2005 10:17:10 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Article
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
Sorry I am slow on my homework, I wanted to get back to you sooner. I
am sending three letters from inmates for you to choose from to post
and some pictures drawn by inmates. These reflect their Krishna
Consciousness. I hope these are appropiate for your website. You can
put my contact information at the end if you could.
Your Humble Servant,
ISKCON devotee has never met a Vaishnava face to face. He simply
reads Srila Prabhupada’s books. Please read his letter.
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada. I
am doing wonderful.
I brought the Bhagavad-Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam
to the yard to give the men Krishna. I got kind of nervous and afraid,
while doing this. As I was preaching, a group of men crowded around. I
never did that before, made me feel uneasy. Must be stage fright, in
spite of it, my words flowed smoothly. Before coming to population, I
had the opportunity of memorizing the key Gita verses.
Now I have nearly met my goal of 100 verses, but I have a trick. When
reading the Bhagavatam, when I see that it corresponds to
a Gita verse I write it in the Gita. So
while preaching the Gita I can also use the Bhagavatam
simultaneously. I very much appreciate your kindness in helping me
receive the Bhagavatam. In turn I’ve been giving it to
others. I have been writing verses for my friend and we talk everyday
at work. This feels nice you know, spreading Krishna’s name and fame.
I’m thinking like this, the people I influence, if they seek refuge in
Krishna, the Supreme Refuge, they too will influence other people. This
will create something like a domino effect. Krishna should be known in
this place. I will help Krishna gain recognition here.
spoke to another fellow who is Christian; he quotes the Bible like a
parrot. He knows not what he quotes. He is full of “opinions”. A
teacher does not have all those opinions. The real teacher has one
opinion that is Krishna’s opinion. He calls himself a teacher, but
edits and adds to God’s message. That is rascaldom! I asked him to
explain how God was Omnipresent. After years of Bible study he could
not properly answer. He concluded God must be impersonal, his opinion,
but could not scientifically from his scriptures. That’s how we started
talking, I explained Krishna and his manifestation as Paramatma, and I
used the sun example. The sun, the energetic, is one, but the sunshine,
the energy is present everywhere. These other scriptures are lacking
scientific knowledge about the Absolute, but the devotees know. Reminds
me of this verse; ”Thus established in the mode of unalloyed
goodness, the man whose mind has been enlivened by contact with
devotional service to the Lord, gains positive scientific knowledge of
the Personality of Godhead in the stage of liberation from all material
association.” Srimad Bhagavatam 1.2.20 That is very
nice scientific knowledge that is what is in want. What good is
scripture that cannot even explain God’s omnipresence? While conversing
with the Christian fellow he asked, “What is the goal of Bhakti Yoga? I
said, “The goal is to achieve love of God, which transcends even
salvation.” He was taken aback...transcends salvation??? I asked him to
examine those who are saved, are they not absorbed in love of God? So
love of God must be higher, this is common sense. He asked, “What is
love of God? I quoted Bhagavad-Gita 9.27, “Whatever
you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer or give away, and whatever
austerities you perform—do that, O son of Kunti, as an offering to Me.”
When a person does that, he is a lover of God. Then I explained what
Suta Goswami says in the Bhagavatam 1.2.6-7. “The
supreme occupation [dharma] for all humanity is that by which men can
attain to loving devotional service unto the transcendent Lord. Such
devotional service must be unmotivated and uninterrupted to completely
satisfy the self. By rendering devotional service unto the Personality
of Godhead, Sri Krishna, one immediately acquires causeless knowledge
and detachment from the world.” I do not see much detachment in
these so-called preachers, so I cannot accept their nonsense. Srila
Prabhupada says it is like the lips of a serpent touching milk, the
milk is not any good after being touched by the serpent; Srila
Prabhupada in the purport of Srimad Bhagavatam 1.4.13
explains the learned preachers or parivajakacharyas. There is
no good in accepting God’s message from the atheists, the envious and
professional reciters, who make business on God’s message and not
following it. Srila Prabhupada says one should hear the message of the Bhagavatam
from a representative of Sukadeva Goswami. Sukadeva did not ask
Maharaja Pariksit for worldly opulence to recite the Bhagavatam.
Enclosed is a letter from my neighbor in the next cell. I gave him some
Krishna today too. He wrote a letter introducing himself and explaining
his dilemma. We talked from 7am to 6pm. I let him borrow my Gita
to read. Could you send him a Gita? He could use one. All
glories to Sri Krishna Chaitanya!
Bhakta David, Angola, LA
1962, after preaching at Tihar Prison, Srila Prabhupada wrote to Sri
“If you give me chance to speak to all the members of the Jail, it is
quite possible for me to turn them into ideal characters.”
Prisoners Helping Prisoners
times people ask us why we are helping people in prison. They
committed the crime; why not let them do the time. But we see that WE
ARE ALL PRISONERS in this material world. Some of us are in a state or
federal prison, some of us are in the prison of our minds, or a
physically disabled body, but just to have a material body is a type of
prison. We have no freedom to enjoy all our insatiable desires. So we,
at the Prison Ministry, try to help others and ourselves by practicing
Krishna consciousness. The following letter is a nice example of how
Krishna consciousness is working in the prisons.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada. All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.
I have been having a wonderful time. For a devotee can go to hell and
still be happy. For the devotee being situated in the heavenly planets
and being in the hellish planets are equal, for a devotee lives neither
in heaven nor in hell, but with Krishna in the spiritual world. So in
prison or out, it’s all the same. There are many people to preach to.
The devotee is not interested in so called meditation in the Himalayas
or the forest. Rather, his interest is in the busiest part of the
world, where he teaches people Krsna consciousness. The Krishna
consciousness movement was started for this purpose. A Vaishnava is
interested in enlightening people in Krsna consciousness because that
is the only way for them to be happy. A Vaishnava would say “let others
be saved, let me rot in hell on their behalf.” The willingness to feel
that and to carry it out if necessary is the cost of true compassion!
I didn’t come to prison to preach…or did I? I believe Lord Krishna put
me here for that purpose! A do or die proposition. So as long as we
preach we’ll be happy, no matter where we end up!
Just today I went to chow, all these men where sitting there. How can I
give them Krishna? I felt a deep compassion for them. I sat down. A man
came over to me and asked for a Bhagavad-gita that just
made my day!! I happened to get back one I had loaned out! So I went
over and gave it to him. “Oh that was fast.” He got all excited looking
at the pictures!
Another man who is not interested in God or religion took The
Hidden Glory of India. I took him the book, later I found out he
liked to draw. A few days later I saw him and I asked how he liked the
art in the Glory. He said he really liked it. So a few
days later I saw him drawing in the card room and what picture did he
decide to draw? The changing bodies, the picture that shows going
through animals too, with the Grim Reaper in the middle. So I asked him
“What does it mean?” he said “Reincarnation, we came through the
animals too!” I said “What does that mean?” He said, “We’re not the
body” All this from a 18 year old kid who hated to be preached to! Hare
Your Servant, Jivananda das
Another letter from an inmate to ISKCON
Dear Mother Shyama Priya:
Hare Krishna! Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to His
Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada.
Mother Shyama, I'd like to share something with you: Last night my
neighbor and I stayed up till 4:00 in the morning talking about Krishna
and the Bhagavad-Gita. His name is Jose. He was asking me
many beautiful questions and I answered many of them.
Jose was back here for 10 months waiting to be transferred to Mule
Creek State Prison, after one night of hearing and learning of Krishna
he was transferred. He just left at 10 am. Hare Krsna! I know now I was
placed here for a reason! To get deeper in touch and speak more about
our Lord Sri Krishna.
I gave him your address so that he can learn more from the real
teachers. He is real
interested in Krishna consciousness and learns pretty quick. If and
when he writes to you please let me know.
I need to ask you a favor-can you please send me the following 3
pictures: Radha-Krishna, Srila Prabhupada and Lord Chaitanya so that I
can construct my altar here in my cell.
I must close for now but I pray the Lord keeps blessing and teaching
all of us!
My Best of Wishes! Hare Krishna!
Sincerely, Your Humble and Devoted Student,
K63599 D8 AD/SEG
Salinas Valley State Prison
PO Box 1050
Soledad CA 93960-1050
of us can remember the first time we met a devotee or the first time we
heard about Krishna. It was a very exciting time! The first time I met
a devotee I stayed up all night and listened to Krishna Katha.
It was so amazing to me. I thought how does this person know so much
about God? Also the person speaking may think, "I'm so fortunate to
have someone who is interested in hearing" It is such a wonderful
experience, "someone to hear and someone to speak Krishna Katha.
So one becomes guru by bringing someone to Krishna.
Mother Shyama Priya
are spent answering letters and preaching to the inmates,
explaining the process of Krishna consciousness. If you’d like to be
involved by writing to inmates or if you know someone to whom we can
write, or if you’d like to help fund the mailing of books, please
like to help?
donations pay for:
Postage for 400 Back to Godhead magazines Hundreds of books
mailed out each month
- Vaishnava books
- Postage for our regular Newsletter
donations taken include but are not limited to:
- Tulasi neck beads and Japa beads
- Music and lecture tapes
- Music and lecture CD's
- Devotional videos and DVD’s
for more information. Become part of a wonderful preaching program.
Help finance this worthy cause or get personally involved.