On 12th April 2022, devotees of Krishna associated with Iskcon celebrated the 73rd Vyasa Puja of HH Jayapataka Swami Maharaj. Maharaj is a senior disciple of Srila Prabhupada and one of the senior most sannyasi and Iskcon leader.
Disciples all over the world
He has thousands of disciples all over the world. I do not know the exact number, but he has more than 50, 000 disciples all over the world. It is said that today if you go to any part of the world, you can find a Iskcon center. Similarly, we can also say that if we go to any part of the world, we will find someone who is a disciple of HH Jayapataka Swami Maharaj.
It is not that only his disciples are inspired by him but every devotee in Iskcon feel tremendously inspired by Maharaj. He is one of the beacon lights of Iskcon.
H.H Jayapataka Swami Maharaj’s vyasa puja was celebrated in Mayapur on 12th April 2022 in which almost 20,000 devotees participated. Along with that thousands of people watched it live and many devotees also celebrated vyasa puja at their homes and in local temples.
Activities not material but spiritual
Today if we see Maharaj with our material vision then we may say that he has physical challenges. But even with our material vision, we cannot resist appreciating Maharaj’s extraordinary dedication despite physical issues. He is still very active and enthusiastic.
If we have even little knowledge of the scriptures then we can easily understand that Maharaj is not an ordinary personality but is a pure devotee of Krishna. He is beyond bodily consideration. In Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna says that we are eternal souls and this body of ours is made of five gross elements and three subtle elements. Body is just an outer dress. Soul is eternal, blissful and full of knowledge.
From Maharaj’s life we can easily understand that he is not body but a pure spirit soul. His activities are not material but completely spiritual. We also learn from Maharaj’s life that nothing can stop or should stop our Krishna Consciousness journey.
Why Srila Prabhupada asks HH Jayapataka Swami Maharaja to go to Mayapur?
Srila Prabhupada had famously said that HH Jayapataka Swami Maharaj is an eternal associate of Lord Nityananda. Lord Nityananda was completely detached and was always busy in chanting the names of Krishna and dancing for the pleasure of Krishna. Maharaj has similar traits. HH Jayapataka Swami Maharaj was initiated by Srila Prabhupada in 1968.
Since his initial days, Maharaj would always remain absorbed in chanting. And he would not chant the names of Krishna softly but he would chant loudly. Not just in the ashram, monastery, he chanted loudly but he would also chant loudly on the road. This would create disturbance. Soon people started complaining. Srila Prabhupada came to know about this. Interesting thing is that Prabhupada was not upset. He did not ask Maharaj to reduce the volume of his chanting. Instead Prabhupada said that you should go to Mayapur. Because if you chant and sing loudly for Krishna then no one will object in Mayapur because Mayapur is the place of Lord Chaitanya who is the pioneer of sankirtana movement.
Maharaj moved to Mayapur and rest is history. When he came to Mayapur then Mayapur was not well developed materially. Living there was a herculean task. Now when we go to Mayapur we get lots of facilities – good transportation, good accommodation, varieties of foodstuff, in fact everything is available. So, today, not just devotees but even people who are not associated with Iskcon like to go to Mayapur.
The credit for developing Mayapur goes to Maharaj. Srila Prabhupada gave him the responsibility to beautify the holy dham in such a way that people from all over the globe feel inspired to come to Mayapur. And this is what we are seeing today.
He was born and brought up in America. He had all the material facilities. But when he was ordered by Srila Prabhupada then without any hesitation he happily agreed to go to Mayapur Today we see that many Indians have great desire to go to USA. For this they are desperate for H1B visa. When they get it, they feel that they have got the most precious gift of life. And when they fail to get it, they curse their destiny and feel like their world has fallen apart. But Maharaj in spite of being an American citizen, he was so happy to come to Mayapur. From material consideration, Mayapur was a remote village in India.
But Mayapur is not like any other village. It’s a dham, a spiritual abode. It is also not just the birthplace of Lord Chaitanya but it is also the birthplace of sankirtana movement. At Srivas Angan devotees under the leadership of Lord Chaitanya would congregate day and night to sing the Hare Krishna Mahamantra and dance.
So, Mayapur had to be developed in a significant way. And to develop Mayapur dham an able, dedicated, sincere and most importantly a pure devotee was required. Srila Prabhupada was a pure devotee and a visionary. He knew that this extraordinary task can be accomplished by an extraordinary devotee. So, he selected HH Jayapataka Swami Maharaj. Prabhupada named him Jayapataka which means victory flag. Prabhupada knew that Maharaj will always be successful in his endeavors. To fulfill Prabhupada’s desire Maharaj immersed himself in the service of developing Mayapur and spreading Krishna Consciousness.
Maharaj’s love & compassion
One of the great qualities of Maharaj is that he is very much compassionate to not just the devotees but towards all the living entities. His loving and caring nature inspires all. Although he has thousands of devotees all over the world but still, he deals with each of the devotee in a very personal way. If we meet Maharaj, then it appears that he has all the time for us. Because of causeless mercy of Krishna, I have also got few opportunities to get Maharaj’s personal mercy.
He not just personally takes care of the devotees nicely, but he also expects that all devotees should deal with each other very respectfully. When Maharaj was giving vyasa puja class today then one devotee asked what is the one thing which Maharaj dislikes? Then Maharaja said he dislikes vaisnava apradh i.e. offense to Vaisnavas.
So, what I understand is that if we want to please Maharaja then we should never deal badly with any devotee whatever may be the situation and circumstances.
On the 73rd Vyasa Puja of H.H Jayapataka Swami Maharaja, I pray at his lotus feet for his mercy so that I can practice devotion to Krishna with sincerity, with enthusiasm and remain happily situated in Krishna Consciousness.