Some Family Members 

speak and tell stories

of Jayananda

 

 

REMEMBRANCES OF JAYANANDA PRABHU 

Gaynelle Kohr Pietrangelo

(Jayananda's sister)

  He was really a great person. A very honest person, better than I was when we were kids. He was two years older than me. My brother was very intelligent, very smart. He never lied, never – he always was very truthful. Yeah, he was very truthful. I don't remember him ever lying, I mean he was more truthful than I was, I can say that. He was a very well-behaved child. He had a few friends, but he didn't really have too many friends in high school after we left Dayton and moved to Cleveland for his senior year up there. My brother was just a remarkable person, very intelligent, he was a great writer, he could write very well. He wrote a story one time, I think it was in ninth grade, it was about where he worked. He worked on cars, he was a mechanic for a while or helped out this guy who had a garage in Dayton. But he wrote a story about the place, it was a great story, it was about a ghost that lived in this garage, it was excellent.

He was very far advanced from most people in his thinking. He read books that were really very far advanced, too. He was reading real heavy books when he was in college, a lot of psychology books, and he was into that a lot. He went to church a lot, more so than I did, I mean he was more into going to church and that type of thing. He was pretty religious. He went quite a bit with one friend, a girl friend, not a...they were just really good friends, they would go all the time to church.

Jim was kind to animals, too. I know he was on a beach in California and he sat there for like three hours and picked these ticks off this poor dog, this old mutt, I mean that's the kind of person he was. It was an old dog, and all I remember was he said that this dog had tons of ticks, and he just sat there two hours, three hours to take all these ticks off this old stray dog. I just remember him telling me about it.

We weren't real close. Towards the end of high school we were kind of close, but then when he went to college we kind of went our separate ways, and then he went out to California. I didn't see him a whole lot after that. He called and he was kind of unhappy, but that was before he went into the Krishna movement. He was having a lot of problems, depression and stuff. And he was kind of suicidal, I think too, but then he went to Haight-Ashbury, down in that little store I think it was there, and that's where he got into the Krishna. And that really changed him, that was his whole life, as you know. My kids were small and stuff, he would call me and he would tell me about it.

He came to visit us in, I think it was 1969, when we lived in Arvada, Colorado, and that's when he was in the Krishna. And he visited, and my aunt was also there. My aunt Hazel was actually like a grandmother, she was wonderful, and she was a very favorite person of his. And mine, too, she was a wonderful woman. So she was there, and my three kids, he came and visited and he cooked some of his food for us and we all sat around and ate on the floor and stuff. My kids loved it! He had on his Hare Krishna robes, he came alone and I met him at the airport, he sang and played some of the music. But he prepared the food, I remember he prepared those fried tomatoes. He made a lot of just unusual foods that we hadn't tasted. I think my aunt was a little upset, she didn't know how to deal...it was hard for her, I think the visit upset her because he was so different. I mean he had changed so much, and he was really into the Krishna, and I think it kind of bothered her a little bit. She was older, it was hard for her to accept or understand.

I really didn't talk to him a whole lot. I of course got married and had kids, he was out there and I was here and we really didn't see each other, just when he came back that one time and then I went out there when he was sick. But he was into Krishna and he was just totally different. It was hard for me to communicate with him, I mean really it was. So I didn't talk to him a whole lot. He would tell me about Krishna and send me a couple books and stuff about the religion. And I'd read a little bit, but I didn't...a coloring book he sent to my daughter, she colored it and I think I may still have it. He sent me a little thing to put incense in, I still have that. But after he was in the Krishna I didn't really talk to him a whole lot, so he was pretty busy.

It's kind of nice, it's an honor to know that your brother was so well thought of and that he was such a wonderful person and did so many things. He was just a "different" person, he was like an old s...when he was small he was like an old spirit. I don't know, that's the only way I can...that's the way my brother was. He was way ahead of his time. When I was over at my mom's recently I saw a picture of him when he was about two years old, and I said, "He's like an old soul." Exactly, yeah. He was always...he was a kid, but there was something always different about him. He was just different. Yeah, he was. That's the only way I could describe it, like an old soul. He was an amazing person, he really was, and he deserves to be a saint.

He was kind of a rebel though, too, a little bit of a rebel. Besides moving to a strange school for his senior year, I think there was a lot more that bothered him. I think he was always searching for some type of happiness, to try and find some type of happiness. I think we're all searching. He wasn't really satisfied or happy. Some people describe him as happy, but no, he wasn't. But there was an underlying sadness, he was always searching for...as far as religion, I think he always wondered about God, is there a God, and stuff like that. But then he found what made him happy – it was Krishna.

 

From his neice, Jane Pietrangelo-

Hello, My name is Jane Pietrangelo, Jayananda was my uncle. I was very young when he passed. I remember how we feasted at my parent’s house, with delicious vegetarian food. I was only four or five years old at the time. I am so proud of my uncle, I wish I could have spent more time with him before his calling. I swaddled my son in his baby blanket and will always keep his memory of peace and love for all Humankind. I am so glad I found this site, I know my uncle is with me at those times I am troubled and have negative feelings. I cannot answer too many questions about him, unfortunately, perhaps you will answer them for me! My upbringing was in a very conservative home, very devoid of emotion and expression at times. My Grandma Kohr and my Mother are so caring and compassionate, and always think of others. I give thanks for the gifts The Almighty has given me. Please e-mail if you have any other related sites or more information about Uncle Jim. He will always be my Uncle Jim, and always my guide, Jayananda. Respectfully, Jane Pietrangelo

My reply - Hello Jane. Your uncle Jim was a very great man. He was the greatest man from America I ever knew. He will be known as a great saint of America. The devotees of Krishna already know him as a saint. As more books come out about him, then the rest of America will know more. You are very lucky to be in his family, and to eat the vegetarian food that he prepared. You can be very proud of Jim. You will always be with him, especially by hearing about him from others. He was the best friend I ever had, and he left after only one year. You can imagine how painful that is to me. But, by his memory, we will always be together. Your mother is very blessed to have Jim for her son. I understand she is a very feeling and compassionate woman, as you said. I wrote to her once, and she wrote a very nice card back to me. You know a lot about Jim already. God bless you and thanks so much for your email. Sincerely yours, Vishoka Dasa.

From his nephew Steve Pietrangelo-

Jayananda was my Uncle, Jim Kohr. My sister found your site and sent me the URL address. How wonderful to see my uncle remembered so well. I remember he came to visit us in the 70’s in Colorado. I hated the food (at the time I only liked ice cream and cake!) he cooked but we always liked to listen to the record of the Krishna chant. My Mother and my Grandmother were devastated about my the death of my uncle. The fear of that loss hit again when I was also diagnosed with Cancer--my family had always thought I resembled my uncle very closely but this was too close! I’m fine, currently in remission with a cure rate of 90%. I’m looking forward to my Grandmother viewing your tribute to her son and my uncle. Thanks again! Steve Pietrangelo

More from Jane Pietrangelo -

I am so happy that you have made the decision to perpetuate Jayananda’s life. I know that he came to you that night to bring you some peace, and to encourage you to help others find it as well. I once told you I wrapped my son Soren in his baby blanket. That was very significant for my child’s developing spirit. My faith in the Creator who goes by so many names, has always been there when nothing else was. His mercy and kindness are evident at all times, humans are capable of so many beautiful acts, and God has given us the choice to take the sometimes-turbulent path to find Him. Often humans choose the path that is flat with no challenges, thinking it will lead to the same destination. But alas, many still, even at the end, will never go to the other path, even when they see the ultimate reward of purest love if they just choose Him, they turn away. I pray for my family in this way, and for all those who don’t feel the power of God. Once again, thank you for providing this resource for me. Well, please give all my respect and appreciation to all of the Devotees of Lord Krishna. All those who have faith in God, no matter what name they use to call him by, will intersect one day. Evolution must take place to open the minds of the faithless. One can never give up the hope that even those who seem lost, can always find His love. This I pray for all Humanity as do you. Give thanks and praise to the MOST HIGH!- Jane

 

From Jayananda’s Mother - 

taken from Radha-Damodara Vilasa by Vaiyasaki Dasa Adhikari- Mrs. Kohr: At the age of four he was taken to a service in what we call the big church in Dayton, Ohio. He was very restless, standing up in the sanctuary and looking around. His grandmother inquired, “Jimmy, what’s wrong? What are you doing? What are you looking for?”

“Where is God?” he replied.

 

 

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