Sit at the Master’s feet in prayer – Sundar Singh

When we have really encountered the Master and experienced
release from sin, then sheer joy impels us to share it with
others. We cannot sit silent about what God has done;
we must give witness to it. Anyone who has experienced the
Master’s peace – whether man or woman, boy or girl, rich or
poor, laborer or farmer, writer or priest, judge or official,
doctor or lawyer, teacher or pupil, government official or
missionary– he or she is only a follower of the Master to
the extent that they witness to the truth. But bearing
witness does not necessarily mean preaching in the
market or from a pulpit. We have opportunities of
giving witness to the Master wherever we are. We can
do this through an upright life, a blameless character,
through integrity of behavior, by our enthusiasm, and by
our love for the Master, sharing with others what he has
done for us. Every person, not only with words but with
his life, can be a witness for the Master.

A Sufi mystic was on a journey. He had with him a
quantity of wheat. After being on the road for several
days he opened his bags and found a number of ants
in them. He sat down and pondered over their plight.
Being overcome with pity for the little lost creatures,
he retraced his steps and returned them safely to their
original home. It is amazing how we humans can show so much
sympathy to such little creatures. How then is it possible
to lack sympathy and fellow feeling in our dealing with
one another? Many have gone very far astray and do not
know the way back. Surely it is our duty to guide the
lost back to the way of righteousness and to help them
find their eternal home.

There are many people in India and around the
world who would like to hear about the Master. These
people need witnesses to the truth but not Western
culture. Indians desperately need the Water of Life,
but they do not want it in European vessels! The Master
chose simple fisherman as his followers because he
had a simple message, not a philosophy. The world
has enough of teaching and philosophy.

What homesickness I had in Europe! I felt
like a bird in a cage. The whole atmosphere was heavy
for me. Many people thought I suffered from the
cold climate, but this was not so. I have experienced
far greater cold in the Himalayas. It was not the physical
atmosphere that oppressed me, but the spiritual
atmosphere.

In India, one feels everywhere – even through
idols and altars, pilgrims and penitents, temples and
tanks – that there is a desire for higher things. In the
West, however, everything points to armed force,
great power, and material things. It is this power of
evil that makes me so sad. India is more and more
seeking the Master’s truth. The West is in danger of
becoming more and more indifferent. And yet the
West owes so many of its blessings to Christianity. At
one time the ostrich could fly, but because the ostrich
stopped using its wings, it became unable to fly. So are
the people of Europe and America – they do not appreciate
the faith of their forebears and are fast losing it.
The West is like Judas Iscariot, who ate with Yesu,
only to later deny him. The West ought to fear the
fate of Judas, lest it hang itself on the tree of learning.
You have so many privileges. We in the East have to
give up many things when we become Christians. For
you, it is not so. Therefore be careful that you don’t
lose your only possibility for eternal happiness. I am
reminded of the hunter who was pursued by a tiger.
He had no fear because his hut was nearby and he was
sure that he had the key in his pocket. On reaching it,
however, the key was gone, and although there was
only the thickness of the door between him and
safety, he was lost.

Once when I was in the Himalayas, I was sitting
upon the bank of a river; I drew out of the water a
beautiful, hard, round stone and smashed it. The inside
was quite dry. The stone had been lying a long
time in the water, but the water had not penetrated the
stone. It is just like that with the “Christian” people of
the West. They have for centuries been surrounded by
Christianity, entirely steeped in its blessings, but the
Master’s truth has not penetrated them. Christianity is
not at fault; the reason lies rather in the hardness of
their hearts. Materialism and intellectualism have
made their hearts hard. So I am not surprised that
many people in the West do not understand what
Christianity really is.

Many modern thinkers in the West do not believe in
the miracles of our Master. To my mind, it’s already a
miracle that there are still spiritual people in the West
at all. In America, for example, one sees a good deal
of Christianity, but it does not address the spiritual
needs of the people. Just as salty seawater cannot
quench thirst, much of American religion cannot satisfy
a spiritually thirsty person because it is saturated
with materialism. The Master’s words, “Come unto
me all who are heavy laden and I will give you rest,”
are true as regards the East, but I think that for
America, he would say, “Come unto me all who are
heavy gold-laden and I will give you rest.”
Looking at the motto “In God We Trust” on the
American dollar one might think the Americans are
very religious people, but the motto should read, “In the
dollar we trust.” Americans are seeking the almighty
dollar, not the Almighty God.

Although America is a “Christian” nation and there
are many sincere Christians in America, the majority
of the people there have no faith. There, where it is
so easy to have religion, where religion is offered on
every side and no one is persecuted for their beliefs,
life should be peaceful. Instead, there is a mad rush
and hustle and bustle after money and comfort and
pleasure. In India, many Christians suffer bitter
persecution but continue to find happiness in their
new faith. Because it is so easy to have faith in
America, people do not appreciate what a comfort
there is in faith.

A scientist had a bird in his hand. He wanted
to find out in what part of the bird’s body its life was
and what the life itself was. So he began dissecting the
bird. The result was that the very life of which he was
in search mysteriously vanished. Those who try to
understand the inner life merely intellectually will
meet with a similar failure. The life they are looking
for will only vanish.

When I returned from Europe, I began reading the
writings of the German mystic Jakob Boehme and
was attracted to him as soon as I had read the first two
or three pages. This simple, uneducated shoemaker
had an experience of God that has influenced millions
of people. I may be wrong, but I am more and more
convinced that simple people like Boehme have a pure
intuition and grasp easily and readily the Master’s
profound spiritual truths. Educated people, especially
those I met in the West, repress their native intuition
and substitute in its place a kind of artificial
rationalism. That is why the Master called simple fishermen
as his disciples.

I studied theology in a theological seminary. I
learned many useful and interesting things no doubt,
but they were not of much spiritual profit. There
were discussions about sects, about Yesu Christ and
many other interesting things, but I found the reality,
the spirit of all these things, only at the Master’s feet.
When I spent hours at his feet in prayer, then I found
enlightenment, and God taught me so many things that
I cannot express them even in my own language. Sit at
the Master’s feet in prayer; it is the greatest theological
college in this world. We know about theology, but he
is the source of theology itself. He explains in a few
seconds a truth that has taken years to understand.
Whatever I have learned has been learned only at his
feet. Not only learning, but life, I have found at his
feet in prayer.

I do not condemn theologians wholesale, but it is
unfortunately the fashion in Western thinking to
doubt and deny everything. I protest this tendency. I
never advise anyone to consult theologians, because
all too often they have completely lost all sense of
spiritual reality. They can explain Greek words and all
that, but they spend too much time among their books
and not enough time with the Master in prayer. It is
not that I oppose all education, but education without
life is certainly dangerous. You must stop examining
spiritual truths like dry bones! You must break open
the bones and take in the life-giving marrow.

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