Connecting disciples of His Holiness Jayapataka Swami
I had come on a holiday to Mumbai from the Middle east in 1988 and was very eager to find a Guru.Up until then, my association with ISKCON was mainly through Srila Prabhupada's books. I requested the then Juhu Temple President Mandapa das to help me. He suggested that since we were going to Bangalore, we could meet up with the Bangalore Temple President and he could help me and my husband Vijay Venugopal das.We were able to take part in donating for the land of the Hare Krishna hill and so the Temple President wrote about us to Guru Maharaja. We were given some of the books published for the Vyasa puja of Guru Maharaja in some previous years.Reading those made me have some appreciation for Guru Maharaja. .I also wrote a letter to him asking for the shelter of his lotus feet and he so mercifully replied that he was accepting both my husband and me as his shelter candidates!
What made you choose Him as a Guru?
In Bombay when I was going to meet him for the first time, I was praying to Krishna that please let me have a clear indication whether he is going to be my Guru. After going on a tour with Guru Maharaja around the campus of the Bombay Temple, I thought I will return home as Guru Maharaja was going to go up to his room and I felt shy to also go up with all the senior devotees.Guru Maharaja was just entering the lift and just as I was having these thoughts, he just turned around and gave me such a merciful, compassionate and penetrating glance that my my eyes welled up with tears and I decided to follow him up!
Then when inside the room,as I sat gazing at his effulgent form, seeing his calm and loving dealings with all the devotees, I could not beleieve my eyes that such a great and wonderful person like him existed on this planet! I felt so overwhelmed by his kindness, goodness and love that I started crying. Guru Maharaja asked me why I was crying and he gave me one of his deep penetrating glances which touched my very soul. I felt the world stop completely during those seconds and they seemed to last forever. I got the conviction that the spiritual world actually exists at that moment.
Then I asked Guru Maharaja how I can serve him and he just told me that I can show the people I know some Krishna Conscious videos or something. I had just finished reading the book "Servant of the servant" by HHTamal Krishna Maharaja and so desired some connection with Guru Maharaja through some instruction! As I paid my obeisances to him, my mind was in those thoughts and there was no way for Guru Maharaja could have even seen my face. But right when I stood up, he gave me prasadam for me and my family and he said to me, "You do whatever you are doing and Krishna will help you!" I was so amazed how he could read my mind so well!
What three qualities of Guru Maharaj you most admire?
1)His oozing goodness and love that just seems to keep pouring out of his heart, his words, his actions and eyes.
2) His genius in explaining the most complicated things especially Krishna conscious philosophy in such a simple, clear, understandable and personal way that we can realize it from the heart.
3) His unflinching dedication to Srila Prabhupada. His words to Srila Prabhupada on his Vyasa puja day, "Jayapataka's life is not his own. It belongs to Your Divine Grace to do with it as you like" just bowled me over. We see that all the time in action. Even after the stroke, he is so eager to fulfill all the instructions recieved from Srila Prabhupada! This is sheer poetry or classic- something like out of Srimad Bhagavatam!
Which words of Guru Maharaj inspires you most?
All his words urging us to preach and give out mercy to others.He keeps saying how preaching burns up our offenses and karmas so fast, and he encourages everyone no matter what their age, gender or status in life to share the jewel of Krishna Consciousness with whosoever they meet. He keeps asking us to help him fulfill the mission that Srila Prabhupada has given him. The very first time, we invited him to come to our place in the Middle east, he said, "I will not come to simply to eat Idly and chutney. That I know you can cook well. I ill come only if you preach and bring people!"
How do you serve Guru Maharaj?
1) I along with my husband take care of the Mathuradesh and a Bangalore Congregation.
2)We are travelling to different yatras all over the world to set up Bhakti Vriksha based communities.
3)We are the ambassadors for the Congregational Ministry of ISKCON.
4) We are the members of the Devotee care committee attached to the GBC.
5)We train leaders from all over the world to expand the Bhakti Vriksha program.
6)We do counselling for devotees from all over the world.
7)We counsel Grihasthas.
8)We publish books on Bhakti Vriksha .
9) We publish Guru Maharaja's transcriptions from lectures as books.
10)We have made a manual for all the shelter and initiation candidates and hope to present the entire book on this website in the coming weeks.