Friday, October 1, 2010

Sadhu Sundar Singh: Journey of a Mystic

The mystic state has been described as a journey leading towards blissful union with the divine. In stage models, it can be counted as the most ascended state, in which other precedes, even merges, with self. Mystics may be found in every religion, from the Sufis of Islam to the yogis of Hinduism, from the hermits of Christianity to the ascetic monks of Buddhism.1 Their lives are marked by renunciation of the world and its pleasures for attainment of self-transcendence, through prayer, meditation and fasting, as well as in creative expressions, such as art, music and dance.2 This paper will seek to examine the life of an Indian Christian mystic, Sadhu Sundar Singh, in the light of certain select models of human growth and spiritual journey. Consideration will be made of changes inherent in the biopyschosocial dimension of his life, with special emphasis being placed on the spiritual transitions associated with these changes.
The word “mysticism” is derived from the Greek word, mysticos (μυστικός), which comes from the verb muo (μύω), which means, “to close”.3 More specifically, it means “to close the eyes” or “to close the mouth”, indicating a connection with something which cannot be seen or spoken of. St. John of the Cross presupposes an ascetic detachment from the senses as a prerequisite to union with God.4 William James highlights this quality of the mystic experience, calling it “ineffability”.5 The word is intended to convey a sense of the affective knowledge of mysticism, as opposed to cognitive awareness. James further describes the mystic state as “noetic”, “transient” and “passive”. It is noetic because it illuminates, but the revelations remain outside of the discursive realm, as the truths learned during the mystic journey in communion with the divine lie beyond the bounds of language. Transiency reflects the fragile quality of the mystic experience, which may last only moments to minutes. Mystics emerge from brief unitive episodes with great insight which cannot be fully communicated. The mystic state, once initiated, is passive. The numinous overshadows the individual, who is primarily in a receptive mode.
During the progression along the spiritual path of the mystic, one may index certain key highlights which take place in the physical, emotional and communal spheres. For example, there is generally an Eriksonian question of identity, and the developing saint may experience Loevinger’s growth of his or her autonomous ego.6 One may also note Kohlberg’s transitions in the moral development of the one seeking God, as the growing mind grapples with the move from the authoritarian/legalistic stance towards the universal and unitive orientations.7 We will examine some of these changes as they relate to spirituality.

Case Study
Sadhu Sundar Singh was born in 1889 to wealthy Sikh parents in Northern India.8 His mother encouraged her son to explore the faiths of their neighbours, placing special emphasis on the ascetic lifestyle of the Hindu mystics. This unique environment does not inform us whether the Sadhu was entirely conformist9 in relation to authority, but it shows that very authority (i.e., his mother) exhibiting an advanced stance towards differentiation, through the stimulus of exploration beyond the confines of the home and its native traditions. By the time he was seven, the Sadhu had memorized most of the Bhagavad Gita; by the time he was sixteen, he had read the Koran, the Upanishads, and the Granth.10 He came into contact with Christian missionaries, but he refuted their beliefs and burned the Bible they had given him. Sensing no peace, the youth decided to kill himself one night, should the Almighty, whoever that may be, fail to reveal Himself by dawn.
At this point, it seems that the Sadhu experienced an identity crisis, made possible in part by abstraction in thinking (Piaget’s hypothetico-deduction), and enhanced by the adolescent drive to find oneself. In this, his mother’s help in the exploration of other religions gave him the advantage of what Fowler termed individuative-reflective faith.11 All night the seeking teen prayed in earnest. By 4:30 AM he was contemplating placing his head on the track for the 5 o'clock train, when a great fiery light filled his room. It was Jesus, revealing himself in glory and love. The Sadhu's conversion occurred much as did St. Paul's on the road to Damascus. The Lord asked why the boy was persecuting his followers, to which the Sadhu responded by falling at His feet. Peace and joy invaded his young heart.
The Sadhu's life may be divided into four periods,12 which correspond roughly to various developmental stages. Although no one model is adequate to represent the extraordinary existence which he lived, we will attempt to trace the outlines of certain ideas as they surface in relation to the biography given to us of the Sadhu, The Message of Sadhu Sundar Singh, written in 1921 by B.H. Streeter. The first period, 1889-1904, was marked by searching and terminated with his conversion experience. The second period, 1904-1912, charts his career as a Holy Man, in which he pursued the life of a wandering mystic. The third period, from 1912-1918, was initiated by an attempt to fast for forty days, following which he achieved great spiritual insight and maturity. The fourth period, 1918-20, saw the Sadhu's worldwide reception as an Apostle and a Saint. The steps of the Indian mystic’s journey find some correspondence to stage models described by Erikson, Loevinger and Fowler, as well as that of St. John of the Cross. Other models may also be of use, including Evelyn Underhill’s model of the mystical journey, alongside with women’s developmental theories provided by Carol Gilligan and Nicola Slee. We will apply these accordingly as is necessary to the fuller exposition of the material presented on the life of Sadhu Sundar Singh, in order to discern transitions in the physical, emotional, social and spiritual aspects of his life.

Psychological and Spiritual Models
Though Sadhu Sundar Singh eventually became revered as a true mystic, it would be of some use to trace the evolution of his character through the application of various psychological paradigms. Relevant elements from an array of models may provide valuable insights, from attachment theory to ways of faithing. Issues of relationship, autonomy and metaphor will be especially important in understanding the life of this Indian mystic.
A minister once suggested to the Sadhu that he would benefit greatly from a course in theology, to which the Sadhu replied, “I have been to the best theological college in the world.”13 When the minister asked which college he had attended, the mystic replied, “The mother's bosom.” The Sadhu's mother had encouraged her son to explore, and to follow the way of the ascetics by renouncing the world for higher truths. This relationship provided a template for the boy's subsequent relation to the Creator. Kimball & Eckert point out that the imago dei is an “avenue of expression” for relationship to otherkind.14 A secure relationship to his mother would provide for the Sadhu the proper foundation for a secure relationship to God. The young Singh's positive, loving home environment would have allowed for a successful resolution of Erikson’s infantile issues of trust, leading towards autonomy and initiative,15 and hence the confidence in self and others with which to explore the world.16
Sadhu Sundar Singh's mother died when he was only fourteen. His style of religion may be portrayed as being informed by secure attachment up to that point, and by insecure attachment afterwards. His sudden religious conversion at sixteen is a characteristic of insecure attachment, according to the compensation hypothesis.17 Though previous socialization of values would have corresponded to his affinity for his mother, her loss would have left a void which prompted a period of searching. Bereavement is a positive indicator for major religious change during the transition of attachment associated with adolescence.18
Another issue informing the young adult was that of leaving home. According to Kegan, the Sadhu would have been detaching himself from embeddedness within the home, moving towards “self-authorship and psychological autonomy”.19 This was especially borne out by conflict over his conversion.
Sadhu Sundar Singh's relations, especially his father, were not pleased with his new faith in Christ. They tried to induce him to renounce it by promising him wealth and comfort, which the Sadhu refused.20 Finally they tried to poison him and sent him packing. Thrust upon the Saviour, the young man set out with nothing but a saffron robe and a Bible. He spent the remainder of his days in this mode of existence, preaching wherever he went. Early on, he met a Franciscan missionary who impressed him with tales of the medieval saint. Though the Sadhu excelled in his service next to the man in sufferings, in imprisonment and in work among lepers, he declined to join the order. His explanation was that organized religion was too much of man:
“On the mountains, torrents flow right along, cutting their own courses. But on the plains, canals have to be dug out painfully by men so that the water might flow. So among those who live on the heights with God, the Holy Spirit makes its way through of its own accord, whereas those who devote little time to prayer and communion with God have to organize painfully.”21

For the seven years following his conversion, the Sadhu's life was characterized by active service in preaching, in helping the poor, in fiery trials at the hands of fanatics, and by a period of intense inner growth.22 Though his profound conviction would exclude him from the stigma of a merely extrinsic or utilitarian faith, it would seem his detachment from the creeds of organized religion would place him beyond even the intrinsic designation, squarely in the Quest category of faith.23
St. John of the Cross described three stages of progression in the mystic’s journey: the purgative, the illuminative and the unitive way24 – Sadhu Sundar Singh’s life and fervent yearning for God demonstrate ascension through these levels. At first the Sadhu emulated the asceticism of the Hindu yogis, fasting and mortifying the flesh, purifying himself in the forest far from the comforts of civilization. As he matured in his faith, his openness to communication with the divine and his frequent ecstasies continually informed and enriched his understanding, putting him through a dark night of the soul. His sense of detachment from self, his loss of identity in awe of God’s glory were necessary preparations for consummation in St. John of the Cross’s perfect/unitive stage. Here, the Sadhu became engrossed with and empowered by God, which freed him to offer his life in service as a missionary to the subcontinent.
The actualization experienced by Sadhu Sundar Singh encompassed all areas of his life, including the physical, the emotional, the social and the spiritual, moving him simultaneously towards Kohlberg’s universal ethical concerns, Gilligan’s transcendent perspective, Loevinger’s integrated ego and Fowler’s universal faith.25 What these models share in common at the zenith stage are qualities found in the transcendent soul - namely, selflessness, service and love for humanity.
As in Loevinger, in her exposition of the autonomous ego, Kahoe and Meadow provide a model which aptly describes the process of turning away from the self as a means of actualization in their account of intrinsic religiousness. While this orientation is inherent in any mystic's life, the process may go even further, towards autonomy. Factors which promote autonomy may include “general abstract intelligence, higher education, and training in reflective disciplines such as philosophy.”26 While the Sadhu did, in fact, spend two years preparing for ministry at St. John's Divinity College in Lahore, “he held the conviction that religious knowledge of the highest kind (was) acquired, not by intellectual study, but by direct contact with Christ.”27 Religion for Singh was not a matter of the head but of the heart. Thus, when he completed his studies and the bishop offered him a license to preach in a particular diocese, the Sadhu declined, stating that he could not restrict his work to any single denomination nor to any one locale. Autonomy was an essential component towards the fulfillment of Sadhu’s mission for Christ. His freedom from institutional norms of society, even Christian ones, paved the way for consideration of a more universal perspective.
The next period of the Sadhu's life began with an attempt to fast for forty days. Though he lost track of the time, Singh reports that he experienced a deepening of his relationship with God in a vision of the wounded Christ. While his body grew weaker, his spiritual perception was heightened. He makes a profound distinction between the spirit and the brain through this experience, which is reminiscent of St. John of the Cross’s description: “The brain was only the office where the Spirit worked. The brain is like an organ and the Spirit like the organist.”28
The inadequacy of an extrinsic-intrinsic model in properly addressing individual experiences such as these requires investigation into alternative frameworks more sensitive to the relational and affective aspects of mysticism.29 Other theories are available, such as Carol Gilligan’s stages of development for women or Nicola Slee's model of faithing in women. That these may be co-opted for use with the mystical is indicated by the characterization of the mystic's relationship with the divine as a relationship between lovers: “I am my beloved's and his desire is towards me.” (Song of Songs 7:10, KJV).
The mystic's faith, like women's faith, is “embedded in relationship”.30 Whether we consider the words left unspoken by women who feel oppressed by patriarchal structures or those shared between mystics and God, conversational faithing in an I-thou context permits liberal communication and may lead to “epiphany and discernment”.31 Sadhu Sundar Singh recounts conversations he had with Christ in an ecstasy, in which the mystic posed questions regarding faith and the Lord provided answers of a metaphorical, or parabolic nature.32
The Sadhu's first question in this mode of conversational faithing had to do with why the Lord did not make himself plainly visible to the world, to which Christ replied that He is made visible in the lives of believers:
“Take a piece of charcoal, and however much you may wash it its blackness will not disappear, but let the fire enter into it and its dark colour vanishes. So also when the sinner receives the Holy Spirit (who is from the Father and Myself, for the Father and I are one), which is the baptism of fire, all the blackness of sin is driven away, and he is made a light to the world (Matt. ch. 11, v. 14). As the fire in the charcoal, so I abide in My children and they in Me, and through them I make Myself manifest to the world.”33

Most of Sadhu Sundar Singh's teachings on his mystical experiences take the form of images or parables, which Slee appropriately describes as “metaphoric faithing” and “narrative faithing”, respectively.34 While a metaphor may provide succinct illumination, a story is able to weave together a greater range of elements. Jesus often taught in parables, which had the advantage of sticking with you and the joy of discovering ever-increasing depths of meaning and breadth of application.
The power of Gilligan’s and Slee's relational approaches as a dialectic process is their “strong sense of connectedness to the other.”35 Singh and other mystics aim expressly for union with the divine, so much so that the world of sense often melts away, revealing the presence of the numinous.
The last phase in the Sadhu's life saw him propelled to world-wide fame. Thousands came to see him in South India and it is said that, “Wherever he went a wave of spiritual awakening followed.”36 His calm and peace seemed so like Jesus' own, that he was even mistaken for the Lord by village folk. Here, in the latter years of Singh’s life, one might readily discern Kohlberg’s spiritually unitive orientation, in which Sadhu embraced agape love. An example of this selflessness was the mystic’s missionary trips, by foot, through the Himalayas, on a yearly basis, to preach to gospel to Tibet, where he suffered many persecutions. Erikson might describe the saint here as having a generative concern, as his wished to see the birth of spiritual children, resulting in the ego strength of care.
It is not known when or how (if?) the Sadhu died, though there is a tale of his having met one Maharishi in the Himalayas, possessing some scrolls from the time of the Crusades, who was reputed to be over three hundred years old. One might like to imagine the two saints living together, in some mountain cave, eating only leaves from a tree, their chief sustenance being achieved via contemplation of the love of God at the cross. Nonetheless, his example aptly charts movement in the physical, emotional, social and spiritual dimensions, towards a fulfilled, or transcendent state.

The Way of the Mystic
While some of the models for faith development considered so far have touched upon the supernatural quality of the mystical path, none have treated it exclusively in any great detail. If one wished to find a classification for the mystic in traditional models, one might point to both the conjunctive and universalizing faith stages of Fowler's scheme.37 The former uses metaphoric language in an attempt to integrate polarities. The power of symbol facilitates a process of deepening access to the transcendent, rendering the sacred immanent. The image of the cross, for example, provides a rich understanding of many intersecting ideas, such as the vertical and horizontal aspects of faith, or the incomprehensible strength of self-surrender. The resolution of paradox through conjunction may result in a “second naïveté”,38 which will be discussed briefly as being itself the meta-paradox of mysticism. Universalizing faith builds epigenetically upon conjunctive faith, and is characterized by a sense of “oneness with the power of being or God.”39 A person in this final stage spends oneself in service of otherkind, being both free and committed simultaneously. The perspective of such a one is the end result of a process of “decentration” that began at the mythic-literal stage and culminates in seeing through God's eyes.40 Oser's fifth and final stage of meaning-making describes this state: “God or the Ultimate Being informs and inhabits each moment and commitment.”41 In the Sadhu's life, especially following his attempted fast, he relates that he rarely ever felt separate from God, having an “abiding consciousness of the presence of Christ.”42
Evelyn Underhill, building on the work of St. John of the Cross, describes the mystic experience in more detail, suggesting that it consists of an ascent in five stages, namely: awakening, purification, illumination, the dark night of the soul, and the unitive state.43 Crapps suggests that the ultimate test of the sincerity of the mystic is whether he or she “returns from the freshening experience to mobilize human potential in a real world,” i.e., praxis.44 Sadhu Sundar Singh's life was full of genuine concern for his fellow-humans. Like St. Francis, the Indian mystic spent his life in poverty, renouncing his father's wealth in preference of Christ. Wearing only a simple garment, the Sadhu went about preaching, lived in harmony with nature and served the poor with his own hands. For years he trekked on foot back and forth through the Himalayas to take the gospel to Tibet, where he was often ill-treated, even to the point of despairing for his life on several occasions. In this last respect, we might say he is more like St. Paul, who also suffered harm for the sake of the gospel (2 Cor. 11:25).
The Sadhu's journey was marked by simplicity. He spoke in parables, he lived free of societal structures and norms and he made nothing at all of getting and spending. His humility and innocence are the paradigm of Jesus' injunction to “become as little children” (Matt. 18:3, KJV). It is this aspect of the mystic voyage that is most paradoxical in light of conventional developmental theories, which place great emphasis on cognition. One might well ask whether some researchers' own cultural biases and level of education remain separate from their ability to objectively perceive what is or is not spiritual maturity. Indeed, they may simply misinterpret skillful articulation and sophistication for enlightenment. We may, then, be mistakenly validating as normative that which is simply given over to the “praise of men” (John 12:43, KJV).
Hay, Nye & Murphy, in their exposition of children's spirituality, state that the “expressive dimension of religion is marked by a rich emphasis on metaphor, ritual and symbolism.”45 The idea is not unique, indeed, Fowler, in describing his conjunctive faith, underscores a second naïveté whereby “the symbol can reassert its transformative power.”46 The questions surrounding spirituality are so far-reaching and complex that they must transcend “linear logic” through the power of imagistic representation. The Orthodox faith embraces this approach in its veneration of symbols, icons and even statues, which serve as focal points for prayer and meditation. It is the ineffability of the religious experience that places it uniquely outside the reach of conventional theory: “Religious knowledge is different from knowledge about religion in that it is much more like sensory knowledge.”47 Farmer suggests that such processes may appear quite independently from the cognitive (or even the affective) skill-set.48 A non-chronological, non-Darwinian approach suppresses the identification of sophistication with perfection.49 Levine challenges the classical Piagetian assumption that children are incapable of formal operational thinking, positing that the self-other dichotomy may be apprehended even by two-year-olds, though such a distinction may be suspended in favour of union with otherkind.50 This, paradoxically, is exactly what is desired by the mystic- to have the borders of the ego dissolved for contemplation of the numinous.
The metaphoric logic of a child exceeds in scope and creativity the linear modes of thinking which are cultivated in traditional schooling, and are a “necessary component for spiritual experience.”51 The difference is that between the lived experience and a mere description of experience via shared social schemas which may be preclusive of nonrational (not irrational) phenomena. Immediate knowledge of divinity, seen in the mystical union, suspends the normal distinction between objective and subjective, bypasses the notion of truth as correspondence and admits a far richer and fuller experience than may be had in ordinary space-time.52 Perhaps the following vision related by the Sadhu captures some of the essence of this mode:
“The first time I entered Heaven I looked round about and I asked, 'But where is God?' And they told me, 'God is not to be seen here any more than on earth, for God is Infinite. But there is Christ, He is God. He is the image of the invisible God, and it is only in Him that we can see God, in Heaven as on earth.' And streaming out from Christ I saw, as it were, waves shining and peace-giving, and going through and among the Saints and Angels, and everywhere bringing refreshment, just as in hot weather water refreshes trees. And this I understood to be the Holy Spirit.”53

The Sadhu himself recognized the value of a simple approach to religion, stating, “I ask no further questions than to be His child.”54 No doubt he had put into practice the admonition of the Lord, “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:3, KJV). As Jung asked that we eat our shadow to achieve integration of the persona,55 so too, it seems, that we ought, as do the mystics in their journey, to embrace our inner child.
The life of Sadhu Sundar Singh is a wonderful example of the mystic journey. As a case study, it lends itself to a number of psychological and spiritual models. His conversion as a youth may be described in terms of Erikson’s identity crisis, and as being exemplary of Fowler’s individuative-reflective faith. The deepening of his faith may be understood as progressing through Fowler’s conjunctive and universalizing stages, while the Sadhu’s moral development moved, in parallel fashion to his spiritual maturation, from childhood concern for authority and law towards the universal ethical and spiritually unitive, as given by Kohlberg. Simultaneous changes may have occurred in his perceptions of self and other, taking him, according to Loevinger’s treatment of ego development, from the impulsive (or self-protective), to the conformist (with concerns for the community), to the conscientious (critical) and finally, to the autonomous and integrated stages. Gilligan’s and Slee’s relational models offer the power of feminine insight into concern for other, while theories of childhood spirituality, including Fowler’s idea of the second naïveté lend themselves to the metaphoric nature of this mystic’s experiences. The ineffability of mysticism the Sadhu aptly describes: “No words are spoken, but I see all pictured; in a moment problems are solved, easily and with pleasure, and with no burden to my brain.”56
Two ideas which were not readily discernible in the Sadhu’s life were Erikson’s psychological moratorium and Jung’s midlife crisis. One might ask whether this is simply due to his unique way of life, or if these themes occur mainly in a materialist culture, where disenchantment requires breakdown and reintegration. A deeper analysis of Eastern lifestyles may be required to answer this question more fully.
The Sadhu's current whereabouts are unknown. It is said that he left one day on a mission to Tibet and never returned. Some think that he may still be alive in the Himalayas, fond as he was of the reclusive lifestyle of the ascetic. Perhaps he lives near the Maharishi of the mountains, whom he met and reported as having discovered through some ancient texts entrusted to him by knights of the Crusades the secret of long life.57 Our prayer is that he is with Christ, the object of all his affections.
Works Cited
Batson, C.D., Schoenrade, P. & Ventis, W.L. (1993) Religion and the individual. N.Y: Oxford University Press, 161-168.

Braud, William G. (2002) Thoughts on the Ineffability of the Mystic Experience. International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 12(3), 141-160.

Crain, W. (1992) Theories of Development: Concepts and Applications. New Jersey: Simon & Schuster.

Crapps, R.W. (1986) Introduction to psychology of religion, p.329-354.

Eckert, Kimberly G. & Kimball, Cynthia N. (2003) God as a secure base and haven of safety: Attachment Theory as a framework for understanding relationship to God. In Hall, Todd W. Spiritual formation, counseling and psychotherapy. Nova Science. pp. 109-127.

Erikson, Erik (1950) Eight ages of man. Childhood and Society. N.Y.: Norton.

Farmer, L. (1992) Religious experience in childhood: A study of adult perspectives on early spiritual awareness. Religious Education, 87, 259-268.

Feldmeier, Peter (2007) The Developing Christian. New York: Paulist Press.

Fowler, James (1981) Stages of faith. Cambridge: Harper & Row.

Granqvist, Peter (2002) Attachment and religiosity in adolescence: Cross-sectional and longitudinal evaluation. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 28. 260-270.

Hay, D., Nye, R. & Murphy, R. (1996) Thinking about childhood spirituality. In L.J. Francis, W.K. Kay & W.S. Campbell (Eds.) Research in religious education. Gracewing, 41-71.

James, William (1902) The Varieties of Religious Experience. New York: Modern Library.

Levine, S. (1999) Children's cognition as the foundation of spirituality. International journal of children's spirituality, 4, 121-140.

Luyten, Patrick & Corveleyn, Jozef (2003) Mysticism, Creativity and Psychoanalysis: Still Crazy after all these years? International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 13(2), 97-109.

Meadow, M.J. & Kahoe, K.D. (1984) The developmental model. Psychology of religion: Religion in individual lives. N.Y.: Harper & Row, 320-325.

Oser, F.K. (1991) The development of religious judgment, in Oser, F.K. & Scarlett, W.G. (Eds.) Religious development in childhood and adolescence. New directions for child development, No. 52. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.

Paul Ricoeur (1969) The symbolism of evil. Boston: Beacon.

Raab, Kelley A. (2003) Mysticism, Creativity and Psychoanalysis: Learning From Marion Milner. International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 13(2), 79-96.

Singh, Sadhu Sundar (1922) At the Master's Feet, translated by Arthur and Kay Parker. New Jersey: Fleming Revell.

Slee, Nicola (2004) Women's faith development. Burlington, VT: Ashgate. pp. 61-79, 105-107, 133-134,159-161,163-168.

Streeter, B.H. (1921) The Message of Sadhu Sundar Singh. New York: Macmillan.

Underhill, Evelyn (1955) Mysticism: A study in the nature and development of man's spiritual consciousness. N.Y.: Meridian.

1R.W. Crapps (1986) Introduction to psychology of religion, p.329.
2Kelley A. Raab (2003) Mysticism, Creativity and Psychoanalysis: Learning From Marion Milner. International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 13(2), 79.
3William G. Braud (2002) Thoughts on the Ineffability of the Mystic Experience. International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 12(3), 142.
4Peter Feldmeier (2007) The Developing Christia, p. 77.
5William James (1902) The Varieties of Religious Experience. New York: Modern Library, pp. 370-372.
6Feldmeier, 134.
7James, 45.
8B.H. Streeter (1921) The Message of Sadhu Sundar Singh. New York: Macmillan, p. 4.
9 Feldmeier, 96.
10Streeter, p. 5. The Koran is the holy book of the Muslims, while the Gita and the Upanishads are Hindu scriptures. The Granth is the holy book revered by the Sikh religion.
11Feldmeier, 110-15.
12Streeter, 3.
13Ibid, 5.
14Kimberly G. Eckert & Cynthia N. Kimball (2003) God as a secure base and haven of safety: Attachment Theory as a framework for understanding relationship to God. In Todd W. Hall, Spiritual formation, counseling and psychotherapy. Nova Science. pp. 109-127.
15Erik Erikson (1950) Eight ages of man. Childhood and Society. N.Y.: Norton. pp.247-258.
16Eckert & Kimball. God as a secure base and haven of safety. 112.
17Peter Granqvist (2002) Attachment and religiosity in adolescence: Cross-sectional and longitudinal evaluation. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 28. 260.
18Ibid, 262.
19 Feldmeier, 129.
20Streeter, The message of Sadhu Sundar Singh, 9-10.
21Ibid, 14.
22Ibid, 3.
23C.D. Batson, P. Schoenrade & W.L. Ventis (1993) Religion and the individual. N.Y: Oxford University Press, 161-168.
24Feldmeier, 77-81.
25 Ibid, 82.
26M.J. Meadow & K.D. Kahoe (1984) The developmental model. Psychology of religion: Religion in individual lives. N.Y.: Harper & Row, 323.
27Streeter, The message of Sadhu Sundar Singh, 16.
28Ibid, 22-23.
29Patrick Luyten & Jozef Corveleyn (2003) Mysticism, Creativity and Psychoanalysis: Still Crazy after all these years? International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 13(2), 99.
30Nicola Slee (2004) Women's faith development. Burlington, VT: Ashgate. p. 63.
31Slee, Women's faith development, 65.
32Sadhu Sundar Singh (1922) At the Master's Feet, translated by Arthur and Kay Parker. New Jersey: Fleming Revell, pp. 1-90.
33Singh, At the Master's Feet, 19.
34Slee, Women's faith development, pp. 65-70.
35Ibid, 166.
36Streeter, The message of Sadhu Sundar Singh, 31-32.
37James Fowler (1981) Stages of faith. Cambridge: Harper & Row, pp. 40-41.
38Paul Ricoeur (1969) The symbolism of evil. Boston: Beacon, 352.
39Fowler, Stages of faith, 41,
41F.K. Oser (1991) The development of religious judgment, in F.K. Oser & W.G. Scarlett (Eds.) Religious development in childhood and adolescence. New directions for child development, No. 52. San Francisco: Jossey Bass, 12-13.
42Streeter, The message of Sadhu Sundar Singh, 30.
43Evelyn Underhill (1955) Mysticism: A study in the nature and development of man's spiritual consciousness. N.Y.: Meridian, 81ff.
44Crapps, Introduction to psychology of religion, 346.
45D. Hay, R. Nye & R. Murphy (1996) Thinking about childhood spirituality. In L.J. Francis, W.K. Kay & W.S. Campbell (Eds.) Research in religious education. Gracewing, 54.
46Feldmeier, 69.
47Hay, 55.
48L. Farmer (1992) Religious experience in childhood: A study of adult perspectives on early spiritual awareness. Religious Education, 87, 259-268.
49S. Levine (1999) Children's cognition as the foundation of spirituality. International journal of children's spirituality, 4, .122.
50Ibid, 124.
51Ibid, 125.
52Ibid, 130-131.
53Streeter, The message of Sadhu Sundar Singh, 44.
54Ibid, 68.
55 W. Crain (1992) Theories of Development: Concepts and Applications. New Jersey: Simon & Schuster, pp. 291-2.
56Streeter, The message of Sadhu Sundar Singh, 104.
57Ibid, 178. It was recounted by Singh that the Maharishi had been alive for a number of centuries, living in a cave with his scrolls, eating only a few leaves from a tree for sustenance.


  1. Wonderful and insightful and enlightening essay; after all: What part of integration is not inclusion; what part of God is not whole; what part of the universe is not the universe; what part of a you or me should be denied? In the exercise, the preference, the evaluation, the choice, the moment, we but find reason for what always is always valid all ways. ~Richard

  2. Yes Richard, and it is a comforting thought that for those who love God, all things work together for good; that is, nothing is lost, no pain without meaning, indeed all of these stem from love's gift. Everything that has ever happened to us, whether we perceive it as such or not (owing to conflation of pain with evil), is for our good.