“shift from a “thing-oriented” society to a “person-oriented” society.”

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.”

Peace 😊

“the ocean of selflessness….”

Marie Louise Burke, in her diary entries (“A Disciple’s Journal: In the company of Swami Ashokananda”), gifts us a view of her struggles, and her relationship with her Teacher, Swami Ashokananda (a monk of the Ramakrishna Order). It is remarkable, among other things, for the reason that there is clearly no whitewashing 😊

Introducing the entries for 1956, she writes that “when I came to know Swami Ashokananda”, she saw “the ocean of selflessness for the first time.”

“My only thought was “Oh! That’s it.”….He was not merely unselfish — there was just no self, no ego to affirm or to efface. Out of that emptiness….came a strength and a wisdom without shadows or doubts.”

Writing about Jesus Christ in “The World’s Religions”, the scholar Huston Smith points out that “it seemed to those who knew him best that here was a man in whom the human ego had disappeared…..” It was this, “what he was”, Huston writes, that “edged his disciples toward the conclusion that he was divine”.

Abigail Marsh, psychologist and neuroscientist at Georgetown University, whose life-direction changed when a stranger (whose identify she still does know) saved her life after a potentially fatal road accident when she was nineteen, tells us in a TED Talk that she has devoted her work “to understanding the human capacity to care for others.”

She says that she has asked many altruistic people about what it is that makes them special, that makes them different from most. 

“And what do they say? 

They say, “Nothing. There’s nothing special about me. I’m just the same as everybody else.”

And I think that’s actually a really telling answer….They have no center. These altruists literally don’t think of themselves as being at the center of anything, as being better or more inherently important than anybody else.” 

Peace 😊

“discover….the neighbor in every” person we meet.

In a letter written around 60 AD (Letter 48, “Moral letters to Lucilius”, translated by Richard Gummere) the Stoic philosopher and Roman statesman Seneca tells us that “no one can live happily who has regard to himself alone and transforms everything into a question of his own utility; you must live for your neighbour, if you would live for yourself.”

In “A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings of Martin Luther King, Jr”, Martin encourages us to cultivate agape.

Agape, a Greek word, is a loving attitude that “makes no distinction between friends and enemies”, and strives to “discover….the neighbor in every man it meets.”

In “Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith”, Anne Lamott reminds us of “unearned love” that “keeps getting us off the hook”“the help you receive….when you are empty and desperate.”

Peace 😊