Nirmal Hridaya

Mother Teresa’s search for a place to put up terminally ill patients was still on. She badly needed one as it had become her wont to pick up sick from footpaths and roadsides.
The problem had become acute. Mother had no money for the rent of a big roof. In sheer desperation she decided to try Municipal Department. After all, she was doing their duty.
She knocked at the door of an officer whose job was to deal with health matters.
It was a lucky day for Mother. The department was headed by a considerate officer named Dr. Ahmad.
He asked, “Sister, what can I do for you?”
“Well, you see, the terminally ill people suffer on footpaths, roads and parks in your city The hospitals refuse to accept them. We can not let them die like that. Can we? But where can we take them?” Mother asked.
“What can we do about it?”
“I just need a space. I will manage rest of the things. Give me a space,” Mother propositioned.
“What resources have you got?” Dr. Ahmad wanted to know.
“Spirit, love and service.” Mother extended her hands showing the palms.
Dr. Ahmad looked at Mother Teresa. He at once got the vibes that the nun facing him was genuine. He could see that she was simple, honest and very determined. Dr. Ahmad was himself concerned about the sick, dying and dead bodies lying on the roadsides and in parks.
Just then, he remembered about a place he was receiving complaints about that it was being misused by anti-social elements.
The place was a Dharamshala, a free lodging house for pilgrims situated near Calcutta’s famed Kalighat temple. A religious philanthropist had constructed the two hall structure. For some time the halls were used properly. Then, anti-social elements took control of the facilities and began to misuse it for criminal activities.
So, Dr. Ahmad issued permission letter to Mother Teresa allowing her the use of those facilities for her charity programme. The Police Commissioner also gave his okay.
Mother Teresa was extremely happy. She named the home ‘Nirmal Hridaya’ which literally meant ‘Pure Heart’. The halls were large enough to accommodate about 8 dozen patients. The very sick and terminally ill were kept there.
An American correspondent came to see Mother Teresa’s charity works in Calcutta. He visited the ‘Nirmal Hridaya’. He was amazed to see Mother and her Sisters taking care of deathly sick. Most of the patients were in horrible state with festering wounds and degenerating bodies. Their condition made the correspondent throw up. He went around with a hanky covering his mouth and nostrils to block nauseating smells.
But Mother and her Sisters were attending to the patients without flinching or recoiling.
He asked, “How are you able to serve those people without getting repelled?”
In reply Mother asked that correspondent to feed the patient she was then feeding. The patient was in dreadful condition. The correspondent shivered. Mother asked him to grit his teeth and do it holding his breath.
The correspondent did that. At first he felt like running away from that horror. But he forced himself to feed the patient. After several attempts he was able to stand it. Then, he could feel nothing.
He had forged a bond of sympathy with that patient. Mother told him, “See? When you dedicate yourself to the service of others all your prejudices get washed away. The person you take care of becomes an extension of you emotionally.”
One day, some communal minded Pundits instigated the locals against Nirmal Hridaya. They accused Mother of converting patients to the Christianity on the pretext of treating them.
There were demonstrations outside the home.
The Police Commissioner arrived to prevent any violence. The demonstrators revealed the nefarious activities they thought Mother was carrying out in the ‘Nirmal Hridaya.’
The Police Commissioner walked in to investigate what he saw was just the opposite. Sisters were taking care of the terminally ill patients in such repelling state that normal person would dread to go near them even, forget about touching them. The Police Commissioner, moved around silently and utterly incredulous of the way Sisters were serving patients. He even saw a patient saying Hindu prayer.
He silently went out and called the demonstrators to him. He showed them from the door the condition of the terminally ill and the way Sisters were nursing them.
Then the Police Commissioner announced on the loud speaker from his jeep, “Alright folks, you saw the patients and the work of Sisters. Bring your sisters and daughters to take over the job of nursing the poor patients. The moment you do we will get rid of Mother Teresa and her Sisters.”
Needless to say that, that was the last the people saw of the bigotic Pundits.
Later, the Police Commissioner said to Dr. Ahmad, “Doctor, make sure that the angel named Mother Teresa stays here for ever for the good she is doing.”

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