This was a talk given on Jayananda’s disappearance day 2001. I can’t remember the words said, not exactly, but have reproduced the main points. And I’ve enhanced the talk with added material and more afterthought and deliberation.
The life of Jayananda is truly a guiding light for our trouble times of the world. If we examine his life, we shall get guidance and solace from this dark world. The world around us seems to get progressively worse as days go on. There is an ominous feeling of negativity that seems to pervade everything. Depression and hopelessness hangs like fog all around us. Young people have gotten callous and negative in attitude and lifestyle. Cruelty to our fellow man has become commonplace.
Violence is on the rise, such as the alarming trend of kids killing other kids. And violence is also seen in the epidemic of cruelty to animals, such as cats and dogs [what to speak of the cruelty of the slaughterhouses and killing of cows and pigs, etc.] The humane society says that there is an alarming increase in finding cats that have been tortured. They found a cat that some demented person shot with a pellet gun over a dozen times, yet the poor thing was still alive. They say there are many cases like this, and they would like to find these persons and put them in jail. A cat is just an innocent animal not hurting anyone, and this is unparalleled cruelty and violence, a darkly sinister trend of human behavior.
We don't have to stand high on a rooftop, and caterwaul to the multitudes about the horrors of evil in the world, everyone knows it. Some people say that there is an evil spreading throughout human society, some say it is a battle between good and evil, or God and Satan. They say there’s a whole generation of evil on the rise. Some Christians say these are the “end of days,” and refer to Biblical references. Some say that Mother Earth has been pushed to her limits, and the end of the world will come someday. Morality has been steadily going down the drain, and greed and lust are rampant.
The world is in such a tailspin, and we wonder out loud, “How are we ever going to pull this world out of its hell-bend path?” It seems as easy to stop a runaway train that’s careening through a mountain pass, ready to plunge off the precipice. How will we ever make a difference in this world? Look at us now, we’re supposed to be the brains of society, the Brahmanas, and we’ve got so many of our own problems to deal with, that it seems we won’t get around to fixing the world. We’re too self absorbed in our own problems. The missionary spirit of which this movement was founded is on an extremely depressing wane.
How will the devotees of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu pull the world out of it’s hellbound course? How are we going to turn this world around and begin the golden age of Lord Caitanya’s movement for 10,000 years? It appears hopeless to we who are faint of heart, we who perceive such overwhelming odds dashing our hopes of a spiritual revolution of this planet.
Some man in New York was saying how the end of the world was near, but Srila Prabhupada said that “the end is always coming.” The person in material consciousness is always fearful of the end, wondering “when is it coming?, is it coming now?” But the devotee knows that the end is always coming, either with wars or natural calamities, or individually, each spirit soul is continually coming to end after end as they change from one body to another. So the concern of the devotee is not when the end is coming, but what they can do with the precious time remaining. Srila Prabhupada compared these calamities to waves in the ocean. Some waves are wars, some are natural catastrophes, and some are the death of family or self. There are always waves of calamities in this material world, but we should not be concerned with the temporary waves always coming and going, but our goal is to cross over the ocean of material energy. As Bhagavad-gita says in 7.14;
daivi hy esa guna-mayi
mama maya duratyaya
mam eva ye prapadyante
mayam etam taranti te
This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is difficult to overcome. But those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it.
Srila Prabhupada says on a morning walk, that even skyscrapers will fall down some day. Someday these tall buildings will not exist, therefore they are ultimately asat, or nonexistent.
Morning walk, 1.9.74 in LA-
Prabhupada: Manorathena asati dhavato bahih. By mental speculation, you will remain on this asati, in this temporary field. Asat means "which will not exist." Anything in this material world, you take, that will not exist. Anywhere man can say. The skyscraper building is constructed, but everyone knows that it will not exist. Some day it will fall down. Everyone knows. It will never exist. That is explained by Krsna in the Bhagavad-gita, that "If you think that by combination of matter, life has come, so life was not there before the combination. And this combination will dismantle. So life, there will be no more life. So why these three period you are lamenting? There is life." Because according to this theory--"The combination of matter makes life"--so before combination there was no life, and the combination dismantled, there is no life. So beginning and end no life. Why you are lamenting in the middle? Very good reasoning. Just see. Therefore Prahlada Maharaja says, maya-sukhaya bharam udvahato vimudhan. Maya-sukhaya, that illusory, illusory happiness. Maya-sukhaya. And for that reason, they are making huge, gorgeous arrangement and working day and night, which will be zero. It has begun from zero and it will end into zero. In the middle they are busy. Just see. Therefore vimudhan.
There is the day dream of every man and woman, and there is the night dream, both are temporary, therefore both illusory. It is just that the day dream is longer and feels more solid, yet still temporary, still asat. Lord Caitanya said that even the Himalayans will someday cease to exist, despite the fact that these mighty mountains are proclaimed by Bhagavad-gita to be the chief of immovable objects, but one day, they will be no more. Everything we see in this world will pass away eventually. So the devotee does not fret about "when" and "if" the end is coming, he knows it will be so, sooner or later, and so he utilizes his valuable time wisely for serving Krishna.
So, Jayananda never got distracted by temporary setbacks and problems in this material world. He simply went ahead with his execution of Srila Prabhupada's orders despite all the all pervasive negativity in the world. He persevered through all difficulties by being pro-active in spreading Krishna consciousness. He was the acharya of “doing.” He went out and did tangible feats of huge amounts of service while others talked. He could reverse any negative situation by his natural positive attitude. He was always turning negative energy into positive energy; he could turn the minus into a plus.
This we can see from Murlikrsna, and other passages in the Jayananda website-
Murlikrsna said- "Whenever he was around, he was a big guy, a very big man, and he also was very positive, he emanated positive energy. No matter what kind of negative thing came to him, he'd just turn it around and send it right out positive. He'd look at the guy and just turn his head right around, do double back flips, and the guy would go away going, "Jai, Hari bol!" He'd come in like, "Jayananda, there are problems at the temple and we've got to do this and that," and he'd just go, "Ah, Lord Jagannatha!" He'd just be so into devotional service, so into distributing prasadam, so into giving a Gita out to anybody."
Jayananda turns negative to positive
Jayananda would always turn a weird situation into doing benefit for the other person. Like the Fisherman's Wharf episode, when the lobster-murder stand people threw hot and stinky fish water at the devotees' feet as they went by on hari-nama. I would have gotten into a fight with them, like yelling and shaking fists, but Jayananda was in control of his senses and approached them with cookies and said, “Thanks for doing such a nice service of cleaning the sidewalk.” This genuinely affected them. Similarly, he was always trying to give prasadam to others, like visitors of the temple, or taking out extra prasadam to the streets for the bums, and so forth. He was found to be cooking prasad for drunks in a bar. He was always asking wandering hippies to help with the carts, not just to get their labor, but to engage them in service for their benefit, knowing that even a little service brings transcendental eternal blessing.
Jayananda sees with equal vision
Jayananda's great quality was that he seemed to see the Deity in everyone's' heart. He saw with equal vision – no matter who the person was, Jayananda only saw him as a good person, and Jayananda wanted to give him Krishna. He would never judge or criticize anyone, nor would he tolerate hearing criticism or anything bad about anyone. He understood the true meaning of bhakti, which is divine love, love for Krishna and His parts and parcels. Jayananda gave his love to everyone, he loved them for what they were, not making material distinctions about what this person is or is not. Jayananda only gave them love, and that is why everyone loved Jayananda. Jayananda loved Krishna and Srila Prabhupada, and therefore naturally he loved everyone else. He saw criticism as a hateful negative energy that corrupts everyone it contacts. He was always very positive; even in seemingly unsuccessful events, he would only see the good in it, and never dwell on the bad. That is why everyone felt good around him and never depressed.
Never a bad hair day
When you think about it, Jayananda really had a tough job. His office was out there in the street, or going from door to door, to offices and stores, dealing with commissioners, etc., and his work was always on the spur of the moment. There were no appointments, he had no secretary to assist him; rather, he was out there meeting people one-on-one, and often when they were in a rush. Yet they always came away with a good taste in their minds. He was meeting people constantly, winning them over with a big heart, and he was always in a good mood, never having a bad hair day. This was because he wasn't thinking about himself. Depression is due to self-absorption and thinking we are these bodies. In fact, every misery you can think of is due to thinking we are these bodies. Jayananda was never thinking that way, he was always acting as a spirit soul and servant of Krishna, free from the bodily conception of life, and he was only thinking of how to serve others and Srila Prabhupada and Krishna. This would be a tough job for anybody else, to never have a negative mood swing – but Jayananda was always on the up-and-up, he was constantly in a high mood ... 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
So, we see so much negativity in our movement. So much bad PR, so much in-fighting. How are we to be the head of society, if we cannot get our own act together? The world needs a head so badly, but this head is still ailing with a heavy weight of its own negativity. We need to look for that beacon light station. We're in a great storm, were dark clouds and violent rains and winds are assailing our vessel, and the hungry rocks are approaching to sink the ship.
We need the guidance of one who can lead us to safety. Srila Prabhupada said that the perfect follower is the perfect leader, and Jayananda showed us how to be that perfect follower of Srila Prabhupada. Srila Prabhupada asked us all to follow his example.
Here are some more points from Srila Prabhupada-
The devotee does not live in this material world
Srila Prabhupada writes in his Krishna Book, chapter 14, how this material world is such a dangerous place and then gives the Krishna conscious solution-
“Anyone who takes shelter of the lotus feet of Krsna enters the boat for crossing over the ocean of nescience. For him, this vast expansion of the material manifestation becomes as insignificant as a hoofprint. Krsna is the center of all great souls, and He is the shelter of the material worlds. For one who is on the platform of Krsna consciousness, Vaikuntha, or the spiritual world, is not far away. He does not live within the material world where there is danger at every step.”
samasrita ye padapallava-plavam
mahat-padam punya-yaso murareh
bhavambudhir vatsa-padam param padam
padam padam yad vipadam na tesam
The deathless position
Srila Prabhupada was talking to his disciples on a morning walk on January 5th, 1974 in LA, and one disciple was saying how Christians were going to flee to Canada, afraid of death, but devotees were not. He said that at the end of the month, the United States would be destroyed by the Kahutek comet, and they would all move to Mexico and Canada. Then Srila Prabhupada said:
“They are so good Christian that at the time of danger, they're all going away to Canada. Just see--afraid of death, even though they are preaching themselves, priest, they are also the same common man, afraid of death. And if we people keep to Krsna consciousness, we are not afraid of death. For going from one place to another, that's all. Going home, nobody becomes afraid going back to home. He becomes pleased. You avoid death, there is no death. If we simply practice this, Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama... No more death. Finished death. This is a fact. Or do something for Krsna. Don't waste time, single moment. Then no more death. Because this is the deathless condition. And the changing of the body, that is momentary, that is all. Yes, this is deathless position.”
For the devotee, everything is happiness
Then Srila Prabhupada says-
“No, it is pleasant. Visvam purna-sukhayate. For a devotee, everything is very happy. There is no unhappiness. Any condition, they are happy. Visvam purna-sukhayate. For nondevotees everything is a problem. (devotees laugh) And for devotee everything is happiness. That is the difference.”
Always seizing the moment [from website]
Nothing in this material world really mattered to Jayananda, except that we prepare and distribute and honor nice prasad. If there was a TV announcement that World War III had begun, and the bombs were on their way, Jayananda would just cook and serve prasadam to all of us while he chanted hari-bolo. And then we would all relish Krishna prasadam as Krishna's Holy Names resounded, and to hell with the bombs or whatever, because Jayananda would always seize the moment. Hari-bol!
Darkest before the dawn-
We have the indomitable spirit of Jayananda, which can awaken the rising of Phoenix, out of the ashes of doom. By following the life of Jayananda, who did all the right things, who simply believed in the words of Srila Prabhupada without complication or assumption or interpretation, and from this simple obedience and faith in his Guru-maharaja, Krishna empowered him to do superhuman activities. We have the example of one who has already crossed the insurmountable ocean of maya.
Isn’t that what we need? Simple faith in Srila Prabhupada to move mountains? Don’t we all need the inspiration of the life of one who’s already done this? Shouldn’t we all follow the example of our saint, who’s been successful and gone back to Godhead? Who amongst us is so jaded to suggest that we continue with the same old “duck-and-cover” mentality, the “head-in-sand” “blow-on-boil” strategy? Who will say we’re not besieged by an ocean of ordeal? Arguing will never work, nor litigation or debate, nor jockeying for position. Do we lie down like pathetic pythons, and take whatever fate befalls us?
Jayananda was cent percent surrendered to Srila Prabhupada as malleable putty in his spiritual master’s hands, and thus Krishna empowered him to do extraordinary feats. For the common man, if death or cancer walks in the door, he tends to give up and prepare for death. Srila Prabhupada says in “Teachings of Queen Kunti”-
On the Battlefield of Kuruksetra, Arjuna said to Krsna, "Whatever You are saying is all right. I am not this body. I am a soul, and this is also true of everyone else. So when the body is annihilated, the soul will continue to exist. But when I see that my son is dying or my grandfather is dying and that I am killing, how can I be solaced simply by knowing that they are not dying, but that only their bodies are changing? I am accustomed to thinking of them with affection in terms of the body, and so there must be grief and suffering."
Jayananda did not give way to terms of the body, or affection thereof, and he did not yield to negative thoughts or despair … he just did his service to Srila Prabhupada and Lord Jagannatha despite all impediments. He did the monumental task of building the NY Ratha-yatra carts, and then, despite being deathly sick and drained of energy and deprived of sleep, he danced for Lord Jagannatha all day long in the parade. When he was in the hospital, he didn’t give in to weakness, he continued to preach to the other patients, giving them a Krishna Book to read, and distributed prasadam to all. Later he did LA Ratha-yatra from his bed, and he gave a talk at his birthday despite being so weak as to barely talk, and he danced in mangal-arotik one morning, though he came in wheelchair and could barely walk.
Thus we can also do wonderful service in Krishna consciousness by following Jayananda’s example, and we can be putty in Srila Prabhupada’s hands if we obey Srila Prabhupada’s orders, like his desire for us to follow Jayananda’s example, and Krishna will empower us, and if we neglect Srila Prabhupada and his orders, then negativity will overwhelm us. Some say Iskcon is fading, but Iskcon isn’t buildings and names, it’s Srila Prabhupada’s vision, still carried in the hearts of his sincere disciples.
So, its no coincidence that recently so much information coming out about Jayananda, 3 books, website, another website soon, planning for a video and multimedia CD. By devotees becoming more aware of our saint Jayananda, and appreciating his life and qualities, hearing of his success in Krishna consciousness, pleasing Srila Prabhupada and going back to godhead, we can get hope that we can turn our negatives into positives and then we can help the world become positive. Srila Prabhupada said this movement could save the world in its darkest hour. So Jayananda’s example is very valuable, and its there for us to follow.
your lowly servant, Visoka dasa
Srila Prabhupada’s infinite look of mercy
The faithful disciple is blessed with knowledge. When the spiritual master becomes pleased with a disciple, he bestows all knowledge of the Vedas on that disciple. This is probably the most intimate time I ever had with Jayananda, or anybody for that matter. I can hardly talk about it. We were alone one night at the Ratha site in Frisco. We were just standing around and talking. Jayananda got to talking about how Srila Prabhupada came to the airport one day. Jayananda did his dandavats right at Srila Prabhupada’s feet, and somehow he looked upwards from the floor to Srila Prabhupada. Right then, Srila Prabhupada was looked straight down into Jayananda’s eyes. It was a rare moment for me, how Jayananda described the look that Srila Prabhupada gave him. It was a look of infinite love and mercy, Jayananda said. Srila Prabhupada’s stood, looking down to Jayananda, his face and his smile and his mercy all poured down through his eyes to Jayananda, with all the love and mercy anyone could imagine. I can hardly remember just how superlative that description was, how Jayananda gave it to me, except that I was awed by it. And as Jayananda was telling me about the mercy glance of Srila Prabhupada, it seemed that he was showing me how it looked. Jayananda seemed to have the same kind of look on his face. There are rare times when one person is able to look into the eyes of another person, for very long, without turning away. At that time, I was able to look into Jayananda’s face and eyes for a long time, as he was giving me this mercy look he was describing. Sort of like I got initiated with the glance myself. And at that time, I saw Jayananda’s aura. It was dark outside, being nighttime, and somehow I saw an aura of light about his head. Some new age people give classes on how to see auras. I saw his without effort. It was then that I realized the purport of his name. Jayananda. The victory of spiritual bliss. I saw waves of bliss emanating from his eyes and face and smile. It was waves of bliss. That was about the most intimate time I ever had with Jayananda, actually with anybody. I don’t think I could ever forget that look and those feelings, that story of the mercy vision of Srila Prabhupada, and the awe of the moments as long as I live, and hopefully after that.
Plugged into the original source of power
This we could definitely see in Jayananda, he possessed a great power, he had that power of “Brahma-tejas,” that could only be coming down through the parampara system, which was endowed to him by the grace of Srila Prabhupada. The sanjivani mystic power is another gift of Guru. Srila Prabhupada saved us all, we were all dead men before he came to America. Likewise, Jayananda was practically dead before he met Srila Prabhupada. Jayananda had lost all will to continue to live, and then one day he read a newspaper article about Srila Prabhupada, and said, “Let me give this a chance.” And in this way, Srila Prabhupada raised him from the dead. The last part of this pastime is also a lesson, in which Bali lost his power in the end, due to offenses to Vaishnavas. Jayananda knew this truth so very well. He was extremely careful not to criticize devotees or engage in any faultfinding or gossip. He knew that all power would be withdrawn if he ever transgressed this rule of spiritual life. As a result, he never waned in spiritual power, he was fully spiritually strong up to the end of life.
Thus, we all should obey Srila Prabhupada, and follow the example of Jayananda. By following in his footsteps, then we may also please Srila Prabhupada and get his mercy, and get plugged into the original power house, the current coming through parampara, directly from Krishna. Oh, my dear Jayananda, please give me a spark of your power and devotion, so to get me out of maya someday … and then I will see you again.