I started writing about my experiences of life and lessons learnt from them from the year 1990. In that year the ‘Kabir Peace Mission’ had been founded. The purpose of creating such a mission was to develop positive thinking in the society. The mission also decided to bring out a small quarterly journal in the name of Kabir Jyoti. Basically, it was a compilation work with contents taken from various sources. However, I used to contribute an article in each issue based on my experiences in life. The objective was to draw a positive message from every experience. In due course, I developed a fondness for writing and inspiration came quite naturally.
In 1991, I went to Delhi on central deputation and since then the process accelerated. By the end of 1994, I had a good collection of my writings. My friends and well-wishers spoke well about the style and the message of my articles. What they liked most was that the message was based on real-life experience and it was narrated in a short and simple manner. They also advised me to get them printed in the form of a book. This encouraged me to think along those lines. By this time I had developed a good communication with my publisher and my first book Dictionary of Positive Thoughts had already been published by him. However, there was a difference between the two books. The first one was a compilation of thoughts taken from various sources and there was hardly anything personal about them except the selection. The latter book, on the other hand, were totally personal views meant to inspire others. Since one could never be sure of their impression on the readers, I decided to further test their effect on various readers. To do so I prepared a few sets and circulated them among those whom I considered balanced and mature enough for a reliable feedback.
Almost all those who went through the articles gave me a positive feedback and, therefore, I decided to go in for their publication in the form of a book. When approached, the publisher immediately agreed to do so. I had also given a set to my spiritual master for his blessings and guidance. While approving the idea of publication, he advised me to pay greater attention towards the editing of the book and I took his advice seriously. Then I was to decide about the 'Foreword’ for the book. For this, I requested my then Director of the National Academy of Administration, for whom I had a high regard and who also knew me well. He gladly agreed and wrote a very inspiring ‘Foreword’. He was generally appreciative of the language and did not mention anything about the editing. At this stage the book was sent for editing. The person chosen for this purpose was someone who had worked for the Hindustan Times. I had a few sittings with him before he started the work of editing. He was very serious about his work and took great pains in doing his job. When the manuscript was returned to me by him, I found it so much corrected that for a moment I was stunned. I could not believe that my language required that much correction. I was also not sure whether the edited draft carried the same meaning I intended to convey.
I discussed the matter with my wife who also felt the same way. Then the thought came to my mind that I should carefully go through the corrected draft and I did so patiently. I noticed that the corrected draft was much better though here and there it also changed the original intentions, therefore, decided to moderate it further and to come up with something in between. My publisher also advised me to do the same. As a result, the whole exercise was carried out again and I had to rewrite the whole thing in the light of the editor’s correction. The final draft, which came out as a result of this exercise, turned out to be much better both in terms of precision and content. The editor himself was quite happy and approved it for publication.
The lesson learnt from this incident is that there is always scope for improvement in whatever we think or do. Most of us resist the idea of being corrected by others and it creates great disharmony in our lives. The fact is that we are not able to see ourselves in an objective manner, something which is possible only by our well-wishers. Their advice should therefore be taken in the right spirit. If we do so, our lives will turn out to be much more beautiful and harmonious. Someone has rightly said that
the biggest room in this world is the room for improvement. Saint Kabir also meant the same thing.
What can be a better lesson for self-improvement!