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Dag Hammarskjöld  

Visionary for the Future of Humanity  

by Stephan Mögle-Stadel.  

Translated by Christoph Jensen and Nicholas Lee.  Novalis Press. 2002.

A librarian faced with the task of cataloguing this book would unhesitatingly assign it to 'Biography', but this would only tell part of the story.  Certainly, it is a biography in the conventional sense of this extraordinary man who was the Secretary-General of the United Nations at one of the most significant and turbulent times of its history, but two things about it are new.  The first is that it confirms that, based on revelations of the SA Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Dag Hammarskjöld was indeed murdered, as was widely suspected at the time, but never proved, and that South African security services played a part in it.  The second is that, behind the public façade of this high-level, international civil servant, there existed a mystic and visionary of a high spiritual calibre.  In fact, the words 'high initiate' come unbidden to mind.  We know this from his own book, largely in diary and journal form, which was published posthumously.  The title of his book in Swedish is 'Vägmärken', but when translated into English by W.H.Auden, was given the rather limp English title 'Markings'.  The Swedish original title would have been better translated as 'Signs along the Way', but as Auden was not familiar with the Swedish language, the book was probably translated into English from the German translation - never a particularly satisfactory way of going about it.
    What Stephan Mögle-Stadel has done with this book is to interweave Hammarskjöld's conventional biography with his spiritual odyssey, against a background of evolving human spiritual consciousness.  Many biographies can be of absorbing interest where they shed light on the lives of great people, but those of highest value are those that point a way into the future, and that is this book's greatest achievement, particularly at a time when many people are casting a critical eye on their own spiritual development, and question where it should go from here.  It follows Hammarskjöld's own thinking in providing 'signs along the way' for those able to understand, interpret and apply them.  As such, it is a book of unique value.
    Some might ask 'Why is such an internationally significant book being published by a small, South African publisher such as the Novalis Press?'  The answer is that it just happened that way.  The spur to making the translation was when, after the 11 September disaster last year, Christoph Jensen stood outside the closed Meditation Room in the UN building in New York, which had been master-minded by Dag Hammarskjöld, and was refused access 'on security grounds'.  Reading between the lines, it must have been quite a lively occasion given Christoph's short fuse when told, particularly by officialdom, that he is not allowed to do something that he feels he should do.  However, what it did was to stiffen his resolve to translate Stephan Mögle-Stadel's book about Hammarskjöld into English..  This book is the result, and is a major contribution to spiritually-orientated literature, a fact recognised in Germany, where the Urachhaus German version is now in its third edition.
    The book is now ready for posting, and those interested in obtaining a copy should contact the Novalis Institute on **27 (0)21 797 1857 (tel.), **27 (0)21 7610057 (Fax.) or email ralph@novalis.org.za

Price: $19.50 or £13.50

Nicholas Lee