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Sai Baba and Nelson Mandela


Nelson Mandela

Less than a week ago on Sunday, 15th December, the remains of perhaps the most popular and universally-loved statesman of all time, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, lovingly called by his Xhosa tribal name Madiba by many around the world, was laid to rest in his home village of Qunu in the Eastern Cape. What follows are reflections by a former media advisor to President Mandela on the invisible hand of the architect of Cosmic Harmony … and the soul blueprint of Mandela.


Walkerville, Gauteng, South Africa
Thursday, 19th December,2013

Appearing on the world stage at a time when humanity was mired in a morass of racial discrimination and bigotry, Mandela restored their lost dignity to millions of oppressed people not only in post-apartheid South Africa but throughout the world. In doing so, he became the most widely-known liberator the world has ever known.

As one television commentator remarked when the South African Air Force C-130 carrying Mandela’s body on its final journey landed in Umtata on Sunday, he was not only the President of South Africa, he seemed to be the President of the World.

In my ten years on the spiritual path in India, I learned that everything in existence throughout the cosmos vibrates in accordance with a Divine harmony. Everything has its place; there are no stray notes, no anomalies. Nothing happens at random, for within the seeming chaos of the cosmic explosion, there is Divine order. God as awesome energy is the Conductor of this Divine Harmony, and His baton is unconditional love.

Believing implicitly as I do that the constant reincarnation of all life on Earth and throughout the Cosmos is linked to karma and the evolution of the human spirit, I have known that beloved Madiba was an elevated soul that reincarnated in South Africa at this time to fulfil a crucial universal role. This once unhappy country was only the classroom, its apartheid ideology only the object of a profound lesson. The real target audience of his teaching was humanity across the length and breadth of this planet, for what applied to South Africa applied equally to the world. Such refined and elevated teachers have always incarnated throughout the history of mankind to instruct and to guide.

As much as he will continue to live in our memories, Mandela leaves us with a weighty yet sacred responsibility. He sacrificed much to stand up for his beliefs which had to do with the inherent dignity of all mankind. He fought not for his personal liberation but for the liberation of the human spirit. Ours and future generations not only in this country but world-wide will have to live up to his call for universal love and peace among men. We cannot do otherwise without desecrating his memory.

This tribute was written as the world’s attention is focused on South Africa, as final preparations are being made in Qunu to lay Mandela’s body to rest. It occurred to me that this was an appropriate moment to place on record my own little part in the great saga of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela and to take this opportunity to ask a pertinent question.

As the world mourned the passing of South Africa’s great son this week, I searched through my computer files for entries relating to him in my working journal kept over his years in office. I was at the time with the South African Communication Service and involved in matters relating to media coverage of official matters.

The following is an extract from my journal for 1995 and was written not long after he became the first black President of the Republic of South Africa. My question follows the quote:


When I arrived at the block of offices known as 420 Plein within Parliamentary precincts to take office in January, 1995, a young Afrikaner policewoman met me at reception to process my Parliamentary ID card. As I filled the forms after my photograph had been taken, she remarked that my name was the same at that of her commanding officer. I was intrigued by the coincidence.

She was stationed at the Parliamentary Police Station, which looks after security within the environs of Parliament. When she came to my office later to hand me my Parliamentary Pass, she said that her commander Brigadier V Naicker (exactly the same as my name) would like me to join him to tea that morning at ten. She offered to fetch me at 9.45 a.m. to guide me to his office.

She came to my offices promptly at the agreed time and we walked through the famous Parliamentary Gardens and between the various buildings in the security area around Parliament. The Parliamentary Police Station is one of the oldest buildings in Cape Town. It is a quaint, Dutch-style cottage built during the time of Jan van Riebeeck, the first Governor of the old Cape Colony which grew over the centuries into South Africa. It is now classified as an historical building.

Dressed in an impeccable civilian suit, the Brigadier was talking on the telephone when I was led into his office by the young policewoman. He returned her salute and gestured to me to sit down. As he rounded off his conversation on the phone, I noticed the ring with Sai Baba’s portrait on his right hand. After he put down the phone and shook my hand, I held up my own right hand so that he could see my own ring which was exactly the same as his and common in the shops outside Prashanti Nilayam. He promptly put his palms together and exclaimed, ”Sai Ram, brother!”

Although we had the same first name initial and surname, his first name was Vadi while mine is Vivek. We became friends and in the ensuing weeks, he invited me to his home on a Thursday evening to meet his wife and children for a vegetarian dinner. Afterwards we went to a service at a Sai centre in Rylands, where he introduced me to the assembled devotees and later invited me to address them.

Another surprise awaited me the following day when I went to meet the President’s personal staff. I was told beforehand that his Private Secretary was the most important in the President’s Office. As his Girl Friday, she made and monitored all his appointments. If one were not on her right side, it was almost impossible to see the President.

She had been referred to only as Priscilla by my guide and so I had no idea what to expect. When we arrived at the President’s suite and I was introduced to her, I was somewhat surprised to see that she was Indian, Priscilla Naidoo. I was even more intrigued when I was told later that she was a Sai devotee. I was to interact often with Priscilla over the years of President Mandela’s term of office.

So President Mandela’s Private Secretary Priscilla Naidoo, his Chief Parliamentary Security Officer Brigadier Vadi Naicker and I, Vivek Naicker, then in charge of media affairs for the President’s State Visitors’ Programme, were not only Indian South Africans, but also all Sai devotees.

Later, towards the latter part of President Mandela’s term, when I left the SA Communication Service to join the Independent Electoral Commission to help prepare the country for the first election in a democratic South Africa in 1999, I handed over in Cape Town to a young Foreign Affairs officer who was to take over my media duties in Parliament. He was also Indian, and also, as it turned out, a Sai devotee.


And now for my question: Was all this mere coincidence or clear indication of a minutely-conceived, numinous cosmic blueprint?

Om shanti, shanti, shanti.
JOURNAL 1995: VivekAnanda Naicker
VivekAnanda Naicker

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