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India: Still Searching for God

The previous post told about Ritesh, a father in India who worshiped idols and could not find peace through Hindu rituals. He kept his family life in an uproar and upset his kids, Kimaya, Ranbir, and Mayra. One day in 2016, he went to an electronics shop to buy speakers so he could hear his Hindu music more clearly. His story continues below.

Word Search
The shopkeeper at the electronics shop, Pascal, happened to be a Christian. Ritesh told Pascal about his desire to know more about God. The shopkeeper advised Ritesh to find out the meaning of “Genesis.” Ritesh wrote “Genesis” on a piece of paper and began a long search.

Ritesh and his family speak an Indian language, but his 13-year-old daughter, Kimaya, had studied a little bit of English at school. So first, Ritesh asked her to help. A friend suggested that Kimaya look in a dictionary. “We didn’t know the word ‘dictionary,’” Ritesh said. “We asked a college boy in the neighborhood, but he didn’t have a dictionary.”

The friend suggested that they look on the Internet. “We didn’t know the Internet,” Ritesh said.

Finally Ritesh found a dictionary at a shop and bought it. But it was difficult for him and Kimaya to find a word in an English dictionary. (Imagine looking for a word in a Chinese dictionary if you don’t know Chinese characters well.) “The whole night we were searching for the word ‘Genesis,’” Ritesh said.

For 15 days, Kimaya searched for the word while Ritesh was at his job as a fisherman. After work, he went to bookstores and libraries to try to find the meaning of Genesis. Finally he again searched the dictionary himself and found that Genesis means “the origin of creation.”

More Searching
Ritesh returned to the shopkeeper and told him he found the meaning of Genesis. “Now find the book called Genesis, and read it,” Pascal told him.

Ritesh asked many people where he could find the Book of Genesis — people at bookstores, the driver of the public bus, and others he encountered. Someone told him he could find the book in Bangalore, a city eight or nine hours away by car or bus. Ritesh traveled all night long to get to Bangalore. But he didn’t find Genesis, even though he asked people at several locations to help.

Ritesh returned to Pascal and admitted his search had failed. Pascal sold Ritesh a Bible in his own language for 100 rupees. (One U.S. dollar equals about 70 Indian rupees.) “If he gave it to me free, I would not think it had much value,” Ritesh said. “He wanted me to know the value of the Bible.”

Read more about Ritesh and his search in the next post.

To Talk About
*Ritesh wanted to find out more about God. What obstacles did he face in his search?
*Why was it so hard for Ritesh to find a Bible? Why do you think Pascal made the task more difficult?

(To protect their identities, the names of some of the people on this website and some identifying details have been changed. Some of the quotes and stories have been edited and paraphrased from the original sources for clarity, length, and age appropriateness.)


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