By His Example
The Wit and Wisdom of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
A TRIBUTE TO JAYANANDA PRABHU
Swamiji told me that when you see a Vaishnava you automatically think of Krishna. Jayananda was steady in his devotion. Jayananda was one of the most unselfish people I have ever met. Jayananda Prabhu was most known for his tireless work every year to make the Jagannath Festival a success, but his passion for all types of service was evident from the first day I met him in San Francisco. He motivated many of us by his stalwart example, doing as much as he could by himself before asking anyone else to help.
Jayananda once gave Swamiji five thousand dollars to keep our budding San Francisco temple blossoming. He drove a taxicab and became a celestial chauffeur by driving Swamiji to radio and television programs and to various places in Golden Gate Park for his morning walks. I witnessed the respect Jayananda had for Swamiji. I saw the love brimming from his eyes when he viewed his spiritual master. Although Jayananda presented a simple demeanor, his tremendous mind retained many details at once.
In a playful mood, Jayananda once asked me to name any street in San Francisco and he would tell me the adjacent streets, what stores or residences were on the street, and even what colors the buildings were. I picked obscure streets, but he knew the cross streets. I relished my association with Jayananda during his presidency of the first San Francisco temple. After I was elected vice-president, we would ride together to the Farmer's Market or the flower outlets and plan events for the temple.
Jayananda gave Yamuna and me his apartment on Ashbury Street across from the Grateful Dead house, while he moved into the stark basement of the Frederick Street temple where the brahmacaris lived and slept on the floor with them. Our small family was close, serving Krishna, learning and building together. Later, I went to London. Jayananda was needed elsewhere, so we drifted apart.
Around 1974, Jayananda and I would be reunited when I was given charge of a Radha Damodara bus that traveled throughout the Pacific Northwest. We put on three to four programs a day. During lunch we would set up a stage, prasadam counter, and book table. Jayananda would man the prasadam booth, and Parivrajakacharya and I would speak about the chanting and philosophy in student unions from Reed College to the University of Nevada.
From Tuesday through Saturday, Jayananda would lead the satellite sankirtan party chanting through the streets. He took care of the two vans that we used, and I always trusted that the party was secure under his guidance. Even though I was officially in charge of the traveling party, I considered Jayananda the spiritual leader. The servant is the master. Jayananda Prabhu called me Maharaja, but with so much friendship and so little formality that he endeared himself to me. He cut through pretense in order to get to the heart of our mutual goal: devotional service. While others were parading or posturing, Jayananda was working. He taught by his example.
(To be continued.)
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