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Life stories > Attracted by truth : Transformed by God’s grace


Attracted by Truth (Hindi)

I was fascinated by science. I was in University for chemistry studies.  I found myself by a strange turn of circumstances facing what I thought was a major health crisis.  I had cause and was afraid that my bright future and life may come to abrupt end.

Suddenly many questions began to flood my thoughts.   I felt very anxious and  despaired over my helplessness. My friends and family could not help me. Medical help was beyond my reach. I began to think of God. I remembered my mother telling me about God.  Science is only a discovery of things that already exist. But it did not explain the origin and purpose of the universe and life. I wanted to know the source and cause this existence and life - particularly the purpose of my existence. So I was drawn to examine this from the book that gives an account of the beginnings of existence and life. The book says that the  universe came into existence in a perfect way but something went wrong. It came under God’s curse. God  cursed the earth so that ‘man had to labor hard to fulfill his needs all the days of his life…. until man returns to the ground. He is made from dust and he will return to dust” 

It amazed me that after all the years of scientific progress, we are under the same curse and conditions. This made me realize that God is very powerful and what He says will happen. Man seeks comfort and is trying to escape the curse of toil and death but he has not found a way. It made me realize that God had a purpose in creating me but I am in the same predicament as all men. The curse that God put on man long long ago has also ensnared me. While this seems like bad news, I sensed that this was also the solid truth behind what I observe in life. And I wanted to discover this truth more by reading what God has said in the book.    

I want to relate my story of how this event came to be and how I came to know my creator personally.
 
I was the second of  four children.  My parents worshiped a Hindu gods named Vinayak. We also worshipped the goddess Durga as she was personification of courage.  As a community who belonged to a particular caste called ‘padmashali’, we celebrated various  festivals - Sankrathi1, Dasara2, and Deepavali3.  I used to gather with my friends at the local temple and participate in a a huge procession for the goddess Durga. 

The celebration for god Vinayak was a lengthy one. For ten long days during the vening hours, we had public events where Every day we had religious programmes and Burrakathalu4 on every day evening over the ten days period. This culminated in taking the giant idol of Vinayak and immersing it in the local pond ‘vinayak nimagganam’. Another festival celebrated with much excitement and enthusiasm is the Bathakamma Festival. This was the occasion where all my immediate family of 3 sisters and brothers- in-law would come together to celebrate these festivals. My extended family including my cousin sisters would also come to my home every year for this festival. I cannot forget those sweet memories.

We also celebrated the festival of Bathakamma (a local goddess).  This was usually celebrated during the local harvest season ‘Asviyuja Suddha Dasami’ in the months of September - October. Women pray for the long life of their husbands. This celebration was very colorful with heaps of colourful flowers decorated on a wooden plank. There was a lot of singing and dancing associated with this festival. All the womenfolk whether young or old take the idol of Bathakamma to a river or to a temple and there they used to dance and sing in praise of this goddess. Personally, I enjoyed getting new set of clothes for this festival and the dazzling display of fireworks near the local pond.

It was in the year 1987, television was no so common in the village. There was only one TV at the village school. All the children would go the school to watch a move that was broadcast every Saturday evening. The other recreation for me was to swimming in the  water wells that were in the agriculture fields. I also enjoyed fishing in the local ponds. Me and my friends also went to nearby forests to get custard apple fruits and wild flowers for the festival of Bathakamma.

My parents were quite poor and could not get an education. As a family, we struggled to make ends meet.  The father drove a small taxi ‘Auto rickshaw’ driver. When I was 16 years old, I also learned to ride the auto-rickshaw. This helped me to earn some money in the later years. 

My mother suffered with severe headache and heart disease. She did seek medical help but apart from temporary relief with tablets, she did not find a cure.  But one day a person visited our family and prayed to Jesus. She was instantly healed. She no longer had headaches and she cured of her heart palpitations.  This caused my mother to have faith in Jesus as God who healed her.  After some years, my father also believed and started praying to Jesus. My mother also used to gather us children for prayer every night before going to bed. My mother was a loving person and was kind to all our neighbors. 

Among my caste members in the village, no other family believed in Jesus as God.  We began to now meet people from 8 different families to pray together every Sunday. On these occasions, people were invited to read from the Bible.  I used to be anxiously look forward to be the one to read. But I read with childish enthusiasm without understanding the spiritual meaning. I never thought about God and no thought for spiritual things.  No spiritual questions were ever raised. 

As I was maturing in age, I began to perceive the various social distinctions in our community. I was becoming aware of the issues of social discrimination due to caste. I wondered why there were so many differences between various people when there is only one god. When I finish my 10th grade, I have gone to a nearby town called Suryapet town for college education. Subsequently, I pursued a master’s degree course in chemistry at Kakatiya University, Warangal.  While I was there, a friend requested me to donate blood for his mother. She was to undergo surgery which required blood transfusion. I accompanied by friend to the hospital to donate my blood. When the blood was taken, the laboratory tests indicated that I had a liver problem (jaundice) that precluded my blood to be used. I was shocked to discover this.  I was aware that a number of people became seriously ill and even died from jaundice. The laboratory person told me that my jaundice was very severe and advised me to seek immediate medical treatment.  There was no immediate appointment available to see the doctor.
 

During this week, I was  afraid, anxious  and depressed. I worried that this could be a ‘life and death’ situation?  I regretted that I neglected my health for so many years. My friends also chastised me that I waited so long. It was in this period of worry and deep questioning, that I  remembered what my mother told me about Jesus.

I began to read the Bible with a serious intention to know the truth. This was no longer just an academic issue but a personal urgency. I started to read what would be a logical beginning. I discovered that the first few pages opened my understanding of God’s greatness as the Creator.   He created earth, heaven all living things, oceans, sun and stars and finally man (Adam and Eve). He made man to be above all other creatures.

It appears that God created it all perfectly but man somehow messed it up. Instead of   worshipping the Creator, man turned to worship the creature. This has taken the form of even worshipping inanimate objects such as idols. 

Totally, it changes of my mind when I think all these things that God cursed Adam saying in bible. 

“In toil you shall eat fruit of earth by the sweat of your face’’.

And cursing to Eve that

“I will greatly increased your pangs in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children”.

Even after many, many years, the situation of present human is same. In spite of all these advances in science over the course of human development and discovery, the curse is still on.

In my fear of death, I wanted to know the true God.  I was faced with Jaundice and my hopes of a bright future appear to end.  I wanted to pray to Jesus that he would help me and heal me.  Immediately, I went back for blood tests, the medical report said that I was in normal health.  I believed that Jesus answered my prayer. More than that, my fear and anxiety were gone.   At that time, I was not very conscious of sin but I came to see the power of the true God.  

I began to read the book and understood that God loves me and forgives my sins. Over time, I discover that I have a struggle with many things that are against God’s .  I realize that in my inner nature, there is indeed a struggle to live a truthful life.

In my daily life, I take very casually the little lies that are so much a part of my day.  I am now acutely aware that even these little lies make me afraid of people.  God sees my heart and forgives me when I confess my untruthfulness.  He gives me confidence and courage to speak the truth.  My heart feels very light. Previously, I was motivated to please people even if it meant telling lies but now I want to speak truth as I want to please God only.  People may not see my inner heart and the lies but God sees everything. I feel great freedom before people as well as before God. 

 

I now have a new nature as I believe not in myself but in Jesus. His nature is becoming part of my nature. I am knowing more as I read his words written in the book.

He has given me inner  joy and a new desire though I must confess that sometime I fail in this. But I pray that God will give me strength and power.

When I pray to Jesus, I know that he answers them.
 
For instance, one of the major decisions that I had to make was the issue of marriage. In our family tradition, parents arrange.  started thinking about my marriage and since all of my brothers and two sisters married in Hindu background and me also started thinking what to do either Hindu marriage by worshipping idols or Christian marriage. I asked God to solve this problem and asking God to match me who believe in Jesus as my wife. When I was prayed like this, He answered my prayer and wonderfully God given me a believer in Christ, beautiful and especially capable wife. I give thanks to God for my wife named Sakuntala. In 2004, God blessed us with son name Abhishek.

Bible says

“Capable wife who can find. She is far more precious than jewels”

Answers to my career goals / guidance:

Before, I close my testimony; I want to share some of his bounty’s to me. When I remembering His grace upon me during my good olden days seems to be surprise and wonderful. He has selected me as His son according to His plan. Lord Jesus helped me to getting free admission in junior intermediate and  B.Sc Degree College even though, I don’t have good percentage of marks. I was in so depressed state when I don’t get bachelor of Education (B.Ed) seat.  In that situation, after a month one day I received telegram at 11o’clock night time written as “you come and join immediately at B.Ed College at Hyderabad. It was so happy that day; I did not sleep at all because of my overflowing joy which I don’t forget ever. Not only that God has given M. Sc free campus seat at Warangal. That was the last seat left after the completion of all recruitment process. In 2001, Jesus has shown a path to join in a famous research institution for my Ph.D at Hyderabad, India. God has given the promise for 2006 bible saying that 

Bible says;

 “Those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagle”.

 I never was thought that I will go to America. God opened his door to finish my postdoctoral research in 2006 at Clark University Worcester, USA. In that same year, 40,000 worth gold has stolen by thieves at my wife’s parents home by threatening my wife and her mother with knives. But surprisingly God has given back same amount of money by police department after 6 months. While we were in Hyderbad, India once again we lost Rs 30,000 having money and gold purse at my home. You know what happened, more recently, police called me when I am at USA saying that you come and collect the money. See how wonderful, amazing, and awesome God he is. He is a God such that we should leave all of our sorrows, burdens and our plans to him and take rest. Bible sayings that

 

“Come to me all you that are weary and carrying heavy burdens, I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls”.

That is why me and my wife did not worried about the money that we lost and we put our burdens on him. This is how God has been blessing abundantly and giving answers to our prayers and without lacking any of my needs and keeping in his Grace.


My outlook to future and life goals / hope


 I did not chosen Him, but He only chosen me and He never forget me when I don’t know him. He knows me while I was in my mother womb, Even though I am a sinner, he did not leave me. I thank God for his wonderful grace and I thank each of you for reading my small testimony and let everybody will taste of His salvation in the name of Jesus.,

I will always ask God in my life ‘’let your will be done on every second, every minute, every hour, every day, every month, every year‘’. I am sure we have to wait for His resurrection so that we will all raise and lift up with him to eternal life. That’s all my hope and our hope and faith in him. Let the Holy Spirit will be abide in us forever and ever Amen.


References:

1. Sankranti is celebrated throughout India as a harvest festival. It is a way of giving thanks to the elements of nature that help man. This is the period when the winter recedes, paving the way for the summer. It is the time the farmers bring home their harvest.
2. Dasara: Goddess Durga is considered as the personification of courage, strength, and power and praying to the goddess, helps one to be blessed with all these qualities especially during Dasara. These festival days symbolize that the Durga killed mahisasura demon. On this auspicious day, there is a procession of Devis’ idol with musical instruments.
3. Diwali also known as Deepavali has been given the traditional name of 'festival of lights' because of the hundreds and thousands of small oil lamps or diyas lighted by many households. Also there is Hindu mythology that god Rama killed the evil one Ravana.
4. Burrakatha is a story telling technique used in villages of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu in India. The troupe consists of one main performer and two co-performers. It is a narrative entertainment consists of prayers, solo drama, dance, songs, poems and jokes. The topic will be either a hindu mythological story or a contemporary social problem.

Gen 3: 16 - 19

 

A.P.

Hyderabad, India & Worcester, MA, USA


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