The Jubilant Mellows of the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra
Srimati Radharani, Sri Sri Radha Gokulananda. Sri Sri Gour Nitai's golden forms stand regally upon a golden lotus altar, dressed in beautiful white and purple night outfits, Their beautiful arms extended to the heavens in rapturous kirtan rasa.
Mangal arotik promptly begins with, "samsara-davanala lidha-loka," the Sri Gurvastaka prayers, led by Bhakta dasa, who deftly strikes a gong, which sets a rhythmic beat, and the congregated devotees respond in sweet melodic unison, with angelic voices and sweet mrdanga, and kartalas resounding.
The final verse resonates in their gladdened ears, "yasya prasadad bhagavat-prasado, yasyaprasadan na gatih kuto 'pi...."
Jayananda always meditates on the meaning of this final verse, "by the mercy of the spiritual master one receives the benediction of Krishna; without the grace of the spiritual master, one cannot make any advancement..." The import of this verse is Jayananda's life and soul, his formula for spiritual success; he takes these words very seriously and acts in that spirit with every minute of his day.
After completion of the Sri Gurvastaka prayers, the jubilant mellows of Hare Krishna maha mantra begin to gracefully pore out from the devotees’ lotus mouths into their earholes like cascades of nectar, and the devotees are beaming with bliss. Chanting Hare Krishna and exchanging smiles of deep contentment, the devotees are feeling great joy from being the eternal servants of their dear master and father and guide, Srila Prabhupada.
Chanting Krishna's sweet names purifies the heart; sanctifies and steadies the mind; destroys the six enemies [lust, anger, greed, envy, illusion, madness]; stops birth and death; dissolves sins; scorches samskaras; annihilates attachment; induces detachment; uproots desires; empowers one; makes one fearless; removes illusion; bestows supreme peace; delivers prema; reveals the Lord and His dhama; shows one's svarupa; showers bhakti-rasa; and engages one in his nitya-seva for the pleasure of Radha-Syama. - from The Art of Chanting Hare Krishna
Remembering those mangala arotiks, set within a dimly lit temple room, and Bhakta dasa striking his gong, and the beauty and spiritual ambience of the flowing, lightly dancing devotees, and the beautiful ritual of peacock and yak tail fans, and ghee lamp offerings to the Lord, and the song to our master, Srila Prabhupada, and the rich scent of exotic incense offered to the Lord ... it all remains fresh to this day. I respectfully offer my full dandavats to the Vaisnavas, who eternally worship Sri Sri Radha Krishna with beautiful arotiks, as a regular daily function, in both the material and spiritual worlds. May such beautiful memories always remain within, especially the sacred images of our dear Jayananda dancing and singing joyfully in those arotiks.
Humanity throughout the ages has always invented all kinds of music and dance styles, in order to aquire some so-called pleasure. They dance their dance, and play their music, in an effort to reach some state of ecstasy, which is actually the perpetual desire of all souls to procure the original esctasy found in the arotiks in Vaikuntha. But of course, their song and dance always falls short of the real esctasy, which everyone is hankering for, life after life. This is because their material music is only temporary and illusory, motivated by selfish and lusty desires, and not aimed at pleasing the supreme, Lord Sri Krishna. Therefore, it is never satisfying to the soul. When a person is fortunate enough to find a bona-fide spiritual master, only then can he cultivate the real song and dance that will unite him with Lord Sri Krishna and the spiritual world. Jayananda worked tirelessly to help people connect to Srila Prabhupada and Krishna, and thus find the perfection of music and dance, and obtain everlasting happiness and pleasure in the blissful service to the supreme.
Where every tree is a transcendental purpose tree, where the soil is made of purpose gems, where the water is nectar, where every word is a song and every step a dance, where the flute is the favorite attendant. - Sri Brahma-Samhita
“And that year I was doing something...Prabhupada came, it was before the Ratha-yatra, and I was standing
out in front of the Valencia Street temple on the north side of the front door, right in the front, and Jayananda was walking northbound from the south side of the door. It was the middle of the afternoon, and all of a sudden Prabhupada walked out the front door. I don't know what he was doing or where he was going, maybe it was to preach to someone. But as soon as Prabhupada saw Jayananda, a huge smile came on Prabhupada's face, a bigger smile than I ever saw, it was like a smile from ear to ear. And then recently after that I read in the Nectar of Devotion where it says, "When the spiritual master sees that a disciple is making very nice advancement, he smiles very nicely," and I knew that's what that was about.”
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Jayananda was strong like a bull
Before becoming a devotee, Kesava had worked on a ranch, bailing hay, so when he joins the temple he is in excellent physical shape and really strong. The brahmacaris enjoy wrestling one another when they have some free time on a Sunday morning, and Kesava is quickly challenged. But he is difficult to defeat and wins handily. There are only two devotees who can defeat Kesava.
Kesava: I couldn't beat Jayananda and I couldn't beat Visnujana. They were the only two that I couldn't dominate, or eat more than. I wrestled with Visnujana once and he dominated me. Jayananda and I wrestled on more than one occasion. Jayananda was so strong you couldn't imagine. I was really strong, but Jayananda would just dominate me. Nobody could beat Jayananda. He was powerful. Jayananda was big and he was strong, like a bull. RDV
Note - Devotees sometimes love to wrestle for sport. I remember one time in Berkeley seeing Caru red in the face from laughing, as we were watching Hrdya-Govinda and Ramashriya wrestle on the floor of his office. Visvarata told me that once Sridhara Svami came to New Vrindavan and they immediately began to wrestle each other on a rug in some room. Devotees often take delight in this sport.
From the NOD-
Sometimes He [Krishna] would wrestle there with His different friends, and sometimes they would dance all together in the forest. These are some of the specific activities of the pauganda age. NOD 42: Fraternal Loving Affairs
The Wrestling Sport of Radha-Krsna-
"Radha asked Krsna in Her soft voice, ‘How do You play with Your friends at this place?' Krsna answered, ‘I dress as a wrestler and I wrestle with My friends. No one knows wrestling like Me and I win very easily.' Lalita smiled and requested Krsna again and again to show them His wrestling in His wrestler's dress. They all then changed into wrestler's costumes, but Krsna was very proud of His dress. Radha smiled sweetly when She saw Krsna's wrestling costume, and They both entered the wrestling arena. There was no question of winning or losing in that wrestling match and Kandarpa, the god of love, was satisfied to watch the game.
"This pastime is described in Vraja-vilasa-stava as follows: ‘I sing the glory of Bhandira, where charming Sri Radha, being eager to wrestle with Krsna, dressed Herself and Her sakhis in wrestling costumes. For the pleasure of Madana, She then cheerfully wrestled with Bakari, the enemy of Bakasura, who was also dressed as a wrestler.'
"In this way, various wonderful pastimes were performed in Bhandiravana. Who can describe them all?