The Journey of Book Writing

One afternoon in Vrindavan, almost ten years ago, I was walking tirelessly in the heat, giving parikrama, whilst my feet rolled in the sparkling dust of Vrindavan. As my lips softly chanted the Holy Name, my tongue rejoiced in its sweet vibration and my heart was aching to meet Radha and Krishn. It was a time when I started my spiritual studies and sadhnas. I was enjoying this new phase in my life which gave me that feeling of bliss as if I had discovered hidden treasure. I felt as though my devotional practice was giving me direct experience of my Lord. Yet there was a deep desire for my Radharaman to guide me personally. With each step on the parikrama path, I meditated on a shlok from the Shrimad Bhagwatam (10.21.5), which described my Lord so fondly:

barhapiḍaṁ naṭa-vara-vapuḥ karṇayoḥ karṇikāraṁ
bibhrad vāsaḥ kanaka-kapiśaṁ vaijayantīṁ ca mālām
randhrān veṇor adhara-sudhayāpūrayan gopa-vṛndair
vṛndāraṇyaṁ sva-pada-ramaṇaṁ prāviśad gīta-kīrtiḥ


Krishn is adorned with a peacock feather and His ears are graced with flowers; His clothes are the colour of bright gold. He wears a mixed flower garland and appears as the actor-husband. He is the gopis‘ choice, Their Lord and Husband. He fills the holes of His flute with the nectar from His lips. The song of His praise sounds as He enters Vrindavan, surrounded by His cowherd friends. His lotus feet appear splendid and create dalliance wherever They touch the ground.

While I was relishing my personal time, I heard someone’s voice calling me, “Maharaj ji! Maharaj ji!, Goswami ji!” This voice was unfamiliar to my ears. I took a glance behind to see who was calling me so eagerly.

“Oh! It is a boy.” I thought.

My mind started to think, what does he want? How does he know me? I was hoping he would not waste my time during parikrama. He was pretty fashionable, wearing a yellow t-shirt and bell-bottom jeans, with the Gaudiya tilak on his forehead. From his appearance, he looked like a Delhi boy. He paid his obeisance and stood up. I asked his name and intention.

“Banwari.” He replied.

In my mind, I was thinking, Banwari? Is he joking? This is an old-fashioned name, and a young boy from Delhi would be named something more contemporary. But still, I observed him with great curiosity. How did he know me and what was his reason for stopping me?

He looked at my face, smiled and spoke, “I wanted to tell you something important. In the future, you will write books for mankind.”

I asked him, “Why are you telling me this?”

“I am an actor and I know things. In a moment, I will show you a part of my act that will reveal the answers to all of your questions.” He replied.

I was puzzled and continued to stare at him. Nothing was making sense to me. He started moving away from me and after 50 meters of separation he completely vanished from the middle of the path.

I had goose bumps. My body was experiencing some serious adrenaline rush and I was perplexed and blown away. I had just watched Banwari disappear, right before my eyes, as if he was never there. I lost my energy. I sat down on the parikrama path, completely mystified and confused. My mind had stopped working. I had no idea what I was thinking and since my body was not in my control, tears were rolling from my eyes. I could feel electric current flowing to all parts of my body. After a few minutes, I heard a car honk which shook me out from my condition. I stood up and let the car pass. I started walking but my mind could not stop playing the whole incident over and over again.

I started recalling the episode which took place just a few minutes ago: yellow clothes, name Banwari, an actor who knows everything. And suddenly, it dawned upon me! That day was Thursday. Krishn wears yellow on this day and one of His Names is Banwari. Everyday in the temple, during dhoop-aarti we sing, “Jai Jai Radharaman Girdhari, Girdhari Shyam Banwari . . . .”

Also, He is described as naṭa-vara (Actor and Husband) from that Shrimad Bhagwatam verse which I was meditating upon earlier. I was enthralled but I was still unable to understand why Krishn could pay His obeisance to me? Nothing was making any sense to me and all this mind-churning was so intense that I had completed giving parikrama without realising I had. I came back home and I really was not interested to do anything. I was deeply absorbed with that situation.

Later in the evening, to distract myself, I went to meet one of my friends Sukhnidan ji, who used to run a cyber-café and gift shop. While meeting him, a man wearing dhoti and kurta entered the shop. With a dusky complexion and a patchy beard, he looked like a baba. His clothes looked like they had not been washed in a few weeks. Originally from Dhanbad in Bihar, baba was one of Sukhnidan ji’s regular customers and that’s how I became acquainted with him. Baba was chatty and weird. He used to proclaim that he does face readings. That evening, after checking his email, he came to us and said, “Chandanji, let me do your face reading.” I did not object. Sukhnidan ji gave him a pen and a piece of paper. He observed my face and immediately started writing. When baba finished, I asked with irritation, “Are we done? Because I need to leave now.”

He handed the piece of paper to me and it read, “You will write books in the future.” After reading it, I was completely freaked out and without speaking, I left and went directly to the temple.

Reaching my destination, I started to look at Him with my puzzled mind. I was so confused. I needed to understand one thing which I was unable to reconcile. If it was Him then why did He pay His obeisance to a conditioned soul like me? In that moment, a devotee who was glorifying Shri Radharaman Dev to new devotees said, “The Lord of Vrindavan, all independent, does His lila which one cannot fathom.” Maybe it was an answer to my question but still after ten years, I am no closer to finding the reason.

Nevertheless, I maintained focus on my studies and bhajan. Soon after, I had a strong urge to write a book even though I felt that I was not philosophically prepared. My arrogance led me to start writing my first commentary on the Bhagwad Gita, which I had never studied since it was dry for me. Brajwasis prefer the nectarine stories in the Srimad Bhagwatam, which is a scripture   that depicts the sweetness of the Lord’s life story, not only philosophy. Also, I had a better grasp of the Bhagwatam. But still for the sake of writing, I pursued the Bhagwad Gita. After completing the second chapter, I realised my commentary was not projecting any devotional feeling from me, only my knowledge. The moment I realised, I stopped writing and prayed to my Beloved to fill me with sacred love.

Two years later, I went to Jagannath Puri. I have described my experience of this trip in one of my blogs. From Rahul Acharya’s library, I retrieved a book titled the Narad Bhakti Sutra, with the commentary of a Bengali saint. The more I read, the more I transformed internally. My mood started to change and tears fell from my eyes. From that day, for the next few years, I repeatedly read the first seven verses. Each time I promised myself I would try to read further but I felt unworthy. 


As time passed, I became an acharya and started preaching globally but I kept that book with me because I had such a deep connection with it. One day, across from my home in Vrindavan, I was in the Girdhari Temple and I received a phone call from a devotee asking if I had written any books. My reply was no.

He said, “You should write one. There are many of us who want to read your words.”

After the conversation ended, I looked at Girdhari ji and asked, “I have no idea of what I should write. You are Hari and Haridas. You know better. Please instruct me on this if you want me to write.”

I returned home and went to my personal library. The moment I opened the door of my library, all I could see was Narad Bhakti Sutra written on every book. I was stunned! I started picking up small books, big books, anything I could get my hands on to make sure that I was not hallucinating. But whichever book or scripture I chose, I was reading verses from the Narad Bhakti Sutra. Girdhari ji had answered my question. With this conviction, I decided to write my first commentary and prayed to Girdhari, “Let me be Your instrument always so that I can define the sacred love of Braj.”

In the future, I hope and pray that arrogance will not enter in the writing process and the divine Actor, my Girdhari, will continue to write books through me. For this reason, the acknowledgement in Way to Love: A Commentary on the Narad Bhakti Sutra commences with:


“The first day when I started writing my commentary on the Narad Bhakti Sutra, I felt I was inadequate to write something about love. I turned to Lord Girdhari and prayed to Him, to bestow this sacred work upon me and use me as His instrument to write the book. So, I am not the author but a mere channel and the rightful Author is Lord Krishn.”

Jai Jai Radharaman Girdhari, Girdhari Shyam Banwari . . .

Radhe Radhe!