"Behind the Scenes"

Education for Life

Preparing Children to Meet Today's Challenges
by Swami Kriyananda (J. Donald Walters)

A school already existed at Ananda Village when I wrote this book. My thought in the writing was to crystalize concepts I had heard from my Guru, by putting them in a form that would assist the guidance of schools along similar lines.

Pat Kirby, a lady who now lives at Ananda Village, wrote to me years ago that she'd been assigned the job of researching the concept of "education for life" in history. She'd researched the educational systems of ancient China, India, Greece, and Egypt before going on to the better-known Montessori and Waldorf systems in modern times. At the end of her research, she wrote me, she'd discovered my book. This one, to her, was the best and most complete system she'd encountered anywhere.

Needless to say, when I received her letter via e-mail I responded gratefully. From that initial contact has evolved a sincere friendship. She now lives at Ananda Village.


A Pause for Reflection

I decided fairly soon as a writer that I'd rather publish on my own any book that I wrote. Doing so would give me, for one thing, control over the schedule of reprints, for which I had my own timetable and priorities as to what books would best serve the work I was doing, and when. I didn't like, moreover, to risk the editorial decisions of people who neither shared nor understood my spiritual convictions. Ananda Publications was started more or less simultaneously with Ananda Sangha itself.

With the publication of Education for Life, I felt the time had come to write many more books. I spoke of my intentions to the head of our publications department at the time. To my surprise, he explained that it had cost $40,000 to get just this one book out. Our publishing company, he said, simply wasn't in a position to handle more books yet.

What was the use of my writing at all, if what I wrote ended up in somewhere a drawer? "Why does it cost so much?" I inquired. He gave me several explanations, all of them meaning essentially, "That's just the way it is."

"I don't agree," I replied. "It's more important to me to get my books out than to make them look elegant, as though we were a big publisher. What you need is to get out and sell them. Don't sit back and wait for others to do the selling for you. You've got to get your hands dirty! Go out on the road. Look for cheaper ways of printing, even if the books don't look great. Forget about publicizing a book; it can always sell itself, if necessary, even if slowly. The important thing is not so much how our books look as that we get them out. I published Cooperative Communities single-handedly, using a mimeograph machine and putting the pages in three-ring binders. It didn't look great, but I couldn't afford more at the time, and at least the people who were interested bought it. Remember, it isn't a question of elegant appearance: What matters most is the material inside the book."

He looked at me as if I were talking through my hat. I made an immediate decision: I would simply create a new publishing house. Ananda Publications could control everything I'd written so far, but I had to begin again, with a more realistic appraisal of our actual self-worth.

Thus I founded Crystal Clarity, Publisher. The first book I wrote was printed on a Gestetner printer, which was a step up from a mimeograph machine, but still could print only two pages up at a time.

See Also: Contents  Intro  Sample Chapter  

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