From Darkness into Light.
Jesus said, "I am the light of the World; he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." (John 8 12)
With tears in my eyes I kept praying for several hours. My eyes were closed and the room was dark. All of a sudden I felt as if the whole room was filled with a very bright light pressing on my body from all sides. This light converged into a figure which I knew was of Jesus Christ. His whole body seemed bleeding with innumerable wounds and cuts. With his hands extended, he stood in front of me and said, "You have been trying and planning to disprove me and destroy me. Then do it now. Here I am. Go ahead and attack me with your sharp weapons. Then K.K. Chakraverti will be automatically undone." Seeing His wounded body I shuddered. All these years I had been wounding Him. He had been following me from Dacca. He wanted to save me from all my sins. Pointing to each wound He recounted the sins I had committed since my youth. Now he was challenging me not only to wound Him but to destroy Him. How could I, a man seeking after God, do such a thing? My hands became limp. All my weapons of attack fell to the ground. The vision disappeared. In its place a brilliant light focused on the darkest recess of my heart. There were all my sins whitewashed with my self-righteousness and earned goodness. This light washed away that whitewash. How foul those sins smelled. I wished that someone could remove those sins. The moment I had this feeling, it was as if an operation of an abscess had been performed. The whole burden of guilt was taken away, and a great feeling of relief and cleansing came over me.
The day dawned. The night before I had entered my room so full of my venomous designs. Now I came out of my room as completely changed. My body was the same but my mind was very different. Everyday, the first thing I would do was to prostrate myself before the temple-idol, then I would attend to the plans for the day, and give orders to the temple-attendants. But this morning those idols meant nothing to me.
As I crossed the temple-courtyard, I came across the former owner of the temple, sitting on bricks, nearly dying with dysentery. On the previous day I was glad to hear this news too and thought that most probably he would die in a day or two. Even though he was still living in the temple, I had no thought of doing anything for him. But today he attracted my attention. I asked if I might call a doctor or get him some medicine. Looking up at me with eyes of suspicion, he at once began to curse me He thought that I would poison him with medicine and get rid of him I tried to impress upon him that I was sincerely wishing to help him but he angrily refused my offer.
This day I did not go for my customary bath in the Yamuna river After attending to the morning necessities, I went to my room. Today I did not feel like going through my regular ceremonies. I determined to go to see my friend, Rev. Chakraverti; -not to fight him but to get his help regarding the previous day's happenings.
K.K. Chakraverti greeted me cordially and remarked on my changed appearance. The look of an opponent was gone and there was instead a humble smile. My whole demeanor was different. There were no facial daubings. He was wondering about this overnight change. Unlike my usual manner of questioning, I asked him very quietly if he had any experience of the Living Christ. Could he tell me from his own experience if Jesus was living and if He could actually come into a Hindu temple and take possession of a Hindu's mind who was fighting against Him? Had he ever felt convicted of sin? Had he ever felt that if he didn't get rid of sin he could not eat, sleep or do anything?
My friend was greatly taken aback. He could not understand how yesterday's fighter could today be asking such questions. He thought that I had completely changed my line of attack. He was placed in a difficult position. If he were to reply in the affirmative to these questions, then this fighter would pounce on him and try to tear him to shreds. If he replied in the negative, then the fighter would be extremely discouraged and probably not come to his house again. With all my acumen I was not clever enough to see that he was more clever than I. He did not do much preaching. On the contrary, he was touched by my condition, because I was very weak and sick. He would often tell me that he had prepared nice food for me and argued that, though he was a Christian, he was still an Indian and that I need not hesitate to eat his food. His wife had come from a Brahmin family so the touch of her hand to the food would not be defiling. Furthermore they were not eating meat. He made a warm knee-length coat to cover my emaciated body. All such loving personal attention could not but touch something within me.
He told me that all these days he had been reporting all our daily conversation to a devout Christian lady missionary in Vrindaban If he found my questions difficult to answer he would go to her and bring some books on the subject for me to read. To my above questioning, he said that he had not had as vivid an experience as I told him of. Nevertheless there were people living today and people who had lived in the past who had such experiences as I had related. When he was in difficulty, not a single Hindu helped him but a Christian missionary had befriended him. He had become a Christian largely through the kindness and love of this missionary.
He seemed to think that I was utterly different that day. I was changed in appearance and move-ment. For some time I remained silent staring at the ground. Then suddenly I burst into tears and began to cry like a child. I told him all the details of the previous night. I asked him if I, who had continued to try to defeat him, could be so completely changed. When I confessed that that day I was really a changed man, he took me in his arms in an affectionate embrace. Tears of joy and confession streamed down our faces. It was a wonderful experience like nothing I had ever had. Here I was loving my enemy. All the heavenly angels must have seen us. Jesus was blessing us with His hands on us. I later came to see that without my knowing it then, the germ for establishing a Christian Ashram in Vrindaban was born at that moment. From that time I began to feel myself no longer a Hindu but Jesus Christ's though I was not baptized. This was about Dec. 20th, 1926.
For some time after, I continued to live in the temple but I neglected my temple-duties completely. My associates could not help noticing this and they sent an urgent telegram to my Guru in Calcutta. A reply came that evening. There one of them handed me my Guru's telegram which said, "I command Bhakti-Vijoy to look after the temple". They thought the message would carry enough weight. I quietly replied that the old Bhakti-Vijoy had died already. So saying, I got up and went to my room, after asking them to write back to Guruji and tell him that I was no longer able to look after the temple.
With the exception of the tilak-marks, I was not such changed in my outward appearance. The temple-associates kept their eyes on me carefully. One of them took me aside and warned me that my constant association with K. K. was a dangerous thing. He said that those Christians were very deceitful and clever, and that, if I were not careful, he would make a Christian of me. When I told him that I was going to convert him to Hinduism he praised me. I was sure of my change but I did not like to disclose it. I needed growth at this stage.