"Behind the Scenes"
by Swami Kriyananda (J. Donald Walters)
The Secrets Series:
This series of little books began as a one-page list of a few ideas which I composed in the early 1970s to be hung on walls. The idea was to offer people simple ways to increase their happiness. I titled this sheet, A Guide to Inner Joy.
Many years later it occurred to me that these ideas would make a nice booklet. I expanded them to thirty-one sayings, one for each day of the month, and called it, Secrets of Happiness. The booklet became a popular item, and marked the beginning of a whole series of similar booklets. They were written with several ends in mind, one being to generate income for our publishing house, Crystal Clarity, Publisher, to facilitate the publishing of more serious works which seemed less likely to be financially remunerative.
Another reason I created this series was with a view to obeying my Guru's command, which I understood to mean he wanted me to show the relevance of his teachings in many fields. Thus, the booklets were not by any means little items that I tossed off merely for gain. (I should add that I've never benefited personally from any of my writings. The proceeds from them have gone toward Ananda.) These booklets then, albeit brief, were also meant to be serious. I wanted each saying to demonstrate that central spiritual teachings are essential to success at every level of our existence.
The "secrets" books came to me quickly and easily. Many of them took hardly half an hour to compose, though the editing process always took considerably more time. A publicist once gave me this advice: "Don't tell people the booklets took you so little time to write! What really went into writing them, after all, was many years of experience." True enough. Still, it was a matter of some satisfaction for me to be able to dash them off quickly and easily: three of them, for example, while I sat by the swimming pool of the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles, waiting for a busload of Ananda members to arrive from our various communities in the north.
I will number them below, but can't do so sequentially as I've no idea of the order most of them were written in.
26) Secrets of Prosperity: My Guru once wrote, "The art of making money is the next greatest after the art of finding God." Prosperity means much more than money. It is an important study for everyone.
27) Secrets of Love: Love, here, means much more than romantic love. Indeed, the great woman saint Anandamayee Ma once said to me, "There is no love except God's love."
28) Secrets of Radiant Health and Well Being: Both of these much prized treasures in life -- radiant health, and well being -- depend to a great extent on one's attitude. This booklet offers keys to achieving and maintaining right attitude.
29) Secrets of Inner Peace: Peace, again, like happiness, depends primarily on one's inner attitude and state of mind.
30) Secrets of Leadership: I had already written a book on this important subject, which I named in its final edition, The Art of Supportive Leadership. I wrote this "secrets" booklet as a brief reminder of important principles of leadership. It is not a condensation of the larger book, however, but offers contains many new ideas. Indeed, if an idea is drawn from inspiration, it is, like the Spirit Itself, ever new.
31) Secrets of Winning People: In every endeavor, it is important to be able to present one's ideas clearly and convincingly. This booklet offers simple suggestions with this purpose in mind.
32) Secrets of Marriage: Here again is a subject on which I wrote also at considerably greater length. This little booklet stands alone, however, offering, as it does, a number of fresh thoughts. It is not a compilation of excerpts from that larger volume.
33) Secrets of Overcoming Harmful Emotions: This booklet has been particularly popular with people who need daily reminders in their effort to become, as Paramhansa Yogananda recommended, "even-minded and cheerful."
34) Secrets of Bringing Peace on Earth: I wrote this booklet as a gift for Christmas time.
35) Secrets of Comfort and Joy: Because this series of secrets books is ideal for gift items, I wrote this one also with Christmas particularly in mind.
36) Secrets of Friendship: One of the problems many people face is how to attract and hold friends. Friendship is deeply important for everyone. Better, I felt, than a long book on the subject would be a booklet of daily reminders for the month of important attitudes to practice daily.
37) Secrets of Self-Acceptance: Strange to relate, many people have difficulty accepting themselves. I have not tried, through this book, to increase their self-esteem. That would mean only increasing the fundamental problem everyone faces: ego-involvement. Self-acceptance begins with learning not to take oneself too seriously! Essential to the process is self-forgetfulness.
38) Secrets of Success: Success is a need in everyone's life -- not only at work, but in his relationships with others, and, indeed, in everything he attempts.
39) Secrets of Meditation: Everyone who practices meditation may find these daily reminders of attitudes and little practices helpful.
40) Secrets for Women: An Ananda member who was out on the road selling our books to bookstores phoned me one day and said, "I don't suppose you'll feel up to doing this one, but I'm encountering a real demand for a book in our 'secrets' series called, Secrets for Women."
"You're right," I replied. "I can see the need, but this isn't a book I feel competent to write!"
After I'd hung up the phone, however, I began to think, "Still, that would be an interesting challenge. I wonder if...." I offered the thought up to God. Suddenly, to my considerable surprise, I felt a very feminine consciousness descending upon me. Apt sayings came to me: thirty-one of them in all. I knew they were right.
In our book shops later on -- especially in Seattle, a city strong in feminist consciousness -- many women, seeing the book, were outraged by the name of the author: a book for women written by a man! Actually, no one, to the best of my knowledge, has ever complained that the contents of this booklet were inappropriate for women. It is even now, after many years, a popular book.
41) Secrets for Men: After writing Secrets for Women, many people suggested that I write a companion volume for men. I objected, "Most men aren't so concerned with their identity. Generally speaking, moreover, male consciousness is more outwardly directed and less introspective."
"Still," came the answer, "women will buy such a book for their male friends." Finally I agreed to give it a try. Both books have sold well, though Secrets for Women has sold far better.
42) Little Secrets of Happiness: This and the next three in this series are essentially the same books as those above, rephrased for children.
43) Little Secrets of Success.
44) Little Secrets of Friendship.
45) Life's Little Secrets.
46) Secrets of Life: This book, finally, is one that Warner Books put out. It is a compilation of most, if not all, of my "secrets" series. I must confess I never really liked the idea of combining my "secrets" books, however. Their charm, for me, has always been their littleness. In fact, Warner's edition, while moderately successful, was never so successful as our own series of separate booklets.
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