Rabi Maharaj

From: Gary Bogart 
Subject: CRI-ARTICLES : Winterburn Testomony: Ex-Occultist (TEXT)

"Death of a Guru: The Personal Testimony of Rabi Maharaj" (an
article from the Christian Research Newsletter, Volume 3: Number 3,
1990) by Rabi Maharaj.
    The editor of the Christian Research Newsletter is Ron

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    No matter how fulfilling life becomes, there are always certain
regrets when one looks back. My deepest sense of loss involves my
father. So much has happened since his death. I often wonder what
it would be like to share it all with him, and what his reaction
would be.

    We never shared anything in our lives. Because of vows he had
taken before I was born, not once did he ever speak to me or pay me
the slightest heed. Just two words from him would have made me
unspeakably happy. How I wanted to hear him say, "Rabi. Son." Just
once. But he never did.

    For eight long years he uttered not a word. The trancelike
condition he had achieved is called in the East a state of higher
consciousness and can be attained only through deep meditation.

    "Why is Father that way?" I would ask my mother, still too
young to understand. "He is someone very special -- the greatest
man you could have for a father," she would reply. "He is seeking
the true Self that lies within us all, the One Being, of which
there is no other. And that's what you are too, Rabi."

    Father had set an example, achieved wide acclaim, and earned
the worship of many, and it was inevitable that upon his death his
mantle would fall upon me. I had never imagined, however, that I
would still be so young when this fateful day arrived.

    When father died I felt I had lost everything. Though I had
scarcely known him as my father, he had been my inspiration -- _a
god_ -- and now he was dead.

    At his funeral, my father's stiff body was placed on a great
npile of firewood. The thought of his body being sacrificed to
Agni, the god of fire, added a new dimension of mystery to the
bewilderment and deep sense of loss that already overwhelmed me.

    As the flames engulfed him, it was impossible to suppress the
anguish I felt. "Mommy!" I screamed. "Mommy!" If she heard me above
the roar of sparks and fire, she made no indication. A true Hindu,
she found strength to follow the teaching of Krishna: she would
mourn neither the living nor the dead. Not once did she cry as the
flames consumed my father.

    After my father's funeral, I became a favorite subject for the
palm-readers and astrologers who frequented our house. Our family
would hardly make an important decision without consulting an
astrologer, so it was vital that my future be confirmed in the same
way. It was encouraging to learn that the lines on my palms and the
planets and stars, according to those who interpreted them, all
agreed I would become a great Hindu leader. I was obviously a
chosen vessel, destined for early success in the search for union
with Brahman (the One). The forces that had guided my father were
now guiding me.

    I was only eleven and already many people were bowing before
me, laying gifts of money, cotton cloth, and other treasures at my
feet and hanging garlands of flowers around my neck at religious

    How I loved religious ceremonies -- especially private ones in
our own home or those of others, where friends and relatives would
crowd in. There I would be the center of attention, admired by all.
I loved to move through the audience, sprinkling holy water on
worshipers or marking foreheads with the sacred white sandalwood
paste. I also loved how the worshipers, after the ceremony, bowed
low before me to leave their offerings at my feet.

    While vacationing at an Aunt's ranch, I had my first real
encounter with Jesus. I was walking along enjoying nature one day
and was startled by a rustling sound in the underbrush behind me.
I turned quickly and, to my horror, saw a large snake coming
directly toward me -- its beady eyes staring intently into mine. I
felt paralyzed, wanting desperately to run but unable to move.

    In that moment of frozen terror, out of the past came my
mother's voice, repeating words I had long forgotten: "Rabi, if
ever you're in real danger and nothing else seems to work, there's
another god you can pray to. His name is Jesus."

    "Jesus! Help me!" I tried to yell, but the desperate cry was
choked and hardly audible.

    To my astonishment, the snake turned around and quickly
wriggled off into the underbrush. Breathless and still trembling,
I was filled with wondering gratitude to this amazing god, Jesus.
Why had my mother not taught me more about him?

    During my third year in high school I experienced an
increasingly deep inner conflict. My growing awareness of God as
the Creator, separate and distinct from the universe He had made,
contradicted the Hindu concept that god was everything, that the
Creator and the Creation were one and the same. If there was only
One Reality, then Brahman was evil as well as good, death as well
as life, hatred as well as love. That made everything meaningless,
life an absurdity. It was not easy to maintain both one's sanity
and the view that good and evil, love and hate, life and death were
One Reality.

    One day a friend of my cousin Shanti, whose name was Molli,
came by to visit. She asked me about whether I found Hinduism
fulfilling. Trying to hide my emptiness, I lied and told her I was
very happy and that my religion was the Truth. She listened
patiently to my pompous and sometimes arrogant pronouncements.
Without arguing, she exposed my emptiness gently with politely
phrased questions.

    She told me that Jesus had brought her close to God. She also
said that God is a God of love and that He desires us to be close
to Him. As appealing as this sounded to me, I stubbornly resisted,
not willing to surrender my Hindu roots.

    Still, I found myself asking, "What makes you so happy? You
must have been doing a lot of meditation."

    "I used to," Molli responded, "but not any more. Jesus has
given me a peace and joy that I never knew before." Then she said,
"Rabi, you don't seem very happy. Are you?"

    I lowered my voice: "I'm not happy. I wish I had your joy." Was
I saying this?

    "My joy is because my sins are forgiven," said Molli. "Peace
and joy come from Christ, through really knowing Him."

    We continued talking for half a day, unaware of how the time
had passed. I wanted her peace and joy, but I was _absolutely
resolved_ that I wasn't going to give up any part of my religion.

    As she was leaving, she said: "Before you go to bed tonight,
Rabi, please get on your knees and ask God to show you the Truth --
and I'll be praying for you." With a wave of her hand she was gone.

    Pride demanded that I reject everything Molli had said, but I
was too desperate to save face any longer. I fell to my knees,
conscious that I was giving in to her request.

    "God, the true God and Creator, please show me the truth!"
Something inside me snapped. For the first time in my life, I felt
I had really prayed and gotten through -- not to some impersonal
Force, but to the true God who loves and cares. Too tired to think
any longer, I crawled into bed and fell asleep almost instantly.

    Soon after, my cousin Krishna invited me to a Christian
meeting. I again surprised myself by responding: "Why not?"

    On our way there, Krishna and I were joined by Ramkair, a new
acquaintance of his. "Do you know anything about this meeting?" I
asked him, anxious to get some advance information.

    "A little," he replied. "I became a Christian recently."

    "Tell me," I said eagerly. "Did Jesus really change your life?"
    Ramkair smiled broadly. "He sure did! Everything is different."

    "It's really true, Rab!" added Krishna enthusiastically. "I've
become a Christian too -- just a few days ago."

    The preacher's sermon was based on Psalm 23, and the words,
"The Lord is my shepherd," made my heart leap. After expounding the
Psalm, the preacher said: "Jesus wants to be your Shepherd. Have
you heard His voice speaking to your heart? Why not open your heart
to Him now? Don't wait until tomorrow -- that may be too late!" The
preacher seemed to be speaking directly to me. I could delay no

    I quickly knelt in front of him. He smiled and asked if anyone
else wanted to receive Jesus. No one stirred. Then he asked the
Christians to come forward and pray with me. Several did, kneeling
beside me. For years Hindus had bowed before me -- and now I was
kneeling before a Christian.

    Aloud I repeated after him a prayer inviting Jesus into my
heart. When the preacher said, "Amen," he suggested I pray in my
own words. Quietly, choking with emotion, I began: "Lord Jesus,
I've never studied the Bible, but I've heard that you died for my
sins at Calvary so I could be forgiven and reconciled to God.
Please forgive me all my sins. Come into my heart!"

    Before I finished, I knew that Jesus wasn't just another one of
several million gods. He was the God for whom I had hungered. He
Himself was the Creator. Yet, He loved me enough to become a man
and die for my sins. With that realization, tons of darkness seemed
to lift and a brilliant light flooded my soul.

    After arriving home, Krishna and I found the entire family
waiting up for us, apparently having heard what had happened. "I
asked Jesus into my life tonight!" I exclaimed happily, as I looked
from one to another of those startled faces. "It's glorious. I
can't tell you how much he means to me already."

    Some in my family seemed wounded and bewildered; others seemed
happy for me. But before it was all over with, thirteen of us had
ended up giving our hearts to Jesus! It was incredible.

    The following day I walked resolutely into the prayer room with
Krishna. Together we carried everything out into the yard: idols,
Hindu scriptures, and religious paraphernalia. We wanted to rid
ourselves of every tie with the past and with the powers of
darkness that had blinded and enslaved us for so long.

    When everything had been piled on the rubbish heap, we set it
on fire and watched the flames consume our past. The tiny figures
we once feared as gods were turning to ashes. We hugged one another
and offered thanks to the Son of God who had died to set us free.

    I found my thoughts going back to my father's cremation nearly
eight years before. In contrast to our new found joy, that scene
had aroused inconsolable grief. My father's body had been offered
to the very same false gods who now lay in smoldering fragments
before me. It seemed unbelievable that I should be participating
with great joy in the utter destruction of that which represented
all I had once believed in so fanatically.

    In a sense this was my cremation ceremony -- the end of the
person I had once been...the death of a guru. The old Rabi Maharaj
had died in Christ. And out of that grave a new Rabi had risen in
whom Christ was now living.


(_Editor's Note:_ If you would be interested in a detailed account
of Rabi's conversion, read his book _Death of a Guru._ Rabi is
presently based in Southern California and is involved in
evangelism all over the world. He invites you to write: East/West
Gospel Ministries, P.O. Box 2191, La Habra, CA 90632.)


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