Sanrkrit Slokas from the Hindu scriptures for a ‘giant of history’

Over 100 world leaders, including President Pranab Mukherjee and US President Barack Obama, came here on Tuesday in an unprecedented act of homage to Nelson Mandela, calling him a “giant of history”. Sanskrit slokas were read out from the Hindu scriptures in a moving ceremony at Soweto’s FNB Stadium as tens of thousands of South Africans gathered to pay homage to the anti-apartheid icon who died last Thursday.
“It is hard to eulogise any man… How much harder to do so for a giant of history, who moved a nation toward justice, and in the process moved billions around the world,” Mr Obama said in a 20-minute speech with references to the struggle for racial equality in Africa and America.
Mr Mukherjee, who headed a high-level Indian delegation that included Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj, called Mandela an “icon of irreversible social and economic change” who had “never diminished his commitment to his kind of ‘satyagraha’ against injustice and inequality”. Mr Mukherjee said Mandela’s “stoic determination, patience and magnanimity reminded us, in India, of the revolutionary methods of Mahatma Gandhi”.
Mr Obama too likened Mandela to Mahatma Gandhi as well as America’s Martin Luther King Jr. “Like Gandhi, he would lead a resistance movement — a movement that at its start held little prospect of success. Like King, he would give potent voice to the claims of the oppressed, and the moral necessity of racial justice,” the US President said, to huge applause from a crowd of over 80,000 who braved the rain to attend the rare event.
The other leaders present included UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Britsh PM David Cameron and several predecessors, French President Francois Hollande and his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy, Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Sri Lanka’s Mahinda Rajapakse, former US Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, and a host of others.
As multi-religious prayers were held, a person of Indian origin recited Sanskrit slokas to say Mandela has attained immortality and people were offering “humble worship” so that he leads the world from darkness to light.
Mr Mukherjee, who was warmly received as he entered the stadium and was seated next to South African President Jacob Zuma, recalled how when Mandela had visited India in 1995 as post-apartheid South Africa’s first President, he had visited Gandhi’s Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad, and said “it was for him a homecoming, a pilgrimage”. The President added: “We pray for his eternal peace. Madiba lived a life of sacrifice
and privation as he pursued a seemingly impossible goal for his people — and the world is richer for his legacy.”
Mandela’s widow Graca Machael, separated wife Winnie Mandela, children and grandchildren attended the ceremony. His funeral is due to be held in his childhood home, Qunu village in the Eastern Cape, on December 15, and it will be a private affair.

Source: Hindu News