The Pundit Is Coming

by Mission Insider Report

The news flashed like a rumor through the Nepali village, stirring excitement. "Come, let us hear what the pundit has to say," neighbors said to one another.

About 1500 villagers gathered at the meeting place. Many of them wanted to touch the feet of the pundit, a high-caste Brahmin priest. "Instead of touching my feet, you would do better to listen to my message," the pundit said. And what he said provoked the villagers into deep, critical thinking about religion. For this was no ordinary Hindu pundit; this was one who had come to know the living Christ.

Raj was born the son of a high-caste Brahmin priest and himself studied for the priesthood. In 1962 he was given a New Testament and, reading it, saw the contrast between Hindu idolatry and simple faith in Jesus Christ. He trusted in Christ, and his family disowned him.

He began to proclaim Christ in the villages, but Hindu zealots had him arrested-22 times. Many times he was severely beaten by the police. Once his right leg was broken and blood flowed from a gash on the back of his head.

"Lord Jesus," he cried in pain from the damp prison cell floor, "please get me out of here alive so I can continue to preach the gospel until I have reached every corner of Nepal with the good news." He was passionate, for he knew not only the light of Christ, but the darkness of the Hindu religion. God heard his prayer and delivered him, though he still walks with a limp.

For 14 years Raj trekked the length and breadth of his native Nepal, personally walking through 72 of Nepal's 75 districts. During that time he spent a total of five years in Nepalese jails.

As the people look on him on this day, Raj speaks. "I have not come to talk about a religion; I have come to tell you how you can have a relationship with God."

The people are attentive.

"All the [Hindu] gods came to kill the sinners," he states. "So which of them will save you?"

The Hindu Vedic scriptures are written in Sanskrit. Whenever the Hindu priest visits a home, he quotes scripture in Sanskrit. The people listen, not knowing what he says. They think it is something wonderful, something mystical. Now Raj begins to tell them what the scripture says.

"The Bhagavad Gita, chapter 4, vs. 7 & 8 says that all the gods and goddesses came to kill and destroy the sinners. They even deceived their own disciple and killed him. If all the gods came to kill and destroy, who, then, is going to save?"

The people are silent as Raj narrates the stories of the Vedic scriptures, some too inflammatory to relate here.

Then he tells them about Jesus Christ, the Son of the God of heaven who came to seek and to save, to bring life instead of death; who died on the cross and rose again to save us from our sins. "This is the One to worship," Raj says. "You can have a relationship with this Man. You come and pray to Him, and He will save you."

That day, about 500 people came forward to enter into a relationship with the living Christ.

The village was located in an area where Maoist terrorists had been active, so Raj had asked the police to help guard the meetings. Ten police were glad to respond to the pundit's request. Even the district chairman attended. After the meeting was over, they all came forward and said, "We have heard some wonderful things today."

Raj has a busy schedule. He's booked for 465 speaking engagements in India and Nepal in 2002. He moves cautiously but deliberately. Maoist terrorists at one time were trying to kill him. But there's no holding him back. "Let every Nepali hear the gospel," he says.

This story is based on a live interview in March.

Missions Insider Report

by Christian Aid

John Lindner, editor

Ann Witkower, assistant editor