In “Walking with Krishnamurti”, Devyani Mangaldas paints a moving picture of her mother’s life on the canvas of her beautiful lifelong friendship with the philosopher, Jiddu Krishnamurti.
Among other things, Devyani writes of her mother, Nandini Mehta, establishing Bal Anand, a school for poor, uncared-for children — an initiative that she poured herself into all her life, an institution that “changed the course of countless lives.”
“One rainy day in July 1954,” Nandini’s house-help, “brought in two young girls. She had discovered them standing forlorn in the torrential rain beside an overflowing drain. Their mother had just died, and their father lay on a pavement nearby in a drunken stupor. The girls, Matu and Bhaja, aged two and four, were shivering, perplexed, and frightened.”
Devyani writtes that “Nandini reached out to them….dried their hair….held them close, calmed their shivering bodies, and gave them a few biscuits to eat.
The next day they reappeared and stood helplessly at the gate. Nandini noticed them and gave them a snack, and this time, also a piece of paper and a crayon. The three of them sat together under the shade of a mango tree and talked and coloured.”
This led Nandini to set up Bal Anand — a place that started with these two young girls and grew to be home for many many. It was a place where children were tutored in academic subjects, and got nutritious food. But more importantly, at Bal Anand, children “felt cared for and experienced affection” — it was a place that “treated them as children, not as drivers’ or cooks’ children.”
Nandini lived Krishnamurti’s teachings, and “Bal Anand ran on the power of love and strength of Nandini’s compassion.”
In what is arguably his most profound Talk (titled “A Time to Break Silence”, delivered on 4th April 1967), Martin Luther King Jr. calls out to each of us. “Let us love one another” — love that is “all-embracing and unconditional.”
Elsewhere in the Talk, he exhorts us to “shift from a “thing-oriented” society to a “person-oriented” society.”
He then speaks to conscience.
“True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.”