Over 100,000 Benefitted…
Today, over 132 years later the story of Ramabai continues. There is a wealth of information available to those interested in knowing what has become of her efforts, even to this day.
But the power of Ramabai’s story is her personal encounter with the Living God. She came to know Him and to be known by Him. Ramabai had already been blessed by God with many talents and skills. As she turned her life over to God’s guidance, He multiplied her efforts beyond what she ever dreamed of.
Do you have this same authority and power that Ramabai did? Would you like to learn more? Do you want to know the truth of life that Ramabai learned? Read here about the Truth that will set you free!
Her brother’s death left her alone in the world; but meeting an educated man who sympathized with her unselfish resolve, she married him, though of low caste, and was very happy, made happier by the birth of a little girl, whom they called Manorama, heart’s delight. As Ramabai, with the aid of her husband, was about to establish a little school for widows, he suddenly died. Feeling then the need of greater work and a better training for it, she resolved to go to England. Before leaving her country, she had founded the Arya Mahila Samaj in Poona, for the promotion of female education and discouragement of child marriage. In May 1883, Ramabai landed in England, a stranger to its people, its customs, and manners. She very quickly learned the language, was made a professor of Sanskrit in the Cheltenham Female College and studied higher mathematics, English literature, etc. Here she embraced Christianity and was baptized.
Receiving an unexpected invitation to come to Philadelphia in February 1886, to attend the graduation of her cousin, Dr. Anandibai Joshi, she felt this to be the call of God. In Dean Bodley of the Women’s Medical College, she found a true friend who encouraged her to remain and work out her plans in America. Through the public-school system, the kindergarten and industrial training, she saw an open door for her work. She made appeals to the people to aid her in establishing a secular school for the high-caste child widows. The appeals were to men and women of every denomination. She asked, moreover, that they should form themselves into an undenominational Association to be the custodian of the funds that might be given her, and to which she should be responsible for the use of those funds. On May 28, 1887, a public meeting was held in the Channing Hall of the American Unitarian Association Building under the auspices of the Unitarians. The hall was filled to overflowing. The audience was moved to tears and laughter by Ramabai’s pathos and keen wit.
At the close of her stirring appeal, Rev. Charles G. Ames moved that a provisional committee of women be appointed then and there to consider Ramabai’s plans, to act as far as possible, and report at a later meeting for the purpose. After the formation of the Association, Ramabai considered herself its servant. From May 1887 to November 1888, this dauntless little woman of thirty, showed a degree of mental and physical endurance that was marvelous even in the eyes of an American. In November 1888, Ramabai bid goodbye to a land that had grown dear to her, and turned her face homewards bright with hope, and with a brave heart, though she knew not how she would be received by her countrymen. On February 1, 1889, Ramabai again stood on the shores of her native land, after an absence of six years.
In less than six weeks a school was opened in Bombay, named the Sharada Sadan, signifying a Home of Wisdom. It opened with two pupils, one of whom, Godubai, then became the educated wife of a professor in Fergusson College, Poona.
In 1891, Ramabai was led to a clearer understanding of the spiritual nature of Christianity and to a perception of the deep things of God through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. “One thing I knew by this time,” she wrote, “that I needed Christ and not merely His religion… I was desperate… What was to be done? My thoughts could not and did not help me. I had, at last, come to an end of myself, and unconditionally surrendered myself to the Savior, and asked Him to be merciful to me, and to become my righteousness and redemption, and to take away all my sin….” Her personal life was bound to influence the pupils, who requested to be permitted to join Bible studies and later requested baptism.
There was strong opposition from the press and Indian reformers. Ramabai strongly objected to the pressure to close her door while reading the Bible to her daughter. “I have the same freedom to practice Christianity which these girls have to practice their religion. Why should I shut the door of my room, which I do not shut at any other time during 24 hours of the day?”
In 1904, Ramabai commenced translation of the Bible in Marathi. In 1913, the first edition of the New Testament of Ramabai’s translation in Marathi was published. In 1924, the complete Bible was printed in the Mukti Printing Press.
During the famines of 1896-97 in Madhya Pradesh and 1900-01 in Gujarat, Ramabai was instrumental in bringing over 2000 women and girls who were rescued. These girls were housed in the temporary sheds at the 100-acre farm which she had purchased in 1895 at Kedgaon.
The Spiritual Revival of 1905, was preceded by the Prayer Circle of 70, who met daily for prayer, before attending their Bible classes and morning prayers. Soon the number swelled to 700 and the Church had to be used for the meeting. She wrote, “I am not aware that anything like the present Holy Ghost revival, has ever visited India before the year 1905.” She was genuinely happy that she had seen it in her lifetime.
Ramabai was awarded the Kaiser-I-Hind medal for community service in 1919. July 24, 1921, was a sad day for her. Manorama, her only daughter, had died. She herself did not wait long after that, and on April 5, 1922, herself left for her heavenly abode.
And as she quoted, “A life totally committed to God, has nothing to fear, nothing to lose and nothing to regret.”