Jayananda steps through the temple door and pauses to ring the bell suspended above the entrance, in order to signify his entrance into Krishna's temple. A half dozen devotees look up at Jayananda and drop like sticks to the floor, offering full dandavats, saying "Jaya prabhu!" Jayananda likewise drops to the floor, to offer his respectful obeisances to the devotees of Lord Krishna.
Beehive drone of devotion-
Jayananda sits on a mat and chants with his back erect, his torso swaying forward and backward in rhythm to his intense japa, which reverberates throughout the temple. His singular devotion is sweetly relished by Lord Krishna, as well as the assembled Vaisnavas. The atmosphere looms with spiritual ambience, as the concerted japa of the assembled devotees resounds with a beehive drone of intense devotion to Lord Krishna.
The devotees would often look fondly upon Jayananda with great awe and deep affection. They are family and he is their protector, their big brother, and they feel out of harm's way and secure when Jayananda is around. He makes everything right, the world is safe and life is good when he is with them. They feel so lucky, so privileged to be in his association.
All the Krishna bhaktas are chanting very nicely, and especially Indranatha prabhu is relishing the japa tape of Srila Prabhupada, whose mystic chanting of "Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna" resounds throughout the temple room with beautiful reverberation. Devotees are always thinking of, and meditating upon their wonderful spiritual master, Jagat Guru Srila Prabhupada, with great love. Indranatha especially relishes the early morning japa period
which is highlighted with Srila Prabhupada’s sublime chanting of "Hare Krishna and Hare Rama..."
Even though every devotee has such love for Srila Prabhupada, and the spirit is always strong ... yet ... sometimes the flesh is a little weak. A snooze-stricken prabhu is sitting with his back to the temple wall, and taking a catnap as he tries to chant. Devotees aren't supposed to touch the wall with their back, but sometimes they feel weak and succumb to taking a little support of the temple walls, as siesta prabhu is doing. His body is getting very tired and sleepy, and he is nodding off as he chants, "Hare Kris.. Ha.. Ram...ma..." Finally his head droops over and hangs there in a state of suspended animation. Just then, Bhakta John performs one of his morning services with an almost devilish glee.
Bhakta John is the "sleep police" watchdog, as he keeps his water pistol handy at his side, always ready to aim at devotees who are dozing off during japa or Bhagavatam class. He gives them a squirt of refreshing water spray — Krishna's mercy, of course. Just as Bhakta John squirts "Krishna's mercy" upon the sleepy face of his godbrother, Srila Prabhupada's voice suddenly calls out, "Sit properly!" And snoozing prabhu suddenly jerks his head up, and tersely chants a garbled, "Shnick shnick ... Ram Ram, uh, Hare Krishna! Hare Krishna...!" Nearby, two devotees pretend to not notice this. Pravacara dasa and Bhakta Ramon smile at each other, and lightly chuckle in transcendental amusement.
The brahmacaris were often in a playful mood, sort of like the transcendental boys in Krishna's sankhya rasa pastimes, in which He frolics in jesting games of transcendental amusement, playing in the meadows of Vrndavana with His cowherd friends.
The devotees of Srila Prabhupada are always joking with each other, playing transcendental tricks on each other, and always trying to remind one another of Srila Prabhupada and Lord Krishna at every opportunity. In this way, they are always joyful and happy as a spiritual family, loving Srila Prabhupada as their eternal spiritual father, and loving Jayananda as their big protective brother, and life is full of knowledge and bliss, and there is never a dull moment.
In this regard, Gunga-narayana was often fond of reading passages from the Krishna Book at evening time when devotees take milk prasad, passages which
narrate the sankhya rasa pastimes of Lord Krishna and His beloved cowherd playmates — the following being a favorite passage of Gunga’s:
“When Lord Krsna went ahead to a distant place in order to see some specific scenery, the boys behind Him ran to try to catch up and be the first to touch Him. So there was a great competition. One would say, "I will go there and touch Krsna," and another would say, "Oh, you cannot go. I'll touch Krsna first." Some of them played on their flutes or vibrated bugles made of buffalo horn. Some of them gladly followed the peacocks and imitated the onomatopoetic sounds of the cuckoo. While the birds were flying in the sky, the boys ran after the birds' shadows along the ground and tried to follow their exact courses. Some of them went to the monkeys and silently sat down by them, and some of them imitated the dancing of the peacocks. Some of them caught monkeys by the tail and played with them, and when the monkeys jumped into a tree, the boys followed. When a monkey showed its face and teeth, a boy imitated and showed his teeth to the monkey. Some of the boys played with the frogs on the bank of the Yamuna, and when, out of fear, the frogs jumped into the water, the boys immediately dove in after them, and they would come out of the water when they saw their own shadows and stand imitating, making caricatures and laughing. They would also go to an empty well and make loud sounds, and when the echo came back, they would call it ill names and laugh.”
From chapter 12 of “KRSNA, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”
Notes- After many years gone by, since the Valentia temple, still there is a family of devotees who regularly associate with Jayananda, by prayer and smaranam, meditating on his life and qualities, talking and hearing of him, somehow connecting with Jayananda our saint, thinking of him as our big protective brother, feeling secure and happy in his association. We try to follow his example and try to be a servant of the servant of the great servant of Lord Krishna, Srila Prabhupada. I believe that the Valentia temple will eternally be manifest in the spiritual world, and our family of devotees and Jayananda will always have pastimes of serving Srila Prabhupada and Lord Krishna there.
Although he is behind the scenes, everything goes on nicely because of his presence. - Balabhadra dasa
Bhakti Tirtha Swami said of Jayananda-
"We should strive to attain the mood of the pure devotees, such as Queen Kunti, Draupadi, Maharaja Pariksit, Dhruva Maharaja, Devaki and Vasudeva, Haridasa Thakura, Srila Prabhupada, Jayananda Thakura, and Arjuna, who ultimately derived great bliss from completely surrendering to Krishna."
Indranatha dasa said of Jayananda-
“Jayananda was one of about 60 or more devotees staying there in the San Francisco temple at that time. And even then there was something about him that separated him from the rest of the group of devotees. I realize now that it was because he was so surrendered. Even the big-time devotees — you know the sannyasis and like that — when they saw Jayananda they would all offer their obeisances to him. One could notice that he was a special devotee.”
Indranatha prabhu stayed with Jayananda in the final days and served him so nicely and made him as comfortable as possible; he loved Jayananda greatly.
The example of the spirit being strong and the flesh being weak — this happens often to older devotees, as old age can take its toll on the body, forcing limits upon our sadhana. We have the example of Haridas Thakura, as he couldn't finish his quota of rounds and Lord Caitanya excused him, because of his age. Lord Krishna sees only our spiritual assets, and forgives all our shortcomings.
All glories to Jayananda and Indranatha and all the San Francisco devotees who lovingly served in the glory days sankirtan movement … Param vijayate Sri Krsna sankirtan!
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Great sweetness in the worship of Lord Krishna’s devotees — Lord Krishna recommends worship of His devotee
“I consider worship of My devotees to be better than direct worship of Me. If someone attempts to worship Me directly without worshiping My devotees, I do not accept such worship, even though it may be presented with great opulence." - KB 86: The Kidnapping of Subhadra, and Lord Krsna's Visiting Srutadeva and Bahulasva
In the Adi Purana, Sri Krishna tells Arjuna that He doesn't accept those who only worship Him.
Ye me bhakta-janah partha/ ne me bhakta ca te janah mad bhaktanam ca ye bhaktas/ te me bhaktama matah
“Those who are My direct devotees are actually not My devotees, but those who are the devotees of My servant are factually My devotees.”
Lord Krishna says in Srimad Bhagavatam –
“The pure devotee is always within the core of My heart, and I am always in the heart of the pure devotee. My devotees do not know anything else but Me, and I do not know anyone else but them.” SB 9.4.68
Srila Prabhupada used to say, "If you love me then love my dog." How genuine one's love for his master must be if he can love the master's dog? In this verse Krishna gives the clue to success in devotional service. Worship of the Vaisnavas is first and foremost, because they alone can lift us up to the lotus feet of Radha and Krishna. From- GVSV: Prayers at the Samadhis
From Srimad Bhagavatam 14.31- Sanatana Gosvami comments- In ten verses [31-40] Brahma glorifies the dear devotees of the Lord. Either he prays to have devotion like that of the people of Vraja, or he prays to be able to serve their lotus feet. The reason he offers these prayers is given in the nyaya: Madhurena samapayet “In that way one tastes a great sweetness.”
Jayananda always praising other devotees -
“Jayananda and the rest of us devotees were always playing this funny game. It was the praise of him on our side, and being the most fallen on his side. There was the competition of us praising him, and him telling us how fallen he was. Jayananda always presented himself as lowly, and he praised other devotees endlessly. He would always say how he was just working in the garage, doing mundane things, and how the others were out on sankirtan, making such rapid advancement, going beyond himself.” - JT
“Everyone loved him and would have served him, worshiped him, given him position and material things, but he would have none of it. At any hint of praise, he would walk away.” - JT
In the case of Jayananda Prabhu, to anyone who knows him or knew him, it is a good one in point, in that he was never recognized as a good manager or a “big gun” in ISKCON. But rather, he was one of the most renowned devotees simply on behalf of these Vaisnava qualities that endeared him to practically everyone
he ever met, and it was on the basis of those qualities that he became known. - Adi-Kesava dasa
I believe without Jayananda’s presence and memory early on in my devotional life, at times, I would have been completely forlorn and disillusioned. He is even more important to me now. I pray to Jayananda, the saint. He needs no canonization for us to recognize his qualities, steeped in love and compassion. It was easy to follow his instruction and guidance. It is still easy and reassuring to feel his presence. He brought many souls to Srila Prabhupada’s Krishna Consciousness Movement and by his loving strength, he kept us in good association, determined to keep our vows. - Dhanistha Dasi
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This is the first of 8 meditations on how Jayananda is an impetus for devotion service for those who meditate on his life.
Jayananda gave love to everyone. That is our mission, to give love of God, love of Krishna to all the souls of this material world. And to love Krishna's devotee, that is just as good as love of God. So Jayananda got people to greatly admire him, he got them to love him, and in that way they loved God, through the yoga of loving Krishna's devotee. Ordinary people loved Jayananda, he melted their hearts.
Jayananda makes Krishna's devotees extremely happy; he puts a bliss into their hearts that is hard to describe, hard to put into words. He compounds exponentially the bliss we feel from serving and remembering Srila Prabhupada and Lord Krishna.
This is the love that every person in this material world is actually looking for, all their lives. This is the only kind of real love, love of Krishna, via the love of His
devotee. Other kinds of love in this material world are simply temporary and false, and disappointing. Only the love of God and His devotees is the actual real love. Only divine love is completely satisfying to the soul.
Jayananda had the gift of giving this divine love to the work-a-day ordinary people he met on a regular basis. The hardened New York bureaucrat lady cried uncontrollably and left the room, when she heard Jayananda was gone. MurliKrsna ran a temple vehicle into a police car, damaging the fender. The policeman came to his window, and said, "Oh, you know Johnny-ananda?" Murli said "Yes." The policeman said, "That’s ok, you can go on." Murli wrecked the fender of a police car, but the officer let him go! That was because the man felt love for Jayananda. I went to a store for some parts, for Ratha-yatra one year, and they asked about Jayananda. I had to tell them the unfortunate event, that he had left our vision. I saw tears in their eyes, out of love for him; they gave the parts free to me, in memory of him. Devotees and people of all walks of life loved him dearly.
We worship Krishna, we read His pastimes, we love Krishna, and we know we have a personal relationship with Him. Sometimes we feel far away from the actual personal service and connection with Lord Krishna. Like, who am I to serve Krishna? I only know Krishna through His saints. We have the process to serve Him in His holy name, His deity form, and hearing and remembering His pastimes. We serve Him through His saints, and He always remains with us through thick and thin, in our hearts, through millions of births, always helping us to advance in His service. There is no greater friend than Lord Krsna. We read His Lila, how He is happy in the association of the gopis, or when playing with the cowherd boys, and so we become happy by hearing how our Lord Krishna is eternally happy with His pure devotees. We hanker to join Krishna in His eternal association, when He is permitting.
We love Srila Prabhupada always, and we continually worship and serve him, and think of him always. He is Jagat-guru, and he is there for all of us, for all of humanity. When he was manifest in the 70's, I always felt like a mouse in a herd of elephants around Srila Prabhupada, always looking inward from the outside perimeter of devotees; still I always felt an intimate and personal connection with him. Srila Prabhupada is all pervading like Krishna; he is always there for all his disciples and followers. He lives forever in his books, he lives forever in his spiritual legacy, and he lives in the thoughts and words and deeds of his millions of followers.
In order to serve Lord Krishna we must first worship Krishna's servants, we must worship His saints. Krishna says, “I consider worship of My devotees to be better than direct worship of Me. If someone attempts to worship Me directly without worshiping My devotees, I do not accept such worship, even though it may be presented with great opulence." - KB 86
We love to read about the Vaisnava saints and previous acharyas and serve them and worship them, and we beg for their benedictions to grant us devotional service unto Lord Sri Krishna. Sometimes we read about the wonderful life of Rasikananda, like the time he wept with compassion for the two men who tried to kill him, because they were slain by snakebite.
Sometimes we read and meditate on the lives and writings of one of the six gosvamis, such as Srila Rupa Gosvami or Srila Sanatana Gosvami. Sometimes we worship the lives of Sri Ramanuja or Sri Madhvacharya, or Vamsi dasa. Often we read of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Maharaja and other acharyas of the parampara, and all the wonderful saints in Srimad Bhagavatam and Sri Caitanyacaritamrta, and we give them all of our worship.
Sometimes we meditate on the lives of Srila Prabhupada's saintly devotees, such as Visnujana Swami, and Tribhuvannatha prabhu, and Hladini dasi, to name a few. Visnujana Swami said, "I was coming to the temple regularly and then I realized I'm living among saints."
We relish the wonderful stories of Visnujana Swami, how he played mrdanga every day in harinama, until his fingers bled, and how tears were streaming down his face, and other stories we read in Radha-Damodara-Vilasa, and the folio.
We read about Tribhuvannatha prabhu on the internet, on the Prabhupada connect website, and there is soon to be a book on Tribhuvannatha.
There is a book about the life of Hladini dasi, titled “Legacy of Love, a Servant’s Quest,” in which we read in her letter to Srila Prabhupada, “I simply want to be useful – am I pleasing you? I gave this life, all of it. ”
There are so many other saints and "unsung heroes" amongst Srila Prabhupada's disciples, such as Madanacini dasi, who served Lord Jagannatha for 35 plus years steadily at the San Francisco and Berkeley temple. And I could name hundreds of more unsung heroes, who lovingly served Srila Prabhupada, but then I would be guilty of neglecting to mention the names of the other hundreds of saintly devotees, and so suffice it to say that there are so many saints and unsung heroes in Srila Prabhupada's movement, we cannot count them all.
Jayananda is our omnipresent saint; he is there for all of us, bar none. He increases exponentially the love we feel for Srila Prabhupada and Lord Krishna and His devotees. We all can be directly connected to Jayananda, because he is there for all devotees who pray to him and meditate on his life. Makes no difference who you are, where you are, or what generation of disciple you are, he is in your corner. Doesn't matter if you are good or bad, if you have all bad qualities, or if you are 1% surrendered to Krishna, or 50% or 90% surrendered, none of these factors have any bearing on Jayananda giving his association, and granting a connection to our saint. Jayananda Thakur is every devotee’s saint, he is always there for us, and he is ready to bestow his blessings and intimate instructions directly into the heart of any person who prays for his service. We only need to follow his example, even to the smallest degree, and all good fortune will attend us.
If I can follow even an atomic portion of his life, I will consider myself extremely fortunate.
- Haribol, Bharat dasa
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I am praying to Jayananda Prabhu every day, I have a photo of him next to my bed. I pray that he gives us the inspiration and guidance so we can take his mood with us everywhere we go, everywhere we preach with everyone we meet. - Vasudeva das
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Jayananda’s family relates these memories-
“They told me [Mother Kalindi devi dasi] that Jayananda was always so kind; even as a child he never spoke badly of others. From the many stories they told me his saintly qualities shined through even as a child. Gaynelle [Jayananda’s sister] told me that her brother once spent hours on a family vacation at the beach picking ticks and fleas off of a homeless dog. He couldn't stand to watch its suffering. Jayananda's nephew then told me he remembers running around the kitchen table as a small child with his uncle laughing and chanting Hare Krsna.”
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Chapter 3 - Krishna's Eternal Road Show