Sunday, June 05, 2011

High Caste Hindus who Embrace Jesus

My name is Ventakesh and my home is India. I was brought up in a strict, high caste Hindu family, and we had our own pooja room where we had daily prayers to the Hindu gods. We maintained all the Hindu festivals and were very diligent to fulfill all the requirements of our Hindu faith and religion.

My father was a highly-placed government official and very orthodox in all his practices. He treated with disdain the religion of the Christians because of their habits of smoking, drinking and dancing. He viewed them as unclean. His overall impression of the Christianity of the West was molded by what he saw in the Western movies, especially from America.

When I returned to the USA, I met another Hindu man who told me that he followed Jesus. He was not a practicing Christian who went to church, but he maintained his own Hindu culture and social habits, and he loved Jesus and read the Bible and he knew it very well. He explained to me that he was a Hindu by his first birth and was proud of this heritage which was from God and showed me Acts 17:26, where God is explained as the one who determines where and when we are born. Then he explained how he had experienced a second birth, when he became one of God’s children and a member of His kingdom. This second birth was not a physical birth but a spiritual birth and as God’s Spirit lived in us we would gradually become very attractive people who cared for others and helped them in their troubles. He showed me John 1:12 "Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God" - and so I decided to believe in Jesus. As a result I became one of His children and knew that my past was forgiven and that I had a great hope after I died.

Immediately I Skyped my sister in India and told her what was happening to me. She too has now experienced Jesus in her life and no longer prays to the Hindu gods. The changes in her attitude have touched my mother and father, who are now showing a lot of interest.

I have since returned to India, and I am very much part of our Hindu community. I am engaged in all the activities of our family and extended family. There are many discussions about Jesus, and I am sharing the Bible with many people in our community. Because of my academic qualifications and the good job I now have, I have a very good standing in our community, and so people listen to me. I continually explain to them that I am not trying to “convert” them to Christianity but to “convert” them to Jesus as they live out their lives in the Hindu community. Now I have quite a few friends who are also following Jesus, and we meet regularly to pray together and share the Scriptures and to encourage each other. We sense that God is going to cause many people in our community to know and love Him. We are claiming the verse Isaiah 60:22 that a little one shall become a thousand and that a small one will become a mighty nation and that God will hasten all this in His time. This is already beginning to happen.

(excerpted from K. Venkatesh, Living and Discipling in the Hindu World, Mission Frontiers May-June 2011)

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