PROFOUND EXPERIENCES BLOSSOM AS COUNTLESS PUBLICATIONS
When I study scriptures, I mark the important portions. I constantly think over the points and reflect. I found effective methods to tide over difficulties and obstacles. I recorded my own experiences. Thousands came to me in person or through correspondence seeking a remedy for solving their problems. I gave suggestions and suitable remedies based on my own experiences. I do not miss a single thought because I record all my thoughts. I attach great value to the experiences of the students also. I minutely observe and note down the points for the benefit of other students. I take care to see that these reach immediately all aspirants at distant places through my letters, articles and messages, through all leading journals and periodicals in various languages.
For the guidance of so many struggling souls, I released my experiences as 'Mind, Its Mysteries and Control', 'Spiritual Lessons', 'Precepts for Practice'. I classify the lessons and publish the same in pamphlet and book form. Thus my publications become numerous and limitless. When once I gave a lot of new material for 'Practice of Yoga', Volume Second, the publishers gave me a suggestion to have only one volume. In 1933, I wrote to them:
"Why do you stop my work? Let 'Practice of Yoga' be in several Volumes, 3, 4, 5 and so on, when I have brand new ideas and lessons. Let me work as long as my eyes are good, as long as I have new messages and lessons for seekers after Truth. My love to serve mankind is so great that I will continue the publication work with the help of able stenographers and secretaries even if I lose my eyesight. Let the Divine work grow and bring peace and bliss to the world."
WHY THERE ARE REPETITIONS IN MY BOOKS
I believe in the harmonious development of heart, intellect, mind and body. One-sided development is not of much benefit. I do not ignore any of the teachings of the sages and saints of various religions and cults. For a quick spiritual progress of students of different tastes and temperaments, I give the essence from all sources. I call this "Synthesised Yoga" or "Integral Yoga." The lessons that I give are the outcome of my own researches and also the experiences of thousands of devotees.
In all my books I emphasise the essential points of the practical side for an all-round development. This is regarded by some as "Repetition." They are very helpful to sincere students. Aspirants are able to grasp the value and importance of such useful repetitions. These lessons are intended to create a deep and indelible impression on the minds of the aspirants. While describing a particular subject, with a view to making the book useful to all the readers, I repeat the vital points that are to be observed in daily life. These prove to be very helpful. They hammer the mind that is tossed by materialistic influences. That helps to develop the will-power also. There is a message for the solace, peace, freedom and perfection of every individual.
Devotees have a big library with a complete set of my books and yet they frequently write to me for books that are in the press. They very often write to me: "The one beauty I find in your books is that the lessons create a taste for spiritual progress and tempt me to follow some of the lessons, though I am conscious that I do not have a natural taste or inclination for the path. The lessons are meant for me and I find them highly useful for my material progress as well. I feel a new power and hope in me after reading a few pages of your book: 'Mind, Its Mysteries and Control'."
In 1935 the publishers sent me a letter from a devotee who complained that my books contain a lot of repetitions. I wrote to them: "Repetition should be carefully avoided. You will have to sit 3 or 4 nights with full thermos flasks of tea and work hard for removing the repetitions. For fear of repetition, do not omit the important portions. Repetitions are necessary when the lessons aim at hammering the worldly mind. This world is a sphere of repetition. We cannot please the entire world. The Gita, the Upanishads and other scriptures are full of repetitions. This cannot be avoided. Without hammering, nature refuses to change. After some years, when we bring out fresh editions, we can thoroughly overhaul each and every book, every para, every sentence and improve the book. Print all that I have given you. Do not omit even a single comma or word." The devotee of that letter says that my books are full of repetitions and yet he wants to have a complete list of my latest publications! At the end he adds: 'It is food and life for me.'
It will be a great surprise for the world to see that I authorise any number of publishers to bring out new editions of several of my books. One and the same book comes out from various presses in India, Germany, Switzerland, Indonesia and America. I want the maximum amount of work in a short space of time. My letters written in 1934-36 explain the method of my work in carrying out a dynamic work through the press:-
"I like 20 days' and 10 days' productions. Can you do 'Dhana-dhan' or 'Fata-fut' work? Can you take up 3 or 4 books at a time? Engage several presses. This is Dhana-dhan work which is being done by a small press here in Rishikesh. Mind not about payments. Anyhow the bills will be paid, sooner or later."
"Engage several presses for finishing the matter quickly. Do not rely on one Press alone. Press people, goldsmiths and tailors belong to the same category. They do things very slowly, leisurely. They do not stick to their promise."
My object is quick work and rapid dissemination of spiritual knowledge. This is indicated in my next letter.
RAPID WORK IS MY IDEAL
I am not restrictive about my publications. Any good matter must be shared with the readers at once for their prompt spiritual benefit. I do not want my readers to wait until a new publication is ready. Hence, if any new ideas crop up, I at once add them in the latest work under print even though they may not have a direct connection with the subject-matter of the book. Nor do I wish that valuable time should be wasted in carefully scrutinising every word.
"Do not worry about the mistakes in printing. You need not be afraid of mistakes. If you send me the proof, I shall correct them. Do not confine the book to 125 pages. If you have good matter, insert it and increase the price of the book by a few annas. What harm is there if there are 200 or 300 pages in a book? You can help the world by bringing out substantial and authoritative works."
Where a recognition of merit is due, I am not hesitant about expressing it:
"The book 'Yoga Asanas' is beautiful. It has got its own charm in the field, though there are many books in the market."
ATTENTION TO DETAILS
I am also very careful in giving detailed instructions:
"You can introduce meditation on OM (figure) itself. This is both Saguna and Nirguna meditation. Print some nice OM Charts and as footnote write some instructions on concentration and meditation. Insert the Four Mahavakyas also on four sides. I wish to have a Japa leaflet: Print OM 108 times on a page. Those who do not like to have a Japa Mala can go through this page."
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"Herewith a detailed article on Brahmarandhra. This will suffice. The elaborate description of Pericarp, Nibodhaka fire, Nirvana Sakti, etc. does not help the student much. It is all Greek and Latin-Mystic. Do not take any matter from any other books. Whatever I have written is quite sufficient. Do not copy matter from any other source and spoil the beauty of the books."
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I carefully watch over the way my books are brought out. Sometimes, the publishers thought of omitting some of the portions they did not consider to be apposite or appropriate. But I do not wish any valuable matter to be lost in this process. Hence, in the following letter I emphasised their importance and also asked them to be careful about preserving the force of the writing which might be lost in the process of changing the language. I do not like too much of correction and editing.
"You can remove some portions. But remember, it is not the language or style but the power behind the thought that influences people. In trying to improve the language, etc., the force must be kept up. Whenever you make a change, you must reflect over the views of the writer. Mere metaphysical or flowery decoration will not make any improvement. The force of the writer must never be lost. Keep this in view when you think of any improvement in the publications."
The following observations would show how I appreciate a good production and also how I am disinclined to deletions:
"The book is very beautiful with the Introduction. You may think that you get some 'criticism' from the press. This is only a wrong imagination. Some newspapers will praise the volume. If you insert a thrilling advertisement, the copies will be sold like hotcakes. Coupled with 'Practice of Vedanta', this will form a fine combination for the study of Vedanta."
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"In 'Yoga Asanas', there is a great difference between the 1st and the 2nd editions. You have omitted all Sanskrit words like 'Parichchinna Ananda, Bimba Ananda', etc. Sanskrit words have great, special power and significance. On account of the contagion from the editor of a humorous Weekly, you have omitted the Sanskrit words. In future, kindly do not omit even a single syllable. There is a force, beauty and elegance in Sanskrit words. It will not in the least break the continuity of thought while reading."
NO ATTACHMENT TO COPYRIGHT
I do not expect any royalty from publishers. For dynamic work, I ask all the publishers to bring out several editions of my books in different languages. I do not demand anything from publishers as remuneration to the author. Let them give the royalty or not, I permit any number of publishers to come forward to print my books for wide circulation throughout the world. Usually they give me 100 copies for every 1000 copies published. I do not sell those copies and earn any profit. I distribute the copies to all important libraries, educational and religious institutions and to daily newspapers for purpose of review. This proves to be an efficient channel for publicity and the copies are sold out quickly and the publishers earn profit. I wish all should prosper.
I look to the spread of knowledge. Sitting in a small Kutir in the Himalayas on the banks of the Ganga, I have published hundreds of very useful books in all languages for circulation throughout the world. This was possible, because I have not entertained any mercenary motive. My liberal views attracted many publishers in all countries like Germany, Switzerland, America and Indonesia. Some publishers do not like to handle valuable books on high Vedanta. They want to earn enormous profit by selling books quickly on Magic, Miracles and Yoga. Important works on Vedanta and Health are sold gradually, and hence the publishers are not so much interested in them. So I thought of having my own publications. In the interest of future generations, for preservation of valuable books, now I restrict the copyright of all my works to the Divine Life Society or the Yoga Vedanta Forest University. And yet I permit others also to publish my books.
Even if I do not demand any royalty copies, politely I tell the publishers in a convincing manner to give me some copies for free distribution. They give me 100 or 150 copies (per thousand) liberally. I call the 'royalty' copies as Ganesh Pooja, as offering to the Lord. In 1936, I wrote the following lines to a Publisher in India:
"Kindly remember the Ganesh Pooja copies. It is in your own interest. Whenever a tree bears fruit, the first fruit or vegetable should be offered to God or Sannyasins. Then the man prospers with grand success. Even so in regard to the Ganesh Pooja copies. The publisher attains prosperity, here and hereafter. I utilise the copies in bringing wonderful publicity for the books."
I am highly pleased if all the books are printed in the University Press, as here I have full freedom. When copies are received from the press, I give away all the copies free to the inmates, visitors, pilgrims and, by post, to all devotees, Branches of the Divine Life Society and all religious and educational institutions. Daily I empty all the almirahs in the office, and yet I find fresh stock continuously coming from the Press. Now there are many devotees in all parts of India and Hong Kong who print large number of copies of my books and send me all the copies for such distribution. My joy is great when devotees send me contributions for this publication work and the maintenance of Sadhakas at the Ashram, or for the relief of the sick persons in the Hospital.
ATTITUDE TOWARDS PROFIT MOTIVE
When there was some discrepancy in the accounts with a publisher, I asked one of my disciples to behave well and to maintain a cool mind. Some of the letters to him reproduced below will explain my attitude to the business people:
"Be calm and serene. Never fret yourself. Be magnanimous and 'Gambhira'. The whole world is yours, your body, your home. Be a Sakshi. Watch."
"Do not fight. Under all conditions, be polite, civil and courteous. Money is nothing. Be friendly with the publishers for ever. Become fearless. Have no quarrel with regards to the accounts. Be noble. Go on reasonable lines. If they are wrong, point out to them the mistake, if they persist and stick to their mistakes, keep silent. Ignore the whole matter even if we have heavy loss. Do not use any harsh word in your letter. Politeness and courtesy must breathe in every line. Settle the account without going to the courts. Consult a lawyer on the point. Do not lose temper. Act like a Sannyasi."