men told him that in a certain village the
people were anxious to hear the Gospel, and they gave him
instructions as to the way he should take. Following the
directions he wandered on for a long time through marshy
jungly country, but without seeing any signs of a village.
The undergrowth grew thicker, and presently he
discovered he was lost in a jungle from which there
seemed no escape. Arrived at a stream he thought that
by crossing it he might find a way out, but on stepping
into the water he found the current so strong that any
attempt to cross it would endanger his life. Evening
was closing in, and in a dejected frame of mind he sat
down by the stream to consider what next to do. Listen
ing to the weird sounds of the jungle, and watching the
SUNDAE'S MYSTICISM 81
increasing darkness, his mind became full of apprehension,
for soon the wild animals would steal from their haunts
in search of food, and his life would be safe no longer.
He prayed earnestly to God, and then looking across
the river in the gathering gloom he caught sight of a
man, and the words reached his ears, " I am coming to
your help." Then he saw the man plunge into the
stream and swim across, and taking the Sadhu on his
back he swam to the other shore with him. Arrived on
the bank he saw a fire at which he began to dry his wet
clothes, but even as he did so the stranger disappeared,
and the Sadhu was left to meditate on the wonderful
ways of Providence in thus sending help to him in this
Yet one more instance Is worth relating. The Sadhu
had been preaching at a place called Kamyan where
much bitter enmity had been exhibited. The whole day
had passed without his being able to get any food, so,
hungry and weary, he found himself in a desert place
without shelter for the fast-closing-in night. Yery weak
and miserable he lay down under a tree and soon fell
asleep. About midnight it appeared to him that some
one touched him and bade him arise and eat, and upon
looking up he beheld two men with food and water
standing over him. Imagining that some villagers had
had pity on his condition he gratefully partook of the
refreshments thus offered to him. When his hunger
was satisfied he turned to converse with the men who
had brought the food, but there was not a soul to be
seen anywhere. How they had disappeared he could
not tell, Hut again he blessed God for His kindly provi
sion for him in time of need.
Doubtless such instances could be multiplied, for in
a life like that of Sadhu Sundar Singh there are frequent
manifestations of the good hand of God. Without
SADHU SUXDAR SINGH
attempting any explanation the Sadhu accepts his
deliverances with a thankful mind as coming from God.
He simply says, " I know the Lord has stretched forth
His own hand to save me " ; and whether such deliverances
are wrought by human agency or otherwise, he is surely
right in ascribing them to the care of a loving heavenly
THE SADHU'S LOVE FOR THE CROSS
" I am crucified with Christ : . . . who loved me, and gave
Himself for me " (Gal. ii. 20).
" But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of the
Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I
unto the world " (Gal. vi. 14).
THE great theme of all Sadhu Sundar Singh's preaching
is Christ. The cross of Christ is the central figure to
which he draws all men, for there he himself found
peace, and so can speak with authority of the power of
that cross to save others. The most frequent words on
his lips are words taken from his own experience, " I
can say with confidence that the cross will bear those
who bear the cross, until that cross shall lift them into
the presence of the Saviour."
As a Muhammadan said lately to a missionary who
had been relating to him the story of the cross, " If you
present that story to India as you have to me, India will
accept it." Thus has the Sadhu found the heart of India,
and he presents to it the one and only satisl'action for its
soul hunger -Jesus and His Cross. He presents it in the
New Testament way, and his life of utter self-abnegation
and sacrifice enforces his teaching, while his own intense
personal joy in the Saviour commends it as nothing else
could. The cross implies suffering, and to be like his
84 SADlir SrNDAIl SINCill
Lord is the one desire of the Sadhu. He wrote in an
autograph book :
So great the joy I have in Light
That every sorrow brings delight.
A missionary in Japan asked the Sadhu whether he
still wandered about India hungry and homeless as he
had done in the beginning of his Christian ministry, and
was struck by the reply : " No, now in India they know
me, and if I go to a town they have thousands of people
to hear me in a big hall. This is not the way of tin-
Cross ; for that I must go to Tibet."
\Vhilst surrounded by almost adoring crowds in
Trivandram, his one grief was that things were so
comfortable that he was not suffering for his Master
enough. Perhaps later, when he was rushed from place
to place for countless meetings in the heat of our tropical
summer a heat he had not experienced before, always
having from a child spent the hot season on the hills
and having to travel by boat, bullock cart, or train
at night, and to start his work again upon arrival, he
may have felt differently. In speaking of it to his
friends he simply said, " It is the will of God."
When he was plunged into the misery of an eastern
prison at Horn to find himself herded with all sorts of
evil characters, he wrote in the fly-leaf of his New Testa
ment these words :
Nepal, June 7, 1914. " Christ's presence has turned im
prison into a blessed heaven : what then will it
So, like his predecessors Paul and Silas of old. his
prison was his meeting-place with Christ, and to be in
hell with Christ would be better to him than to be in
heaven without Him.
So sure is the Sadhu of Christ's continual presence
with him that he expressed no surprise when the following
THE SADHU'S LOVE FOR THE CROSS 85
event took place in his life. When travelling through
a wild part of Tibet and unable to enter the village
because of the hostility of the people the Sadhu took
refuge in a cave. He had not been there long when he
saw a number of the village people approaching him
with sticks and stones, and feeling that his end was near
he commended his soul to God in prayer. Within a few
yards of him the men suddenly stood still, and falling
back some paces they began to whisper together. Then
again they came forward and said to the Sadhu, " Who
is the other man with you in bright garments, and many
more who surround you ? " He replied that there was
no man with him, but with awe the men insisted that
they saw a host of bright ones standing all round the
cave. Then the men besought the Sadhu to accompany
them to their homes, and going with them he spoke of
Christ so that they feared and believed his words. He
then knew that God had sent His angels to protect him in
danger and to open the way for him to preach to these men.
A few years ago the Sadhu wrote :
I thank God that He has chosen unworthy me in the days
of my youth that I may spend the days of my strength in
His service. Even before baptism my prayer to God was
that He should show me His ways, and so He, who is the
Way, the Truth, and the Life, did show Himself to me, and
called me to serve Him as a sadhu and to preach His holy
Name. Now although I have suffered hunger, thirst, cold,
heat, imprisonment, maledictions, infirmities, persecutions,
and innumerable evils, yet I thank and bless His holy Name
that through His grace my heart is ever full of joy. From
my ten years' experience I can unhesitatingly say that the
Cross bears those who bear the Cross.
To-day the Sadhu bears the same testimony to the
writer, adding that he hopes God will spare him yet for
some years, that the fulness of manhood's strength may
all be given to Him in the precious work of preaching,
or in suffering, wheresoever his Lord may send him.
SADHU SUNDAII SINGH AND THE SANYASI MISSION
IT was surely a wonderful provision of God when He
called Sundar Singh to be a Christian Sadhu. Amongst
Christians his saffron robe gives him a position the best
possible for the acceptance of the message he brings.
Granted the same man and message he would assuredly
under any circumstances have won the heart of the
Indian Christian Church, but being a true Sadhu in
appearance as well as in spirit has added enormously
to his influence and power.
Perhaps nothing has proved more wonderful to
Christians ever}' where than the humility and simplicity
of the Sadhu's spirit-, and no one is more filled with
wonder than himself when crowds linger about him
just to look at his face.
But the most remarkable results of his being a Sadhu
are apparent in his life and work amongst non-Christians.
This he looks upon as his sworn task. Naturally his
sadhu's robes gain hjm 'an entrance to places and to
people as nothing else could. Often in the course of his
pilgrimages from place to place he comes across unusual
types of Indian sadhus, and it has been his privilege
to discover to the world a marvellous movement towards
THE SANYASI MISSION 87
Christianity amongst the' most deeply religious men of
The Rev. J. J. Johnson, of the Church Missionary
Society, who died in 1018, was one of the finest Sanskrit
scholars in India. During the latter part of his life,
he was set apart by his Society for a work he was
magnificently fitted for amongst the pandits and learned
classes throughout India. The story of this work is a
romance waiting to be written. On his last visit to the
south he told us that he believed there were great
numbers of the highest castes of India waiting to become
Christians, a statement made after years of intimate
relationship with the leaders of religious thought in
But it was reserved for Sundar Singh to lift the veil
and prove the truth of this astonishing statement, and
this is how it came about. Towards the end of 1912
the Sadhu went to Sarnath (the scene of Buddha's first
preaching), and there he met with some men dressed
as sanyasis. Entering into conversation with them he
found they were Christians, and belonged to a secret
organization numbering some 24,000 members, who are
scattered all over India. These are divided into two
classes called Shishyas and Swamis, or Companions and
Heralds. The Companions are ordinary members who
fulfil all the usual work of life. The Heralds number
about 700, are dressed like Sanyasis, and are the unpaid
preachers who conduct services among the Companions
wherever they meet them.
These secret believers observe baptism and the Lord's
Supper. Bands of them are found all over India, and
in most distant and unexpected places. It was due to
the kindness and care of some of these good people that
Sundar was on one occasion nursed back to life after
imprisonment and persecution in Nepal. He says that
88 SADHU SUNDAR SINGH
these believers are wont to assemble at fixed and very
early hours in " Houses of Prayer " outwardly resembling
Hindu temples, but which contain no images or
pictures. The Bible is read and expounded and Christian
papers are circulated. Eastern methods are sedulously
followed, such as complete prostration of the body in
prayer. The belief is held that if men prayed in perfect
faith they would have constant visions of the Master
Belonging to this secret Christian Brotherhood are
various sadhus and hermits of recognized holiness, and
a large number of the members are educated and wealthy
men of the upper classes, who freely subscribe towards
the maintenance of the organization. The Sadhu has
often been present at their services, and has several
times been mistaken for one of themselves. He has
very earnestly begged that they would openly confess
Christ, and they promise that when the right moment
comes they will do so.
On one occasion while the Sadhu was preaching on
the banks of the Ganges his audience told him that
while they liked him as a sanyasi they did not like his
message, and they requested him to visit a great Hindu
preacher who lived close by and who was attracting
large crowds. For three days he could not get near
him for the crowd. One day, however, he was able
to meet him alone, and then the Sadhu learnt that he
was a Christian. The Hindu preacher embraced him
and said, " Brother, we are doing the same work."
Surprised at this, Sundar said he had never heard him
preaching Christ. To which he replied, " Is there any
foolish farmer who will sow without preparing the
ground ? I first try to awaken in my hearers a sense of
values, and when a hunger and thirst for righteousness
Is created I place Christ before them. On the banks of
THE SANVAS1 MISSION 80
this ancient river I have baptized twelve educated Hindus
during the past year." He then showed him the Bible
he always carried about with him.
In one of the holy cities of India some of these secret
believers took the Sadhu to an old temple, where they
showed him an ancient Sanskrit manuscript containing
an account of Pandit Viswa -Mitra, one of the three
Wise Men who, after seeing the Divine Child, came
back to India but returned at a later date to Palestine
when Christ had entered on His public ministry. They
claim that he was the one of whom the disciples com
plained to the Master that they found him performing
miracles and forbade him " because he walkcth not with
us." This parchment also gives in modern Sanskrit a
history of the Brotherhood during later days.
The Sanyasi Mission docs not appear to have
flourished much until the days of Carey, when some
Christian Sanyasis heard the Gospel from his lips and
were fired with fresh enthusiasm. From that time the
mission prosecuted its work with quickened faith and
its numbers began to increase.
In one of the large northern cities the Sadhu was
introduced to a famous Hindu preacher who was con
sidered a profound scholar in the Vedas. He heard
him lecture on the Hindu Scriptures, and towards the
end the lecturer said, 4i The Vcdas reveal to us the need
of redemption from sin, but where is the redeemer ?
The ' Prajapathi,' of whom the Vedas speak, is Christ
who has given His life as a ransom for sinners." When
questioned afterwards by Hindus the lecturer said, " It
is I who believe in the Vedas and not you. because I
believe in Him whom the Vedas reveal, that is Christ."
In speaking of this the Sadhu declared that the great
need of our age is that the Church should have a broad
vision : that the Christian should transcend the limita-
SADHU SUNDAR SINGH
tions of sect and creed, and be prepared to recognize
the Spirit of God in whatever form He may be made
manifest. He added that he fully believed the Sanyasi
Mission is being blessed of God, and although it has
taken a form we are not accustomed to, it is given to
its leaders to do great things for India.
Yishu Nasri Nath ki Jai " Victory to Jesus Lord of
Nazareth " is the password of this secret Brotherhood
of Christians in India.
SADHU SUNDAR SINGH AND THE MAHARISHI OF KAILASH
SOME time ago a North Indian newspaper published
the following :
Our worldless, selfless, and godly brother Sundar Singh has
discovered the Christian hermit the Maharishi at Kailash,
who has for years been on the snowy Himalayas praying
and interceding for the world. . . . You have revealed to
the world the secret of one of the members of our mission
the Maharishi at Kailash.
During his pilgrimage in Western Tibet the Sadhu
was constantly searching for those holy men who retire
to the snowy peaks and caves of these distant mountains,
there to spend their last days in contemplation. Far
from the dwellings of men in the silence of the eternal
snows stretches the Kailash range of the Himalayas.
The mighty Indus has its source in this range, and its
great tributary, the Sutlej, also takes its rise there.
The Sutlej flows through the country of Sundar Singh's
birth, and at one point where the bed of the stream is
8,494 feet above the level of the sea, the rocky gorge
presents a scene of awful sublimity, and is one of the
natural wonders of the world.
On the summit of one of the mountains of the Kailash
Range is a deserted Buddhist temple now rarely visited
by man. A few miles from this temple dwells the great
92 SADIIU Sl'XDAR SINGH
saint known as the Maharishi of Knilnsh, in a cave some
13,000 feet above sea level. All this region is the
Olympus of India, the seat of Hindu holy myths, and it
is associated in Hindu sacred hooks with the names of
great and devout souls of all times. In one cave the
Sadhu found the skeleton of some nameless holy man
who had died whilst meditating there.
The scenery all around is grand and impressive, and
amidst the everlasting snows, springs of boiling water
bubble up from out the frozen ground. Some three days'
journey from this place is the famous Lake Manasarowar,
an exquisitely beautiful and holy place. On the Lake
float many fine swans, and upon the overhanging cliffs,
in sweet picturcsqueness, are perched ancient Buddhist
temples and monasteries. The Sadhu describes this as
one of the loveliest places he has ever seen, but he also
adds that here too are found the most cruel of nomadic
tribes, who slay for the pure love of it, and thus convert
the place into a terror to the harmless pilgrims travelling
In the summer of 1912 he travelled through these
regions alone and on foot, often refreshed by the beautiful
scenes through which he passed, but more often fatigued
to the last degree in his difficult and fruitless search
for the holy men he hoped to meet there. He will
never forget the day when, struck with snow-blindness
and almost wearied to death, he staggered drearily on
over snowy and stony crags not knowing whither he
went. Suddenly he lost his balance and fell. Recover
ing from the fall he awoke to one of the greatest experi
ences of his life, for he opened his eyes to find himself
lying outside a huge cave, in the shelter of which sat the
Maharishi of Kailash in deep meditation.
The sight that met his eyes was so appalling that
Sundar closed them and almost fainted. Little bv little
THE MAHARISHI OF KAILASH 93
he ventured to make an inspection of the object before
him, and then discovered that he was looking at a living
human being, but so old and clothed with long hair as to
appear at first glance like an animal. Sundar realized
that thus unexpectedly he had succeeded in his search
after a holy man, and as soon as he could command his
voice he spoke to the aged saint. Recalled from his
meditation, the "saint opened his eyes and, casting a
piercing glance upon the Sadhu, amazed him by saying,
" Let us kneel and pray/' Then followed a most earnest
Christian prayer ending in the name of Jesus. This over,
the Maharishi unrolled a ponderous copy of the Gospels
in Greek, and read some verses from Matthew, chapter v.
The Sadhu heard from his own lips the account of
his wonderful life. He claimed to be of very great age.
The roll from which he had read he explained had come
down to him from Francis Xavier, and the Sadhu noticed
that it was all written in Greek Uncials, and may there
fore prove to be of value to scholars should it come
into their possession. The Saint said he was born in
Alexandria of a Muhammadan family, and was brought
up to be a zealous follower of the prophet. At the age
of thirty he renounced the world and entered a monastery
in order to give himself up entirely to religion. But the
more he read the Qur'an and prayed, the more unhappy
he became. During these days of spiritual distress he
heard of a Christian saint who had gone over from India
to preach in Alexandria, and from him he heard words
of life that filled his hopeless soul with joy. He now
left the monastery to accompany his teacher in his
missionary journeys. After some time spent thus,
permission was given him to go on his own account to
preach the Gospel wherever God sent him. The Saint
then started out on an evangelistic campaign that
continued a very long time.
94 SADIIU Sl'XDAR SIX(iH
At last, wearied with his strenuous labours, the Saint
resolved to spend the remainder of his days in the
secluded spot where Sundar found him. During the years
spent in this place the Saint has learnt much about
the products of the mountains and jungles around him,
by means of which he has been able to subsist to this
day. When the Sadhu first met him he was chilled to
the bone by the bitter cold. The Saint gave him the
leaves of a certain plant to eat, which having eaten he
immediately felt a comfortable glow steal over his body.
The Sadhu had long conversations with him about
holy things, and heard many strange things from his
lips. Some of the excellent illustrations Sundar uses in
his sermons were given him by this aged Saint. The
Maharishi belongs to the Sanyasi Mission. His astonish
ing visions, as related to the Sadhu, would, if written
down, read like another Book of Revelation, so strange
and incomprehensible arc they. The Sadhu himself
warns readers and hearers of these visions that common
interpretations can never disclose their meaning, since
the Saint has to clothe his ideals in language that cannot
be taken literally. Sundar Singh has visited the
Maharishi three times, and hopes to sec him again at
some future time.
SADIIU SUXDAR SINGH IN* SOUTH INDIA
" I speak . . . those things which I have heard of Him ... as
My Father hath taught me, I speak these things " (John viii. 26, 28).
" Obey I beseech thee the voice of the Lord, which I speak unto
thee ; so shall . . . thy soul live " (Jer. xxxviii. 20).
WITHOUT any idea of the protracted tour in front of
him, the Sadhu came down to Madras at the beginning
of 1918, intending to visit a few places before starting
for Tibet. But his fame had preceded him, and invita
tions poured in upon him from all over South India.
An offer voluntarily made by a gentleman in Madras to
act as interpreter for a few weeks caused him to alter
his plans, and to accept a programme which eventually
included Travancore and Ceylon.
Every day fresh entreaties reached him from all
directions, and out of them grew that great evangelistic
tour not only through the South and Ceylon, but also
Burma, the Federated Malay States, China, and Japan.
The large Chrislian community of South India provided
an immense sphere for his operations, and, regardless
of distinction of caste or creed, thousands nocked to
his meetings everywhere. His work was varied and
strenuous. Often the day's work began so early and
continued so late that he had scarcely time for meals,
and no leisure even for the study of his New Testament.
In places where he spent many days the people rested
96 SADHU SUNDAR SINGH
after his departure as a man does after a good meal ; but
in no place did people imagine that the Sadhu needed rest.
Long days of engagements were succeeded by a
wearisome night's journey by boat, bullock cart, or
train. The new day's work began upon arrival and
continued until departure. Public meetings were usually
held morning and evening, and for hours between the
Sadhu sat receiving visitors and holding interviews,
when he gave advice, solved the religious problems that
were presented to him, and answered enquirers as far as
he was able. The number present on such occasions
varied from a single person to a hundred or more. The
value of these meetings was testified to by the witness
of those who attended them, as also by the fact that
the longer the Sadhu stayed in a place the greater were
the numbers who sought to see him.
In one place where great numbers sought him for
spiritual guidance a student in the hostel where he
stayed made it his happy duty to watch over him by
admitting the visitors. The young man kept the key of
the Sadhu's door, and as the time for devotions or
meals came round some small measure of privacy and
rest was assured.
In large centres where there were colleges and high
schools, these were visited between morning and evening
meetings, and addresses were given to the students.
The acceptance of invitations to private houses to meet
parties of Christians, involved extra work at the close
of arduous days. The barrier of language was a difficulty
in the south, where so many Dravidian tongues arc
spoken. Wherever possible interviews were conducted
in English, but at many of these, as well as in public,
the Sadhu was often obliged to speak by interpretation,
and that not always of the best. To one so ardent in
temperament, so full of his message, so anxious for souls,
SADHU SUXDAR SINGH IX SOI.'TII IXDIA 97
this language difficulty was a very real one, but. to see
him at these times no one would surmise his feelings.
The Sadhu seeks for no disciples to follow his example.
He rightly holds that a man must have a distinct call
of God to embark on such a life. His advice to all is
sane, wise, suited to the people to whom it is given.
His devout mother's, example in bringing him up to
reverence religion is a constant parable of life in his
talks to women. He often says, " If a non-Christian
mother can do so much for her son, how much more
can you Christian mothers do for your sons ? " Deeply
loving the New Testament himself, he speaks of Christians
loving it more than he, since they have never torn and
burnt it as he once did, but have been trained to honour
and love it. How conscience-stricken many of his
hearers are when they hear him say this, he does not know !
It has been no uncommon thing during the Sadhu's
stay in South India for Hindus to seek him in the silent
hours of the night, when he will " spend and be spent "
in their service whilst others sleep. Growing demands
were made on his time and strength by the numbers of
letters he received from people in places he had visited,
and the requests for his prayers we're legion.
Christians by thousands, who have seen Sadhu Sundar
Singh, behold in him what it is possible for God to
make of a man who submits himself soul and body to
his Saviour, and so long as he is visible, people never
grow weary of looking at him. They have received
him and his message with great joy wherever he has
been, the only regret being that he could not stay longer
to consolidate his work. How deep and far-reaching
the results of his work are only God knows, but that his
coming was timely and that God sent him, none can for
a moment doubt. He places before men the true ideal
of a godly life of self-surrender to Christ, and of self-
abnegation in His service. 7
SADHU SUNDAR SINGH AT A GREAT CHRISTIAN
THE CALL. " Oh, Young Men, awake and see how many
souls are daily perishing around you. Is it not your duty to save
them ? Be brave soldiers of Christ ; Go forward in full armouf ;
Crush Satan's work and victory be yours.
" Glory to God. He has given you a precious opportunity to be
saved and to save others. If you are careless now, you will never
get another chance. Whatever you have got to do, do it now.
For you will never pass through the field of battle again. The
day is fast approaching when you will see the martyrs in their
glory, who gave their health, wealth and life to win souls for Christ.
They have done much. What have you done ? Oh ! may we
not blush on that day." SUNDAR SINGH.
THIS clarion call resounded all through South India,
stirring hearts everywhere ; but perhaps nowhere was
it so clear, so insistent, as at the Conventions of Christians
in Travancore and Ceylon. Where Christians arc
numerous, annual conventions for the deepening of
spiritual life have of late years become very popular.
Like the Keswick Convention, meetings are held for a
week with settled programmes and preachers, and are
attended by increasing numbers as time goes on.
Several of the conventions have been blessed by the
presence of the Sadhu, the largest in point of numbers
being in Travancore.
The historic Syrian Church of Malabar proudly dates
AT A GREAT CHRISTIAN CONVENTION 99
back to the days when it is believed that St. Thomas
landed on these shores and laid the foundations of
Christianity in India. This ancient Church is divided
into three sections, the Roman, the Jacobite and the
Mar Thoma Syrian.
About the middle of February, 1918, the Sadhu
attended the Jacobite Syrian Convention in North
Travancore, when some 20,000 people came together,
and he spent a happy and useful time amongst them.
From there at the end of the month he went on to the
Mar Thoma Syrian Convention, also in North Travan
This latter was a romantic and remarkable experience
not soon to be forgotten. A hundred miles north of
Trivandram is the widest and most beautiful river of
Truvancore. In the dry season the river flows only in
the deepest parts of its bed. A big bend in the river
leaves a very large sandy island upon which each year
an immense booth is erected to accommodate 25,000
pe.ople. For a week meetings are carried on during the
greater part of each day. Every day long before dawn
a man with a stentorian voice passed round the encamp
ment crying, " Praise be to God ! Praise to the Son of
God ! " Very soon after the sound of prayer rose all
around. These prayers were chanted to ancient Syrian
tunes, the weird sound rising in gradual crescendo ; and
thus was the blessing of God invoked before the meetings
each day. The Sadhu drew greater crowds than usual,
so that before the end of the week the booth had to be
enlarged, and at the final meeting no fewer than 32,000
people gathered to hear his last message.
The wonder of that daily scene is almost beyond
description. A rough platform about eighteen inches
high had been placed about a third of the way from the
back of the booth, and on one end stood two chairs
100 SADHU SUNDAR SIXGH
occupied by the two Bishops of the Mar Thoma Syrian
Church, who appeared daily in resplendent robes of red
or purple satin with gold belts and quaint head-dresses.
On the platform below, sitting tailor fashion, were the
clergy of the Church, and in front of them in the same
lowly style sat the Sadhu.
The vast crowds were seated on the sand, the women
all in white on the left, and the men in front and at the
right. Away over the sea of heads one caught glimpses
of the shining river, with its strange craft plying up and
down. A more devout crowd it is not possible to imagine
Every day the early part of the meetings was given to
prayer. Subjects were given for silent prayer from time
to time by the presiding Bishop, when every head was
bowed, and the almost inaudible murmur of prayer
gradually increased until a sound like the surging sea
rolling in full tide rose all around a most impressive
The fearful heat was only equalled by the intense
silence that prevailed as the Sadhu rose to speak. Often,
in his northern country he had heard of the great number
of Christians in Travancore, and thousands had gatherecj
in our own mission to hear him. But here for the firs-t
time he realized, as he looked at this mighty crowd
how great the number was ; and his heart was filled with
wonder a.-, to why the Gospel had been so long in reaching
the millions of greater India.
In brave stern words he reminded this multitude
that through the ages God had made the Syrian Church
the repository of His truth, but that failure on their part
to hand on the Gospel to their own countrymen had
forced God to call men from America and England to do
the work they had left undone. Then, alluding to the
great reform movement in this ancient Church, he
earnestly and tenderly besought them to rise to the
AT A GREAT CHRISTIAN CONVENTION 101
call unheard for so long and send the light to the
millions who are still dying in darkness.*
This same appeal has been made in other places since
then, and the hearts of people have been stirred to
this great issue as never before. The Sadhu clearly sees
the duty and privilege God is offering to the Indian
Church to enter into His purposes, and claim for Him the
myriads of this ancient land. By his own example, as
well as by his words, he urges India's sons to take up
their cross at all costs, and follow Christ to final victory.
* The Syrian Church in Travancore has been alive to this great
need for some years, and is continually increasing the number of
missionaries it has begun to send to different parts of India.
" Thou shall be His witness
heard." Acts xx. 15.
of what thou hast seen and
Ix May, 1918, the Sadhu had almost completed a long
and arduous tour through South India. Before passing
west and north again he left the great continent of his
birth, and crossing to Colombo spent six weeks in Ceylon.
During those crowded weeks the enthusiasm of the south
was repeated in every place he visited, and increasingly
as the days went by. Probably for the first time in
Ceylon missionaries, ministers, and laymen of all denomi
nations joined together for a campaign that should cover
most of the important towns of the Island ; and their
harmonious co-operation not only made things run
smoothly for the Sadhu, but largely contributed to the
very real success of his work. Everything was done to
ensure his visiting as many places as possible, and local
papers in Colombo, Kandy, and Jaffna reported his
progress as he went along.
Mr. Wilson, the convener of the committee that
arranged his programme, wrote :
His (the Sadhu's) meetings were always attended by
enormous crowds. People began to come in from 3 o'clock
when the meetings were announced to begin at 6 p.m.
Catholics and Hindus came in great numbers, and people
from as far as forty miles off came to Colombo to attend the
meetings. At no place could a hall be got large enough to
hold the crowds that thronged to hear him day after day.
Drawing-room meetings were arranged in many places.
Probably no Christian evangelical effort so greatly stirred
the people as this mission of an Indian convert garbed as
a sanyasi. There was no way of translating the addresses
into Sinhalese. An attempt was made, but proving unsatis
factory the idea was abandoned.
A Hindu gentleman well acquainted with the recent
revival literature of Hinduism was desirous of putting
into the question-box a question relating to prayer. By
a happy coincidence that night the Sadhu spoke on
prayer. The man listened very attentively, and at the
end he said, " He is really a spiritual guru (teacher) and
I hope to get light from him."
In Jaffna, a large city on the north of the Island, a
real spiritual work was done. In writing of the Sadhu
the Rev. G. G. Brown, M.A., a missionary in Jaffna,
said of the Sadhu :
He has a deep and unique religious experience, yet it is
with great hesitancy that he speaks about it, and he never
gives the impression that his should be the normal experience,
or that others should follow his manner of living. His hold
on the people is real, and I have never seen large meetings
at Jaffna at which the attention was so marked. Part of
his charm and power lies in the fact that he represents a
purely Indian type of life and thought, and in him we have
an expression of Christian ideals in a purely Indian setting.
Invitations were scattered broadcast amongst non-
Christians which were well responded to by Buddhists,
Muhammadans, and Hindus, and they were assured that
if they came " with an open mind they should not return
without gain." In several places, especially in Jaffna,
after the Sadhu's departure, articles appeared in the
local papers earnestly urging a practical issue, and inviting
lOi SADHU SUNDAR SIXGH
college and school teachers as well as ministers to follow
up the work while hearts were likely to be responsive
to the message of life.
The Sadhu often addressed as many as three meetings
a day, as well as conducting interviews, and he suffered
so much from the moist heat that in writing to a friend
in the north he likened himself to a lump of salt in
solution, adding, he was " willing to melt like salt if only
the south might be salted."
The Sadhu's tour, both through Ceylon and South
India, was a remarkable experience. In Colombo every
day hundreds could not get near the doors of his meetings,
and from dawn to late at night great numbers sought
him out for spiritual guidance, so that all the time his
life was lived amongst crowds. Newspapers wrote
about him, and his name became a household word in
thousands of Christian homes. But multitudes and
popularity count for nothing to the Sadhu beyond the
fact that they provide for him opportunities to preach
Christ and reach the souls of men. At what cost this
great work has been done only the Sadhu himself knows.
His calm dignity amongst the enormous crowds that
surrounded him and invaded his privacy at all hours,
gave no hint of his innermost shrinking from such great
One great safeguard to the Sadhu in the enormous
temptations such experiences bring, is his absolute
simplicity, that simplicity which Fenelon describes as
" an uprightness of soul which has ceased to dwell upon
itself or its actions," where Christ is all and self less
than the dust.
On his return to Colombo after touring the Island
he held a series of meetings, when his addresses were
translated from Urdu into English by Canon Goldsmith,
who went over from Madras for the purpose.
In many parts of Ceylon the Sadhu was much impressed
by the apparent wealth of the people and their love of
display. He spoke frequently and clearly everywhere
with regard to the hindrance these things arc to a true
and simple Christian life, and he urged that humbler
Christians should not be hindered in their higher life,
since they could only reluctantly enter churches where
such exhibitions were indulged in.
He found here as in the South that the spirit of caste
amongst Christians seriously militated against spiritual
progress, and he was as unsparing in his condemnation
as he was tender in his pleading that this great stumbling-
block should be removed.
In his own inimitable way Sadhu Sundar Singh used
a striking simile when he compared India to a giant, the
snowy Himalayas being the head, and South India the
feet. Putting his ringer on the weak spot in the armour
of Southern Christianity he said, " It is with the feet of
South Indian Christians that Christianity can walk in
India. But alas ! although the feet are there, apparently
strong and well shaped they cannot walk. What is,
wrong ? As in the case of a man I saw in Cochin, there
is elephantiasis in the feet, and this elephantiasis is the
spirit of caste."
Who can speak with greater authority on this subject
than Sadhu Sundar Singh himself ? Like Paul, who
declared himself " a Hebrew of the Hebrews," so may
the Sadhu claim to be " a Sikh of the Sikhs "one of the
proudest names in India ; but instead his life testifies to
the words, " God forbid that I should glory, save in the
cross of Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified
unto me and I unto the world."
In passing through Ceylon and India the Sadhu has
made his appeal. Well might he say, " Be ye followers
of me " in this great matter. When will the great
106 SADHU SUNDAR SINGH
Christian Church accept and abide by his teaching and
example, and casting off the chains of centuries enter into
that " fulness of life " of which the Sadhu so constantly
spoke, and which he himself enjoys ? Thus, and thus
only, shall she enter into that abundant and glorious
service that shall claim India for her Lord.
The visit of Sadhu Sundar Singh to the Churches of
South India and Ceylon is over. His work is done, and
he has passed to other lands and other communities.
The hearts of thousands have been touched by his
message and his personality, and though eminently
practical he has stirred deep emotions in every place he
has been to. Probably no single man has attracted so
much attention and devotion in all the history of the
Christian Church in India.
During his visit people constantly besought him to
pray for them ; to visit and pray with sick friends and
to bless little children ; and even to touch his robe
brought comfort to many. As the Sadhu continued his
journey through the South, these requests and this
treatment became so general, and reports of his having
healed the sick by his touch or through prayer so
persistent, that he was obliged to decline requests to
visit the homes of people, lest superstitious beliefs should
cause them to look upon him as a worker of miracles.
When asked to bless people his reply invariably was,
" How can these hands bless anyone these hands that
tore up God's Word and burnt it in the fire ? "
Not by such means did Sundar Singh strive to bring
men to the feet of his Master ! But by forceful message
and by a living example he showed men how to tread
the same path, and with persuasive tenderness he sought
to lead them to the Saviour. Is Sundar Singh to pass
leaving only a burning message and precious memory ?
Greater than the blessing of his hands, greater than
his personality, is the deep desire of his heart that the
Christians of India and Ceylon may accept his ministry,
put it into practice, live by it, and with him become true
and devoted followers of Jesus Christ.
Let us arise, and, " His grace abiding," follow Sadhu
Sundar Singh even as he follows Christ.
" UNTO THE UTTERMOST PARTS OF THE EARTH "
" I live by the faith of the Son of God." Galatians ii. 20.
RETURNING in July to India the Sadhn completed his
work in the South, turning west to Bombay for a confer
ence and then north to Calcutta, Avhere soon after his
arrival he fell ill of influenza which was raging there at
the time. In writing of this afterwards he said, " In
sickness God has given me the rest and time for prayer
I could not get in the South." Upon his recovery he
went to spend a few days at Bolpur with the great
Eastern Mystic, Sir Rabindranath Tagore, returning to
Calcutta to obey a call to visit Burma and the Straits
Settlements. The continuous messages of affection he
kept receiving from Ceylon during these and succeeding
days brought him a great deal of happiness.
On his way over the seas to Burma he wrote, " I
have much time for prayer and am reading many new
pages in the book of nature," and all who know him
will understand how his store of illustrations would be
enriched from that source in a way entirely his own.
Arrived at Rangoon he had the assistance of translators
and still did most of his work in Urdu, but even at that
time h^j was hoping soon to be able to speak in English
and so avoid the double and even treble translations that
UNTO THE UTTERMOST PARTS OF THE EARTH 109
weakened his messages and were such a source of trouble
to him. Private moments were given to the study of
English, and wherever possible he practised speaking it.
Here and in other cities he was followed by an Arya
Samaj preacher who strove to undo his work by pouring
forth violent invectives against Christianity, but people
were not attracted to hear him, and he eventually gave
up in disgust. At one of his meetings Sundar Singh
invited the people to contribute to the funds of the
Indian National Missionary Society, when a thank-
offering of Rs. 500 was immediately raised for that purpose.
As in South India and Ceylon, so here a crowded
programme awaited him. The visit of Bishop Lefroy
to Rangoon earlier on had prepared the way for a good
reception. The Bishop of Rangoon took the chair at
one of his meetings, when numerous thankofferings for
his work were made to God. These provided the Sadhu
with the necessaries of life, and met his travelling expenses
in Burma and to China and Japan.
All through his life as a Sadhu, Sundar Singh has
taken God at His word, " Take no thought for your life,
what ye shall eat . . . put on," and God has amply
rewarded his faith. To pass alone from India through
Burma, Mandalay, Perak, Singapore, Penang. and away
to China and Japan, with their varying climates, peoples,
and languages, without money and with only a foreign
language as his medium of communication with strange
races, staggers the imagination of ordinary people. But
the same faith that in earlier years made him turn his
back upon his home, and took him while yet a boy to the
wilds of inhospitable Tibet, enabled him to go at God's
call to these distant places without a moment's hesitation
or doubt, and that at a time when, as Mr. K. T. Paul says,
" the whole of the Indian Church was at his feet and he
could have had anything he wanted." He is a man so
110 SADHU SUNDAR SINGH
gladly obedient to his God that he steps out into an
utterly unknown future unprovided for, and lo ! trains
stand ready for him, ships ride at anchor awaiting him,
and men of different nationalities, colours, and languages
hold out helping hands everywhere. Surely this is
living " by the faith of the Son of God " !
In the cosmopolitan cities of Rangoon, Singapore,
and Penang the large audiences were perhaps as mixed
in race, status, and language as anywhere in the world.
Here the Sadhu came in contact with Chinese, Japanese,
Malays, Europeans, and various Indian peoples, and his
addresses were usually translated by two interpreters.
Urdu, Burmese, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Chinese, and
Engljsh were the means of communication, whilst
business men of different races, army men, clerics, and
Government officials took the chair or shared the same
platform with him.
For lack of Christian newspapers to report his work,
and since he so rarely of his own accord speaks about
it, information regarding his tour has been difficult to
obtain, but letters from friends who have met or enter
tained him give glimpses of interest. When the Sadhu
went up to Maymyo he was delighted with the fine
scenery and cool climate. It was in this beautiful spot
that he met some Punjabis, his -own countrymen, who,
though non-Christians, insisted on his taking a meal
with them, and much to his joy invited him to partake
from the same dish with them. A missionary writing
from there said :
Above all his gifts stands out the soul of the man, a soul
that ha* gripped to itself the messa;. it imparts to others.
In every city he visited he has left a trail of light behind him.
From Ipoh in Perak came the pathetic message :
He has taught us to pray, for our prayers are quite different
now. My nephew, the son of a non-Christian, has always
UNTO THE UTTERMOST PARTS OF THE EARTH 111
said he would never become a Christian, but would remain in
the faith of his ancestors and perform his father's funeral
rites. The Sadhu stayed in our house, and so cleared the
young man's doubts that he now wishes to be baptized.
A leading medical man in Singapore sends a brief
His tour through the Malay States, extending over a month,
was a continued Pentecost.
Whilst a Straits paper adds :
His passionate advocacy of the Christian faith won the
hearts of his numerous hearers.
At Bassein he was very happy to find that some
leading Hindus and Muhammadans were taking an
active part in arranging for the meetings, and in Penang
another unexpected happiness awaited him. He spoke
in the Empire Theatre, the address being summarized
in Tamil, Malay, and Chinese. A meeting for Sikhs in
Hindustani was held in St. George's Chapel, when he
preached to a full house. At the close of the meeting a
Sikh gentleman arose and invited the Sadhu to go and
speak in the Sikh Temple. At Penang also the Chief
of the Police took the chair at one of his meetings, and
gave a half-holiday to the police staff in order to give
them the opportunity of attending.
It was little wonder that fear was expressed in certain
quarters that so much success might wean him from
the simple sadhu life. But no one was more alive
to the insidious temptations of the moment than the
Sadhu himself, and his constant prayer was that he
might be kept humble and faithful to the end.
His own impressions he writes as follows : -
The Burmese are of the Mongolian type and are
Buddhists, and for this reason they have no true idea of
God. It is difficult to make them understand, for in their
112 SADHU SUXDAR SINGH
language they seem to have no word that rightly expresses
our idea of God. But they are a simple people, and their
temples are all open to visitors. They are not bigoted as
are Hindus and Muhammadans. But the Hindus here not
only attend meetings themselves but bring their wives with
Then he adds :
I do not see as others seem to see what a great work is
going on among the people.
The beginning of 1919 marks a great event in the
Sadhu's career, for not only did he make his long journey
to China and Japan, but on January 2 he found himself
in Singapore amidst a people whose common language
was English, and there was no one who could translate
from Hindustani for him. Immediately he resolved to
use English, and from that day his work was almost
entirely done in that language. Only a few months
before some important engagements in South India had
been dropped for lack of an interpreter, so that it is
not surprising that those who were praying that his
work in these distant lands might be effective, felt that
their prayers were answered when they heard that the
Sadhu was fearlessly speaking in English.
From Singapore he went to China, where he stayed
a short time. Bishop Maloney gave him a note of
introduction to a Japanese Bishop, and after a few
meetings he left China, with the promise to spend a little
time on his way back, and took ship to Japan. When he
reached that country and heard the Japanese speaking
in English he felt much encouraged. Thus the great
barrier of language which had so often hampered and
distressed him is broken down, and he thanks God
who has enabled him to witness to the ends of the earth
in this wonderful way.
" CALLED, CHOSEN, FAITHFUL "
" They that are with Him are called, chosen, faithful." Rev. xvi. 14.
IN Japan he was much impressed with the materialism
of the people. He felt that there was a deep indifference
to religion, and that appeals to the spiritual nature
produced little effect, whilst the greed of money, love
of power, and the terrible immorality prevailing, struck
a chill of horror through his heart. The national religion
appeared to have little hold on the people, and he saw
temples fuller of visitors and guides than of worshippers.
The rush and hurry of life distressed him.
A friend in Yokohama wrote :
He spoke once to the foreign community and we were all
struck with his apt illustrations, and when he could be
persuaded to tell the story of his conversion, it impressed us
as a modern version of St. Paul's.
Another writer adds :
Few could listen to the story of the Sikh lad who sought
so earnestly after truth without their deepest feelings being
stirred. St. Paul, after he had seen the heavenly vision,
could not but testify to it. " Now I not only know about
Christ ; I have seen Him," says this Sadhu of the twentieth
century ; and as he tells the story, you feel with him the
surprise he felt when suddenly Christ with wounded hands
stood before him.
114 SADHU SUXDAR SINGH
Whilst from Tokyo came yet another letter from a
missionary in which he said :
His clear putting of spiritual issues was very striking. His
word had a spiritual authority behind it. He was our guest
here and afterwards joint guest with us in Pekin.
The Rev. Takaharu Takamatsu, Japanese Pastor at
Okasaki, wrote :
He inspired many American missionaries resident in Kyoto,
but the native ministers were even more inspired, I think.
A young Japanese who is in the senior class of the Third
National College, Kyoto, had been coining to my house
before the Sadhu's visit. He is studying natural science
and his mind is very rationalistic. He was seeking Light
and could only see dimly. He was unable to be present at
the Sadhu's meetings, but came to my Bible Class when I
spoke about him. He was very quiet and hung his head.
A few days after he called at 7.30 a.m. to see me on his way
to college. His right hand was bandaged. He told me that
the previous night he had experienced the power of God.
He awoke at 3.30 a.m. after a very vivid dream, in which
his father had forced him to do something against his will.
He arose from his bed, and felt within himself a spiritual
force at work that exercised the same control over his mind
that his father's had physically. He strove to resist it, but
the more he fought against it the more he felt obliged to give
way. Unconsciously his hands were clasped, and he began
to tremble violently until his whole mind and body were
filled with joy unspeakable. He wept aloud so that .his
friends in a neighbouring room woke up and came in to see
what was the matter.
The young man preached so earnestly that he constantly
struck his right hand on the desk until it was hurt.
When he told me this story I explained to him that Christ
was calling him, and he must confess Him and tell others
of his experience.
That evening, returning from College with two students,
one a medical friend and the other a renegade Christian, he
began to speak very earnestly about the Saviour, when a
crowd gathered round to hear. The renegade Christian
listening to his words wept out his repentance, and said that
CALLED, CHOSEN, FAITHFUL 115
for the first time he had understood Christianity and would
follow Christ. Thus is the Sadhu's short visit bearing fruit
in the lives of our people.
Japanese Christians have been called to consider
earnestly such great matters as single-mindedness and
purity of aspiration after union with God ; that prayer
is not merely asking benefits but entering into commu
nion with God ; and that full self-surrender to Christ
means a glad willingness to do and suffer His will even
if it lead to the sacrifice of life itself. One such says :
Because he has gone all the way possible in some directions
he speaks with authority as a messenger from God.
A Japanese lady, after hearing of how Sundar found
Christ, exclaimed :
A dear friend of mine, deeply dissatisfied with the old
teaching (of his own religion), struggled hard to find light,
but failing he flung himself into a waterfall when he was
but eighteen years of age. Alas ! my friend knew nothing
of Christ, had no one to go to in his darkness ; the ground
slipped away from under his feet, and so he ended his life.
For the help of such as these Sundar Singh went to Japan.
In China the Sadhu found the people still with a
love and reverence for their ancient faiths, and declares
them capable of high spiritual development. In both
Japan and China he was amazed to find how by reason
of there being no caste distinctions as in India, the
acceptance of Christianity was made so much simpler
from a social standpoint.
A missionary wrote from Peking :
In Peking his coming was most timely, and I trust has
given the Peking Cathedral congregation a great lift. It
was good to see a Methodist translating for the Sadhu in
the Cathedral. It was fuller than it ever had been" on a
Sunday, and at the Monday meeting a suddenly announced
service the Cathedral was again full. His way of putting
things in English is after the model of the Gospels.
116 SADHU SUNDAR SINGH
On the Sunday evening he preached to Europeans
and Americans in the Union Church. From Peking
he wrote saying he was in excellent health and enjoying
the real cold of the fine climate.
At Hankow influenza was raging, but he was able
to do some work. The son of the great missionary,
Hudson Taylor, translated for him into Chinese. He
then passed further into Shansi Province to the place
where in 1900 many missionaries were martyred along
Avith numbers of Chinese. When he heard how bravely
they suffered, and how even boys had stood firm as
they w r atched their parents done to death before they
were called on to suffer, his soul was stirred to its
He arrived unexpectedly at Nanking, so that no
preparations had been made for him. The Rev. J. G.
Magce went to the station to meet a friend, and finding
the Sadhu there he took him home. Mr. Magee says :
He preached at a chapel recently opened, and the people
were much impressed by him -personally, and by his striking
message with its unique illustrations. They are still talking
about him. Just to-day a young' Chinaman said to me,
without my raising the subject, that the Church members
believed in Sundar Singh. He meant that Sundar Singh
was leading the Christian life more fully than he had ever seen.
In the afternoon he spoke to a group of new converts,
and at night to a meeting of missionaries on " Witness-
bearing." " You would not need to be told of the
effect of his words on such a subject to such an audience,"
the writer adds.
His own witness-bearing in those regions then came
to an end, and within a short time he found himself
amongst friends in Madras, and with their help speedily
reached Simla. From there he went on to Sabathu,
when he once more occupied the room where fourteen
CALLED, CHOSEN, FAITHFUL 117
years before, after much prayer, he had put on the
sadhu garb and made his solemn vow to follow Christ
wherever He led.
At Kotgarh he was laid up with a wounded foot,
and his journey into Tibet, much to his regret, was
delayed. But on July i he was well, and once more
turned his back on civilization and friends, and started
on his lonely journey to the frozen highlands of his
chosen field of labour, where amongst the great solitudes
of the snow-clad Himalayas he again held high converse
Even those windswept plateaux of Tibet, whose
scanty populations refuse his message and drive him
forth hungering into the wilderness, provide for him
those great experiences about which he is so reticent,
but which prove him to be specially called of God and
cared for by Him when human help fails. For months
together the Sadhu has wandered alone in regions
seldom trodden by the foot of man, and has learnt to
love the mountain peaks where he beholds God's mighty
works and often hears His " still small voice."
Amidst such scenes Sundar Singh has not only seen
visions, but has gathered power for his ministry among
the multitudes of the plains. And while his sensitive
soul turns with longing to the wider spaces where he
can be alone with God, he has walked -through countless
temptations and still retains through them all the unspoilt
sweetness and simplicity his lonely life of hardship for
Christ has given him.
CHRIST SENT ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL
" Christ sent me ... to preach the gospel." 1 Corinthians i. 17.
" I have fully preached the gospel of Christ. Yea, so have I
strived to preach the gospel, where Christ was not named . . .
as it is written, To whom He was not spoken of, they shall see ;
and they that have not heard shall understand." Romans xv.
IT is an acknowledged fact that some sermons are
more powerful in print than when delivered. The
reverse, however, is even more true, for many really
great sermons with far-reaching results would make but
a poor show on paper. The desire has been expressed in
several quarters for the sermons of Sadhu Sundar Singh
to appear in book form, and a Tamil edition of such
a book has been published. But those who know him
best, and the true value of his work, feel doubtful as to
whether such a book can possibly do him justice.
Sadhu Sundar Singh is a good preacher ; he loses
no time in figures of speech, wastes no words on fine
phrases. He is direct, clear, concise. Needless to say,
he is in dead earnest, and leaves no single hearer in
doubt as to the object he has in view. No hesitation in
delivery or haziness of expression mars the effect of
what he has to say. He never appears without a
message straight from God, and his clear voice carries that
message to the remotest limits of his audience, however
CHRIST SENT ME TO PREACH TIIK GOSPKL 119
large that audience may l>e. A tense silence and strained
attention witness to the power with which he speaks.
His calm and yet humble dignity of manner, as he stands
SADHU SUNDAR SINGH
with his small Urdu Testament in his clasped hands,
is strangely at variance with his impassioned language
and vigour of delivery. Not for one moment does any
120 SADHU SUNDAR SINGH
dulness creep in to give opportunity to heedless hearers
to stare about.
Constantly in parable or from actual personal experi
ence, Sadhu Sundar Singh illustrates what he has to
say, and always aptly, and strikingly. In lecturing to
non-Christians he contends that religion is not a matter
of argument but of experience, and proves very conclu
sively before he has done that this is so. However mixed
his audience may be, none can go away without the
deep impression of having heard the truth. Lovers of
Jesus Christ are fortified in their faith, the careless are
brought suddenly to a standstill and made to reconsider
their position. Thoughtful non-Christians are brought
face to face with the question whether Christ has any
claim on them, and as a result many have been brought
to the feet of the Saviour.
The real significance of the preaching of the Sadhu
lies in his triumphant reaffirmation of the eternal things
of spiritual life. The charm of the message has brought
new life to many Christians who before his coming had
scarcely felt the vital power of Christ in their own lives,
and to whom religion was more or less a lifeless thing.
For many of these the first flush of zeal and devotion
for Christ had passed away, and the pressure of the
world had blurred the heavenly vision.
But Sadhu Sundar Singh, coming fresh from the
continual communion he holds with his Lord, stands
amongst men in his Sadhu's robes, filled with a message
so persuasive, so insistent, so attractive, that once again
is felt the power and the sweetness of a Saviour wellnigh
forgotten. He draws his life\ from God's unfailing
springs of joy, and communicates something of that joy
to those who see and hear him, until they too are fired
with desire to drink at the same fountain and share the
CHRIST SENT ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL 121
His message to Christians is strong and impressive.
It is urgent and compelling, pointing to higher and
nobler ideals of living, which his hearers must heed or
be left worse off than before he came.
In preaching to non-Christians he never attacks
their religion or uses unbrotherly terms of reproach.
But he fearlessly testifies to his own failure after long
and painful search to find peace, joy, and satisfaction,
apart from God's great revelation in Jesus Christ.
Neither argument nor philosophy, but the inspiration
which comes from the simple yet powerful testimony to
the power of God to redeem from sin, is his method of
drawing non-Christians to the feet of Christ.
The Sadhu goes back to foundation things : God's
love ; Christ's witness in life and death to that love ; the
unfailing power of that love to save all who accept it ;
and supremely Christ and His cross are his theme.
He speaks of One he intimately knows ; One whose
power he has never ceased to experience from the hour
when that One appeared to him as a boy ; One who is
his companion day and night, and for whom he has given
up everything that life can offer. His hearers are con
scious that before them stands a man who is LIVING
Christ as well as preaching Him.
Sadhu Sundar Singh's own personality carries weight
with his message. At one of his early meetings in the
South, when his address was over, he sat down before
the translation was completed, and it then became most
difficult for the good translator to keep the attention
of the audience to the end. At later meetings he remained
standing until the translation was finished, when not
an eye was turned away for a moment. It is himself
and his message combined that is powerful to influence
those vvho receive that message from his lips.
122 SADIir Sl'XDAR SINGH
The writer of Ecce Homo says :
The first step towards a good disposition is for a man to
form a strong personal attachment. Let tle object of that
attachment be a person of striking and conspicuous goodness.
He will ever have before his eyes an ideal of what he himself
may become. Example is a personal influence.
The Sadhu wherever he goes is able to awaken this
feeling of strong personal attachment, and this power he
uses entirely to draw men to Christ. The crowds that
constantly linger round that they may catch sight of
him, and the honourable titles often accorded him
voluntarily in places where he goes (such as Mahatma
and Swami, indicating a partaker of the Divine nature),
witness to this spirit of personal devotion. Devout
Christians realize that if the Sadhu can awaken such
feelings, how much greater loyalty and devotion may
spring from the appeal of Jesus Christ Himself. And
thus by his personality he leads men upwards to the
one source of spiritual life.
Many young men in the South have desired to become
his disciples ; but the advice of the Sadhu to all such
is that they should serve God where they are and amongst
those around them.
His chief work, the work he recognizes as that specially
given him by God, lies beyond the limit of ordinary
churches, amongst those inaccessible to their influence
and suasion. " To the churches he comes to impart a
deeper glow and sterner purpose, but he passes on his
way without tabulating results, only leaving behind
a burning message and an inspiring memory. His
simplicity is a rebuke to all selfish love of the world, and
his presentation of Christianity is calculated to correct
the erroneous idea that it is only a religion suited to
westerners in which India can have no share."
In Tibet, amidst a hostile people and in constant
CHRIST SENT ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL 123
danger, this humble servant of Christ is carrying " the
message which is the heart of his own life." Alone, in
cold and hunger, Avithout a place to lay his head, but
filled with an absorbing passion for his Master and for
the souls " sitting in darkness and in the shadow of
death," Sundar Singh toils over the snow-strewn wastes.
That- solitary figure does not pass from His sight as it
docs from ours, for assuredly Christ walks beside him,
works and suffers with him.
From those lonely heights comes back the echo of
his own words, " How ashamed we shall be when we
meet in the presence of God and before saints and
martyrs, if we do not live real Christian lives here ! "
These are not new words, but as Mr. Stokes once said,
" When they come from the lips of one who has long
suffered hunger, cold, imprisonment, and persecution for
his Master, they fall upon our cars with an awful
authority and power."
O God, O kinsman loved, but not enough !
O Man, with eyes majestic after death,
Whose feet have toiled along our pathways rough,
Whose lips drawn human breath !
Come, lest this heart should, cold and cast away,
Die, ere the guest adored she entertain
Lest eyes which never saw Thine earthly day
Should miss Thy heavenly reign.
THE MESSAGE OF THIS BOOK.
THIS little book lays no claim to being a life of Sadhu
Sundar Singh, or even a record of his labours. It
attempts to lay bare the secret of the singularly beautiful
character of a deeply religious soul, and seeks to extend
as well as to keep in mind the magnetic influence of a
wholly consecrated life.
If in any measure it shows how one good man in
preaching and living Christ so presents Him to the world
as to " draw all men unto Him," and if other hearts are
stirred to a deeper devotion to Christ and so catch some
thing of the Sadhu's spirit, its purpose will be served.
It is a great joy to render this small tribute to the
amazing power of Sadhu Sundar Singh to turn men to
Christ, and it is offered to the reader by one who has
experienced that power, in the hope and with the prayer
that its message may be blessed of God to all who will
R. J. P,
"-I, if I be lifted up ... will draw all men unto Myself."
I. THE SADHU AND HIS FATHER
SIRDAR SHER SINGH made various attempts from time
to time to win back his son, and the Urdu letter on the
next page is one of them. In it he urged that Sundar
should marry. " I do not want to ask you what you
think, but I order you to get married immediately.
Can you not serve your guru, Christ, in a married state ?
. . . Does the Christian religion teach disobedience to
parents ? " He then goes on to say he will leave large
sums of money to Sundar if only he will carry on the
family name, and also chides him for living in poverty
and dressing so poorly.
In his reply Sundar respectfully reminds his father
of the definite call he has had to live the true sadhu life
in which marriage is impossible, and that when ,he
became a Christian he gave up all thought of earthly
wealth, adding, " You are wise ,and experienced and can
do as seems best ; as for me, having 1 once put my hand
to the plough I will not look back."
After fourteen years of unswerving-, loyalty to Christ
Sadhu's many prayers were gloriously answered when he
visited his old home in October, 1919. His aged father
welcomed him with joy, and during the few days they
were together Sundar had the great happiness of hearing
that his father had at last given his heart to the Saviour
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FACSIMILE OF SIRDAR SHER SINGH'S LETTER TO HIS SON.
who had so transformed his son. Sirdar Sher Singh
earnestly desired baptism at his son's hands, but, believ
ing that Christ had sent him not to baptize, and in view
of the fact that thousands throughout India have been
refused the same favour, Sadhu felt that he could not
accede to this most natural request.
It is a touching testimony to this happy reunion that
Sirdar Sher Singh has made provision for his son to go
on a great preaching tour to the West, and by the time
this book is in the hands of English readers, Sadhu
Sundar Singh will be labouring in their midst.
II. TRAVELLING IN TIBET
UPON his return from Tibet last autumn the Sadhu wrote
the following account of his journey :
In the beginning of July, 1919, I left Kotgarh for
Tibet in company with a Christian whose Tibetan name
is Thaniyat. The Tibetan frontier is nearly 130 miles
beyond Kotgarh, and preaching in Hirath, Rempur,
Bushaher, Goura, Sachan, Chaura, Tranda, Pounta,
Hachar, Kodgaon, Karcha, and Kemphcran, we arrived
at Yangpa, which is the first town of Tibet. From here
for forty miles the country is entirely jungle and there
is not a single village or dwelling-place, only here and
there a flock of sheep and shepherd come into view.
We remained in this wilderness five nights ; one night
we spent under a tree and another night in a cave ; for
from now onwards for a long distance there arc no trees
because of the extreme cold and great height, so that
scarcely a blade of grass springs up anywhere. As far
as the eye can reach there is nothing but bare mountains
THE COLD OF THE MOUNTAINS
At a height of 16,000 feet we slept out on the open
plain when the cold was so intense that all feeling went
out of the body and we became numb all over. The
whole of one night the rain fell in torrents, and in the
bitter cold we had to sit all night under an umbrella.
This place is a very dangerous one, for many people
have died there in the snow.
On July 15 we came to Hangpu La Pass which is
nearly 19,000 feet high, where we saw the corpses of
three men who had died from the terrific cold. At this
great height we could scarcely draw our breath, our
heads and lungs were filled with pain, and the beating of
our hearts sounded in our ears. Here is a great glacier
on which many people have lost their lives, and their
bodies have never been recovered to this day. Thanks
be to God we passed through this awful place in safety.
On July 16 we arrived at a Tibetan village called Mudh,
where the headman received us into his house kindly,
and that night he invited an important Lama to dine
with us, who understood Hindustani, and we preached
the Word. He listened with great attention and
pleasure and did not prevent others from hearing also.
The next day we went on to Taling and Sangnam and
again from there to Inamb, Kveling, Kuring, and Saling,
and still further on to Sideng, Sara, Koze, and Rangrig,
and preached in every place we passed through.
We then came to Koo Gunra, where there is a large
temple. In the building connected with it some 400
Lamas reside, the Head Lama having been sent direct
from Lhasa. This Head Lama is connected with Lhasa
and was appointed through the Lama Tashi. With him
we remained two days and he gave us little trouble,
although he was very keen on discussing religion with us.
IN PERILS OF RIVERS
In Tibet there are not only one but many kinds of
hardships and difficulties. There are no roads, and
although there are many streams and rivers there are no
bridges to cross them, and the water is always as cold
as ice. Wherever the water was shallow enough we
were able to swim across, but sometimes the current
was so strong and the river bed so full of rocks that
swimming became impossible. One day in swimming
across the river Morang I reached the other bank with
great difficulty, for the water was so intensely cold that
my whole body became stiff and numb. At Thaniyat I
fell and went under the water three times and with great
straining and difficulty I got out of that river, a river in
which many men have sunk never to rise again.
Food is another difficult problem in Tibet. There is
nothing to eat and drink in most places except campa
or sattu (fried barley flour) and a kind of tea which is
mixed with salt and butter. Again and again the fried
barley was so bad that even horses and asses would not
eat it. In all these difficulties there was this great
comfort, that this was the cross of Christ, and was neces
sary for the salvation of souls. For me Christ forsook
heaven and took upon Himself the burden of the Cross,
so that if I have left India to come into Tibet on His
behalf to claim souls for Him, it is not a great thing to
do ; but if I had not come it would have been a dreadful
thing, for this is a divine command.
THE SIN OF WASHING CLOTHES
Tibetan houses are very small and exceedingly dirty.
They are built of stones and mud, and the smell of the
people is unbearable. In the village of Lara I saw a man
who was quite black with dirt, and I think he could not
have had a bath for fifteen years at least. The people's
clothes, although made of white wool, from filth look as
if they were made of black leather, because they never
wash their clothes. In the village of Kiwar we washed
our clothes in a stream and everybody came to see.
They were struck with amazement that we should be
doing such a thing. An important Lama said, "It is
all right for sinful men to wash their clothes, but for
good people to do so is very bad."
Although there has been much difficulty in this journey,
yet it has been less than at other times. The Lamas
in some places received us well and gave us salted tea
and fried barley flour to eat. One day they saw that I
was uncomfortable because my hair had grown very
long. Having no scissors to cut it, four Lamas came
along bringing with them an instrument with which they
are accustomed to shear the sheep, and with this they
cut my hair.
IN PERILS OF ROBBERS
From Kiwar we went to Chikan and then on to Skite,
Hause, Sasar, and Pangre, and had fine opportunities
for preaching, but there were very few dwelling-places,
and great fear of many thieves and robbers'. One good
man said, " You cannot go without a gun or sword
through this place, because many men have been killed
here." I replied, " I have only a blanket and this
Bible the sword of God and the Lord of Life is with
me ; He will save me." Therefore, thanks be to Him
we went through that dreadful place preaching amongst
murderers and doing His work, yet not a single thing
happened to give us trouble of any kind. In this place
were men whose legs or arms had been cut off by murderers
and thieves, but God with great might brought us safely
TIBETAX RELIGIOUS PRACTICES
Although Tibetans are horribly dirty and often stupidly
ignorant they are also very religious. In some districts
the custom is for the eldest son to remain at home to
look after the property, and all the remaining sons
become Lamas or priests. Many people write upon
paper or cloth, texts from their sacred books (of which
there are 108 volumes called Khangiryur tangiryur) and
hang them as flags above the roofs of their houses. Also
they write the sacred words OM MANE PADME HUM
many times on paper, and place the roll inside a brass
wheel which they continuaHy turn round and round.
Some fasten them on watermills, sometimes writing them
on stones which they place in a heap and go round them.
These, as it were, are their prayers, by which they believe
they will gain forgiveness of sins and obtain blessing.
Concerning the true God these people know nothing,
but in their religion they have a kind of Trinity which
is called Sangi Kunchek, or Buddha God ; Lama Kunchek,
or Priest God ; and Ghho Kunchek, or Scripture God.
Buddhism entered Tibet about A.D. 629 in the time of
King Shang Taing Suganpo, and Lamaism was founded
in A.D. 749 by Padmasambhave, who started the first
monastery near Lhasa.
In the year A.D. 1640 a Mongolian prince, Gusari Khan,
conquered Tibet and made a present to the Grand Lama
of Drepung Monastery with the title of Dalai or Ocean
who thus became the first King-Priest and is known as
the Dalai Lama. His name was Magwan Lobang.
Being very ambitious and wanting to combine the rule
of the State with the Church, he declared himself an
incarnation of the famous Chenrezing Avalokitesvara,
the tutelary deity of Tibet. The Tibetans were no
doubt delighted to have as ruler an incarnation of such
a divinity, and the scheme worked well, but in order not
to offend the older, and in one sense superior, Lama of
Troshi Shumpo, he declared this Lama an incarnation of
Amitabha. Thus Dalai Lama declared himself an
incarnation of Avalokitesvara, while the Tashi Lama is
an incarnation of a higher deity, yet it is an impassive
deity who cannot meddle with worldly affairs which are
left to his spiritual son Avalokitesvara, represented by
the Dalai Lama of Tibet.
THE HERMITS OF TIBET
The lives of many Tibetan hermits are very wonderful.
They shut themselves in a dark room. Some do this
for months, and some for years, and some for the whole
of life. They are so shut away that they never see the
sun and never come out of doors, but always sitting
in the dark they continue turning a prayer-wheel in
their hand just as if they were living in a grave. In
these small rooms is a tiny window or hole through which
the people pass food to these hermits. *I tried to get
into conversation with them, but never had a proper
opportunity, and all I could do was to throw some
Scripture portion through the hole in the hope they
might read it if ever they came out.
This lesson I learnt from them : that if these people
will endure such suffering in order to attain Nirvana,
in which there is no future life or heavenly happiness
nor any hope, believing that salvation lies in exterminating
desire and spirit and life, how much more shall we not
take up the cross with joy for Christ the joy of our
entrance into eternal life and of His great service who
has given and will give us all things ?
In this country, because of the snow and intense cold,
there is only one harvest in the year, which is sown in
May and reaped in September. In some places wheat,
and in others mustard, are sown. Some of the jungly
country is beautiful with flowers ; wild onions and even
gram arc sometimes seen. But alas ! all sorts of evil
customs and horrible wickedness prevail, the very
mention of which is impossible here.
IN JOURNEYINGS OFTEN
We went to a number of other places and worked
amongst the people, returning by another way through
Kyamo, Hal, Maling, Khurik, Sumling, Phiti, and Boldar.
My desire was to go alone to Kailash and Rasar, but
this year my journey to Tibet was greatly delayed.
Between July 30 and August 9 on that side the mountains
become thickly covered with snow, and there are many
rivers and streams, although some rivers have bridges
of ice stretching across them. But there are many
rivers which have no bridges at all and they are too
dangerous for swimming, so that it seemed as if every
way was closed, and there was no choice but to return.
May God grant that in the coming April I may journey
to every place. If I had remained until September the
heavy snows would have effectually barred my return,
and by October it would have been impossible to reach
THE FIRSTFRUIT OF COMING HARVEST
This time I went forty-eight stages into Tibet, each
day being about ten miles. I should like to tell of every
place I visited, but there is no time for more than this
brief account. Those Christians who live in Tibet itself
and on the borders, are by God's grace well as far as I
am able to find out. There is a boy in Tsering who
knows Hindustani well and was very desirous of return
ing to India, with me but his mother prevented him.
I trust another year he will come with me, and having
received further training may become a good preacher
amongst his own people in Tibet, so that the seed of
God's Word which has been sown on this journey by
His grace may spring up and in His own time bear much
IIL TIBET AND THE GREAT WAR
WHILST the first edition of this book was going through
the press English papers published the following :
" Tibet, the most solitary of the hermit nations, has
come forward with an offer of a hundred thousand men
to help fight the battles of democracy on the European
front. Our awed imaginations have lingered over the
impossible terrors of the road to Lhasa, forbidden on
pain of death to outsiders. The barred doors swing wide
on rusty hinges, and the Grand Lama, most secluded
of the world's monarchs, steps into the fast-running
currents of twentieth century history as the friend and
defender of democracy."
The natural prayer of the Christian is that this closed
land may now open its doors to the Gospel, and that
Sadhu Sundar Singh may " see of the travail of his
soul " in bringing Tibet to the feet of Christ.
IV. THE SIKHS
THE Sikh States lie in the Punjab, roughly speaking
between the rivers Ganges and Indus, and are bounded
on the north by the mountainous region that separates
them from Tibet and the Chinese Empire. The two
capitals are Amritsar and Lahore.
Nanak was the first of the Gurus or Teachers of the
Sikhs. He was born at Rayapur in 1469. From child
hood he was inclined to devotion and indifferent to
worldly concerns. His father sought to divert his mind
from religious things, and on one occasion sent him to
transact some business for him, which was to result in
financial profit. On the way Nanak met some hungry
fakirs, and divided his father's money between them,
observing, " The gain of this world is transient. I wish
to relieve these poor men and thus obtain that gain which
is eternal." After partaking of food the fakirs entered
into a long discourse upon the unity of God, with which
Nanak was greatly delighted. Returning to his home,
his father asked what profit he had brought, and receiv
ing the reply that he had fed the poor, his father abused
and even struck him. Rai Bolar, the ruler of the district,
hearing of this, interdicted Nanak's father from ever
again treating him in this way, and he himself humbly
bowed in veneration before Nanak.
Nanak then, adopting the saffron robe, began to
practise the austerities of a holy man, and soon became
celebrated for the goodness of his life and character.
He travelled to many Hindu holy places, and even to
Mecca itself, in order to purify the worship of both
Hindus and Muhammadans. Wherever he journeyed, he
preached the doctrine of the unity and omnipresence
of God. Born in a province where these two races were
utterly opposed to each other, he yet strove to blend
them in one harmonious peace, and to bring them back
to a simple and pure religion.
Nanak taught that devotion was due to one God,
and idol worship must be banished, his object being to
reform, not to destroy, existing religions. Before his
death his followers had become a distinct sect, and were
known as " Sikhs," which means Disciples. In all his
writing Nanak borrowed indiscriminately from the
Shastras and Qur'an. Many of the chapters of the Adi
Granth were written by Nanak and were in verse.
Nanak desired to abolish all caste distinctions, and place
all men on an equality. He also declared that the most
acceptable offerings to God are morning praise and the
presentation of the body to him.
After the death of Nanak other leaders followed to
the number of ten, the two most famous of these being
Arjun and Govind Singh. A bitter persecution of the
new sect by Muhammadans converted a harmless reli
gious people into a great military commonwealth,
determined to avenge the sufferings they had endured.
The martyrdom of their pontiff Arjun turned a hitherto
inoffensive sect into a band of fanatical warriors. Har
Govind, one of their leaders at the time, gave to all his
followers the honourable name of " Singh " (Lion), and
the order that no Singh should allow his hair to be cut
was issued at the same time.
Govind Singh, the tenth and last of the great Sikh
leaders or pontiffs, wrote a large part of the tenth book
of the Granth, and held a place in the esteem of his
followers at least equal to Nanak himself. Under
Govind Singh the Sikhs assumed the character and rank
of a military nation. Before his death he made the
promise that whenever five Sikhs should meet together
he would be present amongst them.
The temples of the Sikhs are generally plain build
ings with a flat roof and sufficiently large to hold a
number of worshippers, who stand during service. The
forms of prayer and praise arc simple. Portions of the
Granth are read or sung, and the priest exhorts the
people to " meditate on the Book." Daily worship is
performed by pious Sikhs and portions of their scriptures
arc read. Sikhs believe that they were placed by their
last and most revered pontiff Govind under the peculiar
care of God.
V. SOME OF THE SADHU'S ILLUSTRATIONS
THE Sadhu's addresses go to the root of fundamental
things such as repentance, faith, sacrifice. Almost
every point is illustrated by some parable from nature
or some actual experience. The following are examples :
Humility. A poor Indian of the sweeper caste became
a Christian, and a high caste man who knew him was
much struck by the great change in him. " You used to
come and sweep my house ; you had no education, and
yet I cannot help honouring you. What has changed
you ? "
The sweeper tried to explain the new life that had
come to him, but still the high caste man did not under
stand. Especially he wondered at one thing : " You
are so good, and yet you are not proud ! "
" Why should I be proud ? " asked the sweeper.
" When Christ rode an ass into Jerusalem, people brought
clothes and laid them upon the road. Yet the feet of
our Lord did not tread on them, only the ass walked
over them. W r ho ever heard of such honour being done
to the feet of an ass ? It was only because the ass
carried Christ. V nen He had done riding the ass, the
beast was of no account. So I am of no account, only
I am as it were bearing Christ, and it is Him you honour.
If He left me I should be nothing at all."
Union with and Life in God. From our own experience
we do become united with God, yet we do not become
God. If a piece of cold iron is placed in a hot fire it will
glow because the fire is in it. Yet we cannot say that
the iron is fire or the fire is iron. So in Jesus Christ
we retain our identity ; He in us and we in Him, but
with our own individuality.
Again we breathe air, yet man is not air nor is the
air man. So we breathe by prayer the Holy Spirit of
God, but we are not 'God. Some time ago I saw two
villages in the Himalayas that were separated by an
impassable mountain. The direct distance between the
two was not great, but the journey round took travellers
a week to accomplish. A man in one of the villages
determined to make a tunnel through this mountain,
declaring he would give his life to do it if necessary. He
started on the work, and in the attempt he did actually
lose his life. When I heard of it I thought this mountain
was like the wall of our sin keeping us away from God.
Jesus Christ came and made a Living Way by giving
His life. He gave His life of His own will, and the way
is open to all who unreservedly accept Him as their
The Better Part. Once when I was crossing the
mountains I met a girl. She was of good family and
was on pilgrimage, and her bare feet were bleeding.
In answer to my question she said, " I am looking for
rest and peace, and I hope to get them before I get to
the end of this pilgrimage. If I do not I shall drown
myself." I saw she was in earnest. I thought how
strange it is that people who are born Christians and
have these great gifts without taking all this trouble
should care so little for them, while this wealthy girl
had given up her home and all she cared most for to seek
salvation. She did not find peace on that pilgrimage,
but she met a missionary who told her about Christ. I
saw her afterwards and she told me that she had found
all and more than she had sought, adding, " Men may
kill me if they like. I have found that better part
that shall never be taken away from me."
Ye are tlie Light of the World. The wick of a lamp
must burn and lose itself in order that the light may
shine. The wick is between the oil and the flame.
There may be plenty of oil, but if there be no wick there
can be no light. So to give light to others we must be
ready to sacrifice ourselves.
Ye are tJie Salt of the Earth. If salt is to be of use
it must be dissolved. So long as it remains in a dry
lump it cannot give flavour to our food, but when it is
dissolved every grain of rice has its proper taste and
the food is good. So with individual Christians ; they
must always be giving of themselves. They may seem
to disappear and be lost, but that is not actually the
case. They live in the lives of those for whom they have
given themselves, and their influence remains.
Safe in Christ. We are small, the attraction of the
earth is great. But powerful as is the force of the
earth, when we grasp anything in our hand the attrac
tion of the earth cannot draw it away. So when we
are in the hand of Christ earthly things can have no
power over us, for in His keeping we are safe.
God in Christ. Hindus are very fond of saying that
God is in everything. I once came to a river which I
had to cross. There was no boat to carry me over, and
I stood wondering how it could be managed. Then a
man called my attention to a deflated water-skin, and
said that was the only way to get across. So we inflated
it with air and I crossed over in safety. Then the
thought came to me that there was plenty of air all
round me, but it was incapable of helping me in my
difficulty until it was confined in the narrow space of
the water-skin. So it is as unreasonable to deny the
necessity of the Incarnation of Christ as to declare that
the air-filled leather boat was of no use to help in crossing
Our Helplessness, The little chicken in its shell lives
in a very circumscribed and narrow world of its own.
It is receiving its mother's warmth and care all the
time, but it is unconscious of them because it cannot
see or know her. It has wings, but they are closely
folded and it cannot use them. So it is with us until
God calls us out into His abundant life.
Abundant Life. I once knew a man who was very
sick and could not rise from his bed. His house caught
fire, and he strove to get out, but he had no strength.
He cried aloud, and with all his small stock of strength
he struggled to get out of the burning room. He had
life, but it was not enough to save him, and so he was
burnt to death. Another man came by before the fire
was over, and he was able to put it out, because he had
abounding strength, but he was too late to save the
sick man. Another man I knew was very ill, and he
had lost all sense of taste. Pleasant dishes of food were
prepared for him, but he disliked them and would not
eat them, and so he got weaker and weaker. Many
Christians have lost their taste for spiritual things.
They have life, but there is not abundant life. Buddhism
and Hinduism teach many good things, but only Christ
offers this abundant life, and it is only by experience
that anyone can really understand the difference between
life and this abundant life which is the gift of Christ.
The Necessity of Suffering. A silkworm was struggling
out of the cocoon, and an ignorant man saw it battling
as if in pain, so he went and helped it to get free, but
very soon after it fluttered and died. The other silk
worms that struggled out without help suffered, but
they came out into full life and beauty with wings made
strong for flight by their battle for fresh existence.
The Water of Life. Some time ago a party of men
were travelling in Tibet. One of them became very
thirsty, but there was no water. As they went on they
saw some pools surrounded by marshy ground, where the
thirsty man determined to quench his thirst. Those
who knew the nature of the country begged him to wait
until they should reach a safe place, but he would not
listen, and said he would take care. He plunged ahead
towards a pool, and filling his hands began to drink.
He called to his friends to tell them he had got his heart's
desire, and even as he spoke he began to sink in the
morass. Soon he was half buried, and no one could
venture near to draw him out, and his companions
looked helplessly on as he sank and at length he
disappeared, miserably perishing as so many do who
drink the water of a sinful life.
ADDED APPENDICES TO THE FOURTH
A WORLD EVANGEL
" The glorious gospel of the blessed God was committed (to my
trust. And I thank Jesus Christ who hath enabled me, for that
he counted m faithful, putting me into the ministry, . . . that
in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all long suffering, for
a pattern to them who should hereafter believe on Him to
everlasting life." 1 Timothy 1. 11-17.
Going West. Towards the end of 1919 a few of the
Sadhu's friends heard that he was contemplating a
journey to England, but when early in 1920 he sent
them word that it was imminent, the news came almost
as a bolt from the blue. Arrangements were so hur
ried that little could be done in preparation, and many
of his friends were in ignorance of his plans right up
to the time of his departure. One reason for this was
that the Sadhu desired to go West unheralded in order
that God who had called him to go, should be free to
open doors of service which elaborate arrangements
might have rendered impossible. He had his desire,
for by the time his friends were able to write to England
he was on his way thither.
Whilst numbers of people were anxiously awaiting
passages the Sadhu obtained one immediately, getting
an entire cabin to himself, thus allowing privacy for
devotion and rest. The night previous to his depar-
ture a farewell meeting was held in Bombay. One
" To many matter-of-fact natures the thoughts 'of a mystic
are unfathomable . . . but to those who heard him speak . . .
one lasting impression remains, that of a soul that has seen
Christ face to face, and to whom there can be but one object in
life Christ Himself. Few could listen to the story of the Sikh
lad who sought so earnestly after truth, without their deepest
feelings being stirred. St. Paul after he had seen the heavenly
vision, could but testify to it.
" Now I not only know about Christ ; I have seen Him," says
Sadhu of the twentieth century; and as he tells the story, you
feel with him the surprise he felt when after his earnest prayer
. . . suddenly Christ stood before him."
The Sadhu left Bombay by the " City of Cairo " on
January 16th and after an uneventful voyage landed
at Liverpool on February 10th.
Amongst Quakers. The Sadhu began his work in
England first at the request of the Society of Friends ;
he went from the north to Birmingham to be the guest
of Principal Hoyland. In speaking to the students of
the Friends' Missionary Training College his somewhat
limited vocabulary in English embarrassed him. One
student said that the Sadhu had cleared his doubts with
regard to the Atonement. Like his Master he lives
above all wrangling sects and creeds, and the Sadhu's
appeal should reach the West through this very chan
nel, since regardless of dividing opinions and doctrines
he serves all, ceaselessly calling men back to visions of
Christ so transcending all man-made divisions that
have for so long held back the visible church from
claiming a sin-wracked world for her Lord.
Amongst the Cowley Fathers. In India the Sadhu
had experienced much sympathetic kindness from the
Cowley Fathers in Poona, and they gave him an intro
duction to their Father Superior at Oxford. So from
Birmingham he went down to Oxford, and both there
and in London he was their guest. In Oxford he
preached in the Church of St. John the Evangelist,
spoke at Mansfield College, Somerville College for
Women, and in the far-famed Hall of Balliol College
to a packed audience of undergraduates. Passing on
to London he was for a few days the guest of Mr. Bar
ber, and his first sermon in the metropolis was preached
at the Blackheath Congregational Church, which for
so long has been associated with the School for the
Sons of Nonconformist Missionaries.
By that time the Cowley Fathers had completed
their arrangements, and a small handbill was circu
lated inviting attendance at his meetings in which it
" In meetings which he has recently addressed in
Oxford he made a deep impression by his transparent
devotion to Christ, and the freshness and simplicity
of his message."
So hurried, however, were the arrangements that
over large areas of London it was difficult to get news
of his programme. The next few days large num
bers crowded to St. Matthew's Church, Westminster,
and St. Bride's Church, Fleet Street. London papers
gave accounts of his work, and his picture appeared
in many of them. One who was present at St. Bride's
spoke of the Sadhu as " an instrument perfected for
a purpose " and continued : " Possibly for the first
time in City records a preacher from the Far East
nas come to refresh the religion of the West. There
was no scene during the sermon, no sign of emotional
stress, but nearly everyone knelt in prayer at the
end, an unusual thing in these general congroga-
tions and went out very gravely into the rush of Fleet
The Westminster Gazette said of him :
"His smile irradiates a strong Eastern face and
when he unbends as with little children, he becomes a
winsome personality and immediately wins their confi
dence. This morning as he entered the little room of
the Cowley Fathers I thought I had never seen such a
remarkable Eastern figure. His hair and beard are
black, and the skin is a wonderfully clear olive. His
garb is that of the Indian ascetic, and his tall manly
figure adds dignity to the flowing robe. On his feet
were sandals, which, however, he discards in his own
" * We have our castes in India,' he explained to
me, * our high castes and our low castes, and people do
not understand you if you say that having embraced
Christianity you belong to this sect or that. They
think it is another caste. I am free to go anywhere
and there is no barrier of sect.' He is carrying out
his principles in England in a notable manner. High
Churchmen like Father Bull and Evangelical Church
men like the Rev. Cyril Bardesley are associated with
his visit. The Bishop of London is to preside over a
meeting of London clergy, when Sadhu Sundar Singh
will speak. At the same time he is speaking in West
minster Chapel for Dr. Jowett, and in the Metropoli
tan Tabernacle for the Baptists. He is just teaching
Western people the true Catholic spirit from Eastern
Amongst the Bishops. On March 9 the Sadhu met
and talked for an hour with the Archbishop of Canter
bury, and the following day he spoke at the Church
House, Westminster, to some 700 clergy of the Church
of England, including the Archibishop of Canterbury
and six Bishops; probably the first occasion when
Churchmen of all shades of opinion met together to
welcome one to whom sect is nothing, but Christ is all.
Varied Engagements. The Sadhu then went to
Cambridge, and as at Oxford besides other meetings,
he took one for undergraduates at Trinity College.
Returning to London he fulfilled some engagements
for the Y. M f C. A., spoke at the annual meeting of
the London City Mission, the Central Missionary Con
ference for Great Britain, went down to Brighton and
thence on to Paris to address the meeting of the Paris
Evangelical Missionary Society.
On April 1 he occupied the pulpit of Dr. Jowett
at Westminster, who introduced him with the words,
" I feel it an exceptional honour to have beside me in
my pulpit a native Christian from India who has been
so manifestly blessed in Christian work."
The following day, Good Friday, the Sadhu spoke to
a packed audience of Christian Endeavourers in the
Metropolitan Tabernacle, forever associated with the
name of Charles Spurgeon. The London Daily Chron
icle in reporting this meeting asks : " How is it that
the Sadhu has so manifestly captured the religious
world within the short space of six weeks? . . . The
secret of this man's power lies in his utter self-aban
donment to a high ideal. ... It is surely a token of
good that we of the West, who are so obsessed with
the materialistic spirit of the age have come in close
contact with one who stands for the supremacy of the
The Sadhu did some work in Scotland and Ireland,
returning to London for the large gatherings usually
held there in May. In Albert Hall ten thousand
listened to him at the Church Missionary Society's
meeting and many could not gain admission. The
London Missionary Society's meeting was no less suc
cessful, when Dr. Garvie characterised his speaking
with the words, ' Without a parable spake he not unto
them.' ' His Eastern illustrations and parables have
a peculiar charm for Western audiences.' One little
child who heard him said, " He talks in parables like
To the Sadhu the most interesting of all these meet
ings was the British and Foreign Bible Society's
Annual Meeting. All his Christian life he has felt a
deep debt to this noble Society, and when asked to
speak he most gladly bore his witness to the power of
the Bible in bringing men to Christ. He much appre
ciated being made an honorary life member of the
In reflecting on the Sadhu's presence in Scotland Dr.
" It is amazing how history repeats itself. Chris
tianity goes through an endless cycle of death and
resurrection. Long ago Christianity became a barren
field for intellectual feats and it perished. The
churches of Cyprian, Tertullian, Augustine were swept
out of existence; cathedrals were converted into bar
racks. But Christianity is imperishable, and out of
the East it will come again. The Sadhu is perhaps the
the first of the new apostles to rekindle the fire on dying
" To conquer the world one must count the world as
nought. Here is a man who asks nothing of the world,
and the multitudes throng at his feet. We have for
gotten. . . . The church has again to learn the
lesson that only they who renounce the world can hope
to conquer it. It may be that Sadhu Sundar Singh
was sent by God to impress this vital truth upon our
hearts and consciences."
In America. Dr. Jowett and others introduced the
Sadhu to the American people. Curiously enough,
when it was known that he was going to America there
were good people who feared the result. Sincerely be
lieving that his mission to the States would be more
likely to arouse curiosity than accomplish any great
spiritual purpose, a number of devout persons met
together for prayer in New York to ask for God's
overruling providence in the matter.
There was no time for suitable arrangements to be
made before the Sadhu's arrival. The Pond Lyceum
Bureau offered to arrange a full programme covering
the States, and venturing the opinion that as a busi
ness proposition it would be an even greater success
than the one they had carried through for Rabindra-
nath Tagore. They published preliminary announce
ments, but when the Sadhu realised what it meant
he declined to have anything to do with it. The
National Bible Institute then made necessary arrange
ments covering a couple of months, when the Sadhu
was due to leave for Australia. For half of that time
he was happy in having the companionship of Mr.
Frank Buchman of Hartford Theological Seminary,
who wrote afterwards, saying,
" I agree with the newspaper reporters of America
who interviewed him 4 Nearer the Christ than any
living man we have seen.' The leading papers gave him
ample space. His pictures appeared in the movies, and
he was able to reach influential and lay circles in the
various cities. He is Spirit taught, and has almost
a medium-like gift of sensing people and situations.
" He brings the message of the Supernatural which
this age needs. Men simply flocked to hear him that
he had scarcely time for his meals. I have just received
a letter from the head mistress of a preparatory
school. She said there was a veil of light on every
boy's face as he left the Sadhu' s meeting. He said a
true word when he predicted that America would have
no spiritual leaders fifty years hence if she kept up
her present pace. He has a practical message for
In writing to the pastors of Hartford Bishop
Brewster gave one of the chief reasons the Sadhu had
in visiting America:
" The Sadhu is a remarkable and significant person
in the Christian world to-day," he writes. " He is
specially anxious to counteract the influence of the
many Swamis and other people who have been over in
Europe and America trying to capture certain types
of mind for Theosophy, Hindu Mysticism, etc."
On May 29 the Sadhu was at Union Theological
Seminary in New York. Then followed engagements
in Hartford, Baltimore, Pittston, Princeton University,
Brick Presbyterian Church, and the Marble Collegiate
Church (New York), Brooklyn, Philadelphia, Boston
and other cities. On June 25 he went to Silver Bay
Students' Conference, and spent four days addressing
eight hundred students and their leaders. Early in
July he was in Chicago, and passed on to Iowa, Kan
sas and other places, finally arriving at San Francisco,
where his journey and work in America ended.
A marconigram was sent to Honolulu to tell the
people that the Sadhu would be passing through en
route for Australia, and during the few hours his
steamer remained in that port he went ashore to
preach. Whilst in America the Sadhu met with several
of the chief religious leaders, amongst whom were Dr.
Fosdick and Dr. Robert Speer. He was entertained
in one place by Mrs. Stokes, the mother of his friend
and fellow-sadhu of former days.
On July 20 the Sadhu left America for Australia.
In Australia. The steamer spent one day at Hono
lulu, when Hawaiian, Chinese, Filipinos, Japanese,
English and Americans gathered to the number of four
hundred to hear the Sadhu. On August 10 he landed
in Sydney, and for a week he held meetings in churches,
chapels and the University buildings. A Sydney
paper, commenting on one meeting, said,
" One could never forget Tuesday morning, August
17th, when the Sadhu walked into the grounds of St.
Andrew's Cathedral to address a meeting of 700 clergy
and others in the Chapter House. It was the nearest
conception one could form of what our Lord must
have been like when He walked the streets of the Holy
City of old, for the very presence of the Sadhu brought
with it an atmosphere of things Christ-like
and during the twenty minutes he was speaking there
was not a sound. And now he has gone back to his
own land, but ere he went he left us a new vision of
the Christian Saviour."
He spent his thirty-first birthday in Adelaide. In
Melbourne Bishop Langley took the chair at his meet
ing in a Congregational Chapel, and the Sadhu was told
that this was the first occasion that an Anglican
Bishop had presided or taken part in a service in a
nonconformist place of worship in that city. People
of varying creeds in all the towns of Australia where
he called seemed to forget their differences, and united
to give him a hearty welcome.
At Perth the Sadhu was forcibly taken from the ship
and had to arrange to leave by a later steamer. The
meetings in the Cathedral and Victoria Hall when the
Archbishop of Perth presided, were very large. There
was no building large enough to hold the crowds, and
overflow meetings had to follow, necessitating his
speaking twice following.
On September 25 the Sadhu landed in Bombay. His
ship had called at Colombo and he had spoken at a
meeting there, but had declined an urgent invitation to
remain for further work.
India and Rest. In spite of being obliged to speak
much at large gatherings the Sadhu is no lover of
great crowds, so that his popularity of later years has
been a trial to him. Partly because of this and partly
because of the need of rest he felt obliged to disappoint
his friends in Ceylon, for to stay there would inevitably
have meant touring through South India as well, and
repeating the experiences of 1918. He therefore con
tinued his journey to Bombay, and proceeded imme
diately to Sabathu for a period of prayerful quiet
Before starting out on his winter campaign he wrote
more than two hundred letters during the time he was
resting. The remainder of the year was spent in
evangelistic work in towns and villages and conferences
and conventions in the United Provinces, Chota
Nagpur, Bengal and the Panjab.
The early months of 1921 were spent in writing a
book entitled " Maktab i Masih " or " The School of
Christ." Each chapter dealt with such all-important
matters as "The Manifestation of the Presence of God,"
" Sin and Salvation," " Prayer," " Service," " The
Cross and the Mystery of Suffering," " Heaven and
Hell " : and like his preaching was, as he expressed it,
" written in the language of illustration."
Owing to his departure to Tibet the proofs could
not be corrected, and the book did not appear until
towards the end of 1921, when three separate editions
in Urdu, Roman-Urdu and Hindi were published. An
English translation in India and also in England gives
this book to English-speaking people everywhere.
After the completion of the book Sadhu Sundar
Singh made an evangelistic tour in North India, going
in May to Khandesh to preach at a large Christian
mela, and this was practically his last piece of work
before starting for Tibet.
Tibet, 1921. The following part-account of his
\vork in Tibet was written by the Sadhu himself in
English immediately upon his return, and now appears
for the first time : " We started for Tibet in the begin
ning of May from Kotgarh by way of Simla and
Sabathu. Tibet is about 150 miles from Kotgarh.
At Kulu we had good opportunities to preach the gos
pel and distribute gospel portions among travellers
and the people of villages on the way.
" There are some hot springs in Kulu district ; some
are good for bathing, and some of them are too hot, so
that the water is always boiling. Travellers often
put their rice tied up in cloths to boil and the rice is
cooked in fifteen minutes. Once a boy fell into these
boiling springs, and in a few minutes he was taken out
A Dangerous Pass. " About 160 miles from Simla
is the Rotang Pass, about 14,000 feet high. It is a
very dangerous pass and travellers never cross over it
before the 15th of May. The road is closed for seven
months in the year on account of snow, and after
twelve o'clock in the dav a terrible wind blows there
which throws travellers over the precipice into a deep
valley. Hundreds of people and animals have lost
their lives here. A few miles from this place is the
source of the river Beas, one of the five great rivers
of the Panjab. It is said that the Hindu Saint who
compiled the Vedas spent several years in prayer and
meditation in a cave near this spot.
" We had many difficulties in crossing this Pass on
May 30th. Snow fell and it was very cold, and when
we crossed it was snowing. The effect of the bitter
wind was painful, for it caused our skin to peel off,
but thank God we got over without any loss of life.
Snow slips are bad here. Once a whole village was
buried and not a soul was saved. After crossing the
Pass we arrived at Khaksar, and preaching in Sissu,
Gandhal and in other villages, and arrived in Kyelang,
one of the three Moravian mission stations near Tibet.
There are nearly forty Lad'akhi and Tibetan Chris
tians in this place, which is about 200 miles beyond
Simla, but no European missionary since the War.
We had a good meeting of some thirty people.
In Labours Oft. " I, with my two companions, one
of them a Tibetan Christian, now entered Tibet by
another route. In Western Tibet we found good
opportunities to preach the Gospel and distributed
several hundreds of gospel portions and tracts. We
visited thirty-seven towns and villages, including
Chuprang, Gnanama and Rukhshak. Although some
of the lamas were opposed to us the village people
heard us gladly. We also visited some monasteries
and caves, and the monks and hermits promised to read
the Scriptures we gave them, though they did not like
us to talk for more than fifteen minutes to them.
In Dangers Oft. " It is not safe and easy to travel
in Tibet. There are no roads at all and it is very
thinly populated country. One may go sixty or sev
enty miles and never see a village; the only people liv
ing in these wildernesses being Gypsies who sleep in
tents or caves and live by robbing people. There are
also wolves and wild yaks, and many have lost their
lives in passing through these desert places. One day
I was ahead of my companions when I saw a wild yak
come running towards me. Unfortunately there was
no tree up which I might climb, but there was a large
rock near by and I ran and climbed up and sat upon
it. The furious beast began to run round about the
rock, but I was safe, and I began to pray and thank
God for this refuge. Thinking about the Rock of
Ages I had a wonderful peace in my heart. When
my friends saw the yak from a distance they began to
shout, and on hearing the noise the Gypsies came out
of their tents and caves, and the yak was driven away
with stones. We decided to spend the night with the
Gypsies ; but now there was another danger, for wild
people are more dangerous than wild animals. These
robbers took everything from us by force, but thank
God they did not take our lives. I said to them, * You
have taken away everything from us, but we have
something more to give you," and I began to preach.
They listened and were deeply moved, when the Holy
Spirit began to work in their hearts. They asked me
to forgive them for robbing us, and gave us back every
thing they had taken from us.
" Now there was another difficulty. The Gypsies
prepared tea for us with salt and butter instead of
milk and sugar, and when one of them began to pour
out for me in a cup, I asked him to let me wash the
cup first. In reply he said, ' O how can this be? You
are our honoured guest, we cannot allow you to cleanse
the cup ; I will do it for you.' He put out his tongue,
which was at least six inches long, and began to lick
the inside of the cup. His tongue was long enough
to reach the bottom of the cup. When he had finished
he filled it with tea, and I then washed the cup and
threw the tea away. He was much surprised to see
this, and my Tibetan companion explained to him
that it was the custom with Indians to wash their hands
and vessels before meals. The Gypsy replied that this
was a very foolish thing, because in that case the
stomach should be washed every day.
" We then drank our tea with sampa or fried
barley flour, and after prayer we went to sleep for we
were very tired. Next morning, after telling them
more about our Saviour and praying with them, we
continued our journey to a village some thirty miles
A World Evangel No, 2. After his return from
Tibet the Sadhu spent the winter of 1921 in evangelis
tic tours in the Panjab and United Provinces. Several
visits also had to be made in preparation for a con
templated visit west again, and also for the assistance
and direction of two young sadhus who were receiving
Sadhu Sundar Singh's somewhat hurried journey
through England, America and Australia in 1920
had the result of taking him West again in 1922.
So, early in the year, Sadhu Sundar Singh reached
Bombay to make final arrangements. To his intense
joy passports were granted him for Egypt and Pal
estine as well as for Europe, and an invitation to be
the guest in these countries of Sir William Willcocks,
K. C. M. G., completed the Sadhu's happiness. Just
before sailing he had time to accept an invitation to
spend a couple of days with Mahatma Gandhi (a visit
of no political significance) in the jungle. On Janu-
ary 28 he embarked on S. S. Caledonia, and leaving
the steamer at Port Said, he immediately crossed over
In the Holy Land. The greatest desire of his heart
during sixteen years of Christian life now had its ful
filment, and who can tell what great experiences the
Sadhu passed through as he trod in the footprints of
the Son of Man! As he passed from place to place
every detail of the written records of his Lord poured
in upon his mind. The changes of centuries under
foreign and cruel domination could not change for
him the great fact that it was here his Lord had lived,
worked, suffered, died and risen triumphant over death.
To him a subtle spiritual atmosphere pervaded every
scene, so that his soul overflowed with gladness and
the spirit of praise and prayer.
Hours were spent in prayer on Olivet and in the
Garden of Gethsemane, during which the Sadhu was
conscious of a great re-consecration; it seemed as if
Christ Himself stood there, and spoke to him as He
had done to His disciples, " Peace be unto you ; as my
Father hath sent Me, even so send I you," and rising
from his knees he knew that he was being sent forth
as a witness into all the world.
Through all these wonderful days, passing from
Jerusalem through Bethany, Jericho, the Dead Sea, the
river Jordan (in which he bathed), Bethlehem, Hebron,
Rama, Bethel, Nazareth, Tiberias, Magdala, Caper
naum, the Sea of Galilee and other holy spots, the
Sadhu was all the time intensely conscious of the per
sonal presence of Christ. " He is always with me
wherever I go; He is walking with me at my right
He preached in the Cathedral in Jerusalem and spoke
at other services, and then passed on to Cairo, where
he preached in the American Church and again to
Coptic Christians in Old Cairo. He visited the Pyra
mids, and was taken to a church which is supposed to
occupy the site of the house where Jesus lived after the
flight into Egypt.
The following Sunday the Sadhu preached in Mar
seilles, and from thence pushed on to Switzerland, to
undertake the most strenuous tour of his life.
In Switzerland, The Sadhu reached Lausanne on
February 27, and on the following day commenced his
work at a town called Bienne, where a large meeting
was held. But in point of numbers this was eclipsed
at an open air meeting at Tavannes the next day.
People came from all the villages round, over three
thousand of them. Many climbed trees to get a better
position, and at the close some of them said, " This
is a new religion, though it is about the same Saviour."
The day following snow began to fall, but apparently
this in no way hindered the people, who gathered from
far and near in a great crowd at a village up amongst
the snowy mountains, in order to hear the Old Story
told again in a quite new way.
In Geneva Sadhu Sundar Singh preached twice in
Reformation Hall where the League of Nations had
held its meetings, and although this was a large build
ing thousands came and many had to be turned away.
He also spoke at a meeting specially for ministers
when over two hundred preachers gathered to hear
him. From Geneva he passed to Neuchatel, where it
was estimated ten thousand came to hear his message
and many conversions appear to have taken place.
After visiting other towns he then entered German
Switzerland, and preached in Basle, Berne, Thun, Zurich,
St. Gall and other cities, and on March 29 he com
pleted a heavy programme of work in that country.
In Germany. Passing from Switzerland into Ger
many the Sadhu wrote : " Yesterday I went to Witten
berg, the Cradle of the Reformation. I saw the house in
which Martin Luther used to live, and the Church where
he used to preach. On the door of the Church he
wrote ninety-five articles about the Reformation, and
he is buried in the same old Church. This evening I
am speaking in the Church." He also spoke to the
theological students and professors in that ancient
In Halle he met representatives of all the great mis
sionary bodies in Germany at a Conference and spoke
to them, and at Leipzig amongst other meetings he
preached in the University to the professors and stu
dents. At Hamburg, Berlin, Kiel and other cities
he preached, and had scarcely time to write even most
necessary letters, but he described the meetings as
** very large and blessed."
In Sweden. On April 13th he reached Tyringe to
commence a month of hard travelling and continuous
work, which again covered a large programme for
cities and villages all over the country. On the way
thither he spent a short time at Copenhagen and
breakfasted with the Bishop there. After speak
ing in large meetings in Helsingborg, Lund and other
places the Sadhu went to Upsala where he was the
guest of the Archbishop, who also translated for him
in the Cathedral, University and elseAvhere. Just be
fore the arrival of the Sadhu the Archbishop of
Upsala had completed writing a book called " Luther
and Sundar Singh," a title that called forth some
astonishment among the people of the country that the
name of Sundar Singh should be coupled with that of
one whom all Swedes reverence in a high degree. Some
pregnant remarks taken from an article by the Arch-
bishop written for the International Review of Mis
sions on " Christian Mysticism in an Indian Soul "
appear in the end of this book.
Passing from the city of Stockholm the >adhu visited
many smaller places. " I am speaking in some of the
beautiful villages of this country, and people come in
from seventy miles to the meetings." Letters received
from those present at those gatherings tell of how
special trains had to be run to carry the numbers of
people anxious to hear him to the places where he was
preaching, and one writer says : " We have never seen
such times before." Both in Stockholm and smaller
towns the largest buildings could not hold the crowds,
and often people arrived some hours beforehand and
stood waiting patiently, occasionally in bad weather,
until the meetings took place.
Both in Switzerland and Sweden great numbers who
had given God no part in their lives, under the Sadhu's
ministry surrendered themselves to Christ, and not only
was there a revival of spiritual life amongst careless
people, but fresh faith was born in the hearts of many
as to the power of the Gospel to meet the needs of all
nations. This resulted in many giving contributions
towards missionary work who had dropped doing so,
and others heard the divine call to carry the gospel
to souls in other lands where Christ is little known.
The Russian Comtesse de Korff records that " the
Sadhu's powerful messages, which we had the privilege
to hear, have been translated into Russian and blessed,
to many. We pray for him every day, and we shall
follow him on our knees everywhere."
In Norway, Denmark and Holland. From Sweden
the Sadhu went on to Norway, but as the time was get
ting short he was only able to give ten days to that
country. He went to Hurdal, some sixty miles north
of the capital and held a large meeting there. In
Christiania he had several meetings, one of which was
for University students only. Over 3,000 listened
breathless^ to his discourse at one of the big gather
ings in this city. After visiting other places, on May
24th he left for Denmark.
Even before this time the Sadhu was experiencing
great fatigue and much weariness of brain and body,
due to continual speaking in a foreign language, with
much travelling, and also to the complete strangeness
of his surroundings. As in South India in 1918
nobody seemed to realise that he was ever exhausted or
needed rest, and the long unbroken toil in an at
mosphere as foreign as the languages of the people,
wore down his spirit. He longed not only for rest of
body but for those periods of quiet meditation and
prayer which are the very breath of his existence and
source of his power. The need became so insistent that
all requests from England had to be cancelled or
negatived, with the exception of a long promised visit
to Keswick. Insistent calls to Finland, Russia, Italy,
Greece, Portugal, Servia, Roumania, the West Indies,
America and New Zealand had also to be declined, and
an immediate return to India following the Keswick
Convention was arranged for.
Arrived in Denmark the Sadhu spent three days in
Copenhagen, and besides speaking at several meetings
he received a call to visit the Dowager Empress of
Russia at the King's palace, and on May 27th this
remarkable interview took place. At its close when
the Sadhu rose to go Her Imperial Majesty desired
him to bless her. With humility he replied that he was
not worthy to bless anyone, since his hands had once
torn up the Scriptures, but that His pierced Hand
alone could bless her or anyone.
He then passed on to Liselund, Odense, Aarhus,
Herning and Tinglev. At a place called Slagelse the
crowds were so great that a meeting had to take place
in a large garden, where hundreds of people stood for
hours before the commencement. Many occupied the
trees and sat on the roofs of surrounding houses, and
whilst the Sadhu bore witness to the power of Christ
to save men, giving his own experiences in testimony,
tears rolled unheeded down the faces of scores of those
The same thing happened at Nyborg, the Danish
Keswick, when deep waves of silent emotion swept over
the assembled crowds in token of their response to the
personal witness of one who loves his Lord above all
On June there was an immense open air meeting
at Herning, which vividly recalled to the Sadhu's mind
the Syrian Convention in North Travancore at which
he had spoken four years before. More than 15,000
people from far and near amidst a great silence re
ceived the message of God, which fell on many hearts
prepared by His Holy Spirit to receive it. The last
meeting in Denmark was at Tinglev, where he spoke
to over 9,000 people, and here, as in many other places,
numbers bore witness to the spiritual blessing they had
On June 5 the Sadhu left for Holland, and, passing
through Hamburg, was a second time entertained by
Frau Bauer, a lady of the Royal House of Austria and
an earnest Christian. In Holland Baron Von Boetzlaer
not only entertained him, but also made arrangements
for his work. Meetings were held in the pretty old
town of De Bilt, in Groningen, Arnheim, Lunderen,
Rotterdam, The Hague, and Amsterdam, and at
Utrecht the students of four Universities met for a
special gathering to hear him.
In Journeyings Often. When the Sadhu landed in
England it was apparent to the few old friends who
saw him that he was utterly exhausted nervously and
physically. Had it been possible for him to leave
immediately for India at that time it would have been
better for his own sake, but he felt obliged to fulfil a
promise to speak at the Keswick Convention, and the
time of waiting tried him. Many invitations to stay
with friends were declined. One such invitation from
a lady who had never seen him, touched the Sadhu's
heart. She was a great sufferer herself and found it
hard to move abroad, but hearing that he was very
tired and suffering from his throat, she not only offered
him what would have been the quietest possible place
of retirement, but herself undertook a journey of 360
miles to see whether a specialist or any other help was
required. The expense of the long journey and the
painful fatigue were gladly borne if only she might do
something for him.
As week succeeded week it became more apparent
that six months in the West of such continuous work
had been too great a tax in many ways. The cost of
doing this work and of living this life for so long can
hardly be realised by those for whom it was done.
People who have come under the personal influence of
the Sadhu will understand that atmosphere means much
to a man who is always working at high pressure in
the spiritual realm. For more than sixteen years the
Sadhu has been accustomed to a freedom with no
bounds of time or place. He loves the open air by
night and the open spaces by day, where without any
eye to watch he can be alone with his Lord. In such
an atmosphere he lives and gathers to himself those
166 , APPENDICES
reserves of strength and peace which characterise him.
In the rush and hurry of the West no such periods
of quiet of even the shortest duration were ever
afforded him. Launched into one country after an
other where dull skies blotted out the sun, and religious
work almost took on the aspect of unceasing business ;
the cast-iron tyrami} 7 of arrangements and hours held
him like a forest bird imprisoned in an atmosphere that
suffocated and sapped his vitality.
In a quiet home in the Isle of Wight he somewhat
recovered his serenity, but even there he could not be
prevailed upon to go abroad for exercise. He went
away to South Wales for a week-end of preaching, and
eventually left for Keswick Convention towards the
middle of July.
In England. " The Sadhu only emerged from his
seclusion on two occasions, namely to speak at the
Keswick Convention on July 19-22, and to fulfil a
long overdue promise to visit Forth in South Wales."
A Sunday with three good meetings fulfilled this prom
ise to the Welsh people, and the Sadhu enjoyed his
brief ministry among them.
At Keswick he spoke several times. For the
benefit of many who could not be present, as well
for those who had that privilege his sermon is
reproduced further on. At a meeting for ministers
the Sadhu spoke on Soul-winning, when he made a
" He reminded his hearers that when our Lord called certain
of His disciples they were fishermen, and He turned them into
fishers of men. But after the crucifixion they went back to
their old calling, and when Christ found them again they had
ceased to be fishers of men, and were once more fishermen.
And some ministers to-day instead of being fishers of men are
Much blessing followed his work. Many consecrated
themselves to mission work and hundreds of others
received spiritual uplift and inspiration.
From Keswick he went to spend a night with Bishop
Welldon at Durham at the Deanery. Writing from
here the Sadhu said, " This is not a simple place for
a sadhu, but where the Lord sends me there I have to
go; sometimes in the palace and often in huts and the
He then went down to London for a few days and on
Friday, July 28, he embarked for India on the P. & O.
S. S. Plassey, proceeding to Bombay.
To bear witness to the power of Christ as revealed
in the gospel and testified to in the heart of the true
believer, Sadhu Sundar Singh came West, and thinks
his work is done. He felt he owed it to his Lord to
bear this witness at all costs, and it has been done.
But in every country and to all people amongst whom
this witness has been given the answer also must be
given to the question " What owest thou unto thy
Lord ? " Life cannot go on as it did before he came.
Men must heed or be left worse off than they were
before, and of such the Master truly said, " Neither
will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead."
The supreme need in Europe to-day is a revival of
true religion, and the call of Christ is as insistent now
as when he uttered the words, " Take up thy cross
and follow Me." In Sundar Singh the transforming
power of Christ has had full sway, and obedient to his
Lord he follows on, carrying his cross. " Who follows
in his train? "
THE SADHU IN LITERATURE.
For some 3'ears a growing body of literature has
been springing up in various forms concerning the
Sadhu, both in his own and other countries. Long
before his name was known beyond the borders of
India, Indians had taken up the task of writing about
him. He so far fulfilled the Indian ideal of a Christian
holy man that much of what was written in one ver
nacular was immediately translated into others and
was read with avidity all over India.
As he became better known in India, his method of
life and work laid him open to criticism, chiefly
amongst foreigners ; a criticism not always kindly,
and judged by his subsequent history one that showed
a lack of perception and understanding of Indian life
and ideals. The Sadhu accepted such criticism with
the words " If people did not say things against me,
I should know there is something seriously wrong."
The marvellous in his life always had its earnest
believers, who looked for miracles and took them as
fresh and indisputable evidence of his being a man
*' called of God," whilst others scarcely knew what to
think, and thus division of opinion was evoked. The
Rev. C. W. Emmett of Ridley Hall, Oxford, discussed in
the January number of Hibbert Journal of 1921 what
he terms " The Miracles of Sadhu Sundar Singh," deal
ing chiefly with those mysterious deliverances which
have again and again been the Sadhu's experiences in
times of great peril. In these events Mr. Emmett
sees " a choice between two ways in which God can be
thought of as working. Does He help or protect His
servants by sending ' an angel ' or by the operation
of His Spirit on the heart of men? The special inter
position of a supernatural agency may at first sight
seem attractive to some, but is it not a far grander
conception to think of the Spirit of God as working
through the personality of such a one as the Sadhu,
and so drawing out the response and the latent powers
of good in his fellow-men? . . . We do believe that
' there is Some One there.' ' : The Divine Spirit " pass
ing into holy souls maketh them friends of God and
prophets," and working within the limits of that mind
of man which is His own creation, is able to thrill and
touch them with the immediate consciousness of the
presence of " the Beyond that is within."
But with regard to miracles attributed to the Sadhu's
own doing Mr. Emmett says nothing. The Sadhu
himself says nothing, although he does not trouble to
deny their possibility. But frequently he has borne
witness to the fact that " there is no power in these
hands," and simply claims that the power of Christ in
answer to prayer is the only miracle. (See Canon
Streeter's book "The Sadhu, % ' p. 39.)
Years ago it became clear to the Sadhu that " mira
cles " detracted from instead of aiding his gospel
message. Hence in 1918, when he was making his
great tour through the South of India, he took the
utmost care to prevent adding fuel to a fire whose
burning could serve no true purpose.
His visits to China, Japan and later to the West
caused the story of his life, written by different people
to be read a!l over the civilised world. His sermons
in English and other languages appeared in booklet
form, and magazines in many countries discussed him
from all points of view. But through good report
and ill the Sadhu calmly passed on his way, the way
of God ; untroubled, because he feared no man and
knew in Whom he had believed.
When he made his first visit West in 1920, many
minds of a completely different type from his own
were turned to the contemplation and discussion of
the man, his experiences, methods of thought and work,
and the probable influence of his unique personality
and teaching in East and West. As Christianity
came out of the East, it is natural that many earnest
Christians in western lands should look again to the
East, for that new stream of divine life, whose flow
should bring a true revival of religion to those myriads
upon whom the Great War has cast its black mantle
of forget fulness of God.
The Church of the West, blesed with an early vision
of the Saviour of the world, has yet to mourn its
inability to entirely meet the needs of those for whom
He died. The simple Gospel, passing through the
minds of men throughout the ages, has taken on the
colour of those minds, and has thus become less potent
for its great task ; for not in ceremonial appealing to
the senses nor yet in mighty organizations is the new
birth found. The accretions of the centuries sanc
tioned by time can offer only a semblance of the life
which is in Christ Jesus, and no other life can satisfy.
The cry is " Show me a man like Christ." A Swedish
Archbishop points to Sundar Singh and says : " The
Gospel has not undergone any change in him. . . .
In the history of religion Sundar is the first to show
the world how the Gospel of Jesus Christ is reflected
in unchanged purity in an Indian soul."
To him nothing else matters than the " new creature
in Christ Jesus." He has no interest in High Church
or Low; Nonconformity in its many forms makes no
appeal to him ; indeed " it would be heaven on earth,"
he tells us, if we had not got these things. And as
men watch him, study him, write about him, they all
agree that through a pure channel men can be and
are being stirred to a life that is life indeed.
" Christianity is imperishable," says another writer,
" and out of the East it will come again. The Sadhu
is perhaps the first of the new apostles to rekindle the
the fire on dying altars."
A stream of literature in various forms preceded and
followed the Sadhu in the countries he visited, and
translations flowed into Russia, Italy and other places
where he could not go. The Archbishop of Upsala
besides writing articles in papers and his book,
" Luther and Sundar Singh," contributed an important
article to the International Review of Missions, called
" Christian Mysticism in an Indian Soul." (April,
1922.) He is a man widely recognised as " an author
ity on the study of comparative religions," and in the
course of his sympathetic article he says :
" What do we learn from this Christian mystic of
the land of mystics? A surprising lesson and one
that puts to shame all our ingenious speculations as
to the higher synthesis between the Bible and India.
is the same good news that we know, except that it is
The Gospel has not undergone any change in him, but
conceived and comprehended with, in certain respects,
a surprising interpretation, which can teach us not
only something of India but of the Gospel itself, which
heretofore has been monopolised by the Occident, and
to some extent transformed in its image. In the his
tory of religion Sundar is the first to show the whole
world how the Gospel of Jesus Christ is reflected in
unchanged purity in an Indian sold. What is remark
able about him is not the fusion of Christianity and
Hinduism, but a fresh presentation of genuine Biblical
I' rinted in United States of America
. " ; o