Glories to Srila Jayananda Prabhu

May 2, 2023 in Articles, Haripada dasa by Yasoda nandana dasa

Glories to Srila Jayananda Prabhu
by Haripada dasa

We celebrate the disappearance of Srila Jayananda Prabhu, I share this glorification of Jayananda Prabhu, this great devotee is the example of the perfect disciple of Srila Prabhupada.

This is a great devotee who will be a great inspiration for future generations of devotees of Srila Prabhupada and Krishna.

Just as I I understand, the essence of this great soul is that all he did was for Srila Prabhupada to be happy, and he never did anything that displeased Srila Prabhupada.

He was not a politician, I like him, he is my friend, he was humble, tolerant and everyone’s friend, and never criticized anyone. Srila Prabhupada said that I am very proud to have had a disciple as good as Jayananda prabhu.


Everyone should follow his example. This great devotee enjoyed serving Srila Prabhupada and Krishna and the whole world, and that is the perfection of Krishna consciousness.

That can only be done when one has awakened his great love for Srila Prabhupada and Krishna. As I understand it, only people who have sacrificed their lives to make Srila Prabhupada happy can receive the mercy of Krishna, if you want see a video about Jayananda Prabhu this is the link:

Sri Jayananda Prabhu (1939-1977)

After the series of previous notes on various aspects of the Jagannatha-lila and the Ratha-yatra celebrated at this time, I considered it fair to publish something in homage to our esteemed spiritual brother Sri Jayananda Thakur, a beloved disciple of Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. With his admirable pioneering effort, he contributed greatly to the celebration of the Ratha-yatra festivals, being loved by all devotees and recognized by Srila Prabhupada.

The translations that follow, after my introduction of this document, of some biographical fragments about Jayananda Prabhu, are part of a couple of books dedicated to his life of service and other references cited within the context. As a graphic complement of this note in his tribute, they accompany several special photos that will serve as a visual complement for readers to appreciate justly, the spiritual dimension of life and the service rendered by Jayananda Thakur, “the king of Ratha-yatra”.

Jayananda Prabhu (Jim Kohr) was a very dedicated disciple of Srila Prabhupada who helped to introduce the festival of Ratha-yatra (festival of the floats of Lord Jagannatha) in the West, beginning in the USA. He pioneered the construction of the Ratha-yatra wagons, whose first festival was held in San Francisco in 1967 and Jayananda was the one who built the carriages with a group of devotees who worked under his expert guidance. Although at that time he was not sannyasi, he was highly respected in Srila Prabhupada’s mission. For his pioneering effort in the Ratha-yatra festivals in several cities of U.S.A. Jayananda was known as “Mr. Ratha-yatra. ”

His humility was exceptional and even after being recognized by all and by Srila Prabhupada, he continued to clean the pots and the kitchen for the other devotees, taking out the garbage, and doing whatever was necessary. Although he had an engineer degree, he gave up that to be a taxi driver because he could not relate to materialistic society. He was very sober and mature. And with his work as a taxi driver he maintained the San Francisco temple, being the president of the temple while working as a taxi driver.

He was tireless, working up to twenty hours a day when necessary. And he knew how to direct people and occupy them practically. His humility was exceptional. On one occasion, a devotee (called Sankarsana) saw Jayananda on the street and offered his obeisances. And Jayananda right there on the street, prostrated himself and returned his reverences without even knowing him.

Even after being recognized by all and by Srila Prabhupada as a great example, Jayananda continued to clean the pots and the kitchen for the other devotees, taking out the garbage and doing everything he could do. To know more about this great saint it is recommended to read the book Radha-Damodara Vilasa, written by P. Vaiyasaki Dasa (at the moment, available only in English). Another book is A day in the life of Jayanada Thakur, from Vishoka dasa.

Although among the disciples of Srila Prabhupada there are many other non-praised saints and heroes, the great personality of Jayananda Thakur stands out as an exemplary disciple, as a pioneer of the Ratha-yatra, for his dedication to Prabhupada, for his austerity, his humility, for his spiritual accomplishments and to be loved by all. His place of honor, recognized by Prabhupada, occupies a very prominent place among his other disciples, some of whom left this world to meet Srila Prabhupada in his eternal pastimes.

By establishing Krishna consciousness everywhere, Srila Prabhupada realized that prophecy of Mahaprabhu and also the desire predicted by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur, when he said that the day would come when the devotees of the West and the Bengali devotees would gather in the land of Lord Chaitanya and everywhere to dance ecstatically and sing together “Hari Bol! Hari Bol! ” This has already been miraculously fulfilled in the manifested pastimes of Srila Prabhupada, and with unprecedented success, beyond what his own spiritual brothers and Vaisnavas from all over the world could have assumed.

By masterfully fulfilling the order given to him by his spiritual master, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur, establishing the international mission of Krishna consciousness in only twelve years of uninterrupted pure service around the globe, Srila Prabhupada consolidated the message of the previous Vaisnava acharyas that he represented genuinely. Jayananda Prabhu and many other notable disciples were great factors in establishing that divine mission of sankirtana.

As Srila Prabhupada said, the Sri Jagannatha is not only Purinatha, the Lord worshiped in Puri-dhama, but the Lord of the entire Universe, where he is now known and worshiped by millions of devotees. Despite this desire of Jagannatha-deva himself to leave Puri for the celebration of His Ratha-yatra around the world, as Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati wanted, in his original temple of Puri, entry to those who are not “Hindus”, despite being devotees of Jagannatha.

On May 19, 1934, in the ancient temple of Lord Alalanatha near Puri, in Orissa, which we visited, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur, made the following prophetic statement:

“We must take Lord Jagannatha on a plane to Eastbourne, London. There Alalanatha, Gaudiyanatha and Gopinatha will appear. We must install the Deity of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in all parts of the world, otherwise there will be nothing auspicious for the human race. ”

This other prophetic vision was fulfilled by his disciple Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, our beloved spiritual master and Founder-Acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). By order of his guru, Srila Prabhupada went in 1965 to preach to the West, and arrived in New York to establish his mission. Two years later, he instituted the first Ratha-yatra festival in San Francisco, following what he had done early in Calcutta during his childhood. And Jayananda Prabhu was an essential pillar for the celebration of all the Ratha-yatra. From the first festival that was held in San Francisco in 1967, until his last days already prostrate in bed and sick with Leukemia, Jayananda Thakur was the fundamental axis for the realization of this great service, until it disappeared on May 1, 1977 .

Jayananda also exemplified that, in order to attain spiritual perfection, what matters is the sincerity of a disciple and the intensity of his surrender to the spiritual master. In just 10 years of pure devotional service serving Prabhupada’s instructions without deviation (vani-seva), Jayananda achieved the success aspired by all devotees. Bhakti is the cradle of bhakti and, obviously, it must be understood that besides having undoubtedly received the causeless mercy of the spiritual master (guru-kripa), such mahatmas are very rare and surely come from the practice of bhakti in previous lives, or by the Lord’s desire, to assist the mission and pastimes of Sri Gurudeva.

Beyond the limiting bodily concept, alien to the true teachings of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Sri Nityananda Prabhu, who wished to flood the entire world in Kali-yuga with the prema-sankirtana, which began in Srivas-angam, the full understanding of the Krishna consciousness is beyond all consideration relative to the body, caste, social condition, color, material status, creed or religious affiliation, because the Bhagavata-dharma which is the creed of the Vaisnavas followers of Mahaprabhu, is the eternal occupation (sanatana -dharma) of the living entities (jivas) as eternal servants of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Bhagavan Sri Krishna, Sri Jagannatha, the Lord of the universe.

That is why Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura clearly expressed in his book Jaiva-dharma, that the eternal occupation of the jiva is the Vaisnava-dharma, which is above material considerations relating to the particular body, nation and / or India, because the Absolute sense of devotional service does not depend on bodily conceptions. That is the essential message that must be understood in the transcendental teachings of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

By initiating disciples from all over the world and turning them into sincere devotees of the Lord, such as Jayananda Prabhu, Srila Prabhupada showed his great mercy without cause to the most fallen conditioned souls, both in the West and everywhere, because even in India, earth of the dharma, from the time of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati and his father, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur, many of his natives were confused by the influences of the British Empire, which, despite the efforts of our great acharyas of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries to counteract such It continued to happen even after India won its “independence,” freeing itself from the imperialist yoke by the efforts of Gandhi and a united people. However, true independence is the release of attachments, desires, material conceptions, and relative considerations based on the temporal notions of “patriotism,” “religion,” “socio-economic policies and approaches,” etc., which they are all factors of material order, which have nothing to do with the true emancipation of the being or the liberation of the yoke of the illusory energy.

In pursuing the great work undertaken by predecessor Vaisnava preceptors, our guru Maharaj, Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, was an exemplary and revolutionary acharya who was able to adapt without deviations the Gaudiya Vaisnava siddhanta, according to the time, place and historical circumstances that he had. face to consolidate its divine mission of preaching at an international level.

If it had not been for that titanic, incomparable and magnanimous effort of Srila Prabhupada, no one would currently know Krishna consciousness so well, nor could he participate in the wonderful Ratha-yatra festivals in many parts of the world. And it must also be understood that all respectable senior devotees of India (sannyasis and / or leaders of other missions of the Gaudiya Math), who have been able to come to the West to preach after Srila Prabhupada’s departure, would not have had the reception nor the the acceptance of his preaching, if not for the consolidated work of our guru maharaja.

By establishing Krishna consciousness everywhere and sowing in the hearts of his disciples the seed of bhakti-siddhanta, none of the Vaisnavas who have traveled outside India, where they only had a few temples, few local followers, and relatively timid missions and without experience in a great international preaching, he would have had the acceptance and relative success that has allowed them to extend some branches in certain parts, publish certain works and bring together new people attracted by his presence. Although we are all part of the tree of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, which has different branches, and we are devotees of the Rupanuga-Vaisnava family, without the incomparable pioneering work of our Srila Prabhupada, who knew how to expertly adjust Krishna consciousness in the Western countries full of souls falls, no one could have been able to collect the fruits sown by his divine mission and his transcendental preaching.

It is my duty as your faithful disciple, to point out all of the above, so that Srila Prabhupada’s position as Visva-acharya (jagad-guru) and pativa-pavana, the savior of the fallen ones, is sometimes recognized by those who are not relativized. they know the spiritual indifference of their divine mission or the transcendental character of Prabhupada as a great acharya, eternal pure devotee of the Lord. I say this with all respect for other sincere Vaisnavas.

By arrangements of the Lord, since Prabhupada left India in 1965 to fulfill the instruction of his spiritual master, until he left this world in Vrindavana in 1977, in those twelve years of international preaching we joined his Divine Grace many disciples we received his mercy without cause. We all humbly helped in spreading their mission while Prabhupada was present among us.

That is still happening through the survivors that we still have, as magnanimous extensions of his great mercy without cause. It also manifests itself through the new generations of devotees, prabhupananugas linked in some way to their direct disciples, or new followers enlightened by their works and the preaching of their devotees throughout the world. All this has benefited even large-scale Vaisnavas, who have left India to continue the preaching of the sankirtan movement of Sri Chaitanya deva, finding fertile ground thanks to the mercy of Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Jayananda Thakur was depositary of that kripa, and in translating these the following biographical fragments, I wanted to pay a humble tribute to this great disciple, sometimes called “Mr. Ratha-yatra. ”

Due to Srila Prabhupada’s unjust mercy, Lord Jagannatha is now famous throughout the world. The Ratha-yatra has become a popular celebration in almost every major city such as London, New York, Paris, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Rome, Zurich, Sydney, Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Denver, Washington, New Jersey, Detroit , Seattle, Calcutta, Delhi, Mexico, Rio de Janeiro, Budapest, Guadalajara, Durban, Melbourne, Moscow, et cetera.

Jayananda Thakur was a factor chosen by Krishna to consolidate the Ratha-yatra festivals in several North American cities. Our debt to him is great. I consider that, whatever the Vaisnava mission held in the West the Ratha-yatra, not only in ISKCON, should carry in the car of Lord Jagannatha an appropriate image of Jayananda Takhur. As a token of appreciation, the nobility of all envy-free Vaisnava forces us to recognize the pioneering service of our beloved spiritual brother Sri Jayananda Thakur. That will be good for everyone and will surely please Lord Jagannatha, because as the Visnu Purana says, “whoever claims to be My devotee, is not really my devotee. To one who considers himself a devotee of my devotee, I really recognize him as My devotee. ”

Sri Jagannatha is not only Puri-natha, the Lord of Puri-dhama, his sacred place, but the Lord (natha) of the entire Universe (jagat). That sectarian view led Srila Prabhupada to say that if his Western disciples were not allowed the dharsan of the deities of Jagannatha, Baladeva and Subhadra in the Jagannatha-Puri temple, he would not enter there either. By the desire of His pure devotees, Jagannatha left that temple to be worshiped and celebrate his Ratha-yatra festival throughout the planet Earth.

In a letter of Srila Prabhupada of May 11, 1977 addressed to Rameshvara, he expresses the following about his beloved disciple Jayananda:

“Jayananda’s death is glorious. It is very good what he said, what is the use of a useless body, it is better to abandon it. He has left his body very beautifully and has been transferred to Vaikuntha. I have already sent a letter of condolence to be published in Back To Godehead. Everyone should follow Jayananda’s example. I am very proud to have had such a good disciple. The image of Jayananda should be placed in the Ratha of Lord Jagannatha, and in all the temples it should be placed to celebrate a festival in his honor, just as we do on the day of the disappearance of other great Vaisnavas … “.

After suffering the painful leukemia disease that prostrated him and diminished the great strength of his body, finally being in a wheelchair, Jayananda disappeared glossingly on May 1, 1977. He joined the Krishna consciousness movement in 1967, just in its beginnings, and left the planet a few months before Srila Prabhupada, who departed from Vrindavana to his eternal pastimes, on November 14, 1977.

As we will see in the following biographical compilations that I have translated for the knowledge of the Hispanic devotees, that Jayananda left before Srila Prabhupada, was an arrangement of Krishna so that our beloved spiritual master could recognize in life his deep gratitude and affection for his disciple exemplary Jayananda, “the king of the Ratha-yatra,” who in just ten years of untiring dedication to the service of Sri Guru and Sri Krishna-Jagannatha, attained spiritual perfection, because as Prabhupada said, Jayananda went to the spiritual world of Vaikuntha and its appearance and disappearance should be celebrated in the devotional calendar as it is done with other great Vaisnava saints. In addition, Prabhupada said that Jayananda’s photo should be placed in Jagannatha’s car in all the ISKCON Ratha-yatras to be celebrated anywhere in the world.


Jayananda Dasa – A modern saint

Biographical accounts of Kalakantha dasa,

On January 16, 1967, Srila Prabhupada flew from New York to San Francisco to inaugurate the Hare Krishna temple there. His arrival was covered by the Four News television channel and local newspapers. While most of San Francisco may have been unaware of the story, a young man named Jim Kohr warned her. Despite having a degree in mechanical engineering from Ohio State University, he had been driving a taxi in the streets of San Francisco. Without ever being able to fit into the conglomerate of the upper class, he was often unhappy and did not really know why. Although Jim was not a religious person, the article ignited a ray of hope in him. And he decided to go see the Swami of India.

Without knowing it, Jim was taking the first step to fulfill his destiny. Although he would live for only another ten years, in that short time he would witness the culmination of lives of spiritual effort. He would leave the world leaving behind many valuable lessons to inspire and instruct the present and future generations of Vaisnavas, the devotees of the Lord.

The next afternoon, Jim arrived at the temple to find it filled mainly with hippies. He stood out for his short hair, neat appearance and tight clothing. And at the age of 28, he was older than most of the others who were there. But Jim’s misgivings disappeared when he saw the Swami enter, Jim sat down to listen to the lecture and bought a three-volume set of Srimad-Bhagavatam that Srila Prabhupada dedicated to him with the inscription “A Sriman Jim Kohr”. For the first time in many years, Jim felt peaceful. He had received the hearing of his eternal spiritual master.

Jim started going regularly to the temple. He especially liked the morning show, when most of the hippies were still asleep. Sometimes he would be the only person in the class. Years later, he revealed that he trusted the Swami and believed that he would not be deceived. Once, when he was four years old, Jim had stood in the church and was looking around anxiously. When his grandmother asked him what was wrong, he asked him: “Where is God?” Now he felt that Srila Prabhupada was answering that old question buried deep in his conscience. In February of 1967, Prabhupada accepted Jim as his disciple and initiated him with the name of Jayananda Dasa.

In the Vaisnava scriptures, such as the Madhurya-kadambini of Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, we learn that before attaining spontaneous love for God, the conditioned soul progresses through the states of sadhana-bhakti (devotional practice). The new bhaktas (devotees) in the San Franciso temple often had problems with their material desires and daily spiritual practices, falling in and out of Krishna consciousness.

Surprisingly, nobody remembers Jayananda in the role of a “new bhakta”. He naturally and easily took Krishna consciousness. He liked all aspects of Krishna consciousness-singing his japa rounds, singing in kirtana, eating prasada, performing the worship of the Deity, and everything else. He would often comment: “Krishna consciousness is very sweet”.

In fact, Jayananda found Krishna consciousness so sweet that he soon lost the taste for everything else. He gave Srila Prabhupada his life savings, and in the Prologue to The Nectar of Devotion, Prabhupada publicly thanked him: “I want to acknowledge, with gratitude, the contribution made by my dear disciple Sriman Jayananda Brahmacari.”

Paying the bills

Jayananda became absorbed in practical devotional service. He was constantly serving the Lord, either buying the supplies, cooking the prasada, cleaning the kitchen, taking out the garbage, or teaching the new devotees. He did all of that after a full day of work as a taxi driver, where he paid all the bills from the temple. He became an expert in everything that was needed to spread Krishna consciousness. He went out to sell The Teachings of Lord Chaitanya of Srila Prabhupada, becoming a pioneer in an esteemed service by Prabhupada – the public distribution of pasted books of Krishna consciousness.

On the day of Lord Chaitanya’s appearance, Srila Prabhupada was very happy to see Jayananda spontaneously performing kirtana on the street outside the temple. Then, encouraged, Jayananda began to sing regularly with other devotees in the busiest streets, establishing the pillars for the singing groups that would soon travel throughout the country.

As many devotees as other people were instinctively attracted to Jayananda’s purity. Once, when he offered a garland to Srila Prabhupada, he apologized for his greasy clothes. Srila Prabhupada commented: “There is absolutely no offense. You, my disciples, can be dirty, but your hearts are pure. ”

Jayananda touched the hearts of many people, and they usually responded by doing some service for Krishna. He got almost everything free for the temple or at a considerable discount. He was friends of the shopkeepers, the city police, the drunks, the infidels and the destitute marginals. Everyone loved Jayananda, and he engaged everyone joyfully in the service of the Lord. He worked harder than anyone, but praised the service of everyone else. He was humble, tolerant, compassionate, and renunciant. His actions, his words, his life, and his death, all exemplified the process of bhakti, devotional service to the Lord.

Srila Prabhupada’s instructions, especially those that encouraged practical service, became Jayananda’s very life. Once, when a devotee asked him how to advance in Krishna consciousness, Jayananda shrugged and said, “I really do not know. I’m too busy working. ”

Jayananda was so immersed in executing Prabhupada’s instructions that he rarely had time to meet Srila Prabhupada. Serving in separation, he understood that association through instructions is more important than physical association. It is said that one must act in such a way that Krishna wants to see him; Jayananda exemplified this saying by his attitude of service.

Invariably Srila Prabhupada used to ask about Jayananda, and someone would have to go look for him. For Jayananda, Sri Krishna and Srila Prabhupada were the only two ultimate truths. Everything else, including his body, was engaged in his service.

Throwing the Ratha-yatra

One day, devotees got a small deity of Lord Jagannatha (Krishna as “Lord of the universe”) in an import store. Srila Prabhupada told them to return to get the other deities of the game – Lord Balarama and Subhadra Devi. And so began His worship in the temple. Meditating on the Deities, Srila Prabhupada expressed his intense desire to extend his mercy by organizing a Ratha-yatra, the car festival that is celebrated each year in His honor in the holy city of Puri, in India. Jayananda dedicated himself to fulfilling that desire of Prabhupada. Starting with a tow truck, he made a “car” with what he could get from the devotees. On July 9, 1967, the first Ratha-yatra was celebrated in San Francisco – the first in history outside of India – all due to blood, sweat and Jayananda’s work.

Jayananda improved the festival year after year, getting the money, the permits, making the publicity, building from the huge big cars digging everywhere, and even the cakes he cooked for the groups with which he would act reciprocally, like the police of the City and the US Park Service He would live with the cars while they were being built, often working almost without sleep, when the festival date was approaching. Eventually held in Golden Gate Park, the Ratha-yatra festival year after year attracted more crowds. Thanks to the efforts of Jayananda, thousands of people received the mercy of Lord Jagannatha. The festivals are currently held in all cities around the world.

Srila Prabhupada often expressed his deep gratitude to Jayananda for the festivals. When Jayananda passed away, Srila Prabhupada said that his image should be carried in one of the cars in each Ratha-yatra.

Your sick body

While preparing the New York Ratha-yatra in 1976, Jayananda felt painful lumps growing on his body. A spiritual brother worried that they might be cancerous, but Jayananda made him promise not to tell Srila Prabhupada until after the party. Jayananda’s main concern was that the Ratha-yatra should be a success; everything else was secondary.

The Ratha-yatra New York [to which the translator of all this had the fortune to participate and see Jayananda for the first time] was in fact a great success. Rolling down Fifth Avenue, the three cars charmed thousands of people, and many were inspired to ask and even accept the practices of Krishna consciousness. Srila Prabhupada was ecstatic, he said it was a great success and he thanked Jayananda for his valuable service.

The bumps on Jayananda’s body turned out to be cancerous. He was diagnosed with leukemia, which gradually reduced his body to a peel. Accepting that he would die soon, Jayananda continued to express his deep gratitude to Srila Prabhupada. His friends were frightened and saddened to see his body desolated by the disease. But Jayananda was still too busy, performing devotional service to give him much concern. And when he agreed to continue medical treatment, he used his time in the hospital to preach about Krishna consciousness to doctors, nurses, and patients.

Jayananda was constantly thinking about how to extend the Ratha-yatra to other cities. In his last months, he helped organize the Ratha-yatra in Los Angeles, making the phone calls, getting the money, and guiding the devotees. One day, while walking on Venice Beach, where the festival would be held, he looked down and, as if visualizing the next festival, he said: “It will be a wonderful Ratha-yatra!”

On May 1, 1977, just a few months before the festival, Jayananda left this world. In a letter written to Jayananda after his departure, Srila Prabhupada congratulated him for having a glorious life and an even more glorious death, since in life and death he had been absorbed in Krishna’s service. Srila Prabhupada ordered that the day of Jayananda’s disappearance be celebrated as that of other Vaisnava saints. As eloquently said Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur:

“Reason wrong who says that the Vaisnavas die, because they live in their works! Vaisnavas die to live, and living they try to spread the holy name everywhere. ”

When I think about Jayananda, I imagine this scene: Somewhere an ISKCON Ratha-yatra is about to begin. The sounds of conchshells and the exclamations of “Jaya Jagannatha!” Penetrate the sky. Seeing from the spiritual world, Jayananda turns to Srila Prabhupada who nods and says, “Thank you very much.”


The test of a theory is its implementation. When one spends a long time analyzing the process of bhakti, faith emerges quickly when one sees the theory in action. Jayananda Prabhu is such a devotee, who exemplified in a very beautiful way the process of bhakti, from the beginning to the realization. When he left his body on May 1, 1977, Srila Prabhupada instructed that his disappearance should be celebrated as that of a great Vaisnava. Observing the pastimes of such devotees, our faith in the process of bhakti is greatly reaffirmed.

The following is another biographical remembrance of the transcendental activities of Jayananda Thakur, which appeared in another reference. Due to its complementary importance, I have also translated this additional testimony.

The background of Jayananda

Jim Kohr was a typical American boy. Handsome, strong, intelligent, born in a family of high middle class. Being a good student, he graduated as a mechanical engineer from Ohio State University. However, despite his external successes, he was often unhappy, empty and dissatisfied with the materialistic conception of life. Jim did not fit into the group of high class people, so it was not surprising that he ended up driving taxis in San Francisco.

Although he was an introspective person, he was not very religious. His depression was almost suicidal, when in 1967 he read a small San Francisco newspaper article about an Indian Swami who had come to the Bay Area to spread the song of the names of God. For some reason, the article ignited a ray of hope within him. And he decided to attend the Swami’s conference.

In the Bhagavad Gita (7.16), Krishna says: “Four classes of pious men begin to render me devotional service: the afflicted, the one who desires riches, the inquirer and the one who seeks knowledge about the Absolute.” Jim was looking for answers to the questions of material miseries, and in that attitude he took the first step towards his destiny.

Its beginnings

Jim was instantly attracted to the Indian Swami, who was none other than Srila Prabhupada, the founding acharya of ISKCON. He had been in U.S.A for only one year and was in the process of establishing his mission to bring Krishna consciousness to the Western world. Jim began to attend regularly in the morning to the Bhagavatam class given by Srila Prabhupada. Sometimes Jim would be the only guest who listened to that conference. Soon he became very attached to Srila Prabhupada and his teachings. Prabhupada reciprocated lovingly and sometimes personally cooked the prasadam for Jim and served it to him. Shortly after, Srila Prabhupada accepted Jim as his disciple and initiated him with the spiritual name of Jayananda Das.

In the Chaitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila, 19.151), Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu says that: “… Of the many millions of living entities that roam the universe, only the one who is very fortunate receives, by the grace of Krishna, the opportunity to relate to a genuine spiritual master. By the mercy of Krishna and the spiritual master, that person receives the seed of the vine of devotional service. ”

In this way, Jayananda received the seed of devotion, due to the unjust mercy of Srila Prabhupada. From the instructions and teachings presented by Srila Prabhupada, he understood his special relationship with Krishna and the guru, and that there is an authorized process to establish that relationship.

Your attraction to Krishna consciousness

Jayananda was completely in love with Krishna consciousness. He got up early every morning before four, did a little artik, sang his rounds, read and cooked prasada. Then he used to go for his “incense program”, selling incense sticks. He never deviated from that, and was completely happy practicing Krishna consciousness.

Jayananda adored prasada. When a little prasada fell on the ground he would lick it. He loved to cook, eat, offer and distribute prasada in a big way. He even said “prasada” with so much love and devotion that it made one immediately want to drink something.

Another example of his attachment for Krishna consciousness was his love for the holy name. He was always seen singing and dancing enthusiastically during the kirtanas. One day, after working hard for ten hours in a row, when all the other devotees wanted to rest, Jayananada went into the temple room to do kirtan. His japa was very intense, very concentrated, as if striving to associate personally with each of the syllables of the maha-mantra.

In the Bhakti-rasamrta sindhu, Srila Rupa Goswami mentions that the process of sadhana-bhakti begins with a little faith (sraddha). That faith flourishes in the desire for association with the devotees (sadhu-sanga), and then in bhajana-kriya (devotional service). Similarly, after receiving the association of Srila Prabhupada and other devotees in the temple, Jayananda began performing devotional service by the instructions he received from his spiritual master. By sincerely executing his sadhana, he purified himself of the material impediments of devotional service (anartha-nivriti) and began to manifest the fully attractive qualities of a pure devotee.

His humility

Humility was certainly the most outstanding quality of Jayananda. He treated everyone as his superior, even the new devotees. Although his service was glorious, he never wanted any glory. He avoided praise like the plague. The devotees knew that if they wanted to have Jayananda’s association it was better not to praise him. His humility was very natural and he always glorifies the service of others. Even though he was a senior devotee, older than most of the people around him and eminently qualified, he was happy to simply serve.

Once a new boy in the temple wanted to do some service and was asked to help with the trash. Jayananda made the weekly collection of trash cans, and he cheerfully accepted the boy’s little help. Later when the boy became a devotee, he recalled: “If the garbage men in this temple can be so blessed, imagine how the other devotees will be!”

In the third verse of the Siksastakam, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu establishes the qualification to sing without offenses: “One should chant the holy name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking himself lower than the leaf litter in the street. One must be more tolerant than the tree, be devoid of all sense of false prestige and be willing to offer all respect to others. In such a state of mind one can constantly chant the holy name of the Lord. ” Jayananda exemplified this verse. He was so humble, that simply being in his association, one felt ashamed of one’s pride. He was very special, but nobody paid him special attention. That was simply the way he liked things.

Your attitude of service

Jayananda was expert in everything: cooking, preaching, worshiping the Deity, public relations, sankirtan, selling incense, in the construction of the ratha yatra wagons and in everything he did to spread Krishna consciousness. He was a tireless worker; he was the first to get up in the morning and the last to go to sleep at night. He was always busy getting the flowers, washing the utensils, cleaning the kitchen or taking the garbage out. Any service that was given was done expertly, no matter how busy he was or how much personal difficulty he had to do it. No matter how hard he worked, he never stopped for a break during the day. He seemed tireless.

Many times, when Jayananda went to Berkeley to distribute surplus prasada, the former used to organize a crew to clean the kitchen, working twice as much as anyone else. Then, I transferred the prasada, loaded it in the truck, drove to Berkeley, organized the distribution there and did kirtan when it was happening. Many years later, he quickly accepted the position of conductor of the Radha-Damodara group of traveling sankirtan, working alongside brahmacharis who were barely half his age. Despite his seniority and his advanced position, he never asked for anything special and accepted the servant position of the new devotees.

In the Visnu Purana, Sri Krishna says to Arjuna: “Whoever claims to be My devotee is not really My devotee. Only one who claims to be the devotee of My devotee is really My devotee. ” Jayananda fully manifested this quality. But there was no artificial humility. Material humility is relative, it is in the qualities of its depositaries. But Jayananda had spiritual humility, it was absolute, without any consideration for the status or qualities of the depositary. He served everyone and did not expect anyone to serve him.

The process of remembering, commenting or enumerating the qualities and pastimes of the Lord and His devotees is very purifying. This week we will continue the description of the qualities of Jayananda Prabhu, who in a relatively short time was associated with Krishna consciousness, perfected his devotional service and left us many exemplary instructions.

He was free to find faults

Perhaps the most definite characteristic of Jayananda was that he never criticized anyone. Even if a devotee did something that merited criticism, he usually did not say anything, or made the mistake seem perfectly natural. In never said harsh words or punished anyone. Sometimes the devotees used to go to see him with expansive ideas of how to preach Krishna consciousness, Jayananda encouraged those ideas, extraordinarily. At the same time, he was not a fool. I always picked the right man for the job.

In The Nectar of Instruction (verse 5), Srila Rupa Goswami says: “… one should associate and serve faithfully the pure devotee who is advanced in devotional service performed without deviations, and whose heart is completely free from the propensity to criticize to others. ”

Jayananda could not even hear criticism from another devotee. If it happened, he would simply leave the place. These are the characteristics of an uttama-adhikari, one who has attained the highest level of perfection in his sadhana-bhakti.

Loved by all

Like the six Goswamis, Jayananda was loved by both the Gentiles and the ruffians. He was both at home with the Italians in the product market, as he was with the Brahmacharis in the temple. Once a devotee was approached in San Francisco by a staggering drunk who looked at his robes and asked, “Hey, where’s my old friend Jayananda?”

Many devotees who were in the old territory of Jayananda would meet people who said things like: Where is Johnny Ananda? “Or” He is the man he is best and the purest I have met “, or” I do not know much about your philosophy, but if Jayananda is there, it must be good. ”

A woman who was a public official on the San Francisco Board was famous for causing problems to the devotees during the Ratha-yatra. One year, when the devotees approached her, she asked: “Where is Jayananda?” Upon learning that he had passed away, she broke down and started crying. The purity in Jayananda’s heart moved even the most cynical.

In the Bhagavad-gita (5.7) Krishna says that: “He who works with devotion, who is a pure soul and who controls the mind and the senses, is dear to all, and all are dear to him. Although that person always works, he never gets tangled up. ” Everyone loved Jayananda, because he was completely transcendental to the bodily conception. He approached the drunk, the hippie or a devotee, with the same compassion and enthusiasm. He spoke to the Supersoul in each one, and everyone responded accordingly. As Maharaja Yudhisthira, Jayananda’s enemy was never born.

Expert in occupying everyone

It is said that although Krishna has nothing to do with those who are not devotees, His devotees are even more compassionate than He and will try to occupy everyone in the service of the Lord. Jayananda was eager to see everyone engaged in the service of Krishna. Whenever a new bhakta Jayananda arrived, it made him feel that he was engaged in important work. He was older, bigger and stronger than almost anyone in the temple, and we were all glad to be working under his guidance.

His style of preaching was simple and direct. He spoke from the heart to the heart. Once, he was preaching to a couple of hippies while crawling under a car. All that was visible of Jayananda was a pair of legs, but the two hippies that were left there, transfigured by his message. During the Ratha-yatra he used to organize out of the street a gang of non-cooperative, cynical, hippie, foolish, and non-devout personalities, to help him build the cars. He occupied them working for ten or fourteen hours a day, always glorifying them.

In the Chaitanya-caritamrta (Antya-lila, 7.11) it is said: “The chanting of the holy name of Krishna is the fundamental religious system in the age of Kali. Without being endowed with power by Krishna, it is not possible to propagate the sankirtana movement. ” Because of genuine compassion in Jayananda, Krishna gave him the unique ability to make people want to do devotional service, directly or indirectly.

Materially waived

Jayananda had almost no possessions, even during his years as a married man. Everything he had he used for the temple service and Srila Prabhupada. When he had five thousand dollars, he promptly donated them to Srila Prabhupada. In the introduction to The Nectar of Devotion, Srila Prabhupada is grateful for that contribution. For many years he maintained the temple on his own, driving his taxi for 12-14 hours a day. In his last days of life, he used the money he was given for his treatment to support the Ratha-yatra in Los Angeles.

For many years he kept the temple driving his taxi for 12-14 hours a day. When he was in his last days of his life, he used the money given to him for his treatment to support the Ratha-yatra in Los Angeles.

He was extremely careful with what he considered to be Srila Prabhupada’s money. When selling the incense, he would sleep on the park benches in the bitter cold, instead of spending the money in a motel. He used his considerable charm to get people to donate almost everything that was needed. What he could not get for free, he made sure to receive a good price for the money spent.

His last lesson in material detachment was when it was discovered that he was suffering from lymph and blood cancer, leukemia. Jayananda continued as if nothing had changed. When her body became frail and weak, she continued to preach, inspire and organize from her bed in the hospital. For him, the body was simply a means of rendering devotional service to the Lord.

In the Chaitanya-charitamrta (Madhya-lila, 6.254), Chaitanya Mahaprabhu summarizes in the phrase “vairagya-vidya-nija-bhakti-yoga”, which means “renunciation through knowledge that comes from practical devotional service”. Jayananda was a true sannyasi, who did not simply renounce material objects but really gave up the desire for these material objects. He was always eager to use everything for Krishna’s service, however he had no personal desire for anything material.

Jayananda: the King of Ratha-yatra

For several years, Jayananda was the backbone of the Bay Area (of San Francisco) of the Ratha-yatra. Behind the scenes he did everything for the preparation of the festival. I would order food, flowers, funds – to buy the materials and build the carts. He would get the permits, organize the kitchen and distribute the prasada. Although things always went well, he would consistently succeed in fulfilling all those plans every year. After the festival I would cook a cake or cake for everyone who had helped in some way at the festival. Because of their efforts, San Francisco Bay area devotees enjoy an incredibly harmonious relationship with city police.

In his last days, Jayananda was busy organizing the Ratha-yatra from the hospital bed. He talked on the phone with people, he sent his associates to interview several people and things miraculously began to materialize. Every moment of his life was used preciously in the service of Krishna.

The courage of Jayananda

Jayananda was not only great and powerful in body, he was strong in his faith in Krishna. Therefore, nothing could frighten him. Once, on Market Street in San Francisco, Jayananda was playing the mridanga and directing a group of kirtan performing on the street a huge man appeared. It was at least 7 feet tall and weighed perhaps 300 pounds. His careless beard and drunken appearance indicated that he was an old veteran living in bars near his boarding house. Approaching the kirtana group, the reserve ksatriyas of the temple, Kesava dasa and Guru-kripa dasa, were ready for a fight.

Very confident, the monster approached Jayananda, turned and began to shout: “Stop that song!” Jayananda looked him straight in the eyes and finally said: “Only Hare Krishna sings. Only Hare Krishna sings! “To everyone’s amazement, the drunk simply turned and walked away without having a fight.

The final expression of Jayananda’s lack of fear came at the end of his life when he contracted leukemia and cancer of the lymph glands. He wrote from the hospital: “I was back for a couple of weeks of intensive treatment. Actually, everything was a true blessing, since it made me understand that death is there, within reach. I somehow need these important reminders to help me move forward in Krishna consciousness. While I was in the temple I appreciated Krishna consciousness more than ever before, therefore it has been a true blessing. ”

Even in his last months in New Dwaraka, Jayananda never succumbed to fear or grief on his own. When his old friends entered his room and saw him in his pale form and ghostly appearance, they found it difficult to talk to him because of his condition. What Jayananda communicated, on the other hand, was complete disinterest in the whole matter of his health. On the contrary, I was planning how to celebrate the Ratha-yatra in Los Angeles. Sitting in his wheelchair, looking like death personified, Jayananda could not stop thinking and talking about the Ratha-yatra.

Karandhara remembers seeing him from his desk: Jayananda was there, the personification of Krishna consciousness and the lack of fear of death. Karandhara was strangely surprised that he did not feel a great pity or remorse for Jayananda. Then he could understand that if Jayananda was so Krsna conscious, how could anyone see him and not be Krsna conscious? tatha dehantara praptir / dhiras tatra namuhyati (Bg 2-13).

Jayananda pushed the Ratha-yatra of Los Angeles until he was so weak that he could not pick up the phone and call old friends to ask for donations. In fact, he collected a large amount of Laksmi and planned the means by which the festival could be realized. The festival directors will immediately admit that, without Jayananda’s presence, the Ratha-yatra festival could not have taken place in Los Angeles last year. Therefore, he proved that by engaging in devotional service, one transcends even the fear of death.

Its mystical opulence

It is said that pure devotional service brings a lot of opulence. Although the devotees never seek it, when they have it they use it for the service of Krishna.

Apparently, Jayananda could function asleep little or without sleeping almost nothing. In the last days of Ratha-yatra he slept less than three hours a day, but he was the most energetic and lively member of the group. His propensity to consume prasada was amazing. He could eat the halava cubes, the samosas dishes and potatoes without any collateral effect. When, in his final days, he was given an intravenous diet, he would still often ask the devotees to furtively search for him large quantities of samosas and potatoes with cheese, which he cheerfully consumed without any apparent pain. Sometimes, he would fall asleep in the Bhagavatam classes because he was very tired, but then he could quote perfectly from the class or have a deep discussion about its content.

In the Bhagavad-gita (14.26), Sri Krishna declares: “One who is fully engaged in devotional service, firm in all circumstances, immediately transcends the modes of material nature and thus comes to the plane of Brahman.” In the Narada-pancaratra, devotional service to the Lord is compared to a Queen assisted by her servants in the form of material opulences, liberation and mysticism. Jayananda never had any hunger for such things, but when they came, he used them simply in Krishna’s service.

Maxims of Jayananda Prabhu

Jayananda Thakur made his own notes on the cover of his book of Krishna in the form of a list of points:

“When I began to apply the clearly described principles of the book of Krishna in my life, I quickly experienced a new realm of mental balance and experienced inner happiness even in the midst of the most difficult circumstances. The result of practicing Krishna consciousness is that you will worry less and enjoy more. Your power of concentration, memory, understanding and creativity will increase. You will work with more energy, with greater confidence and efficiency, and you will relate better with people. And you will succeed more easily in whatever you try to do. At night, you will fall asleep immediately and in the morning you will wake up fully refreshed with even less sleep than you normally need. Consequently, you will understand the true purpose of your life and your unique role in creation. ”

Posthumous letter of Srila Prabhupada to his disciple Sriman Jayananda Dasa

Bombay, May 5, 1977

My dear Jayananda:

Please accept my blessings.

I am feeling your separation very intensely. In 1967 you joined me in San Francisco. You were driving my car and chanting Hare Krishna. You were the first man to give me some contribution ($ 5,000) to print my Bhagavad-gita. After that, you have rendered a very favorable service to Krishna in different ways. Therefore, I hope that at the time of your death you have been remembering Krishna, and therefore you have been promoted to His eternal association. If not, if you have had some small material desire, you will have gone to the celestial kingdom to live with the demigods for many thousands of years and enjoy the most opulent life of material existence. From there you can promote yourself to the spiritual world. But even if one fails to promote oneself to the spiritual world, at that moment the person returns to the face of this earth and is born in an aristocratic family, where again there is an opportunity to revive Krishna consciousness, but because you had been listening Krishna-kirtana, I’m sure you were directly promoted to Krishnaloka.

janma karma ca divyam

evam yo vetti tattvatah

tyaktva deham punar janma

naiti mam eti so’rjuna ”

Krishna has done you a great favor by allowing you to continue in your sick body and has given you a suitable place for your service.

Thank you very much.

Your eternal well-wisher,

Jayananda’s death is glorious. What he has said is very good. What is the use of this useless body? Better leave it. He has left his body very beautifully, and has been transferred to Vaikuntha. I already sent a letter of condolence to be published in Back to the Supreme (“Back to Godhead”). Everyone should follow Jayananda’s example. I am very proud to have had such a good disciple. If possible, the photo of Jayananda should be hung in the ratha of Lord Jagannatha, and in all our temples a day should be chosen to make a festival of honor, just as we do on the day of the disappearance of other great Vaisnavas.

Fragment of a letter from Srila Prabhupada