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Young Hindu Braves Rejection For Christian Faith

ICC Note: This is an awesome testimony of God’s love transforming a member of India’s highest caste, and a challenge in hearing of the opposition he encountered.

By Leo Fernando
2/28/08 CHENNAI, India (UCAN) — Eight years ago, Sriharsha Rao would wake up at 5 in the morning, bathe, sit cross-legged and chant prayers to his favorite Hindu deity for an hour.

Now, he wakes up at the same time but he kneels down to pray to Jesus Christ.

“My life changed completely from the day I accepted Christ as my savior,” Harsha, as he prefers to be called, told UCA News on Feb. 10. “My journey from being born in a conservative Brahmin family to accepting Christ and living as a believer has been long and difficult,” he added.

Brahmins, the priestly caste, are at the top of Hinduism’s tiered caste system.

Harsha, 27, holds a masters’ degree in business administration and works for a software company in Chennai, capital of Tamil Nadu state, 2,100 kilometers south of New Delhi.

“My life before accepting Christ was painful and sad,” he said, recounting how he failed final exams three times and his aggressive behavior forced his parents to send him to stay with relatives so he could continue his studies. They sent him to Hyderabad, capital of neighboring Andhra Pradesh state.

“After I accepted Christ, I had inner peace and the word of God became real to me,” he continued, and he changed from being “aggressive and arrogant to calm, focused, quiet, humble and kind.”

Back in Chennai after finishing school, Harsha stayed away from Hindu temples and rituals, and read the Bible secretly. “I was a secret Christian,” he said. His family observed the changes, however, and questioned him. When he admitted he had become a Christian, “they called me a disgrace to the community,” he recalled, and his grandmother asked him to consider her dead.

With the family constantly quarreling over Harsha’s Christian faith, his father asked him either to live as a “Hindu boy at home” or leave the house, which in the Hindu tradition would mean leaving the family and forsaking any inheritance.

“I was willing to sacrifice my family and relations for the sake of Christ,” Harsha said, so he joined four other young men sharing an apartment. “It was tough. I felt lonely,” he acknowledged. But he also “felt God looking after me,” and soon he found a job.

“Harsha’s conversion and life is remarkable and a great example of God’s love,” Pastor Edward of the New Life Assembly of God Church, one of the largest Pentecostal churches in Chennai, told UCA News.

Harsha now also teaches Sunday school and helps visually impaired children in his church. During vacations, he and Paul work full-time as evangelists.

Being a Christian remains “tough,” according to Harsha, as when colleagues at his workplace call him “a nut case” or “crackpot.”

“But I don’t care,” he adds. “I don’t need to prove anything to anybody, only to God.” … [Go To Full Story – ID IB04523.1486]