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Janakinath (ACBSP) Has Left Us

This is an update about Janakinatha, who recently passed away.

Y. s. Varnadi

Janakinatha was born and raised Rochester, NY, as Joseph Streb. In 1973, at age 19, he joined ISKCON at the Coconut Grove temple in Miami, FL. In the following two years he received first and second initiation from A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.

After some time with the Radha-Damodar traveling sankirtan party, Janakinatha took the opportunity to expand Srila Prabhupada’s teachings in Africa. There, he met H. H. Navayogendra Swami, with whom he preached extensively throughout both Africa and India.

Janakinatha returned to the US in 1980 and took up service in Chicago. It was during this time that he met his future wife, Vrindavan dd, at a preaching program in Madison, WS. They got married three months later and lived in Chicago until 1986, after which they visited India for 6 months. After their return they served in San Francisco and California for several years, and ultimately ended up in Alachua.

During his householder life Janakinatha was a successful sales manager for several companies. Beyond that, however, he was a very sober, thoughtful, and deeply spiritual person who saw Krishna in everything – yet also always managed to mix in his great sense of humor. Over the last couple of years he was very involved in the NRR community, helping to organize festivals, manning the information booth, and training the youth in fundraising. Janakinatha was an emblem of selflessness, always ready to volunteer to do the needful, and a great source of inspiration for those who knew him.

Janakinatha passed away in the early morning of March 15 in Orlando from complications of Hepatitis C. The cremation ceremony took place on Wednesday the
19th and was attended by his wife Vrindavan, his daughter Nicole and grandson Jordan, and close friends from the New Ramanreti community. A memorial service was held on the 26th at the Alachua temple.

yasman nodvijate loko lokan nodvijate ca yaù |
harsamarsa-bhayodvegair mukto yah sa ca me priyah || 12.15

ya idam paramam guhyam mad-bhaktesv abhidhasyati |
bhaktim mayi param krtva mam evaisyaty asamsayah || 18.68

na ca tasman manusyesu kascin me priya-krttamah |
bhavita na ca me tasmad anyah priyataro bhuvi || 18.69

“He for whom no one is put into difficulty and who is not disturbed by anyone, who is equipoised in happiness and distress, fear and anxiety, is very dear to Me.”

“For one who explains this supreme secret to the devotees, pure devotional service is guaranteed, and at the end he will come back to Me.”

“There is no servant in this world more dear to Me than he, nor will there ever be one more dear.”

» Posted By Varnadi das On Mar 28, 2008 @ 12:00 am

Dear prabhu,

Srila Prabhupada has initiated at least 2 known disciples with the name Janakinatha, one in 1973 in LA and one in Miami in 1974. The latter is the one referred to in this announcement. He was born in Rochester, NY, and joined at the Coconut Grove temple in Miami, FL. He spent some time with the Radha Damodar TSKP and preached extensively throughout Africa and India with Navayogendra Swami. From the mid to late 80s he and his wife served in Chicago and San Francisco. They came to Alachua around 2004.

Y.s. Varnadi das

» Posted By Varnadi das On Mar 19, 2008 @ 2:38 pm

Prayer Request for Jahnavi

A message from Jahnavi:

Dear friends and well-wishers,

I wish to express my deepest appreciation for all of the love, kind words, and prayers you have been sending me. Every day is a challenge, but I feel that we are supposed to learn the deeper meaning of everything we experience and develop compassion towards other spirit souls.

I have been listening to the bhajans that I used to hear in my youth. Listening brings me a lot of peace and offers some relaxation in this hectic hospital environment. The days go on, coma or no coma; time and tide wait for no man. Oddly, I’m getting more work done from my hospital bed because there are no external distractions. I listen to my bhajans, read, and deal with the redundancy of the constant care of my body.

I want to thank my 14-year old son, Abhimanyu, for inspiring and motivating me. I also want to thank Yamuna and Varnadi for making me part of their family and giving so much of their hearts, and tangible help.

Once again, thank you all.



» Posted By Varnadi das On Jan 31, 2008 @ 8:02 pm

Deadbeats in ISKCON

You are absolutely right. As a matter of fact, in North America there are more than twice as many deadbeat women as deadbeat men. There are many reasons for this, such as the sole custody ratio, income levels, judiciary bias, and the (sometimes mistaken) idea that men have a higher earning potential. There are plenty of statistics available from which general conclusions can be drawn about the deadbeat problem nationwide, but that goes beyond the scope of my article.

In my article I focus on those persons who are fully capable of child support, but simply not willing to provide it and are allowed to move around in ISKCON as if nothing is wrong with that. I am not talking about non-custodial parents who are willing, but unable because of circumstances beyond their control — such as disease or other disabilities. I am talking about people who made conscious choices.

This goes for both men and women, but I believe that the men in ISKCON outnumber the women in this regard. I rarely see single prabhus with children, and I do not know of any prominent deadbeat matajis giving lectures or seminars, leading kirtans or parikramas, writing books, etc. If they exist, then they need to be held accountable as well. It’s that simple.

» Posted By Varnadi das On Jul 20, 2006 @ 10:47 pm

Déjà vu

In regards to Praghosa’s (ACBSP) comment above:

Fact: The parents of the students were guilty – in the extreme of – of naivete and ignorance – where it pertained to the supervison of such a situation. Each parent was INDIVIDUALLY responsible for their own child’s care and ignorantly placed too much unwarranted trust in others to see to ALL the interests of their child in their training and protection.

I’m rather baffled by seeing this kind of insensitivity portrayed as “fact” while it merely represents a personal opinion, and an unpalatable one at that.

If an institution offers educational services, private or public, the natural expectation is that it has its ducks in a row as far as these services are concerned. A public or private school is responsible for screening its personnel to make sure that the standards and requirements to achieve its educational goals are met and to safeguard its students. This responsibility does not rest on the shoulders of the parents.

Yes, a certain amount of responsibility goes to the parents as far as the safety of their children is concerned, but that does not extend beyond what can reasonably be expected. Sometimes this responsibility carries over to others in accordance to how much or little the parents can control. For instance, if parents take a direct flight in the US with their 8 year old, they have full control and responsibility. If the child flies with an escort instead of the parents, they don’t. The responsibility is shared. The parents take responsibility for arranging that the child is picked up at the destination and that an escort service (required by law for anyone under 12) is provided. The parents cannot be held responsible for each individual in that escort service. It is the responsibility of the escort service to make sure that their personnel is qualified to the highest degree to offer the services that the escort service stands for.

In education the same principle applies. It is the responsibility of the educational institution to guarantee that its personnel (not just the teachers, but any personnel — janitors, administrators, substitutes, etc.) is fully qualified and reliable, so that its goals can be met and the service level and promises made to those serviced can be upheld.

That this principle was not given the utmost priority when Srila Prabhupada initiated the “gurukula experiment” (his own words) is regrettable, and the aftermath is felt to this day. Unqualified individuals were given undeserved positions which they then proceeded to exploit to the fullest extent at the cost of mentally and physically scarring children for life. Children that were entrusted to their care based on the promise of educational services that were purportedly of the highest standard and the only alternative to material “slaughter house” like education, and at the request of Srila Prabhupada himself — both personally and through his books.

To disregard the complete failure of the gurukula experiment in living up to its promises, as well as in its responsibility of providing qualified personnel, and shift the responsibility solely to the parents is simply not fair. I can well imagine that the parents of the abused children will take this as salt poured into their already always open wounds. And what message is this supposed to send to the children? That it was all their parents fault? How bizarre…

– Varnadi das

» Posted By Varnadi das On Jul 5, 2006 @ 7:45 pm

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