Meditations on Pure Bhakti #5

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Sriman Jayananda dasa Thakura
A Vaishnava Acharya

Jayananda engaging everybody in building
 the huge Rathayatra carts

Jayananda chanting japa with deep absorption

Jayananda offering a bouquet to Srila Prabhupada

Jayananda on a morning walk with Srila Prabhupada

Jayananda steering
Lord Jagannatha's huge Rathayatra cart



Remembering Jayananda Thakura

Sri-Isopanisada Prabhu: Can you speak something about Jayananda. Today is his disappearance day...

Srila Sankarshan Das Adhikari: Who?

SId: Jayananda Prabhu.

SDA: Oh yes yes yes! That's right, today! Thank you very much, Prabhu, you so mercifully reminded me of my illustrious, wonderful, beautiful, unlimitedly sweet Godbrother Jayananda Thakura!

Yes, I did not have so much association with him, but whatever little I had, was very, very, incredibly sweet.

Jayananda is, again, like a gulabjamon with unlimited juice so even that little contact I had with him, those few memories, there is unlimited nectar there. So I'll give my memories...

I was recruited in this movement by His Holiness Visnujana Maharaja who was a great admirer of Jayananda.

Of course, Jayananda was the pillar of our ISKCON San Francisco Temple in the early days. Everyone else was a little bit spaced-out, hippy, LSD-takers who gave it up and joined the ashram. But he had an engineering degree but he renounced it to become a taxi driver because he couldn't relate to the material society. So he was more sober and mature. And his taxi-driving supported the temple, actually. He drove a taxi. He was the temple president and a taxi driver.

But, anyway, I remember we went to San Francisco to see Prabhupada. this was in 1971. My first time to see Prabhupada, actually. I was getting to see Prabhupada for the first time. And of course Jayananda he's out at the Rathayatra site getting the carts ready for the festival, the last finishing touches, as Prabhupada's landing at airport, you know.

So I had been asked... they asked for volunteers to go to the Rathayatra site and I went. But then, there was an announcement at the site that, "Prabhupada is now arriving at the airport". There was one van that was actually leaving the festival site to go to the airport. I was thinking "Oh, Prabhupada! I've never seen Prabhupada! This is my chance!" But I was now working on the crew to get the carts ready. I was really torn, but I knew that I had to go see Prabhupada. I asked Jayananda, because I was working under his direction, and he said "Yes, you can go." So, it was by Jayananda's mercy that I had my first darshan of Srila Prabhupada, his mercy. [laughter] So, I will always remember him for that!

He look around. He was a practical man! He looked around to see how many helpers he had. He looked around and then said, "Yes, you can go." He was an intelligent man, he knew how to manage. He made sure he had enough men before he said I could go. Yes, I'm eternally indebted to Jayananda. He gave me my first darshan of Prabhupada, actually.

Of course, he wasn't a sannyasi, that was a big status in those days. There were only a few. He wasn't a sannyasi but still he had big, big status.

I remember in the San Francisco temple he was sitting in the hallway chanting his japa with great focus, great intensity of focus: "Hare Krishna Hare Krishna..."You could see he was really a sadhu. Devotees would come up and offer obeisances to him. He was worshipped, actually, because they knew, "he is very special devotee, he is not [inaudible], wild!" You see... He was a very, very advanced devotee. Everyone knew! "There's this very, very special devotee in our midst, Jayananda".

I remember as we were leaving somehow or other he was on the street, so, of course, I offered my obeisances to him. I was really amazed. He got down right there in the street and returned my obeisances to me, even he didn't know me! So I really appreciated it. That was my only ever contact with him... that festival, that Rathayatra festival. Of course, I know I will have his eternal association in Goloka. I'm looking forward to being him again when I leave this body.

Such personalities are very, very dear. Otherwise, how has Prabhupada instructed us to celebrate his disappearance day? This is Prabhupada's order to us: "He is to be honored as a great Vaishnava Acharya."

So, we have to think how to follow his example, of complete absorption in Krishna Consciousness. Even at the end, his leukemia was just killing him, absolutely killing him, he was going through great physical distress, over leukemia, which was just taking over his whole body, cancer, blood cancer, just killing him. But still he pushed forward the preaching... the rathayatra...

He was so blissful and so ecstatic that anybody who came in contact with him couldn't help but become attracted to Krishna Consciousness. He would attract anyone and everyone! I mean...for example, how many people get enlivened to take out the garbage? Let's see a show of hands. Who gets enlivened to take out the garbage?

"Wow! Taking out the garbage!"

They would have a run to the dump. They would take the trash and load it in the van and take it to some dump. He would do that! He was doing all the humble services. Devotees who would go on the garbage run with Jayananda said it was just absolutely ecstatic! Whatever you did with Jayananda was ecstatic! Because he was relishing the bliss of Krishna consciousness in any service. It didn't matter what it was. He was going out and doing business, selling incense for the temple. Whatever he did, he was just absolutely enlivened to do it. He was very, very humble, and he was very sweet in his dealings... How he would wake somebody up and put some prasadam in their mouth...He was very personal and warm with the devotees...He was very humble and very sweet in the way he would deal. He was a fun person to be with! He made Krishna Consciousness extremely exciting. At every moment he was a storehouse of nectar .And he had so much love for Prabhupada. He was always glorifying Prabhupada.

So, by remembering such a great personality as Jayananda Prabhu...

Je anilo prema dhana karuna pracur
heno prabhu kota gela acarya thakura

"We simply hanker for the association of such great personalities. In our separation, we just smash our head against the rocks..."

We would like very much to see him today, but he is departed from this, our vision, our material vision. Of course, he has not actually left, but because we are still blind, our eyes are covered by cataracts, we cannot see such great persons, who are actually still here to bless us with their divine presence.

Jayananda Thakura KI JAYA!                          [all glories to Jayananda Thakura!]

[Listen to the class]

Prabhu -
master, lord (a respectful form of address toward another devotee)
gulabjamon -
Indian sweet ball saturated with sugar water (a.k.a. ISKCON bullets)
darshan - audience (vision)
sannyasi - man in the renounced order of life, a spiritual leader
sadhu - a great saintly personality (one who is situated in truth and eternity)
Vaishnava -  devotee of Vishnu (Krishna)
Acharya -  one who teaches by precept and personal example
prasadam - sanctified vegetarian food
japa -  reciting/chanting the Hare Krishna Mahamantra on beads
Goloka - the supreme abode of Lord Krishna