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Jayapataka Swami - Back in the Field!

By Abhijit Toley - January 25, 2009

Applause. The kind that bursts out from the hearts of the audience after a moment of stunned silence. The kind that seems to last forever. The kind that no one wants to ever end. The kind that follows a moment that everyone wants to etch into their memories for all time to come. The kind that typically follows an awesome performance that touches the hearts of the audience very deeply. Today, I was part of one such applause.

I am writing this while watching His Holiness Jayapataka Swami who is sitting in a wheelchair about twenty-five feet from me. It’s the 22nd annual Pune Yatra, in the bungalow of H. G. Krishna Chandra Prabhu in Pune, India. It’s as if the celestial giants have descended upon earth. What else would you say if you are amidst HH Radhanath Swami, HH Bhakticharu Swami, HH Jayapataka Swami, HH Chandramouli Swami, and HH Bhakti Vishwambhar Madhava Swami? A couple of days ago, on the first evening of this four-day Yatra, HH Radhanath Swami Maharaja indicated at the possibility that perhaps HH Bhakticharu Maharaja might join us all. This news was received very enthusiastically. But when he also told us that perhaps HH Jayapataka Swami Maharaja might also join us, the cheers were uproarious.

And why not? HH Jayapataka Maharaj is a darling of all the Vaishnavas. Srila Prabhupada declared that he is an eternal associate of Lord Chaitanya. Prabhupada gave him Sanyaas when he was just 21. He took up, and continues to execute, major responsibilities in Srila Prabhupada’s mission, including the Mayapur Chandrodaya Mandir and many others. He is pretty much the spiritual master of the whole Navadwip Dham! One can’t think of Sri Mayapur Dham without thinking of Srila Jayapataka Swami Maharaja. His glories are unlimited. Not for nothing did Srila Prabhupada give him the name Jayapataka – the victory flag – signifying the victory of Lord Chaitanya’s Sankirtan Movement. Param Vijayate Sri Krishna Sankirtanam.

But recently, by the inconceivable will of the Lord, this glorious and extraordinarily brave soldier of Lord Chaitanya was put into a precarious situation. In the Sri Sri Radha Rasabihari Temple of ISKCON Juhu, Maharaja had a severe stroke of brain hemorrhage. Doctors said he had no chance. And even if he did survive, he would be no better than a vegetable. Devotees all over the world were shocked! The whole Vaishnava community of ISKCON united in their prayers to the Lord to let Maharaja stay longer on this earth and shower upon everyone his matchless association and mercy. Kirtans roared all over the world. HH Radhanath Swami Maharaja dedicated the Karthik Vrindavan Yatra to HH Jayapataka Swami Maharaja, where all devotees prayed fervently to the Lord for Jayapataka Swami Maharaja’s recovery. Thus there was hope, but the situation was still critical, and tense.

Over the next few weeks, I kept myself updated about Maharaja’s health by visiting www. jpsoffice. com. His condition has been steadily improving. According to the doctors, that’s a miracle. But for Krishna nothing is impossible. And how could it be, because He is the cause of all causes. Just before the Pune Yatra, only once, this thought had struck my mind: How nice will it be to have HH Jayapataka Maharaja with us in the Yatra? Surely, due to these recent events, devotees all over the world remembered the glories of Maharaja and thus got purified.

Maharaja is still recuperating, but things look in control now. He traveled for around four hours in an ambulance from Bombay to Pune just to give us his divine association. This is an example of his unlimited mercy. He addressed us briefly yesterday evening. He told us how grateful he was for all the devotees for praying for him. We were all touched. And then again, today while HH Radhanath Maharaja was showering us with the lotus words from his lotus mouth during the Srimad Bhagavatam class, entered the scene HH Jayapataka Swami Maharaja. As was planned, HH Radhanatha Swami Maharaja stopped his class and handed over the Vyasasana to HH Jayapataka Maharaja.

Maharaja’s speech is not completely back yet. So he had a devotee repeat his words, although one could understand quite a bit of what he spoke directly. Just his presence was electrifying. He spoke about his last year’s Bangladesh trip, his various helicopter rides, and also he spoke very fondly about his recent stay at the Bhakti Vedanta Hospital in Bombay. His every word was nectar for all the devotees. He informed us that every month around twenty-five patients become devotees in the Bhakti Vedanta Hospital. And then, out of his natural humility, he said that now that he had also been a patient in that hospital, he might also become a devotee.

More than once, my eyes were moistened by his words. He spoke for about an hour. The devotee who had made tens of thousands of devotees was all the while exhibiting his natural humility. Who can fathom the glories and sweetness of a true Vaishnava?

But what was it that was touching everyone’s heart? I had not been able to put it in words. That thought was there somewhere in my sub-consciousness, but I had not yet expressed it in words. HH Radhanath Maharaja had hinted at it more than once. This was a historic event, he said. But exactly what was historic? After enthralling the devotees by his humility, love, and humor, even in his far-from-perfect medical condition, he ended with: “It’s good to be back in the preaching field.”

That was it! That was the historic event. This great general of Lord Chaitanya’s army was back. Back from the dead. There was no chance for him, but here he was. Inspiring devotees, distributing Krishna Prem. Once again! “It’s good to be back in the preaching field”, he said.

Stunned silence. Applause!

Abhijit Toley, Congregation Devotee, Pune, India.

for pics and further description of the event click here

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