Newsletter: Making Writing My Priority

Jaya Radha-Syama!

In a recent text exchange with Indradyumna Maharaja, he wrote, “I am ever grateful to Srila Prabhupada … and the association of godbrothers like yourself. Regarding your writing – if I may – I would say your writing is the most important of all your sevas. It’s what we leave behind. It stays and guides our followers and many others as well once we depart. And writing requires solitude and focus. ‘What is not well written is not well read.’  I hope you can arrange your time in that way. Your Nava-vraja-mahima is your magnum opus (and still requires a mass marketing scheme) but it is not your ‘swan song.’  Please somehow or other make writing your priority.  I will say in all humility that Nava-vraja-mahima is my constant companion and my life and soul.  Thank you for everything you do … thank you for who you are.  Your’s always, Indradyumna Swami.”

I replied, “Your message is an eye-opener and a wakeup call. Yes, I shouldn’t sacrifice my writing time. Right now I have my hands in 3 books, but I’m still GBC, guru, doing outreach, and getting old. It’s probably the latter that’s knocking me out the most. But I take to heart what you wrote and thank you very much for it. Amongst god-brothers you are the one encouraging me most for writing. I need the encouragement. It’s what keeps me going. Thank you for that. I’m trying to make appropriate changes to facilitate your advice.”

Indradyumna Maharaja’s letter brought to the fore my service priority – writing. The result of the efforts I invest into other projects may dwindle in time. It’s the sad reality. But books and their message are permanent. Srila Prabhupada’s movement has transformed greatly in the 40 years after his departure. But his books remain unchanged, and as they did 50 years ago, they continue to transform the lives of those who come in touch with them. I too must organise the last part of my life to do outreach preaching and to write. I see those two as my calling. It will be painful to let go of other services, but, c’est la vie. I know how productive I can be when I have quality time to write.

I remember while writing Volume 4 of Nava-vraja-mahima, I first included the text of Vilapa-kusumanjali as an appendix. Then I thought, “It would be so much better if there was a commentary to the text.” However I worried that if I did that, I would get distracted from the main composition, NVM. So I put the thought aside. But it kept haunting me and so one evening I vowed, “Give me one month to do Vilap, and then I will return to NVM.” And in less than one month I did the commentary to Vilapa-kusumanjali—250 pages. I feel that there are many other books that I could write, given the time to do so. It’s up to me to make the time and as inspiration to do so, I keep in mind Indradyumna Maharaja’s words “I hope you can arrange your time in that way,” and “Please somehow or other make writing your priority.”