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A Day in the Life of Jayananda Thakur

Krishna's Eternal Road Show

Chapter 3

Chanting japa, the devotees look forward to the darshan of Their Lordships, Who are soon to be awakened by Vedic prayers from the pujaris. Waiting for the doors to open for mangala arotik, some devotees are reading a few lines from Srila Prabhupada's books, some are reciting morning prayers. Some chant softly and deeply meditate upon Lord Krishna's pastimes, which are beautifully depicted in the paintings, which adorn the yellow walls of the temple.

Bhakta Tom chants his japa, and contemplates the painting of Lord Krishna and His pastime with the rascal Paundraka. He ponders what Jayananda had once told him about Lord Krishna’s eternal road show, and he thinks, all of these wonderful pastimes of Lord Krishna are going on in some other universe, every hour, on the hour, right on schedule. This same pastime of Krishna chastising Paundraka is always happening in some other universe. This is Krishna's eternal road show. When we leave this material body, hopefully we can go to His eternal road show and participate in some pastimes of Krishna and Balarama and the cowherd boys ... and we learn the intricate art of devotional service to Radha Krishna.

There are many Paundrakas in the world, men who think they are God. The Paundraka pastime is always going on, all over the world, because everyone is like Paundraka to some degree. Everyone is in the maya of trying to imitate Krishna, thinking they are the lord of all they survey.

Jayananda especially relishes the painting of Lord Krishna and His queens of Dvarka, and the festivities of throwing liquid substances at each other, and he marvels on how Lord Krishna and His devotees are always celebrating in some festival. This is Jayananda's favorite service, planning and carrying out Srila Prabhupada’s desire for having wonderful festival days for Lord Krishna. Srila Prabhupada said that he could think of a festival for every day of the year if devotees could do them. Jayananda thinks of the upcoming Ratha-yatra festival with great relish.

He fondly remembers the auspicious Lord Nrsimhadeva appearance day festival they recently celebrated, and looks forward to the Govardhana puja festival in the fall, and he meditates on how to put on all these festivals with great pomp. He feels so much bliss to see the congregation and the pilgrims come from all over the area to witness the gala festivals of Lord Krishna, this is so charming to his mind. Jayananda’s sole desire is to make tasteful and attractive arrangements to assist in Krishna’s pastimes at these festivals, so that pilgrims and devotees can relish the lila and darshan of Lord Krishna and take His prasadam. This is the life air and definitive meaning of Jayananda’s life.

The devotees chant their japa very intensely and loudly as they anticipate the deity doors opening soon and having a blissful darshan of the Lord. Some devotees memorize and say prayers, or read from the Srimad Bhagavatam in the moments before the doors open and the glorious darshan of the lotus feet of the Lord.

One devotee softly reads this prayer by Akrura:

"I am so fortunate that I will be able to see those very lotus feet on this day, and certainly I shall be able to see the beautiful face of Krsna, which is marked on the forehead and the nose with tilaka. And I shall also see His smile and His curling black hair. I can be sure of this opportunity because I see that today the deer are passing on my right side. Today it will be possible for me to actually see the beauty of the spiritual kingdom of Visnuloka because Krsna is the Supreme Visnu and He has advented Himself out of His own good will. He is the reservoir of all beauty; therefore today my eyes will achieve perfection.”

- Prayer from KRSNA, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, chapter 38, Akrura's Arrival in Vrndavana

Another devotee reads this prayer from Srimad Bhagavatam, first canto:

“And those who are artists, overtaken by the beautiful creation, should better see to the beautiful face of the Lord for complete satisfaction. The face of the Lord is the embodiment of beauty. What they call beautiful nature is but His smile, and what they call the sweet songs of the birds are but specimens of the whispering voice of the Lord.” - Srimad Bhagavatam 1.11.26


Jayananda told me about the eternal road show and just about everything we need to know in Krishna consciousness; many of these things he told me especially during the incense runs we took together in California and Utah. I learned so much from each devotee that I associated with in the San Francisco temple. Out of everything I know about Krishna consciousness today, 90% or so, I learned in my first few months in the temple, just from listening to Jayananda and all the wonderful devotees of Srila Prabhupada. When I think of Jayananda’s greatness, I feel such awe in soul and mind and body. He pretended to be a regular-joe devotee, but his devotional service was extremely rare. His surrender and enthusiasm for serving Srila Prabhupada was exceptionally uncommon.

That glorious year in the Valentia temple remains as the crowning wonder and the most extremely lucky time of my entire life. Even if nothing good ever happens the rest of this life, those years, those days, those moments with Jayananda and the devotees in San Francisco and Berkeley will be enough for me to sustain and certify this often pitiful life of Vishoka dasa to have been a life worthwhile and meaningful, despite the often found reluctance to become fully Krsna consciousness.

The most fun times were getting ready for upcoming festivals with Jayananda, helping him prepare for the next celebration of Krishna’s pastimes. This was especially blissful during those summers which often involved Visnujana Maharaja and the bus load of Radha-Damodara devotees. We had the Berkeley festival, which was such an awesome event. Visnujana Maharaja led an amazing kirtan parade down Telegraph Ave to the park. And there was the Santa Cruz festival, and the San Diego festival for the auspicious occasion of Govardhan puja festivities. And there was the biggest and best of all, the Ratha-yatra festival in Golden Gate Park, as well as the most auspicious days of Balarama's appearance day, Janmastami, Radhastami, and the most holy day of Srila Prabhupada's Vyasa-puja celebration day.

All glories to Sri Krishna's festive celebration days and all glories to all His devotees who celebrate these holy days like swarms of bees gathering nectar from Lord Krishna’s lotus feet.

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A message from Jaya Nitai dasa:

Hari Bol. AGTSP! I was looking over your site and remembered a few insignificant things. When I first came to a Temple it was on Valencia St. After getting a little bit out of the ozone of drugs and alcohol, Jayananda used to tell me two things, "Bhakta Jim, you have to do whatever it takes and Bhakta Jim, You gotta beg." Being very heavily Mayavadi contaminated, I hadn't the slightest idea of what he was talking about. I have inkling now. I'm probably the only wanna-be devotee who actually had a catch with Jayananda! We were building the Rath Carts and somehow there was a wiffle ball in the yard we were building the Carts in. I begged Jayananda for a little game of catch as I had a nasty curve ball I was very proud of. After a bit of cajoling on my part he consented and I threw him about 25 zingers I didn't think he stood a chance of catching and he caught them all! With a little laugh he said, " OK, let’s get back to some service." I was floored as I don't think anyone else would have caught anything like a half of them! We had a great time in the parking lot we used to put the Carts together in. Every night, on a two burner Coleman propane cooker Jayananda used to cook and offer a feast rivaling any feast ever made (as I do recall, he used a lot of butter!). It was like prasad from the spiritual world! Your Servant, Jaya Nitai dasa

Jayananda Thakur, the acharya who teaches by example

We have the indomitable spirit of Jayananda, which can awaken the rising of Phoenix, out of the ashes of doom. By following the life of Jayananda, who did all the right things, who simply believed in the words of Srila Prabhupada without complication or assumption or interpretation, and from this simple obedience and faith in his Guru-maharaja, Krishna empowered him to do superhuman activities, thus we have the example of one who has already crossed the insurmountable ocean of maya.

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The perfection of Krsna consciousness is culminated in tears

Srila Prabhupada showed his great affection for Jayananda Prabhu and glorified him with tears in his eyes. He prayed to Krishna for him and told us that he went back to Godhead. I think he left the planet just in time to meet Srila Prabhupada in Krishna-loka a short time later. – Gauridasa Pandita Dasa

In this stage the asta-sattvika-vikara, or eight ecstatic symptoms, such as crying, goosebumps, etc., begin to manifest slightly on his person. So when the devotee meditates on the Lord's lotus feet, his heart melts, and tears stream from his eyes spontaneously and profusely. Descriptions found in the Tantras and Puranas state that these ecstatic symptoms make a shy but firm beginning in the stage of bhava, and later they deepen and intensify in prema. > Ecstatic symptoms of bhavabhakti JAI

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Great Souls Sometimes Re-appear Part one

Can devotees appear, disappear and then re-appear? Well, in a way, all souls are re-appearing again and again by the process of reincarnation. This report is very different from that. It’s about the re-appearance of great saints who once walked this earth, and who are not obliged or forced to reincarnate into a material body again, but sometimes re-appear in their devotee form. It’s about life after the disappearance of the soul from a material body, and the difference between great acharyas and ordinary souls in this regard. It is about how and why great acharyas appear, and after disappearance, they sometimes they give special reappearances, and are always giving mercy to the conditioned souls.

Appearance and disappearance are the same

On Srila Bhaktisiddhanta’s disappearance day, 12/13/73, Srila Prabhupada said- “So there are two phases, prakata and aprakata, appearance and disappearance. So we have nothing to lament on account of disappearance because Krsna and Krsna's devotee... Not only devotees, even the non-devotees, nobody disappears. >> Srila Bhaktisiddhanta’s Disappearance Day - LA, Dec 13/73

For the devotee of Krishna, appearance and disappearance is the same thing. Every soul is eternal, but the great devotees are sat-cid-ananda before, during, and after their earthy pastimes. They are full of knowledge and bliss before they appear, they have the same consciousness while in an earthy body, and after they leave that body, they are still in prema consciousness. Ordinary souls are in ignorance before and after the occupancy of a material body, but this is not the case for Vaisnavas. Most of us don’t know where we were before birth, and don’t know what exactly will happen after death. But for the acharya, and the faithful devotee, death is like easily walking through a door into Vaikuntha.

Srila Prabhupada and the previous acharyas are always approachable by sincere souls-

Srila Prabhupada- “Vaisnava is always thinking himself helpless, helpless. And begging help from the previous acarya.” Bhagavad-gita 1.20 and- “The whole process is that we should always pray for the mercy of the superior acaryas and keep company with pure devotees. Then it will be easier for us to advance in Krsna consciousness and receive the mercy of Lord Caitanya and Lord Krsna.” > from purport of song by Narottama dasa Thakura

Here, we see that Srila Prabhupada advises us to pray to the “superior acharyas” and beg for their help, or mercy. Praying for help from personalities who previously walked on this planet assumes that they are there within the range of our petition, they can hear us, they can reciprocate to our requests, and help us and bless us. Such personalities are great acharyas, and they are still living gurus, whether in or out of material bodies. They are still on this planet, as seen in the next quote.

Even though great acharyas disappear, sometimes they give special reappearance in personal forms

O.B.L. Kapoor: "Prabhupada used to practice sadhana there. Even after their disappearance, the siddha (perfected) souls have a double personality, so to say. In one form they live in Golok Vrindavan, celestial Vrindavan. In another form they live in this world, in the form they used to live before as a sadhaka.

Sometimes they also give darsan to their disciples. Nobody has gone anywhere else. Everybody is here. All the great souls are still here. If your heart is pure, you can have their darsan. Nobody has gone anywhere, everybody is here. It has been recorded that Jiva and Rupa Goswamis have given darsan to several devotees." > Ref. VedaBase => Prabhupada at Radha-Damodara 11

Here is it said, “Nobody has gone anywhere.” This is the statement of O.B.L. Kapoor, Srila Prabhupada’s godbrother, a long time Brijabasi. All the great acharyas are still here, still today, in Vrndavan India. It stands to reason, that since Lord Krishna is still here in His supreme abode, the earthy abode of Vrndavan, which is non-different from the original Goloka, then all His confidential associates are also with Him. Lord Krishna is never alone, He is always in the company of His eternal confidantes. Srila Prabhupada is still there too, with his Lord Krishna and Srila Rupa Gosvami and all the great acharyas. They are all in their sadhaka forms, in their beautiful forms as they appeared as devotees here on this earth. If we had a pure heart, then we could see them, (of course, nobody would believe us.) I once saw a painting of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Rupa Gosvami here in a room of our temple here in New Vrindavan, which depicted a transcendental meeting of our Srila Prabhupada and Srila Rupa Gosvami, and here are some accounts, which verify this transcendental meeting.

Great acharyas appear to Srila Prabhupada, in dream and in vision

Gopal Ghosh: "That is where Prabhupada got the idea for ISKCON. It is where Prabhupada did his own personal bhajan. and there many times he told me that Rupa and Jiva Goswamis appeared to him in dreams. > PRD 11: "My Eternal Residence" A disciple and former personal servant of Srila Prabhupada said that Srila Rupa Gosvami once appeared to Srila Prabhupada while he was staying at the Radha-Damodara temple in Vrndavana. Before coming to America in 1965, Srila Prabhupada lived here as a renounced sannyasi chanting Hari Nama, praying to Radha-Damodara and the Gosvamis, and translating the Srimad Bhagavatam into English. One day while honoring maha-prasadam, Srila Prabhupada was looking out of the window at the samadhi of Sri Rupa Gosvami. Suddenly, Sri Rupa Gosvami appeared before Srila Prabhupada and spoke these most encouraging words:

"Maharaja, don't worry about anything. Go ahead and travel to the West and preach. Just preach the message of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and the chanting of Hare Krishna. You'll be successful. I guarantee because I will be right with you all the time." > GVSV: Darsana Stories

So we see that Jiva and Rupa Gosvamis have given darshan to several devotees, and Rupa Gosvami gave his personal darshan to Srila Prabhupada, and conferred upon him spoken words of blessings and assurance of success in his mission. Srila Prabhupada didn’t mention this to us, but Lord Krishna arranged that this be told, in order to glorify His devotee, Srila Prabhupada. We can be assured from Srila Prabhupada’s recommendation above, that if we sincerely pray to the previous acharyas, then they will surely hear and bless us. We have heard accounts of many devotees, old and young, who’ve had Srila Prabhupada’s darshan in either dream or visions.

One of the most famous and amazing re-appearance darshans of past acharyas, ever recorded in the written documents of Vaisnava history, was at the Kheturi festival organized by Narottam Das Thakur, in the early 1500’s-

This is accepted by Gaudiya Vaishnavas as an objective fact for a number of reasons, not least of which may be the miraculous occurrence that has been documented by all biographers of the period: Mahaprabhu and all His associates, many of whom had left the mortal world more than fifty years earlier, personally appeared at the Kheturi festival and danced at the height of Narottam's blessed kirtan. Thousands of attending devotees bore witness to this sacred event. The author of Bhakti-ratnakara incredulously asks, "Who can describe the incomparable happiness of the devotees when in the midst of the kirtan the munificent Shri Chaitanya and His associates descended for the pleasure of His devotees? Like a flash of lightning in the middle of a mass of beautiful clouds, Shri Chaitanya Himself appeared within the multitude of His followers." According to the Prema-vilas, Mahaprabhu appeared with Nityananda Prabhu, Shri Adwaita, Gadadhar, Shrivas Thakur, Haridas Thakur, Swarup Damodar, Rupa-Sanatan, and many others. Who, indeed, can imagine the heightened bhava as Jahnava saw her departed husband in the midst of the kirtan? Who can imagine the feeling of Adwaita Acharya's sons when they saw their father singing and dancing as if he were a young man? How did Shrivas Thakur's brothers stop themselves from crying when they saw Shrivas himself dancing in front of Mahaprabhu, just as they remembered him? In fact, they could not control themselves and were carried away by the ecstasy of being reunited with the Lord and His associates. By experiencing Vipralambha-bhava (intense separation) they were all to experience sambhoga, or divine union. >>Ref. VedaBase, VS > The Lord Descends

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Mother Yajna devi dasi’s appreciation for Jayananda Thakur

Mother Yajna thanks Jayananda Thakur for renewing her faith in Krishna Consciousness-

Yajna devi dasi was one of the first devotees in Russia. She wrote a booklet and printed 18,000 copies and distributed it all over Russia. She explains:

“The idea to create this booklet appeared when I was reading "The beautiful life of Jayananda Thakur." Jayananda's contemporaries and Srila Prabhupada's quotes are gathered in this book. They stunned me completely. I have never felt anything similar in my life. I got a rebirth and veritable understanding of something I haven't realized for so many years (I understood it by my mind but didn't realize it by my heart). Now I see the hand of Krishna more frequent Who turns my every step into a dance. I am feeling Krishna's, Srila Prabhupada's and Jayananda's presence permanently. I even have prophetic dreams. They are real revelations for me. Amazing things started to happen with me. It is like a fairy tale. Jayananda became my master.”

In 1998 her spiritual master left ISKCON. It was very difficult for her to bear it as for other devotees as well. It took time to restore her belief and find determination to follow the way of devotional service. Mother Yajna says, “Reading ‘The beautiful life of Jayananda Thakur, memories of an American saint’ helped me to restore my belief, Jayananda Thakur became very dear to me."

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Chapter 4 - Sriman conch shell heralds mangala arotik