Darshan is Christar’s intensive summer training program for those exploring the possibility of cross-cultural service among Hindus. But, it’s more than just an introduction to the complexities of Hindu culture, people and beliefs.
In Hinduism, the term “darshan” refers to seeing a holy person or the image of a deity. The eyes of most Hindu idols are bold and wide, to allow the worshipper to see, to know and connect on a spiritual level with the objects of their devotion. In the same way, Darshan enables participants to get a glimpse not only of Hindu beliefs and practices, but of the culture and worldview behind them.
Sid and Geneva*, a couple preparing to serve in South Asia, took a few minutes in the middle of this immersive experience to share how their eyes were being opened:
We have been impacted again concerning the enormity and difficulty of the task ahead. To understand the way a Hindu person views life and reality seems almost impossible from a Western perspective.
There are so many obstacles to the gospel within their system of belief, including a stage in their life when talking or thinking about “religious matters” is unimportant and unnecessary. We have had great discussions in class, considering some truly thought-provoking subjects, and are so thankful to be here learning from those who have gone before us.
Many believers struggle to comprehend Hinduism as there is no succinct definition of this religion, and it has no authoritative scriptures. Sid and Geneva explain:
Each person or family group has their own set of traditions and beliefs that are flexible and not considered in conflict with any other person’s belief system. To us, this seems chaotic and truth [appears] irrelevant. But to the Hindu, it is a beautiful system where everything is held together by each person fulfilling their own specific “dharma” (eternal law/order/duty).
Darshan is designed to help students understand this complex belief system. Instructors with years of cross-cultural experience guide eager learners through an overview of Hinduism’s beliefs and practices. Participants look, see, hear, taste, touch and experience numerous aspects of Hindu life.
Students learn not only in the classroom, but also in South Asian communities, as they’re immersed in culture and hospitality. They worship with a fellowship of Hindu-background believers. They consider how to communicate the good news in biblically-based, culturally relevant ways. And, they prepare to embrace a culture vastly different from everything they have known.
Being able to share the gospel with least-reached Hindus is the ultimate goal for participants like Sid and Geneva.
Knowing our friends and neighbors (not just what they think, but actually how they think) is imperative to communicating Christ clearly. We will be leaving behind many of the comfortable ways of thinking that our Western minds have come to embrace as “the way” to think.
How can I get involved?
- Ask God to use Darshan to inspire and prepare workers to bring the gospel to least-reached Hindus in culturally relevant ways.
- Lift up the Hindus who interacted with participants in Darshan. Pray that seeds of the gospel will grow in the hearts of those who heard.
- Pray that more workers will be trained and sent to serve among the 2,062 least-reached Hindu people groups around the world.
- The Christar Hindusim booklet was designed to introduce you to the origins, beliefs and practices of Hindus, and provide a guide to sharing your faith with Hindu friends.
- Darshan, our intensive training program in cross-cultural ministry among Hindus, combines classroom learning and firsthand experiences to introduce you to the complexities of Hindu culture, people and beliefs.
Your gift for the South Asian Mobilization Project will help cover startup costs so South Asian believers can be recruited and equipped to plant churches.