The Beautiful Life of
Jayananda Thakur
Remembering an American Saint
by Vishoka Dasa
(Edited by Dasaratha-suta Dasa)

(Part 2 -- Chapter 12)

Keep Me Searching for a Heart of Gold

One who is equal to friends and enemies,
who is equipoised in honor and dishonor, heat and cold,
happiness and distress, fame and infamy,
who is always free from contamination,
always silent and satisfied with anything,
who doesn't care for any residence,
who is fixed in knowledge and
engaged in devotional service, is very dear to Me.

(Bhagavad-Gita 12.18-19)

Neil Young once sang a song, “Keep me searching for a heart of gold, keep me searching and I'm growing old...” Some of you are probably cursing me for reminding you of this song, which is probably going through your head. But it's a good example of the real desire of the soul, as Neil was searching for that heart of gold, and his fans were saying, “Yeah, Neil, I'm searching, too -- oh where, oh where is that heart of gold, man, I'm so sick of being cheated!” And somehow we all know there's a heart of gold somewhere out there, and somehow God exists, and somehow we should all get out of this mess someday.

The dearmost servitor of Srimati Radharani

But Neil Young and his fans might not recognize a heart of gold if one stood right in front of them. That is the power of the illusory energy. They think a golden heart is a buddy who is a true friend who will be there for them in their sense gratification. Some think it is a woman, or a man, who will fulfill my desires. But yet the golden heart will not always give you what you think you want, but rather what you really need -- the real need of the soul, or bhakti. He is not the phony smile, or New Age seminar person who loves you for a fee, but the real heart of gold is the pure devotee of God who gives us the real thing -- love of Krishna. Gold to the average man is that yellow stool, and the place where there's lots of yellow stool is the abode of Kali, where irreligion also resides. The meaning of gold to the devotee instead is the effulgent complexion of Lord Gauranga, assuming the luster of Srimati Radharani, who is “resplendent with the radiance of molten gold.” Srila Prabhupada also had a golden luster all about his person, a golden complexion, which was just a reflection of the golden effulgence from within his heart, as he is the dearmost servitor of Lord Chaitanya and Srimati Radharani.

Sick of being cheated

Everybody is searching for a heart of gold. Where is it, oh where is that golden heart? Not everyone knows. But everybody wants that heart of gold. Some think it is a good friend who sticks with you through thick and thin. Or it is somebody who sees us as a person, and not just a body to exploit. Some think it is a heart full of love instead of lust. Mostly it is a heart that will not cheat us, as most of us are just tired of being cheated. Where, oh where is that person who does not cheat us? We're all getting cheated, real bad, and everybody knows it, down deep inside, we all know it. Every jiva soul is hankering for that golden heart. The heart with the real love, the real thing.

Two rare hearts of gold

My religion is not japa or scripture or penance or austerity. My religion is daily thanking Jayananda Prabhu for showing me to the greatest heart of gold -- His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada -- and also for allowing me into the association with his own heart of gold, too. Jayananda had a heart of gold, which was Prabhupada's gift to him. And he let the gold from Prabhupada shine into his heart, which then became full, and he let it shine on out to others. I somehow saw that golden effulgence, enough to melt my dirty heart somewhat, but not enough. Actually, I am the greatest sinner of all, because I chanced upon not just one very rare heart of gold, but two very rare hearts of gold. And Jayananda's golden heart not only shined on me profusely, but he also took me in as a friend. And I was such a sinner to get such gifts of two great golden hearts and still kept a tightly-bound steel-framed heart, with chains and padlocks and a cement overcoat. I am such an ungrateful wretch because I got two hearts of gold freely given, and yet I neglected to open my own and let it all in and thereby let it shine a little to others.

There for the little guy

Jayananda was there for the other guy, all the time. He was there for the little guy, for there were no little guys to Jayananda. They were all spirit souls lost in the world of maya, and he had a heart big enough for them all. I am the best example of that. So insignificant, but Jayananda was so golden to me, for his golden heart shined on one and all with no discrimination. Jayananda's heart was always overflowing, every minute of the day, and he always spilled out the golden mercy to others. There is a nice verse from Sri Hari-Bhakti-Kalpa-Latika, which goes like this:

“Krishna enters the listening ear and goes to the heart. Flooding the lake of the heart, He leaves through the mouth as a swiftly coursing stream of His transcendental qualities, names, and forms.”

In the same way, the effulgence of the golden luster shining from Srila Prabhupada's heart entered into Jayananda's eyes and ears and flooded his heart, until it also became golden, and then that same effulgence came flowing out through his eyes and mouth, out into the darkness of others' hearts, thus filling them with golden light and hope and love.

Young, old, made no difference

Jayananda was there for so many people. Young, old, made no difference. He was there for the seven-year-old boy that Jiva­dhara spoke about, how Jayananda told him of Krishna and they chanted and danced, and then Jayananda gave initiation to the boy and gave him the name of Parameshvara. The boy was ecstatic and painted one of Lord Jagannatha's wheels. There were also the cops Jiva-dhara Prabhu spoke about, how they respected Jayananda so much. They would come to the Ratha site and talk to him, and they took a day off to come to the parade, brought their families and cameras. Then there were the tool business people who always gave rental tools to Jayananda free of charge. This was happening all the time, every day, so many ordinary people were charmed by Jayananda's big and golden heart, and their lives were changed.

One of Jayananda's servants in the final months was Indranatha Prabhu, who always praised his golden heart so nicely, saying how Jayananda always made everybody feel good and happy in Krishna Consciousness, always there with nice prasad and Krishna-katha and good vibes. Jayananda was always saying how “Krishna Consciousness is so sweet,” and always saying how “Whatever you do, just get a taste for the Holy Name, and that will save you.”

Tiny speck of a life

And now, 20 years later, I got a wakeup call -- it felt like heart attacks for a week, seemed like a brush with death. And that really let me know for sure how much I really did get that heart of gold, two hearts in fact, and how precious it was, how it was the only good thing in my miserable life. And how I could die anytime, and nobody really cares for this tiny speck of a life, which is just like an insect's life. I will die someday and a sound will be heard in the far distance, “Oh so-and-so died” ... “Oh yeah, that's too bad.” That's about how far it'll go. Our lives are so insignificant compared to the multitudes of devotees of Lord Krishna, and we should see our speck life as so insignificant, all the plans and desires within the subtle mind are so insignificant, and the best deed we can do is to be completely receptive to the heart of gold of Srila Prabhupada, and try to reflect it onto others.

Ungrateful wretch that I am, someone could drag me into the street and horsewhip me and get no sin, only pious credit for such a deed. That is because I received two hearts of gold, but my heart still remains steel-framed. This is inexcusable, as one goes out into town and look at the people -- they are not people, but walking lumps of misery. They are looking and looking for the gold, but only getting fool's gold, only getting a flash in the pan, only a tiny glitter of maya, never the real thing. Look at all the suffering out there in the world! We devotees have two priceless hearts of gold in Srila Prabhupada and Jayananda's example. We must pray to Lord Krishna to please open our hearts and absorb the effulgence from these golden hearts, so that we can shine some of that effulgence out to others. And then, some who are sincerely looking may then find the genuine 24-karat article -- in Srila Prabhupada's books, and in his life, and in his followers. All glories to the devotees of Srila Prabhupada, especially Jayananda Prabhu! His golden heart is to be praised and sung about for as long as life still remains within my worthless mortal coil.

Jaya Jaya Sri Vaishnava Jayananda Thakur.

Vishoka dasa
(Editor, The Jayananda Website)
(To be continued.)
(Click here to order a copy of The Beautiful Life of Jayananda Thakur.)
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