I. “Brahman is all, and Atman is Brahman.”-Mandukya Upanishad
Why do I write? Well, why do I live, or do anything, for that matter? The best explanation I can give is to allow Brahman, the Hindu conception of the supreme, to shine through my vessel on a momentary basis. I aim to live as a channel of divine illumination. If I write, then, that too must be my purpose for writing. Therefore to merge the Atman, individual soul, with Brahman is my purpose for both writing, and living, holistically understood.
Writing transcends time; it pierces into the mystical moment of eternity. As a writer, time, itself, appears to me as non-linear and non-local; I am able to access memories from the distant past, as if they were being re-enacted in the current moment. My writing career commenced at an early age, my teachers considered me a gifted and imaginative writer from the time I was about eight years old. Writing brings me back to that time, and allows me to feel eternal. I feel like I am still the same eight-year-old boy, and forever will be. Writing is a form of communication that surpasses barriers of time and space; it is a journey free of any destination.
Writing is best viewed as a form of service. I certainly enjoy the various forms of writing, but above all others, it is the writing of stories that is dearest to my heart. Stories both entertain and educate, they enlighten and elucidate; stories change lives. The stories of Hermann Hesse have changed my life profoundly, and my gratitude is immeasurable towards this kindred soul. He was a spirit who followed his path during his time, and I am a spirit who is following my path in my time; yet, through the sharing of stories, our paths have intersected.
Stories have been pivotal in my spiritual evolution. In particular, “The Celestine Prophecy” by James Redfield was the domino that catalyzed my spiritual path. My aim as a writer is to write stories that play pivotal roles in the spiritual evolution of others. For, ultimately, it is a collective spiritual evolution that is the goal of life.
II. “O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled…as to console
To be understood…as to understand
To be loved…as to love”-St. Francis of Assisi
What, then, does writing offer me? If I proffer my writing to change the lives of others, what does this noble craft offer me in return? Perhaps, it is an illusory blow against impermanence, but more than anything else writing offers me a creative voice. Writing allows me to play God, to invent worlds and characters, and to explore themes through narrative. For me, there is no greater gift than the strength of being a writer.
It is the message that I am conveying that is of the utmost importance; what then must be the message? The accomplished novelist learns about the very themes they are writing about, during the very act of writing. I write, then, to explore the mysteries of life, of impermanence, of suffering, of joy and glory, and most of all of love. I write to inspire love in the hearts of readers and to inspire love in my own heart.
The short stories of Leo Tolstoy have been a great influence on me in recent times, and his stories have certainly inspired love in my heart. They have truly inspired the way I act, and I can only imagine how much love he must have inspired in his own heart by writing those stories. Ultimately then, writing helps us both to understand and to be understood.
III. “He experienced that ordinary, but mysterious and significant phenomenon, unnoticed by many people: of a man, supposed to be alive, becoming really alive on entering into communion with those accounted dead, and uniting and living one life with them. Julius’s soul united with him who had written and inspired those thoughts and in the light of this communion he contemplated himself and his life.”-Leo Tolstoy
Tolstoy likened reading a book to spiritual communication with someone who had already passed away. That is exactly what writing does. It allows the living on Earth to communicate with those who once vivified a material body. Writing to me, then, is a way for me to communicate long after I am gone. Perhaps, it is vain, but it gives me great solace to know that my creative voice will echo after the physical body is gone.
I think about the way I still communicate with beings such as Hesse and Tolstoy and the Buddha; these people are still able to have a great influence on my life, and they are helping me transform my life in ways that the living on Earth are not able to do.
Who is the “I” that feels called to write? Anything less than the highest power of the universe, would make this simply a play of the ego. Therefore, the answer to this question must be light energy, it must be the supreme Brahman of the Upanishads. In writing then I am in communion with the highest powers that be.
At times it is possible that the ego still wants to write and may twist off a short story or poem; I would be lying if I said I didn’t want to be famous. Concurrently with fame, however, I want my creative voice to live on. A great many writers didn’t really become famous until after they were dead, they were simply far ahead of their time; I don’t mind being ahead of my time. I want generations and generations of posterity to read my books.
The Upanishads. Trans. and Ed. Juan Mascaro. London: Penguin Classics, 1965. Print.
Redfield, James. The Celestine Prophecy. New York: Warner Books, 1993. Print.
“Prayer of Saint Francis.” La Clochette, 1912.
Tolstoy, Leo. Walk In The Light And Twenty-Three Tales. Trans. and Ed. Louise and Aylmer Maude. Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 2003. Print.