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Sreedhar Jeshurun | Saturday, May 28, 2011 | | | | | Best Blogger Tips 1 Comment so far

Pandit Dharma Praksh Sharma
Dharma Prakash Sharma Ex Bollywood Hero,M.P Testimony

As India was suffering with caste and untouchables, my father Pundit Sohanlal Sharma (Highest Priestly class Parashar Brahmin) was very sympathetic to Dalits so much so that he was living among Dalits leaving his luxurious mansion of chief priest of Pushkar Rajasthan the holiest of holies in Hindu tradition pilgrimages.
 Mahatma Gandhiji after reading my fathers scholarly views in both Hindi and Sanskrit about building casteless Ram-Rajya became a close friend of my father. He advised my father not to remain a bachelor for the sake of freedom struggle but to marry Gyaneswari Devi daughter of a rich Brahmin from Gonda UP. She was just 18 at that time and was president of women’s federation of national congress in UP. They were united in a simple marriage ceremony in Lucknow October 1932 in khadi clothes, by Gandhiji, witnessed by Pundit JawaharLal Nehru’s mother Smt.SwarupRani Nehru and his sister Rameswary Nehru.
My parents lost their first girl child and prayed to God if given a son they will offer him back to his service.

Since my parents were frequently jailed for satyagrahas, I was born in Fathepur Jail UP on 23 December 1937. When ever my mother used to be out of jail she used to sing bhajans out of love towards God, her tears falling on me. And I asked “maa are you weeping for father who is in jail?” She said “no” out of quest for Gods love I cry. That’s the first time I heard the word “Gods love”. God is like father she said. I said I want to meet such father .You cant physically meet because he is invisible but when you taste his love you will realize him. When I was five my father was released from jail I announced “Pitaji I have another father too, he is God and mother weeps for him.” My dad told “you are right my son when you know him you will serve him.”
I grew in Gandhijis ashram and remember climbing on to his shoulders as he played with us. I closely watched Vallabhai Patel, Azad, RajendraPrasad, VinoBhave and so many other great leaders. I saw how Gandhiji wrote a thank you letter reply to a Hindu fanatic who abused Gandhi as dog and threatened to kill Gandhi. Gandhiji wished him well and Gods blessings and peace to that fanatic. This made me to respect Gandhiji like anything till today.

I had a childhood hero Gopinathji a hand some young Brahmin who acted heroic roles on stage, sang and made people happy but one day suddenly vomited blood and died before all. I encountered death and questions about death. Will I also die someday? What is the purpose of life and why I exist? My father tried to answer me with Vedanta till my 14 years. Not completely satisfied, I searched Holy Koran then Buddhist and Parsi religious books. At fifteen I read Karl Marx and Lenin also. I was moved by Nethaji Subash Chandra Bose call for “Give me your blood I will give you independence” I cut my fore arm and wrote that I would support Nethaji. when I was eight I was beaten along with my parents by British police during a satyagraha, arrested and was kept for a day in a cell and the next day police left me alone in a nearby jungle. So I started hating every thing white including Christianity bible and Jesus.  

In 1953 when I was sixteen I was reading English textbook the chapter “Sermon on the Mount” I was thinking Jesus was the founder of religion of the British brutes. But now I understood he was aJew and killed by his own countrymen, I saw parallels between Gandhi who was murdered then. Also the lesson said this sermon was inspiration to Gandhi, and then read the lesson very deeply. There was a difference to my previous readings of religious texts and now Jesus sermon. Then suddenly I heard a voice beside me “I am Jesus answer to your questions” as I was startling and unable to believe my own mind same voice repeated with a light, I realized its divine voice. I ran to Principal VV John who is also head of the English department and asked “Is Jesus God?” Since he, a catholic was working in a protestant Episcopal college, afraid of blame (this my guess)from his management that he is trying to convert a Hindu student he sent me to his bishop in a catholic monastery. Seeing my question bishop inquired “are u a Christian?” No I am a staunch Hindu, son of chief priest of Pushkar. He said u r young now, you can not understand until u take baptism, regularly attend church mass then u may find answers. I hated the very idea of becoming Christian.

Dejected I came out. Coming back to hostel room I read and reread my textbook and started praying to God who are you? How can I see u? I thought clergy are hypocrites let me see laymen. All my Christian classmates saw me as a mad man for showing interest in Christ. Charles used to be bully and his mouth is source of all types of abuse. I asked him “Jesus told to show the other cheek when u r slapped on the one” are you able to do that since u r a Christian? He beat me black and blue. To test I asked some girls “who will come to second show cinema today with me?” Muslim Hindu girls said no our parents will not permit us. Only Christian girls got excited and said yes we will come, we don’t care for our parents. Also I visited Christian families and homes to find Christ was indeed far away from their practical life. I tried best protestant churches also where many low caste converts for the sake of jobs/rice of British attended. I was shocked to see they are no better than Catholics.

So after some time I started hating JESUS bcoz Sermon on the Mount is mere rhetoric and He is unable to change the lives of lower castes who converted to Christianity. I saw these lower castes after becoming Christians will live like Europeans wearing tie and coat in hot summers and wont even love/associate with their own poor dalit blood relatives. I saw many Christians boasting/lying they belonged to higher castes before conversion while actually they belonged to lower castes. In this way they used to live in fools paradise.

A book by Sri Dharma Prakash Sharma
I was vice president of college students union. One day I took all the bibles from library and called for a student meeting and asked what should we do with this hipocratic book which only made us Indians slaves of British and Portuguese? What to do with Jesus a hypocrite? “To hell with him and his Bible” yelled the frenzied student mob. I tore the Bibles crushed them under my feet, some brought kerosene and another friend threw his cigarette and the whole pile engulfed in flames.

During my Post graduation I started writing Hindi poetry. In 1956 I won Rajasthan Sahitya academy award. Also I entered in to Journalism and appointed State rep for Times of India and PTI. Since I failed to understand God, “Eat drink Merry who knows what happens after death” became my motto. Journalism writing stage Drama became my world. Bharat Bhushan then Bollywood hero encouraged me come to Bombay. First I became script writer then supporting roles with GuruDutta and finally acted in four films as hero with Madhubala as heroine. I purchased houses in Marine drive and Poddar road with the money earned. Media named me “Rose of desert”. Many women (some of them married) were behind me. One heroine said if you don’t marry me I will commit suicide. Though My Mothers life and teaching in my child hood helped in maintaining my chastity, I fell victim to alcohol and smoking.

In Mumbai I began experimenting with communism. EMS Namboodripad became very close. My father was against my hobnobbing with communists. EMS Namboodripad suggested that I study film making in Russia and made me to apply and got admission because of his recommendation. I applied for passport but it was taking long. Because Intelligence agencies were suspicious about my communist leanings. So I rushed to the capital Delhi and stayed with JayanarayanVyas ex.Chiefminister of Rajasthan. Mr.Vyas took me for morning walk and we met Jawaharlal Nehru then Prime minister of India. Punditji hugged me and said “You are my friend Sohanlals son” and he enquired about my mother, pushkar and my film life. Then Mr.Vyas told PM “Your government has made Dharm a communist”. Punditji puzzled and enquired what the matter is. Then said sorry for harassing a son of freedom fighter bcoz of policy matter and sent his secretary to issue my passport. I remembered the humility of Pundit Nehru years later when his grand son Rajiv Gandhi visited our home in Pushkar I saw the legacy in him.

 I went to Russia in March 1961. After 3 months I was called back as my mother went into comma when her kidney failed. After a week she opened eyes and said from today onwards u will no more do films. I said “ma films and art are my life”.   “No” she said “you must not fallow that path, God gave you to me for a specific purpose when I was childless I prayed God if u give me a son I will give him back to u. Now it’s the time to fulfill that promise. U r not for the material world”.Though shivering it was stern voice. So I promised not to go back.

I was in that hospital speaking with TN Chaturvedi District collector who came to visit my mother. Suddenly I saw a girl in white sari. I felt like she is the same who used to come now and then in my dreams. I left my friend and ran to ask who she is. Startled and annoyed she retorted what you want from me and walked faster but as I was insisting she said my aunt is the nursing superintend of this hospital and my father is a Christian pastor. I asked will u marry me? She yelled “shut up” and ran off. Though I wanted to keep quite bcoz a dark Christian girl rejected a cinema hero and a Brahmin, but some force was telling me go and marry that girl. I went to their house spoke to her father and he said “u r a film hero and u would be foolish to consider such an alliance” please go away .But I went 7 times in that month. Finally I gave up. But few days later one of our servants came and told me one lady at the door wants to see me. To my utter disbelief it was the same girl. She said no other word except “My God has asked me to marry you”. I said I don’t believe in God. I hate Christianity religion of hypocrites. You will have liberty to practice your religion but never try any thing on me”. She agreed and then tried to convince her dad but he refused.

 I approached my friend and district collector TN Chaturvedi. He first asked me “r u mad?” But after listening to feelings He issued a marriage certificate performing a civil ceremony where few people present on 14th august 1961. Suddenly I presented my wife to my parents without any hint. Hell broke loose in home. Mother wept “Is this how you repay me for stopping you from films? That’s a known devil. Now how can we bear this shame, public disgrace. What about your younger sister Bhuvaneswari’s future? We can’t accept this bride outside our religion and class. Next day early morning 4 AM the bride was not in my bed. Fearing the worst I searched her and found her in a room kneeling down with a bible open and tears rolling down. Her prayer was “Lord you brought me to this house, give strength to bear”. She started living like servant in our house.

After some time my mother was moved by her life. She called her as beti (daughter) and they became close. Maa started telling she is better than her son. She changed her name from “Hope Christina” to Asha. My wife started wearing Bindi/Sindur as it was a Hindu custom, to please my mother and sister.  She was rejected by her dad for this reason. He was always thinking that He along with Bro.Baktsingh preached gospel but His daughter married a person like me. “Hope Christina” is the name given by Bro. Bakthsingh to her. Asha never tried to talk Christianity even to our servants but early morning read bible and prayed for 2 hours even when she was ill. I started taking advantage of her weak position. So I used to belittle her and say her prayer was all hypocrisy. But she never complained. One day she lovingly brought bible and asked me to read Psalm 23. I read but I was filled with rage hit her with that bible on her face. It cut her eye brow but she didn’t utter a word. For thirteen years for silly reasons I used to beat her. But never was any reaction despite my mocking and blaspheming her savior Lord Jesus. She would cook fresh food even if I returned in midnight and she wouldn’t eat until I had eaten. Guests, children and servants were well fed before she sits down to eat. It was difficult for me to ignore the Sermon on the Mount because the more I persecuted her the more forgiveness she expressed. She walked the talk. Some times I had thrown her out of house and she stood at the entrance whole night.

My father’s friend GD Birla seeing I left films appointed me Public Relations Officer (PRO) of his company in Calcutta. Soon Asha and Maa reached Calcutta. I became Manager. We were blessed with two daughters Tuhina and Tushar. One day my wife while tying my shoe lace said  “Dear come early in the evening Bro.Bakhthsingh uncle is leaving from Calcutta. He is a man of God, he named me. I want you to meet him”. What for I said. She said when u meet him you will know he is not like the hipocratic lower caste Christians. There will be blessing for u if u meet him. “I can’t come” I said. “No my God will bring you”. Your God Jesus will bring me out of World bank team visiting Birlas this day? She said innocently “yes My God will bring you”. I kicked her with all my strength saying lets see how your God can bring me in the evening. The toe of my shoe pierced her chin despite gushing of blood she recovered fall and tied my shoes. When my mother saw the blood she said “I just fell down and got cut”. I was paralyzed in the sofa for what I did and ashamed to see in to mothers or Asha’s eyes. Asha slowly helped me to my feet put me in the car and said God loves you come early in the evening. In car I felt shame and guilt. I cried Oh God is this your love? I heard the same voice and I saw two nail pierced hands” I love u son. I died to save you I will draw you to myself” but I am too great sinner I said to myself. That day the deal with World Bank team was finalized by 4 pm. The prearranged dinner was postponed to next day due to Mr. Phillip Junior World Bank chairman’s ill health. When I reached home my wife was ready to leave with me. But we were few minute late so we could not meet BroBakthsingh.

In 1967 with the permission of GD Birla I joined my friend VH Dalmia and became General Manager of five industries. One evening my father was full of tears and asked me “Dharm, India is suffering and struggling with poverty oppression exploitation. Doesn’t that bother u?  Rescue people from fear slavery ignorance, just like Gandhiji. You earn a lot for your self and live comfortably. Every body is like that. Political selfishness is engulfing. Who will redeem India who will establish Ram Rajya in India? What do u want me to do father I asked. He said mother and me have promised God you would serve Him. Serve God and build new India. I know my father gave away acres of land and gold to the poor. So I sent resignation to Dalmias with out even telling my dad. They approached my father to know whether I am in right mind. Then they consented and relieved me. At the age 32 Rajasthan Congress welcomed me first to district then state congress committee and made me Member of Parliament from 1969 to 1973. I became General Secretary of PCC. In 1972 as I was busy in Rajasthan midterm election campaign I laid for few minutes rest and there was book written by Sadhu Sunder Singh “with and with out Christ”. I flipped few pages and read it since it was interesting. Sunder Singh burning bibles and later had a vision of Christ it looked like my own story. So I read it carefully though I was busy in electioneering. I closed my eyes and suddenly the same voice I heard years back said “Dharm Prakash, my son how long will you forsake me and persecute me? I love u. u r mine” I said Oh Lord yes u loved me but I tested you out of arrogance. I am sinner unworthy. I am blasphemer I burnt your book” Lord I am the most sinful person in this world do u still love me?
“Yes I still love u because I have shed my blood for u” I fell unconscious for some time. I rose unburdened of my past sin. I was free. I told my wife I saw Jesus I love him. She said she could feel it. We rejoiced as a family. My parents prophesy became true. My quest for Gods love entered a new phase. A new life began. In May 1976 I was on a political mission to Ahmadabad to meet then chief minister HitendraBhaiDesai. As the driver sped along the busy roads I noticed bible verse banners hanging all around. Because of newfound love for bible I asked the driver to inquire about what is this all about. He told a Sikh named BakhtSingh was going to speak in nearby grounds where thousands gathered. Since I missed him in Calcutta I wanted to meet him. The people around him first denied me but as I introduced myself they agreed and kept me in waiting. Suddenly I saw a man in his sixties coming down from stairs looking straight in to my eyes. I immediately recognized him as Bro.Bakthsingh. With out giving me an opportunity to introduce myself he hugged me saying “Yes I know the Lord has sent you let us kneel down and pray”. He forced my driver to bring the entire luggage to his room despite my protest and pleading that I am on my way to CM’s house with party fund. I stayed next eight days with him under heavenly truths from bible. He laid the foundations for Christians living. I was Born-again and asked to be baptized and brother Bakthsingh personally baptized me on 16th may 1976. With a divine peace overflowing in my heart I met CM of Gujarat and finished my duties without any further delay. Brother Bakthsingh became my mentor and shared many things with me. He told me when he was invited by many bishops to preach in Rajputana Christian convention in 1936 so that many crowds can come to listen a Sikh convert. But the bishops became furious when he preached that all non Born-again people even if they are bishops will go to hell, Just doing bible college degree don’t qualify them for Gods service but they should repent of their sin and be Born-again, they removed him from the convention second day. So he was traveling back via Pushkar on the way he stopped and seeing the God seeking pilgrims he was moved and knelt down at Pushkar Lake and prayed for a man to raise from Pushkar to preach Gospel of truth to his fellow Indians. And he said I was the answer to that prayer. Bro Bakthsingh opened Isaiah 43:1-4 and told God called me for His work “by name”. I returned to Pushkar from Ahmadabad and proudly announced that I am baptized. Mother was shocked and said you betrayed family tradition. Father quoted from bible “Can you forsake your mother father wife for Gods sake?” surprised at my fathers knowledge of bible I said I will follow. “Dharm you have the chances of soon becoming the chief minister of Rajasthan will you forsake it for Christ? That shook me I remained silent for few minutes and then prayerfully said “Lord Jesus Christ is first place in my heart”. But my father said it’s easy to talk like that. But when I find you truly following the Lord I will follow you he said. In 1976 I went to Kalimpong Himalayas to listen to bro.bakthsingh in Holy convocation. When I was in those hills I heard Lord voice asking me to decide between politics and His service. So I chose to serve God. But when Emergency declared in1975 I fought against it tooth and nail from 1976. I wrote spoke on every platform against it. Finally Mrs. Indira Gandhi called me and listened to my pleas. On 1 January 1977 I visited PM Mrs. Indira Gandhi with my resignation letter. I told her how God spoke to me in the kalimpong holy convocation. Shocked she said “what’s Sohanlalji’s Son is doing in a Christian convention? Have you become a Christian?” Yes I have become disciple of Christ,I shared how I was born-again. Then she stopped me and asked how many times I read bible. I said I just started reading bible. “Well I read bible three times” she said “when I was student in Switzerland”. Jesus never spoke to me neither he asked me to quit politics. I am sorry your resignation is not accepted. But I insisted and finally she relented. I humbly requested her to accept eternal life that is in Lord Jesus Christ. Are you trying to convert me? She lovingly admonished me. In 1977 emergency was lifted. Years later when Janataparty government imprisoned her in Tihar jail I visited her. My father was heart broken and cried aloud at his friend’s daughter’s plight. Rajiv Gandhi gave me a letter as only family members were allowed to see her in jail. When I saw her it reminded me of “lioness in a cage”. When I conveyed my father’s feelings she was moved. I reminded her regarding peace of God that surpasses all understanding and wished her Gods guidance and prepared to leave. She called me back and requested “Pray for me”. I gladly prayed with her. Months later Mrs. Gandhi was voted back to power and governed this great nation with more humbleness. Seeing my changed life both my mother and father accepted Lord Jesus Christ and slept in the Lord in good old age. From the day I am Born-again, alcoholism and cigarettes left me.
I request you to read further about my encounter with truth in my books and my interfaith dialogues with Shri Morari Bapu and others.

For Further Details and My Books/DVDs Contact.
BETHEL,  170 HMT layout, NAGASANDRA.8th Mile
Tumkur Road. Benguluru.560073. Karnataka.
9019553446,  9901096934,  9845144926,

Selected Bibliography:

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