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The Avatar Keeps His Promise

Sai Baba in Sai Kulwant Hall
Sai Baba in Sai Kulwant Hall
For the better part of some twenty-five years, I had known of a Vedic astrological prediction that I would die in mid-December, 2012. A priest I had consulted at the time had given me the date after poring through the ancient Vedic almanac called the Panchangam. Years later, an old sage famous far beyond the confines of his remote Tamil Nadu village for his gift of prophesy quite independently confirmed that date.

Because I do not believe that anyone ever dies, I took the prediction as well as the confirmation in my stride. We are eternal spirit and so-called death is merely the casting off of the mortal body; the soul – atman – within is eternal and deathless. Resigned to the thought of leaving this existence at the ripe age of 73, I thought no more of the prediction over the years until September, 2002.

I had finally retired that year and since my 63rd birthday was coming up, I went to see Sri Lankan Brahmin Nadarajan Sharma, then resident priest at the Melrose Temple in Johannesburg, for a reading of the Panchangam. Six years earlier, I had suddenly found myself divorced after thirty years of marriage. Even though six years had passed, the wounds had still not healed. Now I was facing the new, equally momentous change that retirement would bring. I was anxious to know what the future held at this watershed stage of my life.

melrose temple
Melrose Temple is a landmark in Johannesburg. The Temple has been serving the community for approximately 140 years.

Melrose Temple is a landmark in Johannesburg. The Temple has been serving the community for approximately 140 years. The priest opened his dog-eared almanac and started to read, his lips forming the words silently, then suddenly looked up and stared at me.

“There’s something strange here”, he said. “There’s a personal message here for you.”

“I did not think the Panchangam ever had personal messages”, I replied, not a little incredulously.”I always thought that it was a book of general predictions that could apply to anybody born at a given time.

“You’re quite right, but I’ve never seen anything like this in my forty years as a priest”, the Brahmin replied. He must have detected my sceptical tone, for he said, “Here, read it for yourself” and held the book out to me.
“I cannot read Tamil”, I said, glancing at the almanac. “You’ll have to read and translate it.”

The gist of the massage was that my Guru was calling for me and that I had to prepare to go to him without undue delay. The message did not say who my guru was or where he happened to be located but emphasised that I should go as soon as possible.

“Do not treat this message lightly”, the priest said. “It seems as though this is a crucially important mission for you. It states here that your guru could extend your natural lifespan by many years if you respond to him. By the way, who is your guru?”

“Sri Sathya Sai Baba, I think”, I replied. The priest raised his eyebrows. At that stage, I was not quite sure whether he was the Avatar many said he was or a village prankster trading on rural gullibility.

“Then you must go without delay”, he advised. “Something unusual awaits you.”

I left South Africa for India early in 2003, expecting to be away for three or four months at the most. I did not know it then, but nine enchanted years within the aura of the Avatar of Kali Yuga awaited, during which I would be diametrically transformed from an influential man of the world to a humble spiritual seeker. In the process, I would experience a miracle almost every day.

In 2005, after having lived alone for three years in what was then the rural outskirts of Bangalore, an unexpected journey to South Africa materialised. After a month there, I returned to India on New Year’s Day in January, 2006. Caught up in a series of amazing events upon my arrival, I found myself a few days later in the once-remote village of Puttaparthi in the backwoods of Andhra Pradesh. This was Sai Baba’s home village.

It turned out that the mushrooming town on the peripheries of the old farming village was to be my new home. A dear friend, Sue Kelly Christie, offered me one of her two flats in the old coconut grove in what was once a remote, almost unknown village. I accepted and stayed there for two years. And so, in a disarmingly low-key fashion, my spiritual adventure of a lifetime started.

Researching Reincarnation in England

Early in 2006, when I was dreading the approach of my first summer in Puttaparthi, I received a mysterious message through Sue Kelly Christie, preparing me for an unexpected journey to Sri Lanka and Britain. Almost in a daze, I left India a week later and arrived in England in early spring, after spending ten days in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on the way. I was to stay in the UK for most of the rest of that year.

It was soon apparent after a series of coincidences that I was meant to read up, while in Britain, on current research by American psychiatrists and other medical men and women into the phenomenon of reincarnation. Curiously, more modern research is being carried out on this ancient subject in the United States than anywhere else in the world. I spent the ensuing months in the British Museum and suburban libraries in close proximity to my flat in Hackney in London’s East End.

British Museum
The British Museum is a museum in London dedicated to human history and culture. Its permanent collection numbers some eight million works

The summer in London had been unusually warm and humid that year. By early October, the heat and humidity showed no signs of abating. In India, winter would be approaching, with the monsoons having cooled the subcontinent considerably. The more I thought of it, the more attractive the prospect of returning to Puttaparthi became. My mind made up, I called the Sri Lankan Airlines Heathrow offices and booked on a flight to Bangalore via Colombo.
Returning to Puttaparthi, I settled into my flat in the old coconut grove and was soon back to my routine of morning and evening darshans. In England I had read a vast array of recent books on reincarnation by contemporary American medical researchers. By the time I returned to India, I had filled some five students’ note books with references and notes.


It had been clear to me during my sojourn in London that I was to write on reincarnation and karma but I rebelled at the thought of having to write a comprehensive work based on the researches of others. I preferred writing from direct experience. At darshan, when Swami took His place on the dais facing the vast audience, I would project this thought to Him telepathically. I did this constantly at the twice-daily darshans that I attended, taking neither my eyes nor my thoughts from the figure in vermilion on the dais.

Then one magical day, Swami turned towards the men’s side of Kulwant Hall and searched through the faces in the crowd. He stopped when His gaze fell on me. He smiled fleetingly, then raised his eyebrows and his right hand with the palm facing me and mouthed just one word, “Wait!” He repeated the gesture on the following days, glancing through the men’s side until he spotted me.

I was ecstatic beyond words. With that gesture, Swami had confirmed not only receiving my telepathic messages but also the fact that He was the Motivator behind my unexpected journey to Britain and my intensive reading of research findings into reincarnation. Intuitively, I knew that I was about to experience yet another miracle.

Not two or three days later, on a route to Prashanthi Nilayam that I took every day from my flat in the old coconut grove through alley ways and gaps between buildings, I noticed a shop I could not remember having seen before. I stood at the doorway looking at the counters laden with souvenirs and other bric-a-brac, wondering just how I could have passed such a prominent shop for such a long time without ever noticing it. An assistant came to the front step and invited me in. Declining the invitation, I said I would come some other time for I lived in the village. Without realising it, I spoke in Tamil, the language in which the assistant had addressed me.

Meeting Sai Bharathi

Then a voice behind me said, “You must be the Tamil-speaking South African I’ve heard about.”

I turned around to see a stocky, dark man with a cheerful face and a bright smile. He introduced himself as Sai Bharathi, the owner of the shop before which we stood. When I confirmed that I was indeed South African, he asked if it was true that I was a writer. I nodded.

“Then I would like to invite you to join me in my office for a cup of tea”, he said. “It is just around the corner and there are matters I would like to discuss with you.”

I went with him to his office in a passage off the main road opposite Prashanthi Nilayam. The walls of the small room were lined with large, garlanded pictures of Sai Baba and a pantheon of gods and goddesses. Amidst them, two brass lamps burned continuously. The room smelled of marigolds and jasmine, incense, camphor and ghee lamps. It had all the trappings of a shrine. A small desk on which there was a telephone and a laptop computer with an office swivel chair were almost incongruous in the otherwise religious setting.

Agastya astrologer Sai Bharathi
Astrologer Sai Bharathi at his workplace.

Sai Bharathi is an astrologer in the Agastaya tradition of South India. He descends from a long line of Agastaya astrologers in Tamil Nadu. A successful businessman in Saudi Arabia and Dubai for many years, he was persuaded by his family to return to India to continue the family’s unbroken line of generations of astrologers. As the youngest son, he could not refuse. After some years in various holy places in Tamil Nadu, he eventually responded to a call to go to Puttaparthi where Sai Baba lived.

While I sipped my sweet coffee, Sai Bharathi explained that he did astrological readings for Western clients, many of them English speaking. He was looking for someone who could take notes while he did the readings, then later transcribe the notes into “standard” English for his clients. Sai Bharathi spoke “Indian English” and Tamil, both of which I understood. He would pay me for my work and so we struck a deal. Thus began one of my most unusual relationships. Sai Bharathi, Vedic astrologer, became my friend, mentor and spiritual guru in a partnership that has grown stronger over the years since 2006.

As our working relationship developed, both Sai Bharathi and I became convinced, from various signs that became apparent, that we had been brought together by Sai Baba. Soon after we started work, my new friend asked whether he could read my Vedic horoscope. I agreed gladly and gave him my date and time of birth.

An Opportunity to Research Past Lives

He gave me a reading with some surprising insights, but three features stood out. First, he said that I had been born into the same Kshatriya caste of warrior/rulers in ten, though not necessarily consecutive, lifetimes, several of them in India. The other was his prediction that in the years that I would live in Puttaparthi, I would meet many souls who had been close to me in other lifetimes. The third and most important was that even though my allotted lifespan was scheduled to end in December, 2012, this would be deferred because my lifespan would be miraculously extended by Sri Sathya Sai Baba Himself.

Because of the transformation that had taken place in my spiritual growth in the years spent in Puttaparthi, initially it was of no great concern to me whether I left this life in 2012 or not. My only wish was that I should not die before my daughter, my only surviving child.

However, it became clear while I was still in England and even more strongly after I returned to Puttaparthi that Swami expected me to write a comprehensive work on my findings on the process of reincarnation and karma. I realised that I could not leave this life until that mission was accomplished.

Moreover, in my work with Sai Bharathi, an important fact started to emerge. The first step in all readings done by my astrologer friend is to look into the immediate past life of the subject. A wealth of information usually surfaces, often showing clearly the karmic reasons for present life relationships and also illness and other personal problems. Consequently, I started to accumulate a comprehensive dossier on the link between karma and reincarnation. I believed that it would be a dereliction of my moral responsibility if I did not publish this information before I died.

During the course of 2011, Sai Bharathi said that he saw me going on another journey abroad before the end of the year, in a south west direction from India. This could only be South Africa, so in November, I booked a return ticket on South African Airways flights between Johannesburg and India. After almost three months with friends and family in various parts of the country, I returned to my base in Puttaparthi in mid-January, 2012.

Certain developments I had expected in South Africa never happened but I had reached there just in time to see the oldest surviving member of our family for the last time before he passed on. I had been fond of him since I was a small child and remained in touch with him through the years despite my long absences from South Africa. He was a Sai devotee and travelled once a year to Puttaparthi, where we met regularly.

First among the small circle of close friends I went to see when I returned to Puttaparthi in mid – January, 2012,was Sai Bharathi. As usual whenever I return from abroad, he was overjoyed to see me and asked a stream of questions.

Then the flurry of questions ended and he fell silent, staring blankly across his small office. I saw that his eyes were glassy and I knew that he had slipped into his familiar semi-trance state. I said nothing but waited for him to speak.

South Africa, Again

“You’ll be returning to South Africa again before this year is over”, he finally said.

Startled, I asked whether it would be soon.

“No”, he said. “It will be more towards the end of the year.”

“Are you certain?, I asked.

Absolutely“, he replied.

“Then perhaps I should book on a flight ahead of the time because it works out much cheaper that way”, I said.

“No, don’t”, he said emphatically. “Wait until you receive a call to go to South Africa. Do not do anything until then.”

“That could turn out to be an expensive exercise – booking at the last minute”, I said.

“Then that’s a chance you’ll have to take”, he replied calmly. “Do not worry about the cost. It’s more important that you wait until the call comes. Until then, do nothing except perhaps prepare yourself to leave at short notice.”

I saw that he had come out of his trance. We did not speak of the mysterious journey again for months, but I quietly prepared for the eventuality.

When I found in November, 2012, that my energy levels were waning, I started to become anxious. I asked Sai Bharathi several times during the course of those weeks whether this was not an indication that my time was running out since December was approaching, but he was confident that I would not leave this life as previously predicted.

“Your loss of energy is only a passing phase and this will change for the better after April, 2013”, was all that he said.

It was only then that I realised that Sai Bharathi had never said that my life had been extended by Sai Baba but only that it would be. In other words, as I steadily approached the time of my predicted demise, something would happen to prolong my life. Sai Bharathi insisted that I would leave this life between the ages of 94 and 96, so this meant that my lifespan would be mysteriously extended by more than two decades.

Meanwhile, the thought that I would have to go to South Africa remained uppermost in my mind. In mid – September, I started to think about what clothes and other things I should pack. I asked my daily help to wash and iron all my South African clothes which I do not wear in India because they are too warm for local conditions. I also decided on the computer equipment I would carry and prepared a check list of medicines and other essentials.

Early in October, I received an e-mail from Sue Kelly Christie. She had gone to the UK with husband Roy sometime in July and was soon to return home to Puttaparthi. She wrote that she had an urgent message that she would like to deliver to me soon after she arrived. She did not say what it was or from whom, but would telephone me as soon as she was settled in after her long absence from her home in Puttaparthi.

Sue with Vivek
Sue Kelly Christie with Vivek Naicker

She called me a few days later and we arranged to meet for coffee in a café opposite the Ganesha Gate of Prashanthi Nilayam after the Thursday morning darshan that week. As usual, she was radiant and chirpy when she arrived. She could not stop asking about my health and other personal matters. Sue has always been concerned about my well-being.

Sue Kelly Christie, the messenger:

She explained that she had received a message for me from Sri Sathya Sai Baba one morning while meditating in her son Casey’s flat in fashionable Canary Wharf in London. She had been instructed to write the message down. Sue has always been most perceptive if not psychic where my affairs were concerned ever since I first met her nearly twenty years ago. She was Swami’s messenger as far as I was concerned, for she always was the first to tell me when Swami was to send me abroad.
At times, she had given me direct messages which she said she had received telepathically from Swami in Kulwant Hall. They were always accurate predictions of events to come in my affairs, especially travel abroad, and often gelled with my own intuitive knowledge. The messages were never frivolous; they always referred to milestone events in my life and often covered small but crucial details.

After coffee, she fished out an ornate note book from her handbag. She opened the little book at a marker and handed it to me. Written across two pages in Sue’s lovely hand was the following message:

Sue Kelly Christie's notebook ...
Sue Kelly Christie’s notebook …

“Vivek needs to go back to South Africa. He needs to teach. His teachings will bring great comfort, joy and solace to the people who hear him. He mustn’t worry about money, Swami will send. (He must buy a) one-way ticket to S.A. Then, when he comes back to India, he must publish the Reincarnation book.

Chris Parnell also needs to be in South Africa. It is something he also promised. Vivek needs to drink more water. Rest more. Go easy on the bike.”

I was greatly puzzled. I could see no real reason why I should go to South Africa so soon after returning from that country unless it was for family reasons. I thought perhaps it would have something to do with my wife or daughter. However, in the face of the message that Sue conveyed to me, I realised it would be futile if not disrespectful to speculate. I must obey without questioning.

So, after hailing an auto rickshaw for Sue and seeing her off, I went directly to Sai Bharathi’s office to show him the note book with the message.

“Yes, this is the call to which I referred”, he said, after scrutinising the message in the note book. “Make preparations to leave as soon as you can get onto a flight.”

That same afternoon, I booked onto a direct flight from Bangalore to Johannesburg via the Persian Gulf. The flight was two days hence. Leaving Bangalore at four – thirty a.m., I would arrive in Johannesburg in the late afternoon of the same day after a change of flights at Abu Dhabi. This would be the first time in all my years of flying that I would cross both tropics and the Equator and arrive at my destination on the same day.

Except for slight fatigue around midday, which I attributed to my rising around 3.30 a.m. each day, I felt perfectly well up to the time I left Puttaparthi. In Abu Dhabi, the escalator from ground level to the second floor of the terminal stopped some dozen steps short of the top and so I climbed the rest of the way without stopping to rest. I was breathless and dizzy when I got to the top. That was the first indication that all was not well. I attributed it to the asthma I had suffered as a young man and rummaged in my computer bag for an inhaler that I always carried for just such a contingency.

terminal 3
The escalator in Abu Dhabi international airport stopped a dozen or so steps from the top…

I thought I was having a mild asthmatic attack and took a puff of the inhaler, then sat on a bench. The breathlessness passed gradually, so after resting for ten minutes and none the worse for wear, I went in search of the terminal for my flight to South Africa. My cardio-thoracic surgeon in Johannesburg later told me that he suspected that I had had a mild heart attack on that day and not an episode of asthma as I had thought.

My friend Dalene Wood picked me up at Johannesburg airport and drove me to her house in Boksburg where I spent the night. The next day she drove me to the home of my nephew Inba and his wife Jothi in the southern suburb of Mondeor.

At breakfast the following day, Inba asked me why I was so breathless. I told him about my Abu Dhabi experience and my swollen ankles. Without asking my permission, he called his cardiologist to make an appointment for me. This is how it all started. After an angiogram four days later, it was found that five arteries on the left side of my heart were badly blocked with plaque. If an open-heart operation were not performed as soon as a theatre was available, I knew instinctively that I could be dead within weeks if not days.

Two days later, Inba, my brother Radha and I met with Dr Jan Coetzee, a personable and down-to-earth former Zimbabwean of Afrikaner descent. He was to perform the by-pass operation. He drew a diagram of the heart and the blocked arteries and explained the procedure that would be necessary.

“You will have to give it some thought and decide whether you want to go through with it”, the surgeon said. “I have explained the alternatives.”

I said that I did not need to think about it. I would go through with it as soon as possible. Dr Coetzee replied that a theatre would be booked for the operation and that I would be informed.

An Operation and a Post-Operative Struggle

Later that week, I received a telephone call asking me to report at the Union Hospital in Alberton on the evening of the 11th of December. At seven the next morning, I was wheeled into the theatre. Dr Coetzee was assisted by two other surgeons. Because of the inordinate number of by-passes that were necessary, the operation lasted six hours. I slept through the entire procedure and throughout the rest of the day and night. Surfacing from the anaesthetic sometime the next day, I found it extremely difficult to breathe. It felt as though a huge rock had been implanted in my chest.

It was a golden glow, rather than a figure ...
It was a golden glow, rather than a figure …

I had to fight to take shallow breaths and the struggle became more excruciating with each modest intake. Breathing was no longer involuntary; I had to make a conscious effort to suck in air, knowing that if I stopped, I would die. I was tired from the effort and decided to stop struggling. The moment I made the decision to stop, I sensed a Presence near my bed. It was a golden glow rather than a figure and it exuded great waves of love.

A voice came out of the glow and it said gently but firmly, “No! Do not stop breathing!

Yet I sensed that I was almost at the end of my struggle. I was ready to throw in the towel and end it all, but the Presence would have none of it. It coaxed me to continue breathing no matter how difficult.

Although I was only half conscious, I realised with a shock that it was the day after my operation on the 12th. So today would be the 13th and I became alarmed, for it was a significant date. It suddenly occurred to me that the 13th of December was the day I was to leave this life. Perhaps it’s useless struggling, I thought. Today’s my last day.

The gentle voice came again and said with great warmth and love, “Carry on breathing. You have only a little farther to go.”

I obeyed and continued to take short, gasping breaths. Deep breaths were out of the question because of what I thought in my delirious state was a stone embedded where my lungs had been. I became conscious of a movement and realised that a nurse was setting up something next to my bed which I later realised was a blood pressure gauge.

Suddenly the imagined stone in my chest began to lift and my breathing became less painful. Gradually, each breath became easier. The unexpected change triggered an intriguing thought.

What time is it?”, I whispered to the nurse.

It’s just gone midnight“, she said.

“And the date?“, I asked, warming to the thought that had entered my head. “What date is it?

Thursday, December 14“, she replied. My memory seemed intact after the surgery, for I recalled that it was the date I had been married, forty-six years ago.

A wave of sadness, then a flood of relief washed quickly over me. I felt a deep pang of sadness for my lost marriage, yet thankful relief that the 13th had passed. Instinctively, I knew I was out of danger.I marvelled at how my breathing had eased at the stroke of midnight. So I would not leave this life before completing my mission, after all. To cap it all, today was Thursday, Swami’s day.

It dawned on me that the predicted extension of my natural lifespan had already taken place. By arranging for my operation on the 12th, Swami had extended my lifespan at the very last minute. I had no doubt at all that otherwise, I would have died on the 13th of December. The 13th day of any month, it dawned on me, was significant to me as well as to my only son and even, it seemed, my younger brother.

With that realisation, the golden glow around my bed grew larger and filled the six-bed ward. I could sense that the two other cardiac patients in the ward and I were smothered in warm waves of love. Both smiled broadly and waved when they saw that I was awake. I waved back feebly, even though it was the most difficult thing to do so soon after the operation.
My anxieties melted away and I fell into a peaceful sleep.

A Cosmic Plan, A Cosmic Learning

In the weeks in hospital after the operation, I had time to think of Sai Bharathi’s prediction that I would go to South Africa before the end of the year. I thought of how he had warned me repeatedly not to book onto a flight before I was called.

I thought of Sue’s message and how Sai Bharathi had declared that it was the call he knew would come, and how he urged me to leave for South Africa without delay. Yet the reason for my having to go to South Africa was as mysterious as ever.
It was clear to me that Swami had orchestrated a multitude of synchronous events, from Inba insisting, on the day that I arrived at his house, that I consult his cardiologist to the final life-saving surgery by Dr Jan Coetzee, who confessed a long-standing fascination with India and his plan to visit the subcontinent at the first convenient break in his busy schedule.

This was why, I realised, Sai Bharathi insisted that I try to get onto a flight only when I was called. He seemed to have known in some mysterious way that Swami had to fine-tune His arrangements. The message carried to me by Sue was clear indication that all the arrangements had been completed by the Cosmic Conductor and that the stage had been set for whatever was destined for me. When I met Dr Coetzee for the first time, I sensed his compassion and warmth and felt that I had known him in another life. Instinctively, I knew he had been chosen by Swami and that the choice was significant.
I am also intuitively aware that Sue as well as Sai Bharathi and everyone else involved in this saga had a part to play in the Cosmic Blueprint that governs our lives. None of them was conscious of the fact that a cosmic plan was unfolding and that they were simply unconsciously acting their allocated parts in the drama.

Sai Baba of Puttaparthi
Sai Natha, the guardian with the cosmic plan

What intrigued me the most was the fact that in the months before I left India, I had no idea that I had a cardiac defect. Some mysterious Power had cocooned me and masked the symptoms, for if I had realised the cause of my fatigue in India, I would have gone into a state anxiety if not panic. The last thing I wanted was to have an open heart operation in India, without family close by.

I thought also of my friend Dr Sara Pavan’s advice that I should go for a thorough medical check in my own country when I told him of my tiredness and swollen feet. Now retired, he had been the chief anaesthetist at Sai Baba’s Super Speciality Hospital in Puttaparthi for many years.

I thought too, of how my Guardian Angel had decided to let me think that my fatigue was due to my habit of rising early and also because of my history of asthma. The seriousness of my condition was revealed to me only when I was safely among family and friends in South Africa.

I arrived in South Africa as instructed in the message conveyed by Sue and the Universe took over. I realise now that Dr Coetzee, even though he might not have been aware of it, operated on me at the last possible moment. I am convinced that even hours later would have been far too late. Intuitively, I know without doubt that I was to have died on the 13th, the mid-December date that was predicted twenty-five years ago.

I recalled a conversation I had with Sai Bharathi some months ago, when I asked him how he could be so sure that I would not leave this life in December.

“There is no doubt that you will still be tested”, he said in a moment of rare candour when discussing matters such as one’s lifespan. “Sani Bhagavan (Saturn) will try his best to take you away. But he cannot win against Swami. It is Swami’s wish to extend your life, after all.”

So did a great contest between Sani (Saturn) and Swami take place on the 13th, when the huge stone in my chest almost suffocated me? Was it Swami whose gentle voice coaxed me through the golden haze that hovered around my hospital bed? All I know is that a miracle happened and I did not die. This is now history.

When full realisation of all that had happened dawned, I thought of the flurry of e-mail messages and telephone calls from friends in many parts of the world who sent messages through my family after my nephew had informed them in a circular letter of my newly-discovered cardiac crisis and the forthcoming operation. In the days after I was admitted to hospital, my family was gratified at the number of calls from friends in Canada and the USA, Britain and Europe, India, Sri Lanka, South Africa and Australia to say they were praying for a successful operation and my quick recovery.

Hanuman Temple, Puttaparthi
The Hanuman Temple, Puttaparthi

Sue called several times from India to check on my progress and told my family that she and our friends in Puttaparthi were praying for me. Sai Bharathi also called to say that he was mentioning my name in all his daily prayers as well as his regular Saturday Puja at the Hanuman Temple in Sai Baba’s childhood village.

In my hospital bed, the great wave of love that I sensed when the messages were conveyed to me comforted and gave me hope. Even though the operation saved my life, I was reduced in the days immediately afterwards to a helpless invalid. The most ordinary tasks became major logistical problems. Some, like brushing my hair or teeth, were almost impossible. In a state of such helplessness, it is easy to become despondent and demoralised. Yet this never happened to me, for I was constantly conscious of the love that was being sent to me by kindred spirits around the world. That love manifested as positive energy in my small ward. Perhaps it was the golden glow I sensed around me.

The transmitted love touched me deeply and I made steady progress, more so than most people of my age after similar surgery, according to my doctors. Perhaps this was the greatest lesson I learned from my ordeal, that love really is the super glue that keeps the Universe together, that all souls, despite the maya of duality, are in reality the One Soul we call God. So in the difficult days in my hospital bed in the weeks after the operation, I was conscious of the love in which I was enveloped in the form of the golden glow that was my constant companion, and in the loving ministrations of the nursing staff.

Now as I grow stronger by the day, I have three priorities. Firstly, I shall have to find out whether my mission includes a task or tasks other than writing. What I do know is that my life has been extended for good reason and that I cannot waste a minute of the extension given to me. My second most important priority would be to complete my writing assignments as expected by the Cosmic Editor. After all, He was the Architect of my reprieve. In the coming years, this task would take precedence over all others.

My third priority though, is perhaps the most important. I have no doubt that my life has been extended by the long-prophesised number of additional years. In this additional time that have now been given to me by the Avatar of Kali Yuga who constantly taught of the power of unconditional love, I would have to give back more love than I have so gratefully received in these recent months particularly but also throughout the years of my life. In so doing, I would be giving to myself, in a way, for is not every soul in creation in reality integral to my own soul?

Are we not collectively the One Soul that from the most ancient times mankind has called Shiva?

Perhaps it is appropriate at this point to reproduce a tribute to Lord Shiva that I wrote at the Skanda Ashram high up on the holy mount Arunachala some years ago, for I have no doubt that God was with me in my most critical hour on the 13th of December, and it is only fitting that I should give humble thanks.

The Homage

On Christmas Day, 2006, on the shoulders of Arunachala overlooking the Great Shivan Temple in Tiruvannamalai, I invoked the Lord of the Universe..


The Invocation:

Dance, Nadaraj, dance!
Dance, Shambu, prance!
Slant your magic glance, Sankaran,
treasure of my life,
grace my longing spirit Aruna,
let me glimpse
your endless exuberance

Narayana, dance!
I feel faintly,
Lord Of A Thousand Names,
your never-ending pulse.
I glimpse dimly
your ecstatic cosmic prance.

Dance, Nadaraj,
Lord of my life:
in the beat
of my existence,
dance your swirling
atomic dance!

The Reply.

I Am, I!
I am Nadaraja:
Atomic Dancer.

Lord of Dance,
I prance without end
in the heart
of all creation.

I swirl:
cosmic, sparkling, glittering,
through creation’s
timeless ages:
Brahman I Am,
dancing ceaselessly
within all things,
all beings in
constantly changing

With neither
nor end,
changing forever—
Brahma, Vishnu,
I dance!

I Am I,
I Am One,
I Am Eternal Cosmic Mind:
I am That,
I !

Om Nama Shivaya, Om Sai Ram!
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