H.H. Devamrita Swami
"We never took any money from temple donations for our maintenance," Pyari informed me. His wife and he were book distributors before marriage and continued that service after they became householders. When it became apparent that the proceeds from book distribution would not be enough to support a budding family, from out of the blue manifested another source of income.
Visiting Hartford during my travels in the USA, I witnessed the amazing devotional determination and steadfastness of my Godbrother Pyari Mohan and his wife, Jivanausadhi. He started his preaching in Hartford while a brahmacari in 1981, and then a year or so later decided the grhastha ashram was most appropriate for his bhakti endeavors. The couple have staffed the Hartford center since that time, in the same building, serving the people, year after year, decade after decade. Pyari and Jiva, as they are known, push on, soon to complete their third decade as the Hartford preaching team. Meanwhile, their family has proliferated into its third generation,
The center they’ve maintained all this time is a large house, with a temple area, kitchen, public bathroom, and lounge on the ground floor. Upstairs, in a few small rooms, is where Pyari Mohan and his wife live, and where they have raised two children in Krishna consciousness. The daughter now has her own family and abode; the son is away at university. Simultaneously, grandfather Pyari and grandmother Jiva keep rolling on, with their selfless outreach service.
"We never took any money from temple donations for our maintenance," Pyari informed me. His wife and he were book distributors before marriage and continued that service after they became householders. When it became apparent that the proceeds from book distribution would not be enough to support a budding family, from out of the blue manifested another source of income. As a child Pyari was always interested in magic. Thinking to learn some tricks for his little daughter’s birthday celebration, he sought out a magic shop. Emerging loaded with items, he wondered what had come over him–he had spent over $100.
After the birthday party, Pyari continued to develop his skills, gradually reached the level of a professional magician. "Say the magic word ‘Radhe-Govinda’," he cues spellbound audiences at schools, private functions, and homes for the elderly. In the backyard behind the center, he keeps a dove and a rabbit, to aid his repertoire of tricks. His financial advice for grhastas wanting a missionary focus: "Stick to it, live simply. Krishna mysteriously arranges for your basic maintenance."
Jiva is a devastating cook–famous throughout ISKCON. Pyari humbly claims that people come to their center only because of her kitchen prowess. Praising her low-maintenance profile (and thanking Krishna for it), he told me how for their wedding anniversary he chivalrously drove her to Walmart (an American discount mega-store, equivalent down-under to Warehouse or Target)) and told her to pick out whatever she desired. Reciprocating with this gallant gesture, she replied that she wasn’t interested in acquiring anything.
All glories to such a saintly and inspiring family.