Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Anantadevji Remembering Jonathan


This morning K.S.Chandramouli smsed me by saying that he got sms from Lucy Upah of Nigeria saying that Jonathan L Tinat ( President of Nigeria National Association of the Deaf (HQ) fell into coma on Saturday and passed away yesterday ( 12th March ). I could hardly believe this shocking news.

How did I meet him for first time? In the 2nd week of November 2006 at IRYLA event, Ichalakaranji, Rotarian Dr.Dilip Deshmukh, who had arranged a double hotel room for me to stay, asked me whether a deaf male delegate from Nigeria who would arrive soon could share the same room with me. I nodded. Later Jonathan, Lucy and Antonia introduced themselves to many delegates including myself. At the very first meeting I and Jonathan became good acquaintances.

I saw that his Bible book was lying near his bed in the hotel room. This showed that he was a believer of God. In order to clear his misconception of Hare Krishna philosophy he became curious about it and learnt a lot from me about it. Jonathan remarked that this philosophy was very beautiful.

I invited him and two friends of his to stay in my place in Bangalore. They was greatly wowed by the colourful city of Bangalore and wanted to extend their stay for more days. Being comfortable with my and other deaf friends’ goodwill they spent about one week here. Jonathan endeared himself to everyone.

He loved India, her food, culture and people. He came to India for the first time and conquered people here by his friendship but were also conquered by great goodwill of people here. He presented me a Nigerian cap. Since he said it cost around Rs.1800, I am still keeping it as a token of memorial friendship.

He recognised the importance of SDD. He said that he would welcome me to establish SDD center in Nigeria. This shows that he believed firmly in communal harmony and peace. He felt strongly that my lecture on proverbs and spiritual values would be of great use to the deaf in Nigeria if I come there.

He had a good sense of humour. He shared jokes with me. He sometimes burst into laughter whenever I joked. He said he loved my jokes, wits and humours.

He was full of enthusiasm to serve the deaf. He was one of the gifted leaders for the deaf. He was the President of Nigeria National Association of the Deaf (HQ). He was popular among the deaf communities in Africa. He aspired to represent the deaf community of Africa in the World Federation of the Deaf in July 2007. But his death embraced him leaving this aspiration unfulfilled. It is God’s will which is more important than everything. My prayer to Him is to let Jonathan’s soul be in peace.

When Jonathan learnt from me that India Deaf Expo was expected to be held in Bangalore in 2009, he got very excited about taking part in this expo with his Nigerian members. But death unexpectedly took him away. Bhagavad-Gita taught us not to lament too much over our dear relatives/friends’ death. So uncontrollable lament was unnecessary. But of course! we miss our great friend Jonathan. It will be great if he is with God in His abode. We are His instruments so we cannot thwart untimely death. Death is inevitable whether it is timely or untimely.

Rtn Dr.Dilip Deshmukh described him as a genius and considered his death as a great loss.

Visit his beautiful website: http://www.laatinat.com/ . Also see Naty's blogspot: http://jonathantinat.blogspot.com/

May Jonathan’s soul be in peace.

Hare Krishna!

Friday, March 02, 2007


Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is one of the prominent spiritual personalities in the world. He is also one of my favourite spiritual personalities. His life and teachings are a source of great inspiration to me. About five hundred years ago he predicted that the Holy Names of Lord Krishna (Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare) would be spread all over the world. It had come true when Srila Prabhupada (Guru of Hare Krishna society) spread the Holy Names forty years ago.


Chaitanya Mahaprabhu took birth in Mayapur in the town of Nadia just after sunset on the evening of the 23rd Phalguna 1407 Sakabda, answering to the 18th of February, 1486, of the Christian Era. He is believed to be an incarnation of Lord Krishna. The moon was eclipsed at the time of his birth, and the people of Nadia were then engaged, as was usual on such occasions, in bathing in the Bhagirathi with loud cheers of Haribol. His father, Jagannatha Misra, a poor brahmana of the Vedic order, and his mother, Sacidevi both came from brahmana stock originally residing in Sylhet. Mahaprabhu was a charming child. His mother's father, Pandit Nilambara Chakravarti, an astrologer, foretold that the child would be a great personage in time; and he, therefore, gave him the name Visvambhara. The ladies of the neighborhood named him Gaurahari on account of his golden complexion, and his mother called him Nimai on account of the nimba tree near which he was born.


As he grew up he became a whimsical and naughty lad. After his fifth year, he was sent to a pathashala where he learnt Bengali in a very short time.Most of his contemporary biographers have mentioned certain anecdotes regarding Chaitanya which are simple records of his early miracles. It is said that when he was an infant in his mother's arms he wept continually, and when the neighboring ladies cried `Haribol', he used to stop crying. It has also been stated that when his mother once gave him sweetmeats to eat, he ate clay instead of the food. When his mother asked for the reason, he stated that as every sweetmeat was nothing but clay transformed, he could eat clay as well. His mother explained that every article in a special state was adapted to a special use. Earth, while in the state of a jug, could be used as a water pot, but in the state of a brick such a use was not possible. Clay, therefore, in the form of sweetmeats was usable as food, but clay in its other states was not. The lad was convinced and admitted his stupidity in eating clay and agreed to avoid the mistake in the future. Another miraculous act has been related. It is said that a brahmana on pilgrimage became a guest in his house, cooked food and read grace with meditation upon Krishna. In the meantime the lad came and ate up the cooked rice. The brahmana, astonished at the lad's act, cooked again at the request of Jagannatha Mishra. The lad again ate up the cooked rice while the brahmana was offering the rice to Krishna with meditation. The brahmana was persuaded to cook for the third time. This time all the inmates of the house had fallen asleep, and the lad showed himself as Krishna to the traveler and blessed him. The brahmana was then lost in ecstasy at the appearance of the object of his worship. It has also been stated that two thieves stole away the lad from his father's door with a view to steal his jewels and gave him sweetmeats on the way. The lad exercised his illusory energy and deceived the thieves back towards his own house. The thieves, for fear of detection, left the boy there and fled. These anecdotes relate to his tender age up to the fifth year.In his eighth year, he was admitted into school close by the village of Mayapur. In two years he became well read in Sanskrit grammar and rhetoric. His readings after that were of the nature of self-study in his own house, where he had found all-important books belonging to his father, who was a pandita himself. Now, after the tenth year of his age, Chaitanya became a scholar in grammar and rhetoric. It was after this that his elder brother Vishavarupa left his house and accepted the ashram (status) of a sannyasi (ascetic). Chaitanya, though a very young boy, consoled his parents, saying that he would serve them with a view to please God. Just after that, his father left this world. His mother was exceedingly sorry, and Mahaprabhu, with his usual contented appearance, consoled his widowed mother.


It was at the age of 14 or 15 that Mahaprabhu was married to Lakshmi Devi, the daughter of Vallabhacarya, also of Nadia. He was at this age considered one of the best scholars of Nadia, the renowned seat of nyaya philosophy and Sanskrit learning. The learned scholars were all afraid of confronting him in literary discussions. Being a married man, he went to Eastern Bengal on the banks of the Padma for acquirement of wealth. There he displayed his learning and obtained a good sum of money. It was at this time that he preached Vaishnavism at intervals. After teaching him the principles of Vaishnavism, he ordered Tapana Mishra to go to and live in Benares. During his residence in East Bengal, his wife Lakshmi Devi left this world from the effects of snakebite. On returning home, he found his mother in a mourning state. He consoled her with a lecture on the uncertainty of human affairs. It was at his mother's request that he married Vishnupriya.


It was at the age of 16 or 17 that he travelled to Gaya with a host to sing the holy name of Hari in the streets and bazaars. This created a sensation and roused different feelings in different quarters. The bhaktas were highly pleased. The smarta brahmanas became jealous of Nimai Pandita's success and complained to Chand Kazi against the character of Chaitanya as un-Hindu. The Kazi came and broke a mridanga (khola drum) there and declared that unless Nimai Pandita ceased to make noise about his queer religion he would be obliged to enforce Mohammedanism on him and his followers. This was brought to Mahaprabhu's notice. He ordered the townspeople to appear in the evening, each with a torch in his hand. This groups, and on his arrival in the Kazi's house, he held a long conversation with the Kazi and in the end communicated into his heart his Vaishnava influence by touching his body. The Kazi then wept and admitted that he had felt a keen spiritual influence which had cleared up his doubts and produced in him a religious sentiment which gave him the highest ecstasy. The Kazi then joined the sankirtana party. The world was astonished at the spiritual power of the Great Lord, and hundreds and hundreds of heretics converted and joined the banner of Visvambhara after this affair.It was after this that some of the jealous and low-minded brahmanas of Kulia picked a quarrel with Mahaprabhu and collected a party to oppose him. Nimai Pandita was naturally a soft-hearted person, though strong in his principles. He declared that party feelings and sectarianism were the two great enemies of progress and that as long as he should continue to be an inhabitant of Nadia belonging to a certain family, his mission would not meet with complete success.


Mahaprabhu then resolved to be a citizen of the world by cutting his connection with his particular family, caste and creed, and with this resolution he embraced the position of a sannyasi at Katwa, under the guidance of Keshava Bharati of that town, on the 24th year of his age. His mother and wife wept bitterly for his separation, but Mahaprabhu, though soft in heart, was a strong person in principle. He left his little world in his house for the unlimited spiritual world of Krishna with man in general.