Writing Is Not A Mechanical Affair

Category: SRS Books Newsletter

Title: Writing Is Not A Mechanical Affair

Upload date: 2016-01-21

Hare Krishna!

Writing while travelling is a challenge. Moving from place to place by plane, train, car—and in Ireland, by motorboat—is one challenge, but another is the expectations of devotees that include giving six hour kirtanas, long seminars, and individual counsel. When I explain the difficulty in meeting these expectations due to international and local GBC responsibilities, devotees acquiesce—somewhat. But when I add that I am writing a book and targeting for a deadline, they look at me blankly. I get the impression that devotees often think that book writing is like taking quick dictation. But that is far from the truth. 

Firstly one needs to be rested. If the mind and body are tired, then the tasks of thought, research, and composition become impossible. Secondly the facilities for writing need to be reasonable. One needs internet for research, a chair that doesn’t cripple the back, a desk suitable for computer and reference books that I carry with me, and a room quiet enough and warm enough to allow one to concentrate. Thirdly, but not lastly, one needs a certain degree of peace of mind. Srila Prabhupada would complain that he could not write when he was troubled by ISKCON issues. 

There are other considerations, including inspiration. It is not possible to write mechanically. So when some books, like our current Varnasrama guidelines—now called Varnasrama Codex, The Four Varnas—are behind schedule, it’s mostly due to the fact that writing is not a mechanical affair and requires backup, facility, and peace of mind. Keeping these considerations in mind you can expect this first volume of the varnasrama series in your hand by spring of this year. 

As for nectar, here is an interesting reference, yet to be checked, on how Jiva Gosvami would analyse the varna of devotees joining his fold: If they came out of distress they were sudras; out of a desire to materially improve themselves, they were vaisyas; if they were inquisitive, they were ksatriyas, and if they were seeking the truth, they were brahmanas. Why did you come?

Yours in Krishna s service,

Sivarama Swami