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The Beautiful Life of Jayananda Thakur

Introduction

Krishna Consciousness is all about loving spiritual relationships and deep feelings that devotees have for each other and for Krishna and Srila Prabhupada. There was so much spiritual love in our San Francisco temple, in the 70's. We loved Krishna and Srila Prabhupada with all our hearts, we loved Jayananda so much, and he loved us even more. The temple was Srila Prabhupada’s home for our spiritual family; Srila Prabhupada was our father, Jayananda was our big brother, and we all had special love for him, and for each other.

Jayananda didn't like being praised over others, he felt others to be doing more service than he, and he was always a team player, giving all credit to Srila Prabhupada and all the devotees, never thinking any one devotee to be less significant than himself. Whether they were a temple president, or a new bhakta washing the pots, Jayananda glorified all other devotees over himself. This is the mood that Jayananda wants us to continue, to always honor all devotees equally. So I'll make my feeble attempt to glorify Jayananda and all the exalted devotees that served in San Francisco, those wonderful years in the 70's when I first joined, as far as memory allows.

The common conception of happiness in this world is generally gauged by the degree of success one achieves, how much money one has, and other factors, like sexual gratification, friends, power, etc. Conversely, the lack of these attributes always means unhappiness, in the material sense. This especially applies in high school, where the nerd, the loser, is always scorned, heckled, abused, and the most unhappy. The popular and handsome boy, who possesses quick wit and wealthy family, who has fashionable clothes and fine car, all this proclaims him to be most happy. Rarely will we encounter a person who contradicts, or defies these general rules of so-called happiness in the material world, and yet is extremely happy in the absence of all these purported material opulences. For example, someone appears to be poverty stricken, without any personal possessions, yet, he appears to be extremely happy working for a cause, higher than himself. Neither is he interested in pursuits of the fair sex, nor does he hanker for some high paying job, or indulge in any kind of intoxication, yet again, he appears to have won the lottery. He is constantly elated to heights of rapture, always working for the benefit of others, taking nothing for himself, giving himself entirely to higher principles, rendering concentrated service to the
supreme, giving constant and uninterrupted service to others, 24/7 - that is the sublime life of Jayananda Thakur. From examining his life, we find that he achieved the highest form of perpetual happiness in the whole of the western world.

Besides the amount of personal happiness achieved in this world, we can also gauge a person's success by the amount of happiness he or she spreads around themselves — how many people are made to be happy by the life and deeds of such a person in question. On this account, devotees all over the world are made extremely happy by the various means of connection, via books and devotee stories, etc., to the blissful life of Jayananda Thakur.

This work contains narrations of a typical day of Jayananda's devotional career, and they are based upon some of the situations of his service that I can remember, being in association with him at the Valentia street temple, in San Francisco, for about a year or so. It is based upon the things that I remember him saying, as well as the wonderful things that he did. It is also taken from a wealth of information that I've heard from other devotees who associated with Jayananda, scenes that I've read or heard on tapes, from devotees, and so on. It is about his usual day of activities, and the typical preaching that he always rendered to the devotees and all the other people that he met in his normal day. It is about a day in the life of Jayananda Thakur, and all the devotees at the Sri Sri Radha Krishna temple in San Francisco, around 1975 or so.

I am also trying to remember all the devotees at the Valentia street temple, and will try to say something about all of them, as much as I can remember; I love them all. This is about a typical day at the temple, and about sankirtan in San Francisco. These things all happened, maybe not all in one particular day, but they happened at some time during that summer. Some incidents are supposition, of course, like the dream. But they are suppositions based on facts known in general, like a dream of Krishna or Prabhupada, which we know that all of us have had. The exact accuracy of certain details of such incidents are not really important, as the reality of these things are known by devotees telling of them at some point in time during that summer of love — not like the hippie summer of love, but the wonderful love these devotees had for Lord Krsna and Srila Prabhupada, that transpired during that summer of 75 in San Francisco. All their amazing devotional service to Srila Prabhupada and Lord Krishna are still "frozen in time" and I try to put down in words, how transcendental life was back
then, when Jayananda and all those wonderful devotees were splendidly manifest in our world. — His humble servant and friend, Vishoka Dasa

  1. Chapter 1 - The First Time I Saw Him
  2. Chapter 2 - A Kind Friend to All
  3. Chapter 3 - Ratha-yatra Pastimes
  4. Chapter 4 - Jayananda Serves the Holy Name
  5. Chapter 5 - “I Won't Care for the Comforts of My Body...”