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The Journey to Mayapur

Two weeks after taking initiation, Jayapataka das become the temple president of the ISKCON Montreal center. While in Montreal Jayapataka das helped to provide the financial support for the temple by taking jobs. At that time there were no books to distribute yet. Gradually as the books were published, he helped to print and dispatch books to ISKCON centers around the world.

Later he moved to Toronto to open a center and then to Chicago to help Bhagavan das to open a center there. When Jagadish das took over as temple president in Toronto, he wrote a letter to Srila Prabhupada to ask what to do next.

Finally in 1970, Srila Prabhupada called on him to go to India to help open a center in Calcutta, Prabhupada's birthplace. Jayapataka das was given Sannyasa initiation on Radhastami in 1970. He served as temple president until 1972.

The devotees went out daily to perform pandal programs, house meetings, street sankirtan and to distribute books. His services of going out to buy fruits and vegetables helped him to learn Bengali quickly.

In the meantime, Prabhupada had purchased land in Mayapur to establish a place of pilgrimage for his international group of disciples. Srila Prabhupada told the devotees. “ I have given you the Kingdom God. Now you develop it.” For the past 40 years His Holiness has worked unceasingly to follow that instruction. Mayapur today is a large project owing much of it's success to the efforts of His Holiness Jayapataka Swami and the devotees who never gave up.

His Holiness showed a propensity for agriculture and cultivating friendships with the local people. He learned Bengali from the local farmers and taught them modern farming ideas. These techniques helped local farmers increase their yields substantially. The farmers were very pleased with the help.

While in Mayapur he was given charge of overseeing construction. The chakra and lotus buildings were built at this time. He would tell how he personally would bicycle to Krishnanagar along the Jalangi to buy materials for construction. He told of one incidence with a shop keeper there. Gurudeva had come into the store wearing simple saffron cloth and his normal happy face. The shop keeper immediately chastised him. “How is it you are so happy? You have no money or anything. I have so much money and things but I am not happy. How can you always be so happy?!”

Srila Prabhupada gave many instructions on how to support and care for the devotees in Mayapur. He asked that cottage industries be established and that the devotees find ways of supporting themselves. In order to fulfill Prabhupada's desires, His Holiness manufactured a bio-gas unit to save on cooking expenses, learned to plow fields and began to grow enough food to feed the devotees living there.

He told of pastimes with Prabhupada giving instructions on every detail of managing Mayapur and the devotees living there. This included instructions on caring for Mother Cow, how to manage cleanliness, and security to name a few things. Devotees tell how Prabhupada would check on the night shift of the the security from time to time. We will include these pastimes as they are transcribed.

Once Prabhupada saw some hungry children fighting with dogs for left over Prasadam. With tears in his eyes he gave the famous instructions that no one within 10 miles of any ISKCON temple should go hungry. His Holiness established the ISKCON Food Relief program to feed the refugees from the Bangladesh War and hungry people around Mayapur. The program continued for many years. An average of 4 million plates of Krishna Prasadam were distributed freely every year. He commented that the people and children would eat so much that he was very afraid that the children's stomach would burst.