for ISKCON News on March 19, 2013
Many readers familiar with the life of Bhakti Tirtha Swami may wonder how Hari-Nama Press has published a new book, considering that the author left this world on June 27, 2005. Printing an author’s book posthumously warrants an explanation.
In 2004, after Maharaja had received his diagnosis of cancer, but he continued working on his books with the same intensity as always. In a letter to the editors dated January 5, 2005, he wrote, “Now that my time in this body seems to be rather limited, let’s see how many books we can get out before my departure.”
Between 2004 and 2005, he wrote another book in the Beggar series, The Beggar IV: Die Before Dying
, which we were able to print before he left this world. Not only was he focused on writing his Beggar prayers, which he completed during his rigorous cancer treatments, but his gaze was fixed on the future of his books as well as on the future of Hari-Nama Press. He held many meetings that year with the team during which he shared his desires for the continuation of the Press in his absence. More specifically, he worked with the editors to organize several books for future publication, ensuring that the Hari-Nama Press team would be engaged in service well after his departure.
At the beginning of 2005, Bhakti Tirtha Swami requested his book team to begin work on this current volume, which he entitled Surrender: The Key to Eternal Life.
Deborah Klein completed the initial editing of the book and then sent the manuscript to Lila Katha dasi to prepare the final draft. After Maharaja left this world, however, his disciples were engaged in publishing several reprints of his other works, which were rapidly selling out. Due to the great demand for his writings, the editing of Surrender
had to be delayed.
Surrender: The Key to Eternal Life
is a deep meditation on topics such as the cultivation of humility and selflessness, as well as on the detrimental effects of envy, anxiety, and boredom. As usual, Bhakti Tirtha Swami’s work contains specific and practical ways to engage in spiritual life. Maharaja wants us to look at our weaknesses. Instead of leaving us to wallow in the muck of our anarthas, he encourages us to take inventory of them so that we can make genuine changes and advancement. He was especially compassionate in his approach to anartha-nivrtti, understanding that many of us have a hard time relinquishing bad habits that we have carried with us lifetime after lifetime, even while trying sincerely to chant and hear the Lord’s holy name. Through his compassion, he listened to devotees, asked questions, and took care to pinpoint the exact nature of the problems that often trouble the individual and the community of devotees. He would address such concerns in person, in his lectures, and in his books.
, readers will experience the palpable presence of Bhakti Tirtha Swami as he continues to push us forward, encouraging us to look at ourselves so that we can reach deeper levels of devotional experience and practice. It can be frightening to introspect with such brutal honesty, and indeed, it takes great courage. For this reason, Maharaja consistently uses the term “spiritual warrior.” It takes strength and valor to battle the mind and senses, but it is a battle that we do not have to face alone. Bhakti Tirtha Swami, a true spiritual warrior, is present and available to us throughout these pages, encouraging us and coaching us as we read. His spirit will no doubt guide us as we apply this wisdom to our lives.
During those last few months, Maharaja frequently told his disciples that everything he needed to say was in his books. Nothing remained that was not written down or spoken in his lectures. On behalf of the entire Hari-Nama Press team, we are very grateful to present this book to the Vaisnava community and continue the legacy of Bhakti Tirtha Maharaja. We hope his words of inspiration, lovingly collected in the following pages, will help you in your spiritual lives as much as it has helped us in ours.
Visit harinamapress.org or Amazon.com to order your hard copy or Kindle eBook version respectively.