As the only journalist to have had access to his diaries during the Swami’s lifetime, I was privileged to engage him in discussions on several topics, enjoying the freedom to debate as well as discuss sensitive issues. The human side of Swami Nischalananda was often revealed in the constant interactions during the motor journeys between the ashram in Glen Anil and the Durban city Centre.
I was privileged to make his acquaintance and enjoy the personal friendship of a great soul, who followed the trail of the holy warriors all the way to the Himalayas, where aspiring ‘martyrs’ are groomed.
I was there at the Durban docks when he returned in 1953 and watched him define and influence the direction and thinking of masses of young people. And as time progressed, so did his status as an iconic figure. His charm and genuine empathy won him supporters across social and racial lines and endeared him to thousands of children, many notables amongst today’s generation of men and women.
We built our relationship on trust, and never once did he discuss Kannabiran Pillay’s controversial attacks against him in The Graphic, although at the time I was news editor of this weekly. He was satisfied I had sensibly steered clear of the issue and had no part in it. And more importantly, our discussions on many issues remained private all through the twelve years of his life and wise leadership of the Ramakrishna Centre.
Gifted with imagination and insight, he was in the middle of one of the most astonishing transformations in Hindu religious life when an assassin or assassins put an end to his life.