Sadhu Sundar Singh was born in 1889 and was an Indian Christian missionary who traveled extensively spreading the Christian Gospel. He carried no money or other possessions, only a New Testament. His life was most remarkable in its Christ-likeness.
Sundar was raised a member of the Sikh religion. Prior to his conversion, he attended a primary school run by the American Presbyterian Mission where the New Testament was read daily as a "textbook." Sundar "refused to read the Bible at the daily lessons. ”To some extent the teaching of the Gospel on the love of God attracted me, but I still thought it was false." Growing up he felt that his religious pursuits in Sikhism and the questioning of Christian and Hindu priests left him without ultimate meaning.
Reaching a point of desperation, Sundar planned to kill himself by throwing himself in front of a train unless God revealed himself. After a number of hours his room started to glow and a vision appeared. Amazed that his vision had taken the form of Jesus, Sundar was convinced that Jesus was the true Savior, and that He was alive. Sundar fell on his knees before Him and experienced an astonishing peacefulness which he had never felt before. The vision disappeared, but peace and joy stayed with him.
Against the wishes of his family, he converting to Christianity, and on his sixteenth birthday, he was publicly baptized as a Christian. He was subsequently renounced by his father and brother for his conversion.
In 1906, he began his Christian missionary journey as a new Christian, wearing a turban and the yellow robe of a Hindu sadhu, an ascetic devoted to spiritual practice. Singh viewed himself as a sadhu, although one within Christianity rather than Hinduism. He believed Christianity would not be accepted in India unless it was introduced in an Indian way.
In 1909 Singh began training for the Christian ministry at the Anglican college in Lahore. According to his biographers, he did not form close relationships with fellow students, meeting them during meals and designated prayer sessions. He was ostracized and branded as being "different."
Although he was baptized by an Anglican priest, he was ignorant of the ecclesiastical culture and conventions of Anglicanism. His inability to adapt prevented him from fitting in with the routine of academic study. After eight months he left the college.
It has been claimed by his biographers that Singh's withdrawal was due to stipulations laid down by Bishop Lefroy. As an ordained Anglican priest, Singh was told to discard his sadhu's robe and wear "respectable" European clerical dress, use formal Anglican worship, sing English hymns; not preach outside his parish without permission, and not to visit Tibet. These restrictions, however, seemed to him an unthinkable rejection of God's calling to him.
During his twenties, his ministry expanded, and before he was thirty, his name and picture were familiar all over the Christian world. He traveled India and Tibet, as well as the rest of the world, with the message that the modern interpretation of Jesus was sadly watered down. He visited the West twice, traveling to Britain, the United States, and Australia in 1920, and Europe in 1922.
He described a struggle with Satan to retain his humility, but people described him as always human, approachable and humble, with a sense of fun and a love of nature. This character, along with his illustrations from ordinary life, gave his addresses great impact
In 1929, against all of his friends' advice, Singh made one last journey to Tibet. He was last seen on the 18th of April 1929. He reached Kalka, a small town below Simla, as a prematurely aged figure wearing his yellow robe among pilgrims and holy men who were beginning their own religious pilgrimage to one of Hinduism's holy places some miles away. He was never seen or heard from again, and his fate remains unknown.