“Food is one part. Love is another part. So, the food will give them physical nutrition. The love and affection which you show will give them mental nutrition.”
~ Narayanan Krishnan
by Lauren DelGandio
Narayanan Krishnan, 30, was chosen from more than 100,000 nominations as one of ten CNN heroes of 2010.
After meeting a very old man who Krishnan said was “literally eating his own human waste out of hunger,” he took it upon himself to feed him.
“As he ate the food, his eyes were filled with tears,” Krishnan remembers. “Those were the tears of happiness.”
Krishnan abandoned a lucrative career as a chef and started his nonprofit, Akshaya Trust, in 2003 in Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India. Akshaya, he said, is Sanskrit for “undecaying” or “imperishable.” He chose the name to represent his belief that human compassion should never decay or perish. Like Mother Teresa, who died six years before the founding of Akshaya, his mission is to care for the forgotten, homeless, mentally ill and the elderly abandoned by society.
In this short video, Narayanan Krishnan says, “Everybody has got 5.5 liters of blood. I am just a human being. For me everybody is the same.”
His message today echoes that of the late Virginia Satir, a pioneer in the field of humanistic psychology and relationship education. Virginia Satir often shared that wherever she went people were the same on the inside. She urged building relationships from what people shared in common rather than focusing on differences.
Krishnan recognizes that as human beings we all share common needs. He readily acknowledges that food is key to survival, but also recognizes another biological need we share as humans: the need for human connection, or bonding.
Narayanan Krishnan is certainly onto something when he says “Food is one part. Love is another part. So, the food will give them physical nutrition. The love and affection which you show will give them mental nutrition.”
I suspect Virginia Satir would agree.
Krishnan’s powerful, personal message offers dignity, hope and validation to the homeless people he serves.
Once a rising star, chef now feeds the homeless