ISKCON Prison Ministry An Hare Krsna from the Hindu Tribe
By Bhakti-lata dasi
The brhat mrdanga continues to resound very loudly in all the jails and prisons through IPM (ISKCON Prison Ministry) and many hear and respond to Lord Caitanya’s call, as the quotes below illustrate.
Before proceeding, here are two service opportunities you may want to take up:
1) We are looking for devotees to visit bhakta inmates in various prisons around USA. For example, a bhakta just wrote from Coyote Ridge Correction Center in Connell, Washington, asking for a volunteer to give KC presentations. We need volunteers in every state!
2) IPM desperately need a legal department to help bhaktas with their vegetarian diets or their right to practice KC. Some prisons are grossly violating inmates’ rights to practice their religion and until we have the support of attorneys, IPM can’t help in this regard. If you are an attorney and find it in your heart to give some of your time, please contact IPM.
“I got a little nervous when everyone went around and introduced themselves by name and tribe [at a sweat lodge]. Especially when my cellie just said, “I’m Rick, Arizona Hopi.” Luckily Sage said, “Most of you know me. I’m Sage, Northern Cheyenne and I want to introduce the man on my right. We call him Griff. He’s Arizona Rick’s cellie and my neighbor. He looks paleface by he’s Hare Krishna, Hindu tribe. His people are wise and his medicine is strong. I ask that you all respect him as my guest.”
Bhakta Gary Griffin
“I came into contact with Krsna Consciousness via an issue of “Back to Godhead” magazine that I found in a cell when I arrived in prison (I still have it!). I was very intrigued by the lessons and saw in them the thoughts that I have been having quite some time now. For instance “birth and rebirth,” transcendence, etc. I have always firmly believed in what Krsna consciousness teaches. I just never knew what path to take to find it until now. I have been a Muslim since I was 17 years old, but the philosophy of Islam does not fit with my yearning to be as close to God (Krsna) as I would like.
I am attracted to Krsna consciousness for the following reasons:
1. No eating of meat, 2. No gambling, 3. No illicit sex, 4. No intoxicants. And we get to have altars! (I love candles and incense!)
The basic principle of the Hare Krsna way of life is “simple living and high thinking.” (pg. 342 of The Science of Self Realization) and “Krsna consciousness is a serious education, not an ordinary religion. (pg. 27) and “The first thing is to understand that you are a spiritual soul. You are changing your body.” (pg. 29)”
Bhakta Albert Gertman
“None of this material hullabaloo seems important. All that’s important is to try to remember Krsna at every moment and especially at the time of death. Maybe we’ll be as fortunate in the end as Ajamila! I still find memorizing scriptures and prayers to be a good method of training the mind to always be on Krsna. Haribol!”
Bhakta Gerald Niles
Daytona Beach, FL
“I’ve been reading the Mahabharata, which has been increasing my character and virtues.”
“I was told to write you in order to obtain more knowledge concerning Hare Krsna. My roommate is Mark Dozier and honestly, he has been an inspiration to me concerning this subject….
I have up until this time studied various religions, but haven’t shall we say, applied myself due to the contradictions and illogical reasoning, so to speak.
After being introduced by Mark to this movement and reading various articles in the Back to Godhead magazine by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, I feel that I have found what I have been seeking. His Divine Grace wrote that “You have this human form of life. REALIZE GOD. This is responsibility. Otherwise, you are finished. Your only responsibility is to understand God….” So I must now apply myself.”
Allen C. Crane
“When I started reading Prabhupada’s books my skeptical mind led me to check what he wrote about scriptures, time frames (etc). I would track down things at the library and have my daughter check on things. I never found one single erroneous fact. I no longer have a need to research what Prabhupada says. I then began offering obeisances to him prior to chanting and asking him to please accept my food as an offering to Lord Krsna.
Without ever having met him physically, when I think about him, I’m overcome with love and reverence. My chanting and studying are going very well.”
“Dear Mother Shyama Priya, I received the scriptural quotes I needed and the beautiful photograph of Srila Prabhupada’s murti in Los Angeles. Thank you so very much, my very dear Mother. Each of these items is so very purifying, and, yes, I very much like the picture, having put it before my eyes and chanted while looking upon His Divine Grace’s wonderful form.
Thank you for your kind words expressing your appreciation for the article within my previous correspondence. And, as for your being impressed by writing skills, I am truly humbled all the more before the lotus feet of Sri Sri Radha-Krsna.
About transcendence, I would like to tell you that the tapes you have sent have moved me to tears while listening to the sweet spiritual sounds of this music. Yes, Mother, please know that your loving devotional service is reaching me at the deepest level of my very soul. And, speaking of this, there is one tape in particular that has profoundly touched me in such a way that I could not contain the tears as they streamed down my face. This tape is entitled Ancient Hymns…it has changed my life so much for the better…”
Columbia, South Carolina
“At this point, I’ve been trying to strengthen my mind and body. I have to sharpen my mind. Without Krishna I believe the world would be lost. When I do read the books, I like to believe that they’re talking to me and teaching me.”
Daytona Beach, FL
“This past Monday at the chapel there was just Bhakta Mike, Frank (the faithful Catholic) and myself. We heard “Govinda” first, then read the poem, “Lord, Claim me as Thy Own” from Sri Brihat Bhagavatamritam. Then we enjoyed the CD reading of Bhagavad-Gita As it is, chapters 8, 9, 10 & 11. Then we had sankirtan and I recited the few prayers I’ve learned, and had a splash of [read about] Radha-Kunda and distributed prasadam (Jolly Ranchers). Each time is fresh and nice, and we’re always looking forward to remembering Krsna. Haribol!”
“Yes, I keep Krishna on my mind daily.I choose the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Through my devotional service, Krsna has revealed to me wonderful things. He has showed me the doors, or gates, to the spiritual world. I have learned and seen so much in the last 30 months.
I have a Srimad-Bhagavatam and I love the pastime stories of Krsna. The transcendental bliss I get from reading and chanting is indescribable. I will be waiting for the books and BTGs; I appreciate them highly.”
“You also spoke about the mind’s resistance to chanting 16 rounds. I see that happening to me even in this cell alone. Nowhere to go and nothing else to do and still the mind would rather do something “else”. I see now the mind is like this stranger that is there. Just there. And if you don’t keep an eye on him and remain vigilant against the mental projections he weaves, you will get caught up in his recklessness, chasing illusions and replaying the past like a broken record.
I only want to do service now. For what else is this human birth for? To chase sense pleasures? It is to help humanity grow in honesty, dignity, righteousness and God consciousness.”
Malone, New York
Don’t forget to visit our website (www.iskconprisonministry.org) for more nectar quotes and also to see our book distribution reports!
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To help with this prison program, please contact Mukunda Dasa or Bhakti-lata Dasi at:
ISKCON Prison Ministry
PO Box 2676
Alachua, FL 32616-2676