REMEMBRANCES OF JAYANANDA

 

Mukunda Goswami

 

                (reading Kala-kantha's remembrances of Jayananda)

 

[Remembering Jayananda Das ... contributing all of his earnings.] This he did. I was there at the time so I remember when Jayananda moved into the temple. He would work up to 15, 16 hours a day during the time he was temple president, and still maintain the temple and see that all the programs were going on, take care of all the brahmacharis and field everybody's personal problems, even though it was a hassle. It was very amazing.

 

                (reading Kala-kantha's remembrances of Jayananda)

 

[Jayananda's Attraction For The Process ... practicing Krishna Consciousness.] When he was on these incense runs, even in the very dead of winter in the Mideast where temperatures got below zero, he would refuse to spend money on hotel rooms. He said he always hated to waste Prabhupada's money. So he would just roll up in a sleeping bag and sleep on the park bench while he was on the incense run.

 

                (reading Kala-kantha's remembrances of Jayananda

 

[Take prasadam, for example ... faith in the Name.] We had a surprise birthday party for him here in L.A. right before he passed away, about a week before, and he was in the wheelchair. So after he saw these big beautiful cakes that we had prepared for him, exact replicas of the Ratha-yatra chariots, he insisted on giving some speech, and he was so sick that we were telling him, “No, you'll run out of breath. You can't speak to all of these people, you'll just be exhausted.” But he insisted. And even though he was very, very ill, he gave a very beautiful speech about the Ratha-yatra. He was imploring all of the devotees to dedicate their service and their lives at this time to making this festival a big success. His voice was so weak that he could barely keep using it, and he was very unsteady, and he would often have to stop his talk because he ran out of breath.

 

                (reading Kala-kantha's remembrances of Jayananda)

 

[Jayananda's Humility ... He was a tireless worker.] Actually I was talking with Chandan Acharya recently and he felt that one of the reasons Jayananda became so sick was that he worked so hard, not ever caring for his body. This was his personal theory, of course, but he used to be with Jayananda alot. And he told me that Jayananda never slept over three or four hours a night. He just worked his body until it completely collapsed, day after day after day. He had no concern whatever for what was happening to the body. He just worked it and worked it and worked it, and only slept and ate in order to just keep it going.

 

                (reading Kala-kantha's remembrances of Jayananda)

 

[He would be the first one up ... RDTSKP ... he never asked for any special treatment.] I remember a letter Prabhupada sent to Jayananda Prabhu at that time. Jayananda Prabhu had just written Prabhupada a letter saying that he had now found his eternal dharma, that after all of these years as a devotee, he had now found his actual constitutional position, and that was going out every day and distributing Back To Godhead magazine. And he was telling Prabhupada how satisfied he was feeling now that he had found his final occupation. And then I saw the letter Srila Prabhupada wrote to him and he said, “Yes, what you have said is very good. I am very, very pleased. Just continue this process.”

 

                (reading Kala-kantha's remembrances of Jayananda)

 

[Jayananda's Freedom From Fault-finding ... “Hey, where's my old friend Jayananda?”] Actually, I had an experience like that perhaps two months ago. We were coming back from the Topanga Canyon preaching center, the Pyramid House, and had stopped at a little store and I saw this hippie boy, kind of tall, he had a headband and long hair, who was kind of drunk looking, and he had been drinking. And I passed by and I was thinking, “This is a sad example...” He said, “Hare Krishna!” so immediately I was chastising myself for having thought that way, and then I just said, “Hare Krishna.” And then I was kind of meditating on doing a little preaching, I was thinking, “What should I do? Can I do anything about this? Maybe I should go talk to him, preach to him.”

 

And he came up to me and said, “Hey, you ever meet a guy named Jayananda?” Then I said, “Yeah, I know Jayananda really well!” So then he told me the story: He had been panhandling on Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco when he was about 18 or 19, and he was drunk and he approached Jayananda. So Jayananda said, “Well, I can't give you anything, but if you want it, I can give you something to eat and I can give you a place to stay if you want.” So he said, “I didn't really want to do it. I didn't really want anything to do with Hare Krishna. But this guy Jayananda, he just attracted me so much I thought, well, what the heck, I'll try it.” So against his usual nature, he went with Jayananda. And as they were driving back to the temple, Jayananda Prabhu asked him, “Well, what do you do?” He said, “Well, I do a little carpentry.” He said, “Oh, I can give you some work to do. Now that you have a place to stay, and room and board, I'll give you some nice work.” “Well, what is that work?” “We are building some carts. You can help us build some carts.”

 

So the next day, after they had prasadam and went out to work, this boy was telling me he thought they were going to be building some little carts. And he said he looked up and saw these two-story monstrosities and he was overwhelmed, he couldn't believe he would have to work on these huge carts. But he said that he was very attracted and he worked and he lived at the temple for about six weeks right up to the time of the Ratha-yatra festival, and he said that, “Jayananda was the most wonderful person I'd ever met. When I heard he passed away, I just broke down and cried like a baby. He was the most wonderful person that I ever met.”

 

So I invited him to come up to the Pyramid House preaching center, and he said, well, it would be improper because he had been drinking. But he said anytime you want to express comments just like you did here or rap about Jayananda, that would make him very happy. So at first he didn't want to tell me where he lived or give me his phone number, but when I told him we could do that, he was very eager to give me his number, which he did, and said he'd like to get together again. This is an example of someone who never became a devotee, he's been a panhandler all of his life, but still Jayananda was a meaningful person in his life.

 

                (reading Kala-kantha's remembrances of Jayananda)

 

 


[Many devotees, including ... perfection of my career in Krishna Consciousness.] And Srila Prabhupada had written a letter to Jayananda at that time, saying that “this festival was filling my hearts desire, my most cherished desire.”

 

                (reading Kala-kantha's remembrances of Jayananda)

 

[Jayananda's Relationship With Srila Prabhupada ... so it's been a real blessing.”] He was in a New York hospital with tubes in his arms and legs. He became very disgusted with the fact that they were giving him so many drugs. So one night, he just pulled all the tubes out of his arms and legs, went out in his hospital frock, walked downstairs, walked out into the street, hailed a taxicab, had himself driven to the temple, and never returned to the hospital again. He felt it was better to not have that demonic association and just simply let Krishna take care of him.

 

Also there's one pastime, when he was in the hospital, there was a period at that time when he didn't eat for almost a week. And then one day a devotee was visiting him and he said he was getting a craving for pakoras, please bring him some pakoras, see if he could wrangle some from the temple kitchen. So this devotee came back with one of these tubs, like you have in the temple, completely full with cauliflower pakoras, and it was brimming, you know it looked like a mountain inside. So Jayananda ate the whole tub, every single one, and didn't get sick at all – he's really transcendental!

 

                (reading Kala-kantha's remembrances of Jayananda)

 

[Even in his last few months ... the exemplary teacher of devotional service in Krishna Consciousness.] I just wanted to add one other brief point. That is when this Ratha-yatra took place in San Francisco the first year in 1967, Jayananda was just joining the temple, and we were very disappointed that the city authorities wouldn't let us take our Ratha-yatra cart through the Golden Gate Park, which is what Prabhupada really wanted to do. Somehow, we were completely amazed that Jayananda did this – he became friends with Police Chief Cahill and got on a first name basis with him. And to our amazement, he was able to get permission, although they told us that they never did give permission to anyone else to go do such a giant parade in Golden Gate Park.

 

And one other thing, Srila Prabhupada told me the story, but I can't remember the details. Jayananda Prabhu was always dealing with the city officials in San Francisco, and there was one lady who always harassed the devotees every year. It was her custom. It's like we have some people here in L.A. that do that. And after he passed away, the devotees from San Francisco were meeting with city officials. The lady asked, “Where is Jayananda? Where is Jayananda?” And when the devotees told her that Jayananda had passed away, she became overcome with grief. To their surprise, the tears just shot out of her eyes, and she became unable to talk with them during the meeting, she immediately got up and left the room, saying, “Jayananda has died?” She was completely overwhelmed with grief. So you can see how such a pure devotee is a friend to everyone, even the non-devotees.

 

All glories to Jayananda Prabhu! All glories to Lord Jagannath!

 Hit Counter

Dasaratha-suta **  Indranatha ** Adi-kesava ** Jivadhara ** Jayanandanugas ** Gurudas ** BTG Interview ** His Own Words ** Mukunda**

Vyasa puja offerings ** Poems **Gunga express ** Ratha-yatra site ** 

 Home

Email

Hosting by WebRing.