ISKCON prison ministry – Strengthening my faith.
By Janardana Dasa
Hare Kṛṣṇa, Mataji.
Dandavat pranams. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!
In prison my Kṛṣṇa consciousness has been truly “hands on” (isn’t it always? ). Sri Kṛṣṇa knows best and is always testing and strengthening His bhaktas. I truly feel that He has been especially and specifically helping me for the past twenty-six months I have spent in prison. I am a Naturopathic Physician and Ayurvedic Medical Consultant in my professional life and was brought here because of immigration issues with some of my employees.
I joined The Hare Kṛṣṇa movement in 1982 and have been chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa regularly since about 1983. I have been more and less steady throughout the years. But never has it been as intense as it has been in these past months of incarceration. It is said in the śāstras that when you are put in adverse situations, all of a sudden, you can really call out to the Lord.
Srimati Kunti Devi prayed,“I wish that all those calamities would happen again and again so that we could see You again and again, for seeing You means that we will no longer see repeated births and deaths.”
Since I arrived here, in May 2017, I have met many inquisitive souls interested in the bhakti yoga process. I have had the opportunity to read to them directly from the śāstras and chant with them.
I am currently holding regular readings of various scriptures daily, either from the Kṛṣṇa Book, Srimad-Bhagavatam, or other authorized Vedic bhakti śāstras. It is truly purifying, I have to say. Again, Kṛṣṇa’s mercy. Several aspiring bhaktas are now wearing Tulasi kanti mala and chanting on japa beads. Gradually, people are making advancement toward bhakti.
Thank you for letting me know about the material you are sending. Sending more Bhagavad-Gitas is good, as there is only one copy in the chapel library and there are 1,600 men in this facility. And the Srimad-Bhagavatam set will be excellent and will be read by many. Chaplain Upton will put it in the Chapel library for all to have access to. Grantha Raj Srimad-Bhagavatam Ki Jai!!!
I received the incense and tilaka. Thanks again so much. It is so nice to smell and wear tilaka again after so long. Sri Tilak Ki Jai!!!
And even Chaplain Upton remarked about the lovely sweet aroma of the incense. Wonderful!
Also, we just received the wonderful package with the CDs and DVDs of Srila Prabhupada’s lectures and bhajans; they are incredible! They are now in our allocated box in the Chapel. When I watch them and I chant, I am not here; they bring my mind in the dhama and put tears in my eyes. So sweet.
Things are improving here. Kṛṣṇa’s holy name is being chanted more and more. And yes, I am “your eyes” here, didi. Anything you need for me to do, just let me know. It is my pleasure to serve.
I have been assigned an official Hare Kṛṣṇa meditation time slot on Thursdays from 1:30 PM till 2:30 PM. JAIHO!!! People have been coming.
I also read with several aspiring devotees in the housing unit I am in at least four days a week.
Yes, didi, for the last month I chant eighty rounds a day. It is not difficult; if you focus and want to acquire some ruci for the name and ask Sri Harinama Prabhu to be merciful and help.
Thank you for sending more japa malas and neck beads. I have a few left from the ones you sent last time. I have given them to people I know are seeking spiritual knowledge and will appreciate wearing and using them to chant with. Many aspiring bhaktas were very happy to receive these japa malas and Tulasi kanti malas.
There are about eighteen or nineteen people chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa now and, of that number, about twelve are more serious daily chanters. Didi, thank you so much for your selfless seva of sending all that you have sent to all these souls here. I am seeing a big change in several people since they have been wearing Tulasi mala. They say it makes them feel a “peace” and calm. They all mentioned that since they have worn it, positive events have been occurring. JAIHO!!! I’m at your service, mataji. Just let me know how to help you in this seva.
I want to sincerely thank you and IPM for all you are doing for incarcerated persons, earnestly promoting Srila Prabhupada’s and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s mission. It is truly karunika seva (compassionate service).
I am also grateful to the two chaplains here who have been extremely helpful in assisting us to obtain items here for preaching; Chaplain Alba (the complex Chaplain) and Chaplain Upton who is here five days a week and is especially kind and always goes “the extra mile” to help us sort things out.
Thank you Bhakti-latā for being in communication with me directly and always assisting me in so many ways (too many to mention).
Thanks again for all you are doing, mataji. Very kind. May Srila Prabhupada and Sri Kṛṣṇa always bless you and Sri Guru and Gauranga give you the blessings of Their Lotus feet and always keep you in Bhakti seva.
NITAI GAURA HARIBOL!!!
Your servant, Janardana Dasa
This article is just a part of IPM NEWS, our bi-monthly electronic newsletter. To read whole issues, please go to: http://www.iskconprisonministry.org/