SADHU SUNDAR SINGH: THE LOVER OF THE CROSS
“To follow Christ and bear His cross is so sweet and precious that, if I find no cross to bear in heaven, I shall plead before him to send me as a missionary, if need be to hell.”- Sadhu Sundar Singh
The Mother’s Influence on the Son
Sadhu Sundar singh whose birth centenary commenced on September 3, 1988 is unique among Indian thinkers. Although he could not be classed with theologians, his sermons and writings are remarkably original and reveal his direct experience of Christ. His efforts at presenting the gospel in a thoroughly Indian way should be viewed against the background of his mother’s influence on him during his childhood.
She introduced him to religious texts like the Bhagavad-Gita and, put him in touch with a Sadhu who lived in a jungle near Rampur their native village. Her prayer was that her youngest son Sundar should become a Sadhu (Holy man or Sage-Saint). She put the idea into his mind when he was very young. She died when Sundar was hardly fourteen. From then on he became perplexed in mind and sought peace by reading various religious texts and practiced yoga.
Sadhu Sundar Singh often recalled his pious mother in his conversations and writings.
He once remarked that it was the Holy Spirit, which made him a Christian, but it was his mother who made him a Sadhu. On another occasion he openly confessed that if he could not find his mother in heaven, who died as a pious Sikh, he would not stay there but would rather ask the lord to send him to the place where he could find her. “His mothers teachings in the Hindu and Sikh faiths on the one hand, and the word of Jesus Christ on the other- these two lines of thought converged like an arrow in Sundar singh and set him on his way” says J.L Watson a biographer of the Sadhu.
The Vision and the Call
Young Sundar developed hatred against the Christian religion, which he came to know through the Mission school in Rampur. He went to the extent of burning the pages of the New Testament, which he bought from the school. This happened on December 15, 1904. He was admonished by his father for the mad act. Sundar who was undergoing a struggle in mind sought peace staying in his room for three days. He prayed ‘ O God, if there be a God, reveal yourself to me tonight’. He planned to put an end to his life if God did not respond to his prayer by daybreak. At quarter to five Sundar, like Paul had a vision of Christ. He says that he saw ‘in a shining cloud of light… the glorious loving face of Jesus Christ. Sundar heard Christ speaking to him in Hindustani: “how long will you persecute me? I died for you; I gave my life for you” Sundar fell at the feet of Jesus and accepted him as his master and Saviour. This incident took place on December 18, 1904. While narrating this incident Sundar Singh says: “His power came into my heart; my life was changed in a single moment.”
It is worth noting that earlier during the year, in April, some missionaries and Indian pastors gathered together at Sailkot in Punjab and formed the Punjab Prayer Union. They pledged to pray everyday for a spiritual awakening in the country. Before the year closed the Lord has called Sundar to be used by him, to bring about the revival. It is also significant that the National Missionary Society of India was founded during the year that followed the conversion of Sundar Singh. Having committed his life Sundar chose the path of the cross and decided to bear the cross at all costs. This meant severe opposition from family circles and, leaving his father’s house who poisoned him when he had his last meal at his house,he thus chose to become a wandering preacher. He states this in one of his sermons as follows “I had to leave home and people, I lost everything, but I found everything in Christ.” All through his ministry of twenty-four years he joyfully proclaimed that the cross would bear those who bear the cross. He wrote: ” To follow him (Christ) and bear His cross is so sweet and precious that, if I find no cross to bear in heaven, I shall plead him to send me as a missionary, if need be to hell”
The Apostle of the Bleeding Feet
Sundar Singh received baptism on his sixteenth birthday (3.9.1905) at St. Thomas Church, Simla. For a month Sundar pondered over his future mission and on (October Sixth, 33 days after his baptism he left Sabathu in Simla hills clad with a saffron robe and a turban. The Sadhu ideal implanted in his heart by his mother got itself entwined with the mission of the wandering Christian Friar.
He was a Sadhu with a difference. He became a Sadhu to serve. “It was the road, not solitude that called him” says Cyril Devy. Speaking about his Sadhu-life Sundar says:” I am not worthy to follow in the footsteps of my Lord. But like him, I want no home, no possessions. Like him I will belong to the road; sharing the suffering of my people, eating and staying with those who will give me shelter, and telling all men of the love of God.”
After visiting a few villages Sundar began his first winter tour and covered many parts of Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, then proceeded further to Baluchistan and Afghanistan. Very soon Sundar Singh came to be known as the Apostle of the bleeding feet in several Parts of North India. During one of his visits to Europe he was asked whether the stones had cut his feet, Sundar replied that they were strong enough to cut the stones. Sundar carried with him only a blanket and an Urdu New Testament. Within two years he had covered almost the whole of North India. Meanwhile he spent a year (1909-10) in St. John’s Divinity School in Lahore. Although he was offered a license to preach in the Anglican Church, he did not want to confine his ministry to any particular denomination. He chose to continue his ministry as a wandering Sadhu and carry the message of Jesus Christ to all churches and also to people of other faiths. He was a frequent visitor to Rishikesh, where he made friends with a number of Hindu Sadhus with whom he shared the joy of his experience in following Jesus Christ, his guru.
Sundar Singh was a born adventurer and had a burden to take the gospel to places like Tibet, which were closed for missionary activities. At the tender age of nineteen he was bold enough to venture into the land of the Lamas. Between 1908-1929 he is said to have made no less than twenty risky trips to that country. During 1914-1918 Sundar Singh experienced severe hardships, including imprisonment in a den with leeches and, using very painful torturing methods to stop him preaching.This he gladly accepted with the remark that it was very sweet to suffer for Christ. He wrote in his Urdu New Testament:
“ Christ’s presence had turned my prison into a blessed heaven. What will it be like in heaven itself”?
Between 1918-1919 he made visits to South India, Sri Lanka, Burma and Malaysia. Although Sundar was endowed with the gift of healing, he, like Paul, used it sparingly. He once prayed that the gift be withdrawn since he was aware of the pitfalls of popularity. When left for Tibet on his twelfth trip in 1919, he told his friends that he never expected to return. Sundar had the zeal to die as a martyr.
In 1920 he visited Britain, America and Australia. His father who by this time had accepted Christ paid for his voyage. Sundar challenged the churches in the West to come out of their materialistic outlook. He made bold prophetic statements such as the following: “Europe has failed to understand Christ. They have failed to understand his mind because they do not live with him “…” there are many people nowadays in the churches in Christian lands; who admire Christ and his teachings and have the privilege of being near the kingdom of God, but they will beat their breasts like the five foolish virgins, for they are near but not in the kingdom of God ” It is observed that ‘he was as fearless in his denunciation as he was tender in his pleading. Sundar Singh made a second trip to Europe in 1922,En route he visited the Holy Land and fulfilled his heart’s desire.
The Page and the Pen
When he was thirty-three in 1922 he wanted to die at that age like his master. Owing to hectic travels and crowded programmes continuously for sixteen years the Sadhu began to lose his health. He had heart attacks, trouble in eyesight, ulcers and several other complications, which compelled him to confine himself to his residence in Sabathu. Apart from his regular correspondence with friends all over the world, he was able to devote considerable time to write several thin volumes:
At the masters feet (1922)
Reality and religion (1923)
Search after Reality (1924)
Spiritual Life (1925)
Spiritual World (1926)
Real Life (1927)
With and Without Christ (1928)
These were written in Urdu and translated into English with the assistance of his friends T. E. Riddle, A. J. Appasamy, Arthur and Rebecca Parker, and J. W. Peoples. Some of his previously unpublished articles compiled by A. J. Appasamy under the title The Cross is Heaven were published in the series of World Christian Books in 1956. M. R. Robinson translated his Real Pearl into English in 1966. A collection of sermons of the Sadhu recorded by Alys Goodwin in Switzerland was posthumously brought out by the Christian Literature Society, Madras under the title Life in Abundance (1980). A diary maintained by her when she accompanied the Sadhu during his tour in Switzerland was published by C.L.S. in 1989.
Sundar Singh is a communicative writer. He is precise in expression while his style is simple and direct. His books are full of illustrations. The bulk of his writings contain recorded versions of the messages received from the Lord during the visions granted to him. According to Robin Boyd his writings and recorded sayings are full of theology, full of Indian theology. His theology is Christ-centered and rooted in the New Testament. It is mystical and evangelical to the core. It is thoroughly Indian and accommodative in outlook.
The Sadhu in his last published book With and Without Christ gives interesting incidents taken from the lives of Christians and non-Christians, which illustrate the difference in lives, lived with Christ and without Christ.
The Sadhu’s books speak so much about human suffering. Bishop A. J. Appasamy observes: “It is helpful to remember that they are written by a man in the thirties of his life who was suddenly crippled in his work by illness… to him life beyond the grave was not anything strange or new but a continuation of the life, of joy, experience in the presence of his Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. ‘ These devotional books written in such circumstances, have a compelling and persuasive power as they reflect his conviction that all human suffering is sent by a loving God, just as much as all joy is sent by him.”
Several Christian scholars in Europe including Arch Nathan Soderblom and Professor Friedrich Heiler have written useful books on the life and ministry of Sundar. Heiler’s book has been translated into English under the title The Gospel of Sadhu Sundar Singh (1927). He deals at length with the Theologica Experimentalis of the Sadhu and speaks about the significance of Sadhu Sundar Singh both for India and for western Christianity in the wake of the ruthless criticisms of his opponents in the west.
In the Footsteps of the Master
Since the day of his conversion Sundar Singh endeavored to follow Christ and made every effort to imitate his master, particularly his life of prayer and meditation. He would spend long hours in solitude communion with God. He had a number of visions in which he would be seated at the feet of his master and converse with him. Great truths were revealed to him during these sessions of dialogue. While speaking about the intimate relationship with his master, he says that “He (Christ) opened his heart with the key of love. . . filled it with his presence.”
In February 1913 he attempted a forty-day fast in a jungle near Rishikesh. When his strength was altogether gone after about two weeks, he swooned and was carried to Rishikesh railway station by woodcutters who were passing through the jungle. The experience of the fast brought to him a notable expansion of his spiritual life. “From that time on his life was one of a real and unbroken with his Lord whose rewarding presence he counted as the best of God’s gifts” says Riddle.
Sundar Singh followed his master in using a number of parables and stories to make the gospel of Jesus Christ clear and meaningful and to his audience. Heiler says that “to the Sadhu a parable is more than a picture or a sudden flash of inspiration.”
A few of them such as the ones found in Real Life are short stories. Several others are analogies in short sentences such as the following: “The firefly is one of the smallest of the insects; yet it gladdens the heart of the traveler.” “When you go to a strange country it is good to have a friend who will be kind to you. Become friends with Jesus Christ; then in heaven you will have a friend.” Most of the parables are of medium size. They are about eighty in all. Each one of them like the parables of his master is related to the gospel and the kingdom.
Sundar Singh organized his devotional life of prayer and meditation along the pattern set by Jesus. Prayer for him was the hidden root for the life lived in constant fellowship with Christ. He firmly believed that prayer could never alter the will of God. This he illustrates with a parable about the bird, which sits brooding over her eggs. As she continues to sit on them the change does not take place in the mother but in the eggs. So also through our prayer God is not changed but we are changed so as to know his plans for us.
Prayer and meditation are described by Sadhu as the opening of our hearts to God when “the rays of the Sun of righteousness will heal the wounds of our sins and give us perfect health.” Speaking about his prayers the Sadhu says: “I use no words. I think only of those things that I have been reading, of the things I have been doing or intend to do, of the people I know, of myself and of Jesus-such thought is prayer, God speaks not man.”
Sundar Singh’s appearance and presence always reminded his audience of Jesus Christ. A friend of the Sadhu observed his face becoming radiant and like the face of Jesus, whenever he returned from his solitary meditation and prayer. A Hindu Saint at first sight of Sundar was able to see that Sundar has realised the bliss, which he was struggling after.
Like his master Sundar Singh was a man of the masses and as such a man for others. As an active mystic he engaged himself in the service of others in places like the leper Asylum in Sabathu. Evangelism, social service and prayer were all important to him. When asked by Streeter and Appasamy what he would do if he had a week all to himself, would he spend it in prayer or in active evangelism, Sundar replied: Can we drink only water or eat only food for a week? We require both drink and food.
Service for him is unthinkable apart from suffering and sacrifice. He took delight in bearing the cross through physical suffering and mental agonies and learnt to be humble. The offers to accept the headship of training centre, which was to be started for Christian Sadhus, was politely turned down by the Sadhu. He was not interested in the post of the “Bishop of Indian Church” when the indigenous minded Christian community in Lahore offered the same to him. Sundar did not want to be addressed as “Sadhuji” by his friends. He would request them to call him “Little brother”. He compared the little honour he accepted at times to the honour received by the donkey, which had to walk on the cloaks spread on the road when the master rode on it. Sundar Singh refused to bless or baptize people including his father who accepted Christ during the last years of his life because Sundar felt himself unworthy for doing the same with the hands which tore the bible into pieces and burnt them; the blessing could be received only from the pierced hands of Jesus. There were occasions when the Sadhu’s humility was expressed with remarkable humour. When a friend brought a fine rug as a present to him, the Sadhu took the rug graciously and then asked the friend to accept it from him as a present. While in London, he wore a red raincoat on his saffron robe. When he stood in a street corner in thick fog he was mistaken for a post pillar by an old lady. She was taken aback when the pillar-box said: “Give me the letter, I will post it for you.”
Many during his lifetime complimented the Christ-likeness in the life of the Sadhu. What Friedrich Heiler wrote to him would perhaps surpass them all: ‘Since coming to know your life and your preaching, I read the New Testament with new eyes.’
Life’ In Christ’ and’ For Christ’
Christ-centeredness is prominent in the life and writings of the Sadhu. Jesus was for him “not the supreme mystic; but the master of mystics, the Saviour of mystics.” Hence he could proclaim: “Christ is my life. He is everything to me in heaven and earth.” For the love of his master he accepted the cross as the basis of his mystical life and called it “the key of heaven”. He wrote: “Outwardly it (Cross) may appear full of nails, but in its nature, it is sweet and peaceful.”
Christ spoke to him in ecstasy that his crucifixion should not be viewed as an isolated incident in his life, which lasted only for a few hours, but as a continuous experience in his life on earth. Christ also taught him that he who accept the cross and lives his life in his Lord dies, not once for all but daily.
Sundar found the cross as the distinctive mark of Christian discipleship against the Sanyasa (world negation and renunciation) of Hindu tradition. He was critical of both the Hindu and Christian sanyasis of his day and was of the opinion that they should not fall below the ideal. As a Sadhu (a religious person whose life is set towards a goal) Sunder “did not renounce the world but only the evil in it.” It meant the bearing of the cross and a sharing in the suffering of his master. This he illustrates with the beauty of diamonds and the pearls. Diamonds do not dazzle with beauty unless they are cut; when cut the rays of the sun fall on them and make them shine with wonderful colours. So when we are cut into shape by the cross we shall shine as jewels in the kingdom of Gods.’ “Pearls are the product of pain and suffering; still when treated with neglect the lusture is destroyed. Their charm, which is due to a peculiar surface play of light, might be destroyed by contamination with grease, ink or similar matter. . . So, like the pain born pearl, spiritual life without pain and suffering, cannot become beautiful.”
The mystical experiences of Sundar Singh include visions seen in the state of ecstasy. Although these were precious for him he did not glorify in them. Nor did he allude to them in his sermons but had only narrated some of them to his close friends. He felt an inner urge to put them in writing and was greatly relieved after publishing his visions of the Spiritual world in 1926. In the Preface Sadhu speaks about his first experience at Kotgarh, in his eyes were opened to heavenly vision. During the years that followed the visions have continued to enrich his life. He had them sometimes as often as eight or ten times in a month when his spiritual eyes were opened to see the glory of heavenly sphere and walk there with Jesus and hold conversations with angels and spirits. Several of them are recorded in his books. These experiences created in him a longing to enter in permanently to the bliss and fellowship of the redeemed.
The visions become meaningful only in the Christ centric character of the Sadhu’s mysticism. “Christ on his throne is always in the centre… The face of Christ seen by the Sadhu in ecstasy with his spiritual eyes is the same that he saw at his conversion with bodily eyes. The scars of Jesus are not ugly; but beautiful.” Sundar Singh felt that he understood more about God in a single moment of ecstasy than he could have had many years of study in a Theological College. Apart from his experience of “the communion of the Saints the Sadhu also learnt through them that ‘the Saints help in the work of saving souls in hell, because there can be no idleness in heaven.’ Those in hell will ultimately be brought to heaven…” Very few will be lost but many will he saved.
This universalism or hope in ultimate salvation perhaps remained as a concealed foundation of his evangelistic preaching in which he stressed the need for repentance and the certainty of immediate judgement.
The Sadhu had a burden for the places where the gospel had not reached. Tibet became his mission field. During his visits he set up small congregations in some places in Tibet and also started a school. He preached the gospel alike to the Lamas and the Hindu Sanyasis at Rishikesh, to philosophers such as Henri Bergson and Rabindranath Tagore and to villagers whom he met in corn fields or jungles and to the Christian congregations in various parts of the world. His was a characteristic personal approach through which he shared the joy and peace he received from his master. A report which appeared in Morning Star of Jaffna, Sri Lanka gives in nutshell the typical manner in which the Sadhu preached to mixed audience “Sundar Singh has also a message for non-Christians. He has not attacked their religion. He has not scolded nor used harsh terms of reproach, but has fearlessly testified to his own failure after long and painful search to find peace and joy and satisfaction apart from God’s great revelation Christ.”
The interview conducted at Calcutta in February 1929 by S.Kulendran (Later Bishop in Jaffna of the Church of South India) a young theological student at Serampore Sadhu answers a question relating to peoples of other faiths as follows: ‘The old habit of calling them “heathen” should go. The worst “heathen” are among us. We should love them as brothers, though we need not love all that they believed and did.
The Sadhu in his last published book With and without Christ gives interesting incidents taken from the life of Christians and non-Christians, which illustrate the difference in lives, lived with Christ and without Christ. Sundar writes: “The quickening work of the living Christ is not confined to our organized churches, but is going on among non-Christians far in excess of what is commonly known or of any estimate we can make.”
His position seems to be closer to that of J. N. F when he speaks about Christianity as the fulfillment of Hinduism: ‘Christianity is the fulfillment of Hinduism, Hinduism has been digging channels. Christ is the water to flow through these channels…. Non-Christian thinkers also have received light from the Sun of Righteousness. “There are many beautiful things in Hinduism, but the fullest light is from Christ… The Holy Spirit is not the private property of some special people .” Sundar Singh was not interested in attacking the religious practices of Hinduism found at the popular level. A few of his observations and criticism about the doctrines of karma, jnana marga (The Path of Knowledge) and yoga provide incentives for meaningful dialogue between the Hindus and Christians.
Sundar Singh was equally interested in sharing the good views with the Buddhists. In 1922 he made a proposal to the National Missionary Society (NMS) for starting missionary work on the border of Tibet. In 1924 the NMS of India had asked Sundar Singh to collaborate with them in the evangelization of Tibet. He agreed to train two workers every year who would go with him to preach the gospel in Tibet. In 1927 the NMS reported that some of its work was in Tibet and Himalayan States under the direction of Sadhu Sundar Singh.
Owing to ill health after 1922, though Sundar started for Tibet on different occasions he could not proceed far. Although his health was failing, Sundar undertook a trip in April 1929 along with some traders to Tibet. He had to walk several miles with them beyond Badrinath on the snowy mountains. The road into Tibet was very difficult and often dangerous mountain track, which ran along the higher ledges. Sundar promised to return after a month or so but he never returned from that journey. Some of his friends including the Rev. Riddle went a long way on the snowy mountains to find some trace of him, but to no avail. In response to the petition made by the executioners of the Sadhu’s will that his death might be presumed the court gave probate of the will in 1932. It may possibly have happened that in some remote region, among the mountains, a final disaster overtook him, or perhaps he might have missed his step owing to poor eyesight or suffered a sudden heart attack. Yet another possibility is that he died the death of a martyr. To die such a death says Appasamy, a great friend of the Sadhu, “was his greatest ambition.” Riddle after returning from the search in the Himalayan region inferred that “the call he longed for came to him in the earlier stages of his journey, and that once more the heavens were opened for him like Enoch to enter in and this time to abide in the rapture of the presence of his Lord.”
The Challenge of Sadhu Sundar Singh
The life and teachings of Sadhu Sundar Singh are of great importance to world church. His interpretation of Christianity with the mystical insights gained from the religious heritage of India could be compared to the methods adopted by St. John and St. Paul in the early Christian church. He gave a characteristically Indian form to Christ-mysticism. Baron von Hugel rightly observes that Sundar Singh was proud of being an Indian and was anxious to remain an Indian as deep Christianity allows. Sundar’s challenge to the church in India is to take indigenization seriously and grapple with the problem of meaningful and critical adaptation of the religious tradition of India. Prompt response came from leaders like Savarirayan Jesudason, R. C. Selvaratnam and Sadhu Mathai who made bold attempts at indigenization in Christian Ashrams during the early decades of the present century.
There is much to be achieved in this direction by the churches in India. The various experiments at indigenization made at Ashrams and Theological Seminary have not found proper reception in the congregations. Many are highly critical about the whole question of indigenization. Such attitudes create difficulties for the church to make its distinctive contributions to the world church.
A few weeks before the Sadhu left Sabathu for Tibet on his final journey he spoke in a meeting at Okara on 12th March 1929, which was attended by several Hindus along with Christians in the area. Sundar Singh’s advice to a young Sadhu on that day was as follows: “Read your Bible daily with prayer, do not flee from the Cross and do not become proud when some good people give you any honour. Remember the colt had the honour of walking on the garments which were spread by men in the way while Christ was entering Jerusalem and people were saying ‘Hosanna, blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” The colt had this honour because Christ was seated on it.
Sadhu Sundar Singh’s ministry is a challenge to rethink and reorganize the patterns of Christian spirituality.
The significance of prayer, Bible Study and meditation should be rediscovered in the present context for relating them to the servant hood and the prophetic ministry of the church. Preoccupation with numerous programme and activities is often seen to be the cause for the slackness of devotional life on the part of individuals as well as churches.
The Sadhu’s ministry is a warning to those who would overestimate the institutional and organizational set up of the church. He once observed: “God is a God of order, but the order must agree with the leading of the Holy Spirit otherwise it will be useless.”
There is much to be learnt from his ministry during times when we listen to prophetic voices raised from many quarters for non-cultic and structure free types of ministries. Sundar Singh through the rich and resourceful treasure of the gospel found for himself the dynamics of the Christian ministry in Christ’s way. While speaking to Arch Nathan Soderblom he said: “we are tired of doctrines. We need the living Christ. India wants people who will not only preach and teach, but workers whose whole life and temper is a revelation of Jesus Christ.” Heiler when quoting the words of the Sadhu points out their applicability to the West as well.
The preaching ministry of the Sadhu is thoroughly Indian. His sermons are full of parables and illustrations gleaned from the Indian set up. Christian preachers in India use many of these. It will be highly rewarding if such illustrations are gathered from the religious literature and oral traditions of India by the preachers themselves and used appropriately in their sermons. Sundar Singh’s preaching ministry makes us reflect more on the preparation of the preacher rather than the preparation of the sermons. He says: “Preachers ought to get their message from God. If they get it from books instead, they do not preach their own gospel; they preach the gospel of others. They sit on other people’s eggs and hatch them and think they are their own.”
The Sadhu’s observations about Theological Education are worth considering. Although he could not stay in a Divinity School for more than a year, he never spoke or wrote against theological training. A student in Cambridge wanted to give up his studies and become a missionary as a result of listening to Sundar’s sermon. When this was reported to the Sadhu he said: “that is not what I meant. Ministers do need training. What I meant was that learning without life is dry bones.”
When Sundar Singh made a will in 1925 leaving his money for charitable purposes, he included scholarships for evangelistic workers to pursue theological studies at recognized seminaries and also special scholarships for promising persons for the study and teaching of the New Testament.
When Streeter and Appasamy asked him about the training of theological students, he told: “there should be more practical work. The professors themselves should go about the country for two or three months with their students to preach the gospel.” His advice becomes meaningful in our context today when various kinds of internship and practical work programme are planned at various levels. The practical work that was in the mind of the Sadhu was evangelism. This again is a challenge for meaningful contacts with people of other faiths particularly through dialogue. The person-to-person contact in evangelism today is very much a missing dimension. This was very prominent in the ministry of Sundar Singh who made friendly contacts with various kinds of people including farmers in the fields, travellers in train compartments, sanyasis at Rishikesh and warders in Tibetan prison houses. He was accessible to them because of his typical way of presenting “the water of life in an Indian cup”. It will be appropriate to conclude with a tribute paid to Sadhu Sundar Singh by Dr. Nicol Maculcol, an eminent scholar and missionary in India:
“In him Christianity and Hinduism seem to meet, and the Christian faith stands forth, not as something foreign but like a flower which blossoms on an Indian stem.”