Remembrances of Jayananda


By Gurudas


Dear Prabhus,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada

 Here are some stories about Jayananda Prabhu-

Prabhupada told me that when you see a Vaishnava, you automatically think of Krishna. When I saw Jayananda, who invariably was steady in his devotion I think of Krishna. Jayananda was one of the most unselfish people I ever met.

Jayananda Prabhu was most known for his tireless work every year to make the Jagannatha festival a success, His service attitude was prevalent from the first day I met him in San Francisco. He motivated others and myself by example, doing as much as he could by himself, before asking anyone else to help.

Jayananda gave Prabhupada five thousand dollars to keep our budding San Francisco temple blossoming. Jayananda drove a taxi cab and turned his experience into becoming a celestial chauffeur, by taking Prabhupada to many Radio and television programs and to various places in Golden Gate Park for Prabhupada’s morning walks. Stow lake was Prabhupada’s favorite place.

I witnessed the respect Jayananda felt for Srila Prabhupada. I saw the love brimming from his eyes when he viewed his Spiritual master, but Prabhupada brought that out in everyone he came in contact with.

Although Jayananda gave off a simple demeanor, he had a tremendous mind retaining many details at once. In a playful mood Jayananda once asked me to name any street in San Francisco, and he claimed he would be able to tell me the adjacent streets, what stores or residences were on the street, and even what color the buildings were. I picked obscure streets yet he remembered their details. He would tell me what a stood on a street, road, lane or boulevard. He remembered whether a house was a Victorian, and he knew the cross streets. Then we would ride to the spot and his description was accurate. He also revealed to me that he gave up some academic scholarships or inheritance to become a devotee.

Anyone who knew Jayananda thought he was an honest and simple person. He never displayed his learning and never showed false ego or pride.

I relish all the association Jayananda bestowed upon me starting with His Presidency of the first San Francisco temple as I was elected Vice President. We planned together, as we rode out to the farmers market or the flower outlets.

He gave up his apartment for Jamuna and myself to live in, on Ashbury across from the Grateful Dead house, while he moved into the stark basement of the Frederick Street temple, where the bramacharis lived to sleep on the floor.

We served together happily as our small family was close, learning and building together. I asked Jayananda to come to India but everywhere he was he was needed and useful. Jayananda and I finally got reunited when I was given charge of a Radha Damodara Traveling bus, traveling throughout the Pacific Northwest. Paribrajakacharya Maharaja and I gave three to four classes a day. During the lunchtime we set up a stage, prasadam counter and book table. Jayananda would man the prasadam place, as I introduced the chant and instruments and philosophy to students in student Unions from Reed College to University of Nevada.

From Tuesday till Saturday Jayananda led the satellite sankirtan party out in the road. The two vans were under his leadership. I always trusted that the party was secure under his guidance. Even though I was officially in charge of the traveling party, I considered Jayananda the spiritual leader. The servant is the master. Jayananda Prabhu called me Maharaja but with so much friendship, and without formality that he was more endearing, cutting through any pretense to get to the heart of the matter our mutual goal: devotional service.

Whilst others were parading or posturing Jayananda was working. He taught by example, therefore I humbly cast my vote for Jayananda to be in the Vaikuntha all time Vaishnava Hall of Fame.

Your servant,  Gurudas


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