Revival - Pandita Ramabai

I want to write about some of the revivals which the church witnessed. I won’t be writing in detail but will be giving a brief note.

Let me start from India and Pandita Ramabai.

In schools, it is taught about the Indian social reformer, Pandita Ramabai. She was a poet, a scholar, and a champion of improvement in the plight of Indian women. As a social reformer, she championed the cause of emancipation of Indian women.Her father was Anant Shastri Dongre, a scholar of Sanskrit, and her mother was Lakshmibai. They were a Chitpawan Brahmin couple. Her father taught her Puranic Sanskrit and she made quite a name for herself as a scholar in Puranic circles, earning the name Pandita.

Although she was a Brahmin, she married, on 13th November 1880, Babu Bipin Behari Madhavi, a Bengali lawyer at Bankipore (Patna, Bihar), who was not a Brahmin, and this created a stir in the orthodox circles of Hindu society.

After her husband’s death she found herself unable to play the role traditionally reserved for upper-caste Hindu widows, and converted to Christianity, an action which created a scandal even in liberal Calcutta society.

It is noted by some historians that this prayer warrior initiated one of the earliest revivals that swept across India. She was a nominal Christian till 1891 when she was fully converted. She led an institution to help widows and orphans, among which many were victims of famine. By 1901 she had around 2,000 girls in her institution. She called it Mukti Mission near Pune, Bombay.

She spent long days in fasting and prayer. Between December-February 1901, 1,200 girls in her institution were baptized. God began a revival there. It was in 1904 that she heard that there was a revival in Wales, and her hunger to see the same in India deepened. Prayer circles were organized. It grew from 70 prayer circles to 550. She later challenged them to work for the Lord. At first 30 young women volunteered. They were empowered with great power. One of the thirty volunteers was so deeply consumed in the spiritual fire that the other girls threw water on her thinking that the fire was real! Ramabai’s teachings had so much power that women - both young and old - began to weep, confess their sins, and pray for more power from above. Two girls, it is said, were so gripped with hunger that they prayed and prayed still their face literally shone with a heavenly light. Many missionaries from other parts of India came in to spend time there. Many testified to receive the “baptism of fire” thus spreading it to many parts of India.

My prayer is that may God raise may people like her and may we all see a mighty revival.

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