Sunday, January 24, 2016


By Subry Govender
(Dr A P J Kalam) SPIRITUAL BOOK A spiritual book written by the late former President of India, Dr A P J Abdul Kalam, will be launched in Johannesburg on Saturday, January 30. The book, Transcendence, will be launched by the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in South Africa. The Johannesburg launch is one of several international events taking place in different parts of the world. Similar events in the African continent will take place in countries such as Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. The co-author of Transcendence, Professor Arun Tiwari, and a senior spiritual leader of the BAPS Swaminarayam Sanstha, Pujya Bramavihari Swami, who was a close friend of Dr Kalam, will be special guests at the Johannesburg launch. Mr Harnish Patel, a spokesperson for the BAPS Swaminarayan Hindu Mission in South Africa, said the launch of the book, Transcendence, would be to honour the legacy of Dr Kalam who dedicated his life to public service and the development of India as a country. He said the book, Transcendence, which was Dr Kalam's final book out of a total of 30 he had written during his life-time, was "a gift to mankind". "Transcendence documents a 14-year journey between Dr Kalam and His Holiness, Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the fifth spiritual successor of Bhagwan Swaminarayan, who carries forward a legacy of enlightened gurus that goes back to the early nineteenth century, " said Mr Patel. "Throughout his remarkable career, Dr. Kalam wrote over 30 books and is considered to be one of India’s most widely read and best-selling authors. In Transcendence, Dr Kalam’s writings focus on the philosophical and spiritual guidance from Pramukh Swami Maharaj that shaped his purpose and direction in serving India. "Most astonishing about their profound friendship is that Dr Kalam was not conversant in Gujarati, Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s native language, and Pramukh Swami does not speak English. "Despite the language barrier, they were able to transcend communication challenges. The resulting bond, built on selfless service and sustained through common interest, was life changing for Dr. Kalam and is thoughtfully articulated in his writing", said Mr Patel. Mr Patel said Dr. Kalam's Transcendence explored "one man’s journey to discover universal truths, unlock the science behind progress, and understand the critical role of spirituality in leading India forward". "He narrates his visits to historic sites worldwide, religious and secular, while reflecting on the various moments of divinity he experiences along the way." Mr Patel said Dr Kalam wrote in his book that it was in the presence of Pramukh Swami Maharaj that his spirituality truly flourished. "Dr. Kalam describes Pramukh Swami Maharaj as 'my ultimate teacher'. He wrote, 'Pramukh Swamiji shared with me many times his wish for peace, development, security and prosperity in the world'. "He feels that Indian people’s kindness, openness, tolerance and willingness to engage in dialogue is inbuilt in our civilizational heritage. He firmly believes in the potential of the Indian people to co-build a harmonious world where there is permanent peace, shared prosperity, cooperation and a 'win-win' with all other countries. "Dr Kalam's vision for a brighter India is found in this book." Dr Kalam, who hails from the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu, was a space scientist who helped launch India's first satellite vehicle, Rohini. He became the eleventh president of India in 2002 and became popularly known as the "people's president" because of his struggles to bridge the gap between India's people and the government. Dr Kalam, who was was born in the temple town of Rameswaram, served as President for five years until 2007. He died in July last year at the age of 84. (The Johannesburg launch of the book will take place the Linder Auditorium, 27 St Andrews Road, Parktown.) ends - Subry Govender Jan 24 January 2016

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