Remembering Nelson Mandela (1918-2013)

Nelson Mandela — Father of the South African Nation — passed away on December 5th, at the age of 95, at his home in Johannesburg. Not only was he a towering inspiration to the people of South Africa, he was universally admired for his courageous struggle against apartheid; his unbreakable will in the face of 27 years of imprisonment; and his compassion and forgiveness of his oppressors. His legacy to the world at large is perhaps best described by his close spiritual friend and fellow peace-lover Sri Chinmoy:

“President Mandela’s very name
Builds a hope-cathedral
In the heart of despair-flooded humanity.”

Nelson Mandela, The Pinnacle-Pillar of Mother Earth, contains poems for the President and the First Lady; tributes and commentaries on the President’s life and writings; photographs from their meetings; as well as original songs, some with words and music by Sri Chinmoy, and others where Sri Chinmoy has set music to the immortal words of Nelson Mandela himself. These two kindred souls met only on four occasions, but they corresponded regularly — greatly admiring each other’s work for peace. Nelson Mandela wrote to Sri Chinmoy in 1999, declaring, “The Peace Centres that you have established in various parts of the world are critical for the survival of humanity…”

“No matter how unjust and undivine some human beings are to him at times, Mandela’s compassion refuses to leave his heart.”  — Sri Chinmoy

• Sri Chinmoy and Nelson Mandela met for the first time in June 1990 at the United Nations in New York where mutual friend, New York City Mayor David Dinkins provided the introduction. Sri Chinmoy had been conducting twice-weekly Peace Meditations for the United Nations staff and delegates for the past 20 years, and Nelson Mandela was there to speak at a special meeting of the UN Special Committee against Apartheid. It would be another four years before he would be inaugurated as President of South Africa.

• In 1996 President Nelson Mandela received Sri Chinmoy in Johannesburg at the headquarters of the African National Congress. There, Sri Chinmoy presented the President with the prestigious ‘U Thant Peace Award’.

• The President and First Lady Graça Machel met again with Sri Chinmoy in New York in 1998, where they both held the Peace Torch in support of the World Harmony Run which Sri Chinmoy founded.

 • Sri Chinmoy’s greatest joy was realised in 1999 when he was able to offer the President the ‘Lifting Up the World with a Oneness-Heart Award’ by physically lifting him on a specially constructed lifting platform. Watch the video here.

In December 1995 Sri Chinmoy made a pilgrimage to Robben Island, the place where Nelson Mandela was held for 18 of his 27 years of imprisonment.

From the very cell in which the great South African patriot had been incarcerated, Sri Chinmoy offered this soulful prayer:

“Our beloved President Mandela, O Supreme Pilot of South Africa-Boat, it is here in this tinier than the tiniest room that you embodied your beloved country’s streaming tears and bleeding heart.”

Still picture from video showing Sri Chinmoy praying in Mandela’s former cell /  © by Mridanga Spencer

Watch this historic video on the website srichinmoy-reflections and click on the link at the bottom of the right-hand column….



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