Narayanan Krishnan

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Narayanan Krishnan
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The term “be the change you want to see in the world” has become cliché for a lot of people today, but there are still some who prove that these words are true. A good example of this is Narayanan Krishnan, who for more than ten years now has been impacting the lives of hundreds, if not thousands, of homeless, poor and mentally ill people in India.


Why Narayanan Krishnan is Extraordinary

Narayanan Krishnan is a social worker and philanthropist who is most famous for being hailed as one of the CNN Heroes of the Year in 2010. A person filled with service and compassion, Narayanan is the founder and current head of the Akshaya Trust, a non-profit organization focused on feeding the homeless, poor and mentally ill, giving them free haircuts, and providing homes so they would not need to stay on the streets.

A Remarkable Crusade: Looking Out for the Welfare of Others

Narayanan’s life is so extraordinary and inspirational because of the way he started his organization. Living as a successful chef who was on his way to international notoriety, Narayanan chose to give all of this up so that he could focus on what truly mattered—serving the poor and the hungry. He faced a lot of pressure in giving up his successful career as a chef, but he never let the pride of life blind him from helping the people that really mattered.

As he says in an interview:

“I would like to ask the question that as an individual what you did. As an individual what impact have you created for society? You will see on the roadside, a BMW, Volkswagen, Mercedes Benz, but on the same day you will see a homeless person. There is no bun, no burger for this person. You drive by in a Mercedes… but do you see the beggar on the sidewalk?”

Inspiring Change, Not Waiting for It

Another inspiring thing about Narayanan is that he did not wait for someone else to lead him to helping others in need—when he saw the need, he acted on it himself. Often, people wait for someone else to start doing philanthropic work before they get on the trend, but not Narayanan. For him, the ability to help others, especially those that really need it, does not require a catalyst of someone else doing it first—rather, it is in one’s decision that everything starts, and once the chain of service starts, nothing can end it.

This is what Narayanan pointed out in an interview:

“Action starts with the individual, and a bunch of small actions by one person can make a big impact. When you combine the actions of many passionate individuals working together the results can be monumental.”

A Never-Ending Work of Love and Service

Ultimately, Narayanan never allows all the successes and achievements to cause him to become stagnant in the work that he is doing. Instead, he uses all these accomplishments as an inspiration to do more and to reach more people. He knows that in his lifetime, he may not be able to help everyone everywhere, but he is satisfied to know that he is able to help everyone that he could. Service is something that gives him so much joy, and that is why he does not get burnt out.

“We feed the homeless, mentally ill, destitute, and old people who are ignored by society. People are suffering without food to eat. If we do not give them food to eat, they will die out of human hunger. To serve such people keeps me going day in and day out. The food gives them the physical nutrition, love, and affection shows the mental nutrition. The ultimate purpose of life is to give. Start giving and you will feel the joy of giving. This keeps me going.”

Top Reasons why Narayanan Krishnan is Extraordinary

  1. Narayanan Krishnan is one of the recipients of CNN Heroes of the Year award.
  2. He is the founder of Akshaya Trust, an organization focused on feeding the poor and mentally ill, giving them free haircuts, and providing them shelter.
  3. He left his life of comfort and success to help the poor and needy.
  4. His organization started out with nothing, but today stands as one of the most successful organizations in India.
  5. He doesn’t just prepare the food: Narayanan personally goes to the poor and distributes food himself.
  6. The movie “Ustad Hotel” was based on Narayanan’s life and career as a philanthropist.
  7. He was an excellent culinary student in his college years.
  8. He did not wait for change to happen: he went out and started it himself.
  9. He is one of the most active philanthropists in India.
  10. He has received several honours and awards from Rotary International and its chapters.

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