Published: October 16th 2009
October 16th 2009
I met a lifesaver and friend on a long and grueling train to Kolkata. Dulip. He is not much to look at - shaggy hair, crooked teeth, slim build, unattractive features. But he is a gem. I was laying on the bottom bunk awake at 5:50am because it is simply impossible to sleep as the boys go up and down the isle calling out for chai. Dulip was on the bunk above me and when his feet hit the dirty floor and his eyes saw this westerner a bright and excited smile crossed his face. I imagine that a confused and skeptical glare crossed mine. But, within minutes we were engaged in conversation and I knew the next 16 hours were going to be grand.
Dulip never married, no kids, and he lives in a joint house with his 2 brothers and their family. He says they share everything. I could tell that he is a bit shamed at this and he never did give me a strait answer as to why he never married. But he says he fills his time with art, music, and books. I like this man.
After hours of on and off conversation about America, India, philosophy, music, books, etc I wanted to start asking him more meaningful questions. I asked him about how he sees the purpose of existence and joy for the Indian people. I admit, this sounds a bit absurd, but you try being on a train for 16 hours sitting face to face with the only person who can speak your language! As I imagined, Dulip was very happy to share his thoughts. He is Hindu and a very faithful one at that, so he told me that all religions are as the great lakes of America…they are all vast but ultimately flow to one river and then one ocean. I asked him what he knew of Jesus and Christianity. He sounded confident of his knowledge but all he could pull out was what he may have seen in the Nativity movie.
We talked about some of Jesus’ teaching about forgiveness of sins and Himself being the only way to heaven. He found this interesting but did not seem to elevate it above any other teachings.
He told me more about his beliefs and I asked him if he ever feels trapped or helpless trying to hear favor with God, because this, I said, seems to be impossible. He kindly replied, “yes, I do often feel trapped. But when my emotions tells me such things I use my logic.” He went on to tell me how he trains himself to forget about any doubt. This, of course, is necessary for Hindus as reincarnation is a difficult concept to actually think through its entirety.
I feel very disturbed that for all of Dulip’s curiosity about religion he knew virtually nothing about Jesus. India is still such an unreached country. Dulip even lives in a relatively ‘reached’ area. There is so much work to be done here. There are good people here who don’t have a fighting chance. It deserves prayer as to how we, in America, can give good people like Dulip a real opportunity to know the love of Jesus in a tangible way. Dulip would have been an amazing follower of Jesus. He would have been.