Saints are almost invariably touchstones of mercy to people, seemingly in a mystical or magical way. They seem to spiritually change the hearts of others on a regular basis. Jayananda was such a mystical touchstone. He touched the hearts of so many common workaday people on a daily basis. When we examine the caliber of saints like Jim Kohr, we find a unique universal affection or love for all of humankind, for all creatures of God.
One of the great saints of India came to America in the 70's and transplanted a temple of Shree Shree Radha Krishna onto the streets of San Francisco, where Tom joined to be a monk, and he had the great experience of working with a man who became a saint revered by all peoples from all walks of life in San Francisco, who enjoyed his saintliness, regardless of their own particular beliefs. This is the mark of a true saint, and people can still appreciate the reality of a modern saint, even to this day, by the biographical reading of his saintly qualities of giving love of God to others, without motive to convert or change anyone's faith.
Vishoka Prabhu is writing a new book on Jayananda. We are very curious about the new book! We wish Vishoka Prabhu inspiration and good luck!
Like the six Goswamis, Jayananda was dear to both the gentle and the ruffians. He was as much at home with the Italians at the produce market as he was with the Brahmacharis at the temple. Once a devotee was approached by a staggering drunk in San Francisco, who looked at his robes and asked, 'Hey, where is my old friend Jayananda?' Many devotees who took over Jayananda's old territory would meet people who would say things like, 'Where is Johnny Ananda?' or 'That man - he's the nicest and most pure man I've met' or 'I don't know much about your philosophy, but if Jayananda is into it, it must be all right.'
Humility was certainly Jayananda's most prominent quality. He treated everyone as his superior, even new devotees. Although his service was glorious, he never wanted any glory. He avoided praise like the plague. Devotees got to know that if they wanted to keep Jayananda's association they would better not praise him. His humility was very natural and he always found something other than himself that was praiseworthy. Even though he was a senior devotee, older than most of the people around him and eminently qualified, he was happy to simply serve.
Jayananda was completely enamored by Krishna consciousness. He would rise every day morning before four, do a little arati, chant his rounds of japa, read and cook prasad. Then he would go for his 'incense run' (selling incense sticks). He never deviated from this, he was completely happy as long as he was practicing Krishna consciousness.