I received a letter from a college friend named Larry who had left the same time I had, to study yoga and meditation. He told me he had walked into a church and heard an audible say, “Jesus is the only way,” and he was born again. I wrote him back and said, “That’s good for you, but I don’t think I can accept the idea that Jesus is the only way.” Then I prayed about it all day long. I said, “Jesus, if this is true…if you died on the cross for the sins of humanity, and if you rose from the dead, I dedicate this day to you. I’m not going to do anything else but read the Bible and pray to you. If you’re real, I believe you’ll show me today.”
That went on for hours and hours. All day long I read the Bible and prayed. I said, “Jesus, if you’re real, manifest yourself to me supernaturally.” That afternoon I was going to teach at the University of South Florida. I had to walk or hitchhike everywhere because I had made a commitment to own no material things. All I had was a couple of changes of clothing and a few eating utensils. Two miles away was a young man who had been a former yoga student. He was now a part of a prayer group in town that was praying for me. They had read an article in the Tampa Tribune newspaper about my yoga classes at four universities. They knew I was a seeker of truth, hungry for reality. They were seeking God saying, “God, lead him to the cross. Lead him to true salvation.” I didn’t know this was going on.
When I stepped out on the road hitchhiking that day, I didn’t know that one of the members of the prayer group was two miles away. He was walking into a laundry mat with an armful of dirty clothes, and the Holy Spirit told him to get back in his vehicle and start driving. He didn’t know what God wanted him to do, but he was submitted and willing to do whatever he felt this compelling inner voice was telling him. He began driving, and whenever he felt the Holy Spirit witness within him, he would turn and drive about a half mile and turn again, drive a quarter mile and turn again.
God led him to the very spot where I was hitchhiking. The odds of that happening are absolutely phenomenal. He also said he never picked up hitchhikers, especially people who looked a little way out like I did, but he felt that compulsion again and pulled over to the side of the road. My heart started racing when I opened the door of the van. There was a picture of Jesus he had taped to the headliner. I knew, “This is my answer!”
I was sitting on the edge of my seat waiting for him to say something. All of a sudden he said, “Friend, can I ask a question?” I said, “Yes.” He said, “Have you ever experienced Jesus Christ coming into your heart?” I said, “No, but when can I?” He said, “You can come to our prayer meeting tonight.” I said, “I don’t want to wait for a prayer meeting. If I can find Jesus, I want to find him now.” So he pulled the van over to the side of the road, and we knelt in the back. I prayed, “Jesus, I’m not sure if you’re hearing me, but if you’re there, if you died on the cross for me, if you rose from the dead, come into my heart.”
I was born again. It was so powerful, so real. It was an immediate, dramatic change in my life. It was so convincing I immediately stopped everything I was doing that was contrary to the Christian world view. I told all of my yoga students, about 300 of them, that I had found Jesus, and from that point forward we would no longer be conducting the classes. It was quite a shock for their *guru to become a devotee, they would say, of the Lord Jesus Christ over night and everything change. That was amazing to most of my students. Most of them became Christians also.
I had been operating a Yoga Ashram, which is a commune where people live together, studying yoga on a more intense level. There were about a half dozen students there. We shut the Ashram down immediately. I moved to Central Florida and became a member of a Christian commune that worked with the poor migrant workers in Oviedo, Florida. A couple of month later I took off hitchhiking with a friend and started sharing Jesus on college campuses all over the country.
*In Hinduism…a spiritual teacher