Is there a life without suffering and loneliness? Why did God take away my mom? Why do I live like an orphan? What do I want to become? Who will love and cherish me? These are the questions which linger on my mind. Where are the answers to life’s biggest questions?
I’m Mohana Krishnan. I was born on 23rd December 1967 in Madurai, South India. My father’s name is Srinivasan lyengar. He was an honest Labour Officer who worked for Tamil Nadu Government. He was proved righteous by the testimonies of local proprietors when allegations were brought against him for corruption. He was tall and handsome but I was most attracted to his hard work ethic.
My mother acted violently one day when I was three years old. Some people said she may have been schizophrenic and others said muni (a spirit) attacked her. My father admitted her to Highground Government Hospital near Palayamkottai and I stayed with her. I would only leave her side to purchase medicine. I remember getting lost on my way back from the pharmacy and crying and searching for my mother in the big hospital. She died after two years of suffering. That is all I remember of my mother.
My childhood was a pitiable one. I went to the local elementary school on my block. I applied and was accepted to St. Xavier’s Higher Secondary School. The day of admission I met with the Headmaster alone. My father had been transferred to a new place of employment. Our neighbor signed as a guardian on my admission form. I felt like I was an orphan.
My father worked in Madurai which was 155Km away. He left us with his sister. My aunt had six girls and one boy. I have five elder sisters. It was more like a girls hostel than a home. My father used to come on Saturday evenings and leave on Sunday evenings. His visits were so precious to me and a boost for the whole week. I would ask him questions for hours and he would patiently answer all of them. If he did not turn up on a Saturday evening, I would go to bed in tears.
I longed for a mother’s care and love. No special care was given because I was one of thirteen kids. I had a friend named Sri Ram who lived on my street. I loved his family. One day we had a fight and yet I still went to his house just to find love from his family.
When I was in eighth grade my father and aunt had a dispute over the ancestral property. We had to move to B-colony near Palayamkottai. Ravi became my close friend. His family also showed me love and care; they were our neighbors. I received my Diploma of Civil Engineering from Sankar Institute of Polytechnic at Sankar Nagar.
After winning a civil suit over the ancestral property my father brought us back to Palayamkottai. My first engineering jobs were with Roman Catholic Institutions. I gained confidence with the nuns because of my good conduct. Even their Provincial Superior asked my company for me to be site supervisor for their Nagerkoil Provincial Home construction.
Still I was unhappy. I felt depressed by the separation from Ravi’s family. After getting a favorable reply from Ram who is Ravi’s brother to join him in Delhi, I resigned my job. After lots of interviews I couldn’t find a new job in Delhi. Hope was fading away and money was running out. Surprisingly I got a job from a structural designer in Janakpuri. I also applied to further my studies at Annamalai University for a Diploma in Concrete Technology and Design.
We are proud to belong to the Brahmin Iyengar family. We have a great heritage. Two of my grandfathers and my uncle were astrologers. Mapillai (Bridegroom) Iyengar family is the title of our family in our locality. I ventured into the spiritual world from my childhood. I learned slokas from Suthamalli Iyer and Ramanathan Iyer in my childhood. My favorites were Vishnu Sahashranamam and Venkateshwara subrabatham. I myself learned Lakshmi Astakam, Rajaraajeshwari Astakam and Kanthashashtikavasam. I used to take part in mudhal theertha koshti in Kopalaswamykoil temple and chant Naalayiradivya Prabandam and Purshasuktam.
I heard a discourse on Bhagavat Gita while I was in Delhi. Because of my sorrows I wanted to embrace asceticism and to practice bhakti yoga (devotional meditation) and to leave this world permanently. I went to Mathura to an Ashram and found contradictions in their word and walk.
The darkest period of my life started when I began to regret my career choice. I cursed myself for studying civil engineering instead of mechanical engineering which was my passion. Even my father lost heart and worried about my future in civil engineering. My inconsistent work experience in the construction field made my efforts futile for Gulf employment opportunities.
I hated my life, this world and people. My dad encouraged me to pursue a course in secretarial training. I finished my pre-university certificate course and started to pursue my Hindi learning. After one week of running a ration shop with friends it was closed because of interference from rowdies in our locality. This led me to the realization for the need of revival among Brahmin community. An Ad hoc committee was formed and I was in that committee. I motivated and took leadership of surveying Palayamkottai for Brahmin families and conducted a poll for new office holders and renewed that Association. My father became an executive member.
I studied Bagavat Gita with the commentary of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. I argued with the principal and others of CMS girls’ hostel of my locality to prove Bhagavat Gita and Bible are the same. I proved by giving many explicit answers from Gita than from the Bible for the cause of evil. Questions arose in my mind after I went through Gita. The first was about how much sin I had committed in my previous life and my incapability of leading a holy life in this present time. Also how was I to find atonement for my past sins. This view led me to the impracticality of attaining Mukthi (salvation from the birth cycle). Another question I had was about the Ultimate Truth of Brahman. Brahman is without attributes and formless. In the meantime I got introduced with Prajaphitha Brahmakumari World University movement. I learned transcendental meditation and even went to nearby centers to teach as a volunteer. My college mate Abdul Razeek introduced me to Islam and I went along with him to mosque and attended prayers. There also I couldn’t find the answers to my life questions.
My caste and my religious pride made me think of Christianity with disdain. A colleague gave me a biography of the evangelist, Sthuthi Sankar. I read that book to find out where Stuthi Sankar went wrong by abandoning Hinduism and embraceing Christianity. A portion of that book says, “Sthuthi Sankar wanted to commit suicide when he studied Polytechnic in Chennai. He went to Pallavaram Hills with poison in his hand. In that night he heard a voice telling him ‘I’m sufficient for you.’ He came down immediately and saw his hostel mates where praying in a circle. He joined that prayer and found his heart filled with God’s peace.” This led me to question whether God can speak to man. In Hinduism there is popular belief of rebirth and not of resurrection. I thought Christians worshiped the ghost of Christ. The next day I returned the book to Christopher and asked for another book which would tell of the whereabouts of Christ but not of his teachings. He gave me a Tamil translation of an English book named We would see Jesus written by Roy & Revel Hession.
At the age of 26 on the 8th of November, 1993 at 9:30 at night when I was reading this particularly line,
“He (God) had already showered upon man His love, and man had thrown that love back in His face. But the love of God was such that, when man had done all that, He yet purposed his recovery, and He stretched out His hand the second time, this time to redeem. To create, God had but to speak, and it was done. But to redeem, He had to bleed. And He did so in the Person of His Son, Jesus Christ, whom He sent to take for us the place of death upon the Cross which our sin had so richly deserved.”
I had a vision of the crucified Christ and his bleeding hands on the Cross. I started to cry saying to Christ, “I never seek you but I hated you. What a wretched man I am and how great is your love that you would die for me?” My heart started to fill with love and peace which surpasses understanding. I also knew that I was guilty of sin and that I did not yet know the forgiveness of sin through Christ. I came to a conclusion that there is God and I have seen him. I had found the Ultimate Truth. Christopher immediately took me to Bro. Shantha Kumar. He showed me Christ’s gift of grace and forgiveness. That love and forgiveness of Jesus motivated me to finish reading the Tamil New Testament (Anbin Seithi) within fifteen days and then I finished reading of the whole Bible within two months. The love of Christ filled my heart and I started to love him with my whole heart. I was baptized and was anointed with the Holy Spirit in January 1994. I am inspired to live from Acts 9:15-16:
This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name. (NIV)
I thank my God for his faithfulness in keeping His promise in my life’s difficult situations.
God called me to ministry. My family understood my firmness and sent me as a missionary. I felt loss as I left my secular job, my family members, my people, my language, my culture and many other things and stepped into unknown worlds by faith. On the 7th of September, 1994–exactly 10 months after my salvation experience I was sent to Alnavar in Dharwad District of Karnataka. Our ministerial life started every morning by 9 o’clock and ended by in the evening by 6 or 7 o’clock. I felt tired because of a lot of walking and talking among village folks and we had to do our own cooking. God enabled us by His grace as a team to build two churches in the forest areas of Kambarganvi and Nagerhalli. I was transferred to Gargoti which is in Maharashtra and took part in church construction for about 8 months. Then I came to Saundatti in Karnataka after the dedication of the Church and served there for 6 months. Again I came back to Alnavar and ministered there till August ’99.
I married Catherine in May 1997. She served for some time with Gospel Echoing Missionary Society in Bihar, and then with Youth for Christ in Tamil Nadu. We as a family were sent to Saundatti field on August 99 and continued the work of previous missionaries. God gave me his promise from Isa 41:15:
See, I will make you into a threshing sledge, new and sharp, with many teeth. You will thresh the mountains and crush them, and reduce the hills to chaff. (NIV)
God enabled me to love and serve the people and to construct and dedicate the Church on 30th September of 2001. I came to Chennai on May 2006 for medical treatment. I helped in establishing a departmental set up for Blessing Youth Mission’s construction activities. My daughter Merlin Jones, born on June 2, 2007 was a new addition to our family.
We were transferred to Hassan, Karnataka on November 2 of 2007. I have finished by this time my Bachelor of Missionology and then Master of Theology in Missionology. Now God is using me as a revival preacher, missionary training faculty and State Coordinator of Karnataka in Blessing Youth Mission. I am pursuing my PhD. I also preach the gospel to the elite of society in a personal way. God’s word says in 1 Corinthians 1:27-29:
God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.
Likewise I can surely say from my life:
Not because I am–
A Brahmin but because of my brokenness,
An Engineer but because of my emptiness,
A Singer but because a sinner,
A complete but because a condemned,
An outnumbered but because an orphan,
Gentle but because of gruesome,
A lovable but because a left out,
God chose me as his son and
Jesus chose me as his minister and the
Holy Spirit has become my Companion.
I do not have everything I desire, but the “peace that surpasses understanding guards my heart in Jesus Christ” in every situation. Will you not receive this peace, tranquility, love, forgiveness, and freedom from guilt through the God and Savior Jesus Christ? Let Him into your life because He died for your sins on the Cross! The Good news is He lives and wants to live with us. If you invite Him He will forgive, and will come in your life and transform your empty life into eternal life. I invite you to think about your life and where it is heading? I beg you to make the right decision. This is the right time to choose Him. May God reveal Himself in love to transform your life!