Sundar Singh was born to Sher Singh of Rampur, Punjab in India in 1889. His mother, a deeply religious woman, left an indelible mark on Sundar and nurtured him in the noble traditions of the Sikhs. Sundar often spoke of his mother with much love and respect because of the good foundation she laid for his life to come. Little did anyone know what God was about to do with this keenly intelligent and disciplined young man.

When Sundar was about fourteen, his beloved mother and elder brother passed away. This left the young boy in despair and spiritually restless. Sundar hungered for peace. He sought meaning for his life.

One night, a year or two later, after bathing in cold water in preparation for pooja he asked God, 'the all-pervading, impersonal, unknowable, incomprehensible universal spirit', to appear to him as an avatar. He wanted a divine revelation that would once and for all destroy his doubts and end his despair. His spiritual aggitation was such that he made a vow to throw himself in front of the early morning passenger train that passed by his village if God did not reveal himself. This vow was not empty words! Shaped by the disciplined life of a devout Sikh, this strong willed youth meant to do exactly that.

That night as he prayed he became conscious of a light shining in the room. He looked outside to make sure it was not someone shining a light. Gradually the light took the form of a globe of fire and in it he saw the face of Yesu.

Yesu was the last person Sundar was looking for. After all, Yesu was the 'foreign god' of the Christian teachers at his school. A zealous Sikh, Sundar had publicly torn up a portion of the Bible to protest its claims. Amazed that his vision had taken the unexpected form of Yesu, Sundar was convinced in his heart that Yesu was the avatar in whom God reveals Himself.

Did Yesu speak to him? No one knows for sure; however, regardless of the nature of the 'conversation', Sundar threw himself on the ground and surrendered His life to Yesu. At once shanthi flooded his troubled heart. The weary struggle to seek enlightenment and moksha was over for Sundar, for in Yesu he found shanthi. This divine encounter with the Lord Yesu was to Sundar a rebirth into a new life.

The following months proved to be very difficult for Sundar and his family. Becoming a shishya of Christ was not taken lightly by his family nor his community. Misunderstanding his new found bhakti to be a betrayal of all loyalty to his community he was excommunicated. Sundar may have been ill advised by some 'Christians' to cut his hair, unnecessarily maligning an honorable Sikh custom. Unfortunately, he followed their advice and cut his hair, a gesture that did not make things any easier with his family. His family was convinced he had renounced his Sikh heritage. However, through this strife and turmoil God cared for Sundar.

A month after he accepted the water diksha of Christ in the year 1905, he took the vow of a sadhu. He gave away his meager possessions, put on a saffron robe and became a barefooted wandering man of God. Among Christians the world over, this barefoot Sadhu was later called the `apostle of the bleeding feet' because the soles of his feet were often covered in bloody blisters.

The life of a sadhu is hard and entirely dependent on God. Sadhu Sundar Singh's needs were met entirely through the kindness of people he met wherever he went. His life story has been written down for us by several of his friends and admirers. He also, reluctantly, agreed to put his teachings and experiences in writing saying that like His Satguru, he did not want to write a word. Sadhu Sundar Singh reflected the character of Christ in word and life; he had found ananda and shanthi in the abiding presence of Yesu his brother and Lord.

More details about the amazing life of this Sikh follower of Christ can be found in many books, some of which are still in print around the world.
from Riddle, T.E. The Vision and the Call: A Life of Sadhu Sundar Singh, 1987.
THE LIFE OF Sundar Singh

1889 - Born at Rampur, Punjab
1903 - Conversion
1904 - Cast out from home
1905 - Baptised in Simla; begins life as a sadhu
1907 - Works in leprosy hospital at Sabathu
1908 - First visit to Tibet
1909 - Enters Divinity College, Lahore, to train for the ministry
1911 - Hands back his preacher's license; returns to the sadhu's life
1912 - Tours through North India and the Buddhist states of the Himalayas
1918 to 1922 - Travels worldwide
1923 - Turned back from Tibet
1925 to 1927 - Quietly spends time writing
1927 - Sets out for Tibet but returns due to illness
1929 - Attempts to reach Tibet and disappears