Introduction / History
The name “Arasu” means ruler or royalty in the Kannada language. In the late Middle Ages, the Arasu or Urs were the rulers of small fiefdoms in south India. The primary language of the Arasu is Kannada. They also speak Tamil and English. Many Christian resources are available in Kannada including the whole Bible and the JESUS Film.
Where Are they Located?
Most Arasu live in the southern Indian of Karnataka while a smaller group resides in Tamil Nadu.
What Are Their Lives Like?
Most Arasu people either work for the government or they own farmland that is worked by lower castes. Although they are a relatively small people today, they make up a large proportion of the politicians and government administrators of Karnataka. They occupy some of the highest places in south Indian society as educators and teachers of Hinduism. They value education and encourage their children to get college degrees and enter the professions. They live a life similar to people in the West in modern Indian cities.
What Are Their Beliefs?
The Arasu have elaborate customs for their weddings with special garb for the bride and groom. They marry within their group with parents arranging marriages with the consent of the young people. Sons inherit property with the eldest son becoming the head of the family upon the death of his father. Marriage to one spouse is the norm but a man may have more than one wife if he can afford them.
A caste council promotes their interests and settles any legal disputes among the Arasu. The Arasu try to follow their ancient traditions and customs to maintain their cultural identity as high caste members of south India.
The Arasu people consider themselves to be devout Hindus and see their religion as part of their cultural identity. They worship and serve the gods of the Hindu pantheon. Hindus believe that by performing rituals and good works that they will attain moksha or freedom from the endless cycle of birth, death and rebirth. They visit Hindu temples and offer prayers, food, flowers, and incense to their gods in hopes of gaining protection and benefits. They do not have a personal or familial relationship with their gods like Christians or Jews. There are many forms of Hinduism, each with its own deities and beliefs.
What Are Their Needs?
The main yearly holidays of the Arasu people are Holi, the festival of colors and the start of spring / Diwali, the festival of lights / Navratri, the celebration of autumn / and Rama Navami, Rama’s birthday.
The Arasu will need humility to trust in Jesus as their Savior and Lord. They need to realize that their Hindu rituals and wealth will not get them right with the one, true God or have their sins forgiven.
* Scripture Prayers for the Arasu in India.
* Pray for gospel workers to catch a vision for reaching the Arasu people for Jesus and that in God’s sovereign timing their hearts would be open and ready to follow Him.
* Pray for Jesus movements to bless extended Arasu families so the gospel will spread rapidly among this people group.
* Pray for the spiritual lives of the Arasu people to become fruitful as they follow Christ.
* Pray for the lives and culture of the Arasu people to evidence the rule and reign of the Kingdom of God as they open to the gospel, and for the beauty of Jesus to be seen in them.