Pal, Krishna


b 1764, d 1822. A carpenter and Hindu guru, his name gradually became known worldwide when he became the first Christian convert from Hinduism after 7 years of missionary work by Wm Carey, Joshua Marshman (qv) and Wm Ward at Serampore (Sambalpur), N of Calcutta in NE India. He first heard the gospel from John Fountain, but at the age of 35 an accident at work and a shoulder-injury led him to ask the help of John Thomas, a medical colleague of the Baptist ‘Serampore Trio’. Convicted of his need of a saviour, he began to look for spiritual as well as physical remedies and eventually requested baptism. After breaking caste (a required pre-condition) he was baptized in the Hooghly (Hugli) River opposite the mission centre, on 30 Dec 1800, in spite of bitter opposition from his family and neighbours. Within two months his wife, his sister-in-law and his great friend Gokul took the same step of faith, and in spite of many setbacks he was ordained and became a travelling evangelist who pioneered and was persecuted in true apostolic mode. His home became a centre of fellowship, teaching and prayer. The English magistrate at Benares (Varanasi) gave him no protection from a hostile crowd. At Silhet, however, the equivalent official marked the importance of the first 7 baptisms conducted by Krishna Pal by having a ceremonial cannon fired; 600 attended and he provided hospitality and wrote a full report to Carey. On that earlier landmark day in 1800 Carey’s son Felix had also been baptized; see also the notes to no.637 and to his own hymn included here in translation, as in other (mainly Baptist) books. Krishna Pal wrote several other hymns; he died of cholera at the age of 56 (or 58). Further details are found in biographies of Carey, eg Pearce Carey’s William Carey, 1st edn 1923; and in Elsie Houghton’s Christian Hymn-writers (1982). No.736.

Hymns and songs by Pal, Krishna

Number Hymn Name
736 Now, O my soul, forget no more