From Here to Eternity
Ranjan kumar Das’ Story
As a young boy I thirsted for money and power. This was not available through my family. My parents were middle-class Hindu Brahmins (17). Traditional ceremonies, functions and pujas (18) were often going on in my house. This strongly influenced my thinking. We were orthodox and practicing Brahmins. I liked parts of all this, other parts I did not; particularly our lack of respect for the lower caste people.
In order to get what I wanted I made friends with the right people. After some time I got what I was looking for. I took up with seventy or eighty young men, involved in strong-arm tactics, paying shop keepers, university students and railway workers to strike, and got aggressively involved in the religious anti-conversion movement. I became an important figure in this local group. Our work was to break up meetings and scatter and intimidate the people. In this way we earned good money. I liberally spent these earnings on my people, in bars and in restaurants. It was a wild time. Through all this we gained, muscle power, money power and political power.
On one particular day we set out to prevent someone from nominating for political election. Three of us were there. Suddenly, I heard a loud blast. We scattered in different direction, but I saw nothing. Then after a couple of hours, along with some older people, we returned to the location of the blast and found my good friend, literally, without a head. Someone had thrown a bomb at him. In that moment I became fearful for my life. I didn’t want to die in this way.
In the meantime, one of my sisters, who was in New Delhi, asked me to leave my home town, join her and do some hard honest work to earn my bread and butter. So I immediately left everything, came to Delhi to join her, and just like a Hindi movie hero I wanted to become a rich and successful person through hard work. But it was not so easy to do so. Being not used to hard work it was very tough for me.
Nevertheless, I started my career in Delhi as a delivery boy with a courier company. They found me good enough to promote and so I became a supervisor and afterwards an executive with that company. Everyone in the company came to like and respect me because of my hard work and honesty.
After one more job I started a catering business with my sister. We become very successful and made heaps of money. This money became a real source of conflict between us. We argued constantly over who was going to get the greater share. She began visiting many unholy religious places in order to work black magic to improve the business and have greater power over me. It failed. I knew she wouldn’t be successful. We kept fighting. All this put us into a serious mess. Amidst it all, she went to a Muslim guru who told her to close the business and put our money into an export venture. Expecting greater financial gain from this, we started neglecting the catering business. It finally collapsed along with the export venture, leaving us broke. My sister then became totally depressed and tried to commit suicide three times in one day. In the meantime we angrily kept blaming each other for the business disaster. To be of help, the doctor suggested we both go to a calmer and quieter place. We moved to Gurgaon about thirty kilometers away from New Delhi.
Now both depressed, we tried so many things to get out of this terrible state of mind. Nothing worked. One day, without my knowing, my sister went somewhere, with a man who lived downstairs. When she came back at 8.30 that evening she seemed a totally changed woman. I was amazed and surprised! What has happened to her? I thought she may have been going to another black magic place. I asked her, “Where did you go?” She replied, “To a spiritual gathering.” She kept going there. Finally my curiosity got the better of me and I asked her, “Where exactly are you going and what are you doing?” she replied, “It is a meeting of Jesus Christ followers.” Suddenly, I became furious and started shouting at her. But she never responded back to me in the way she would have previously.
That day, around midnight, I was crying in the garden all alone and was asking myself, what is really going on with me? Because I never expected one of my family would become a follower of Christ. I hated the Christian people, for the way I thought they were converting people.
The same day after a few hours, I heard a voice in my heart saying, ‘Ranjan, you came to Gurgaon to save your sisters life, free her from depression and be in a happy and jolly mood, and now this has happened. So what are you are crying for?’ ‘Ok,’ I thought, ‘let her keep doing whatever she is doing.’
Slowly people from this Christian group started visiting and conducting their meeting in our house. Whenever they started to pray and worship, I started doing my Hindu rituals in a loud voice expecting them to oppose me, to give me chance to kick them out of my home. But they never did oppose me or gave me that chance. After becoming quite frustrated I would leave the house until they had finished their prayer and worship.
So one day, I hid myself on the balcony to listen to whether they were saying something negative about me. Rather than saying something like this they were praying for my peace and success. So I came off the verandah intending to leave the house immediately, but as I was leaving one of the brothers took hold my hand and asked me to sit with them and expressed his desire to pray for me. I simply couldn’t say ‘no’. So he began praying for me and at once tears starting streaming down my cheeks. From that day I began the habit of sitting with them.
In mid-November at four thirty in the morning, after attending for some months in this way, I had a vivid dream/vision. I was up to my waste in a big lake and a man clad in white was there with me pushing my head down into the water. I became fully immersed and became quite cold and shivery. When I woke up I Immediately I switched off my fan and again asked myself again, ‘what is going on?’
Though my heart was telling me to go for baptism (19) that very day, my mind was saying a big ‘No.’ Afterwards, that same day I let my heart win over my mind, and at that moment I acknowledged Christ as my Sanatan Guru and personal Savior.
‘Conversion’, I thought to myself. Now I was one of them, converted by the love, the care and miracle of Christ. I realized that it was absurd to think that one can be bribed, coerced or forced to become a follower of Christ as I had wrongly imagined before. No one on earth can be forced against their will to believe in a certain way. It was the evidence of the kind hand of His Grace that drew me into His heart.
While ending, one thing I must say: When taking baptism, done in obedience to and as a mark of my placing my trust in Him; I decided, that when I die, I would like to be doing something wonderful for Christ. From now the fear of death had completely left me.
Now, according to the Bible, I believe that my past, present and future sins have been washed away by the blood of Jesus and that I have received Eternal life by His grace. So, I have decided to commit myself to being His fulltime servant and to serve His people and His Kingdom without regard to myself. This is why I am presently devoting my life to being a pastor, spreading the good news of Jesus Christ and creating disciples.
Throughout this story I would love to give all the glory and appreciation to my Lord God— my Sanatan Guru, for giving me new life, both here and in Eternity, and to give thanks to all those people who so generously and lovingly have helped me to grow in the knowledge of Him.