In the purport to SB.2.2.5. Prabhupada states that it is the first duty of a person in the renounced order of life to contribute some literary work. I guess it is very befitting to this phase in life, since one is meant to gradually slow down and turn more towards internal work, sharing one's life experience and realizations.
I had decided to put my most revolutionary course "Men and Women - More Confused than Ever" into book form - a most sensitive and controversial topic, which creates a lot of tension within our ISKCON society. Maybe a book could serve ISKCON by giving insights and clarity on this highly relevant issue of culture.
To publish a book was an entirely new field for me, which I had absolutely no experience in. But Krishna arranged that I came in contact with the right devotees who could guide me and offer support. Krishnarupa Mataji, a disciple of Srila Prabhupada from Australia, who I knew from my early days in Krishna consciousness is a professional editor, and she kindly agreed to not only edit the text, but offer valuable advice in order to present things in such a way, that a maximum amount of devotees would be open to accept the message I wanted to convey. We had a wonderful team spirit of polishing up the text, and I could sense her well-wishing attitude of truly wanting to support and serve my mission of publishing this book as soon as possible. I experienced the anxiety and hard work of actually transforming a seminar into a publication: so many times I had to go though the entire text again and again, sending it out to senior devotees to review it, and incorporating their suggestions and feedback to improve the presentation. Several devotees were engaged in proofreading the text, and their suggestions and feedback again had to be checked and amalgamated into the text. And finally the lay-out had to be checked so many times - always finding some little errors and inconsistencies. It required a lot of patience, determination and perseverance to work through it. Krishnarupa Mataji encouraged me by saying: "Publishing a book is like giving birth: so much anxiety and pain! But once you've done it, there is so much joy....!"
In due course I had to change several times the design of the book cover, and even the title of the book! Initially I wanted to give it the same title as I had named the course: "Men and Women - More Confused than Ever." I had found it interesting and thought-provoking - maybe even catchy and a little provocative. But then one of my very senior well-wishers advised me to change the title in order to make it sound more inviting and appealing to some who might not be so open to the topic of spiritual culture. So there had been so many stages of getting this book into shape, and by the mercy of many devotees who offered service and support it gradually manifested.
My main anxiety came about by the deadline I had set: I wanted the book to be ready by the first week of January, so I could offer it while giving the courses. However, things were being delayed - as usual, especially when getting things done in India. HH Bhakti Purusottama Maharaja had connected me with his book publishing team in Mayapur, who were arranging the lay-out and printing in Kolkata. And the Bengali pace is a little slower than the German one....!
The very final deadline I had set for the beginning of the ILS, and surely enough: Krishna sanctioned it.....
At 2 o'clock in the morning of the first day of the ILS I finally received the first 200 copies coming from the printer in Kolkata! Needless to say - I was so excited! After Mangal Artik I went to Prabhupada's samadhi to offer it to him, putting an opened book at his feet for him to examine. I prayed that it may give him some little satisfaction and pleasure.
It was a sweet little exchange with Srila Prabhupada......
Your servant, Devaki dd