The following is an account of the way God revealed to me that the Lord Jesus Christ is my salvation and how as a result I became a follower of the Lord Jesus as an undeserving recipient of the grace of God through Jesus. It is my joy and privilege to declare that Jesus is not only my Lord and Savior but that of the whole World. Knowing, accepting and living by this truth is not only the key to the joy of life in this world but also the assurance of Eternal Life in Heaven.
Background of my Beliefs and World View
I was born in Bombay and grew up in Madras in a typical South Indian Brahmin atmosphere. I was the youngest of five children and from the age of eleven consciously and actively believed in God and my devotions were focused on lord Subhramanya who I was told was our family deity. We had a puja room in our home at Sterling Road .Madras, and every day I prayed to various gods and goddesses primarily for all the good things of this life. My early childhood was indeed very happy as I was blessed with a good family, loving parents and siblings and being the youngest seemed to be pampered by one and all. I cannot think of any problem that I had which got me down or depressed. . I was fairly good in studies and very good in sports. I was in the Tamil Nadu State schools cricket XI in 1968 and was the champion Athlete of my school in the sub-junior, junior and senior level in addition to later being the champion athlete of my College (Guindy Engineering College) for all five years of my study there. Represented Madras University in the 400m meters event at the All-India Inter-University Athletic meet for two years. So I assumed then that the gods had been answering my prayers and life was something to look forward to.
I passed out of Engineering College in the year 1974 graduating in Electronics and Telecommunications. Subsequently I got a job as Trainee Engineer with the German multinational Siemens at Bangalore.
I was still very religious and was also a believer in Sathya Sai Baba and regularly visited the Shirdi Sai Baba temple and even prostrated before the snake pit there. As far as other religions and faiths were concerned I thought these are also ways by which people can know God and that each one must worship and relate to God in his or her own way. I believed every religion was the same, all Holy Books say the same things and that there are different ways of knowing God.
After joining Siemens in December 1974 I worked in Bangalore for five years. It was a small workshop manufacturing Power Line Carrier Communication Systems. We were a group of four young engineers, all bachelors, who were involved in all aspects of the production, testing and Quality control. One of the engineers was a believer from a catholic background called Nirmal Kumar.
After four years of working together one day Nirmal casually told me that he believed I was a religious and God fearing person but that I needed to know that God loves me and that the only way to Him is through Jesus and that there was no other way of Salvation. While all of us respected Nirmal for his nature and goodness I could not accept his statement that Jesus is the only way of salvation. I had many Christian friend all along and no one ever said anything like this. Up to now I had never heard that Jesus died for my sins. I was 26 years old and this was the first time I heard anything like this. I was fully convinced that Nirmal was wrong in this and that my view that all religions were same was the right view. In reaction to what he had told me I decided that the best way of proving him wrong and me right was to read the Bible and prove to him from the Bible that every religion was the same. I firmly believed then that since every religion was the same ,therefore every holy book must be the same. Since Nirmal was a Christian the logical thing to do was to prove to him from his Holy book that all religions were the same. If I show from the Bhagwad-Gita he will not believe. So I got myself a Bible and secretly began to read the Bible .
The Joy and the struggle
I also thought to myself that if there was a one percent chance that what Nirmal said was true then I need to know it. So I stopped praying to various gods by name and before reading the Bible every night would pray to the ‘Living God’ and ask Him if there was only one way to Him. If it was so to let me know and if not also to let me know.
From the time I began to read (with the Gospel of John) I enjoyed the text particularly reading about Jesus, what He did and said. I loved the name of Jesus. As I read it seemed like God was speaking to me. I kept on enjoying the Bible reading till I came to John 14:6 where it is written that – Jesus said:
‘I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’.
This verse hit me hard since the Lord in his own words was saying that no one ca come to the Father except through Him. AS I could not come to grips with this statement of Jesus and could not relate it to my preconceived notion that all ways were same I stopped reading the Bible for almost a month and a half but every now and then this verse would come back to me and I was not able to accept the profoundness of this truth. After a month and a half I realized I was missing the peace and joy that the reading of the Bible had given me and therefore decided to continue reading the scriptures even though I did not want to accept John 14:6.
The more I read the Bible the more I enjoyed it and realized what an amazing person Jesus was, without sin, always forgiving, always doing good. After a few months, a strange thing happened. One day in our office at Kensington Road, Ulsoor, Bangalore sometime in 1978 we were all relaxing after lunch and waiting for office time to begin our work when a ‘roadside’ astrologer walked in and told me by just looking at my face that many years ago I had an accident in which I almost died and that in the next one month or so I would have another serious one which could be fatal . He said it could be a road accident or an electric shock and could prove fatal. He offered to intercede for me to the gods for which he needed some personal article of mine by which he would pray. In the normal course I would never have believed such people but as it turned out about seen years earlier I had a near drowning mishap in the Garhwal Himalayas where I had gone for trekking. I had not told any one about this incident but this stranger seemed to know . That whole incident came back to my mind and I was very troubled and sad. Ironically that same afternoon I was to do ‘Insulation testing’ of some equipment and had to work with 500 Volts DC and the astrologer’s warning of electric shock was ringing in my ears. Somehow I went through that afternoon and at night was getting ready to pray before my bible reading. I was fearing accident and death that night , for the first time in my life, I prayed only in the name of Jesus for Him to take away this fear and give me peace. As soon as I finished the prayer the fear went away and I had an extraordinary peace in my heart of Jesus’ assurance and protection. It was much later that I realized
that every one who called upon His name is delivered ( Romans 10:13),
that He has delivered us from the fear of death (Hebrews 2:14-15) and
that when we pass through the waters He will be with us and as we pass through the waters they will not sweep over us (Isaiah 43:2).
God was faithful to His promises in the Bible even though I did not know either Him or His promises at that point of time! What an amazing Savior! When the astrologer came the next day to ask for some article belonging to me I boldly told him that I do not need him to do anything for me as nothing bad is going to happen to me.
Ever since the event of deliverance from death I prayed only in the name of Jesus and all my prayers were answered. Furthermore, whenever I had a question about life or the Bible I used to put it to Jesus and tell Him only if He wanted me to know the answer I would like to have it otherwise it does not matter. So I used to consciously make an attempt to forget the question. The Lord used to give me the answer from the Bible and then remind me of my question. A typical example was my question with regard to ‘Reincarnation’ and God’s answer from Hebrews 9:27-28 after six months.
Freedom In Christ
While I enjoyed this experiment with seeking the truth and the reality of Christ’s love was impacting me I also had struggles. Deep inside my heart I did realize that Christ was the payment for my sin and that He is the only Savior yet my imaginations of what it meant to be a ‘Christian’ bothered me. I thought it is mandatory to change my name, to join with other Christians in their activities and in general have a label of Christianity attached to me. This compounded by the fear of how my friends and family would react bothered me. By this time I got married to Ragini, my wife, who also was from the same background as me. I soon got a transfer to Munich in Germany in September 1979.
Being alone in Germany gave me a lot of time to continue my search for God. I wanted to enjoy Jesus’ grace and love while at the same time continuing with my religiosity of popular Hinduism. While in Germany for the first few months, I was learning the German language along with many other foreign nationals. After two months of living among these foreigners one of them, a Portuguese national casually remarked to me that he had been closely watching me and that my life was constantly changing and that was because of ‘THE BOOK” I was reading. I thought my Bible reading was a secret matter but others were noticing the effect. While on the once side I felt happy, on the other side I felt ashamed that I was not acknowledging my belief in Jesus even though He had done so much for me and had already changed my life.
On 25th May, 1980 I went to Church in Munich for the first time primarily to pray for my brother who was getting married in India. After the message, the German pastor Rev Peter Dippl gave an invitation to anybody who would like to accept the Lord Jesus as Lord an Savior. I found myself going forward realizing that what really matters is God and not people. That day I stopped resisting the Love of Jesus and offered myself to Him as His servant. It was 9:30 p.m. and I received new life ! Within a few minutes I was filled with Holy Spirit and realized I am indeed a new creation.
At the time I accepted the Lord two questions haunted me . When Christ is the only Savior from Sins for all mankind how come no Christian ever told me that before except my friend Nirmal ? Secondly when this new life in Christ is so exciting and wonderful how come the life of other Christians was no different from my life as a Hindu ? Rather than bother myself with possible answers I decided to be different and I asked the Lord to make me a witness of Christ and also change my life to be a blessing to others. I thought if we cannot find role-models the best thing to do is to be a role-model by the grace of God since He gives us the resources to do so.
Many have asked me what single factor made me seek the truth and what needs I had to search for God. Looking back I do not think I had any need. Although I did have a need to know my Savior before I knew Him I did not realize I had a need to know Him. So at that time I really did not have any needs as my life seemed full and satisfied . If at all , it was the provocation of my pride that made me want to prove my friend wrong. In that process the Living God proves me wrong, gave me salvation and new Life ! I praise and thank God for people like my friend Nirmal who does not hesitate to speak the truth in love. I was provoked to seek God.
Looking back at the last eighteen years it has been my privilege of being an instrument in God’s hands in leading thousands to the only Savior and Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord has saved many members of my family. I live in Delhi today along with my wife (Ragini), son (Akshay) and my mother (Leela Ramchandran) who is eighty-two years old . All of them are in the Lord and are a support to me in my Ministry ..
By The Grace that came though the Lord Jesus Christ I am what I am. All Glory to Him.
Source:http://www.churchofindia.org/rajkumar.htm accessed on January 28th 2009