Newsletter: Writer’s Yoga

I’m struggling!

I’ve rewritten what I have to date of Sādhana-sāra-dīpikā and broken new ground. It feels solid, and the view of the future is clear. It also seems that my resignation from the GBC, and Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa’s taking the helm, is freeing me up and leaving me more time to write.

But Sādhana-sāra-dīpikā is no easy book. It very much reminds me of writing Śuddha-bhakti-cintāmaṇi. That, too, was a struggle. The difference then was that my mind was more in line with the subject and I wrote it over a shorter period of time, during two consecutive visits to Govardhana. With Sādhana-sāra-dīpikā my mind wanders. Vilāpa-kusumāñjali and some other shorter works draws my mind away – especially when I see the paintings for Vilāpa manifesting. I really have a constant, inner urge to work on Vilāpa and I believe it would be a valued contribution to ISKCON and to devotees at any stage of devotional life.

Additionally I would like to put other small works of the ācāryas into quality English as I did with the little blue Vilāpa book. Yes, I really do get myself into extreme writing challenges with short books that stretch into longer ones. But that’s me. That’s how Nava-vraja-mahimā started off as “maybe 100 pages or so” and ended up as 9 volumes! But sometimes the detour-short-book works out to be just that, as it did with Sādhavo and Spontaneous Devotion.

All that said, once Sādhana-sāra-dīpikā is finished, I believe it will be as popular with devotees as Śuddha-bhakti-cintāmaṇi, and that it will help the serious sādhaka to move forward to the goal of prema. The advantage I have with writing Sādhana-sāra-dīpikā now, over that of Śuddha-bhakti-cintāmaṇi then, is many years of experience of writing through distraction, uncertainty, and stress. That experience has given me a confidence to persevere and keep my mind focused through thick and thin. In doing so, a certain empowerment descends and the effort serves its purpose beyond expectations. When reworking Sādhana-sāra-dīpikā recently I was quite amazed at how good the content was. And when, a few days back, I was reading the newly-arrived Hungarian Nava-vraja-mahimā Volume 7 – the description of the Gāyatrī-mantra – I was impressed by how clear and how deep its message came across.

The conclusion: keep focused and keep at it. That’s the yoga of writing. As with all yoga systems, the yoga of writing demands constant meditation on the object and perseverance until the end. Bringing the mind back to where it belongs. And also as with all kinds of yoga, it is mercy, Kṛṣṇa’s mercy, Rādhā-Śyāma’s mercy, that delivers the final result.

And one of the wonderful things about finishing a book is that remembrance of the painful process I undertook and experienced no longer causes pain when the result is in hand: like women who go through the agony of childbirth, the painful process is forgotten, or at least secondary, when their baby is placed in their hands.