An Overview of SDG's Writings
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Millions of copies of Srila Prabhupada-lilamrita in numerous languages have, and continue to be, distributed all around the world, giving everyone a chance to follow his teachings.

            After finishing this project in 1983, Satsvarupa dasa Goswami continued writing varieties of literature, presenting the conclusions of traditional Vedic scripture with the purpose of capturing the attention of a variety of readers and bringing them toward a closer connection to Srila Prabhupada and his books. Over the years, the GN Press has been able to distribute Satsvarupa dasa Goswami’s guides to personal practices of spiritual life (sadhana), journals, essays, children’s books, Haiku, Haiban, American Beat Poetry, and extensive collections of books dedicated to the exclusive glorification of, appreciation of, and meditation upon Srila Prabhupada.

            In 1986, Satsvarupa dasa Goswami began experimenting with various forms of automatic writing as a personal devotional practice to deepen his internal realization and purification. As a result, the GN Press has been able to augment its collection to include fiction, avant-garde writing, and other genres to reach an ever-expanding audience.

            During the year of the Centennial Memorial Celebration of Srila Prabhupada’s appearance (1896–1996), Satsvarupa dasa Goswami joined thousands of followers of A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami around the world in rededicating his personal commitment to Srila Prabhupada’s preaching mission. As a multitalented writer and serious sadhaka, this led to his into embarking on an internal journey, which he shares with us by presenting a monumental, genre-bending literature series, Every Day, Just Write, which harkens to the 21st Century Reader and beyond.

Note from Satsvarupa dasa Goswami

In the autumn of 1996, while finishing one book and trying to decide on the form of the next, it occurred to me that everything I write is part of one big book. Although it is good for a writer to think in different genres, it can also be right to admit that he is essentially writing the same book each time he sets pen to paper. That is, a writer is writing his life. While he may express it in one genre or another, it is still his life that he is expressing. In my case, it is as Kerouac stated: “Uninterrupted and unrevised full confessions about what actually happened in life.”

When this thought occurred to me about my own writing, I was traveling from Italy to Ireland. By the time I arrived, I had decided to begin a project without end. I would call it Every Day, Just Write, and title each segment thematically.

Although each volume of Every Day, Just Write was composed individually, due to economic concerns, the GN Press chose to produce the first three volumes as a single book. The first title in the series, Welcome Home to the One Big Book of Your Life, seems particularly right to me. I welcome readers to join me on an open-ended journey. The direction is to Krishna, whom the Vedas accept as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. I cannot guarantee when I’ll “arrive” (back home, back to Godhead), but by the grace of my spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada, I know I won’t give up.   

            The title of the second volume, Search for the Authentic Self, gives us another clue to the nature of the author’s direction for this internal journey. He is kindly willing to share that with us in its totality, even though the picture isn’t always pretty.

A Letter to a Friend, Written in the Mind:
(Excerpt from Search for the Authentic Self)

            “Dear Prabhu, you and I have been discussing the technical differences between conditioned devotional service and pure devotional service. You understand it more analytically than I do. You describe an early stage of devotional service where you offer the fruits of your endeavor. That is not pure devotion. You discuss another stage where you’re detached from the fruits and do your work dutifully, but it’s not yet spontaneous. You describe a stage of pure devotion, which involves emphasis on sravanam kirtanam [chanting and hearing], but also doing only what Krishna wants you to do—even beyond one’s psychophysical nature. What I want to express to you as a friend is a line of argument I’m compelled to take in answer to this request that you are making on Krishna’s behalf that I do only what Krishna wants me to do if I want to attain pure devotion.

            By way of replying, I want to first tell you something I read years ago in Franz Kafka’s diaries. He said something about the nature of Judaism. Although Kafka was not a religious man in the ordinary sense, in this one diary entry he spoke in praise of Judaism and said, “Now there’s a real religion. It accepts the whole man.” I don’t know exactly what he was thinking, but it struck me. I thought in contrast of a stereotype that is given of renounced Christianity, which is that one surrenders in spirit and negatively renounces the flesh – perhaps Kafka was praising Judaism as one that accepts the human man in all his dimensions.

            I like to think this is what I’m doing in my own Krishna consciousness. Perhaps when I was younger and appeared to be more surrendered, I was partly pursuing that renounced version where one surpasses certain “impure” drives one has (and I don’t mean sinful activities but personal natures) and does just what Krishna wants, according to the spiritual master’s order. It appears that one is on the higher platform of devotional service, but actually, the “whole man” has not been eliminated; neither has he been fully engaged in Krishna’s service.

            I think now that I’m allowing myself to dovetail my creative nature in Krishna’s service, I am more surrendered than when I was completely submerging those desires. I know there’s a thin line between self-indulgence and offering something to Krishna, but I try again and again to be honest about this, and the best I can come up with is that this is my surrendered offering to Krishna. In other words, it’s not a matter of theological discussion but existential reality. The theoretical discussion can go on as perfect talks from the vyasasana, or talks between you and me about what Krishna is saying in the Bhagavad-gita. If I say I now know what pure devotion is – to do only what Krishna wants – then I have to ask, how do I follow it up? How do I know what Krishna wants? How do I attain it?

            I don’t really know what Krishna wants in my very specific tiny life. I have to offer Him the best I can in terms of what I think He wants. Furthermore, even if I were to make a guess and say that Krishna doesn’t want me to be, say, a writer, I wouldn’t know for sure that that’s what He wants, and how could I give it up?

            I don’t want to define myself on a lower rung of devotional service, but neither can I artificially do something beyond my realization, so I try to surrender fully (atma-nivedanam) in the sense of the impression I got from Kafka’s line. I want to give the whole man and not just a renounced version of myself to Krishna. I want to give Him what I love. I want to also let it serve energetically in a preaching way to show others how they can give their whole selves to Krishna.

            Here the words “whole selves” do not mean pure self; it means giving all aspects of our selves as we know them, according to our conditional nature—giving our money, giving our talents, and so on.  Giving all things we have. I expanded on this image while writing Churning the Milk Ocean. There I said that when I write, I churn up things that are sometimes poison, sometimes nectar. We reject the poison and don’t offer if to Krishna, but we can’t deny that it gets churned up in the process.

            I am writing this to you personally. I wouldn’t advocate it at an ISKCON forum for social living or as support for Western psychology – inviting devotees to do their own thing for Krishna. I have to admit it’s what I’m doing. I do restrict myself from expanding on inner desires I may have. But I’m going ahead as fully as possible to offer Krishna my nature, to do the best I can to the perfection that Krishna desires – that we act only to please Him.

            It may sound strange to say I don’t know what Krishna really wants, so I have to agonize over it on my own. What do you think? Do you think you know in vital aspects – and that other devotees in ISKCON know in vital aspects – exactly what Krishna wants from them? Rather, isn’t this part of our free will to struggle with this?”

            The volumes of Every Day, Just Write written during the first three years of the project have been published as Volumes 1 to 20 of the series; the volumes written over the following three years have been condensed (like burfi) into a book entitled Human at Best.

The year 2002 brought great physical, emotional, and mental anguish to the author. Since the astrological calculations for this year were ominous, it was by Krishna’s loving grace, through the prayers and service of many devotees, and because of Satsvarupa dasa Goswami’s unwavering connection to his spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada, that he was able to live through this time and recover his health. This process stirred up a wave of intense creative reflection that is about to break over us in the form of his newest writings. The following is a list of these new titles and the year in which they were written.

Year Written                        Title                                                                       

2003                                    Under Dark Stars                                               
2003                                    California Search for Gold                                   
2004                                     New, Newer and Newer          
2004                                    Resting at Mendocino                                               
2005                                     Visitors [published in 2007)                                                           
2005                                     Love and Hate                                                           
2005                                     Write and Die [published in 2007)                                                            

At the request of our readers, we will start with the most recent completed manuscript, Write and Die, and work back –with the intention of catching them up with the journey within a year. Each book can be seen as an episode that creatively expresses different adventures.

            It’s the history of a life – the rise, the fall, the crawl. It’s a spiritual process. It’s raw – powerful, yet playful, full of improvisation, digression, and literary lessons.

Quotes from Love and Hate:

            “I cannot break the umbilical cord that connects me to world literature and English literature that I began to study when I was a young boy. Is there any need to completely break from it? It is not all vice and caprice. Prabhupada told me that these great writers and thinkers had a kind of Krishna consciousness, which was in their sincerity. Some of them are even directly God conscious. So I may see them as part of God’s brilliant creation, although in a distant way compared to the Goswamis. I may appreciate their writing style and their thinking, their attempts to do good in the world and as training teachers for me to be a better writer and even a better moralist and patient sufferer in the higher quest for serving Lord Krishna.”

*     *     *

            “He’s becoming a little more confident that we’re at least going to continue to read the book. In earlier chapters, Laurence Sterne* came right out and said that if we didn’t like what he was writing, we should ‘shut the door.’ He used an odd typographic setup on the page to do this. Half of the page was a long dash extending at mid-height, and then in the middle of the page the words ‘shut the door’ appeared. And then the second half of the page continued the long mid-height dash. He did this several times. In other words, if you don’t like it, then I’m not forcing you. Just put the book down right now, shut it, and you go your way, and I’ll go my way. How advanced and ingenious it seems for an 18th-century writer. So why can’t we do little things like that, or at the same time writing the exact truth from Prabhupada and the parampara? He does it naturally without any artifice. But now he’s heeding our confidence a little and saying, ‘Don’t shut the door, even if I do sometimes put on a fool’s cap. There’s more to this than meets the eye.’

“Linger a while and become my friend. This book is deeper than it seems. We’re definitely heading for Krishna on the zig-zag path. We can give the exact same thing but with slightly different changes according to the voice and personality of the faithful acharya. His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Prabhupada speaks differently than his beloved worshipable Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur, who spoke differently than his beloved spiritual masters Gaura-Kishor dasa Babaji and Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur. The difference is according to time place and persons of the audience, and this is dictated by the Supreme Lord in Paramatma. The difference is also because the preachers are actually individuals with different selves, and they speak in different ways. We are not all exactly alike. But when you surrender to Krishna, you speak with the same siddhanta. Thank God we don’t speak all exactly the same like robots.

“In variety there is bliss. So Sterne is certainly writing a quirky book but he started out quite confidently by saying that this is who he was, and he didn’t defend it much or make desperate attempts to hold on to the readers by watering it down.

“Now, after a few chapters, Tristram is speaking with a little more confidence. He says, Just leave me to talk the way I talk. This is not exactly the Roman Catholic’s Baltimore Catechism, where everything is spoken by rote: as (1) Who made you? (1) God made me. (2) Why did God make you? (2) God made me to serve Him and know Him and love Him in this world and the next. Good answers, but exactly memorized and exactly worded with no room for an individual person. ‘Rather, give me a little credit for a little more wisdom than appears on my outside; and as we jog on, either laugh with me, or at me—only keep your temper.’”

*Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy

 *   *   *

            “I am so pleased to join and lead, at least in some tiny way, with the genre of literature that is on the surface delightfully delirious with no apparent order. A sentence from the chapter; chapters begin, are broken off, or even vanish completely, only to reappear in un-numerical sequence later on. Shall I say that behind with deceptive façade of aimless frivolity there is a carefully prepared design, subtle in style and brilliant in execution? Alas, I cannot. But I am repeating words Chaitanya and Krishna as much as Laurence Sterne is repeating words like homunculus and as much as he is risqué I am adamantly seeking to free myself from all bonds and gain the lotus feet of Krishna.”   

            In closing, we accept Satsvarupa dasa Goswami as a qualified link in the Brahma-Gaudiya-Vaishnava, International Society for Krishna Consciousness parampara, empowered to connect devotees in the past, present, and future to the teachings of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. As history has shown, the innovative offerings of many artists have not been appreciated or made their full impact on the society in their immediate generation; however, as servants, associates, followers, and deep admirers of Satsvarupa dasa Goswami, we are aware of the potency of his contributions to literature, art, and most importantly, the process of God consciousness.

            Dear Srila Prabhupada—acharya and inspiration for all innovative preachers—please bless our sincere offering. Our story started as a prediction by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu that “My name will be chanted and heard in every town and village throughout the world,” and this prediction was planted in seed form by you, Srila Prabhupada, in 1966, in the heart of a sincere writer and devotee in New York City. We want this story of how your seed grew to bring future generations of devotees back to your lotus feet. In the words of another great New York City philosopher, Yogi Berra,

“It ain’t over till it’s over!”

Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama Rama Rama, Hare Hare