The Contagious Effect of Krsna Consciousness Spreads in Jails Across the US!

By : 
Bhakti-lata Dasi

ISKCON Prison Ministry (IPM) is a valuable branch of Lord Caitanya’s preaching tree; as such, every day His mercy brings miracles in the lives of the inmates.
For example, there’s this inmate in San Bernardino, California, who has created an altar on the desk in his cell and who is surprised to discover that fruits taste sweeter when offered to Krsna. He also presents Krsna with blades of grass, for lack of flowers, and says the blades of grass stay green longer at Krsna’s feet!

Then there is this inmate who’s been released and is now starting a new life. We talk once a month, and he says that it feels good to lead an honest life. He is excited that he is making new spiritual friends, devotees, and loves to go to the Sunday program every week and “talk about significant things.”

Oh, and what about this inmate who wanted to know about Buddhism? His cell neighbor says, “I’ve got books on Buddhism; why don’t you take this magazine?” So he takes it, goes sit on his bunk and starts reading…Back to Godhead! Needless to say, he realizes pretty quickly that it is not a Buddhist publication. Angrily, he throws the magazine across his cell. But as Krsna would have it, he just can’t ignore that publication crumpled on his floor. He says he felt that it called to him. Reluctantly he gets up, picks it up, and starts reading it again. From then on, he was hooked. Still is. Chanting and all. He was tricked into worshipping Krsna in the cheating style of Lord Buddha Himself!

And many prisoners, catching on to the compassionate, preaching mood of Lord Gauranga, desire to pass on their good fortune to others around them. Some lend or give their books to interested cell-mates (cellies) or neighbors, while other go the extra mile and start a weekly Krsna conscious program at the chapel. They gather to read, chant, and hear Prabhupada’s lectures together. You would be surprised the number of inmates who ask for more information about Krsna, on the recommendation of another inmate. Prabhupada’s mercy gets passed along! I’ll let Kevin tell you in his own words:

“In 200, I was put beside an inmate named Richard T., who introduced me to the Gita of His Divine Grace. Although I already had a Gita, I was eager to read not just this Gita, but all the books he had on Krsna Consciousness. Therefore, after reading and studying, he asked me to chant and thereafter, I fell in love with the Hare Krsna maha- mantra. Then I was given the address to write Candrasekhara for guidance. Through him I met mother Shyama Priya and others.”
Bhakta Kevin, Jackson, Georgia

Want to be part of this effective, ecstatic program? How can you help?

1) Become a pen-pal for one or more inmates: contact me and we will talk about it!
2) Become part of our Adopt-an-Inmate program. You can sponsor:
• the postage for mailing the BTGs: $190 a month
• the postage for mailing books packages: $150 a month.
• the postage for mailing the Freedom Newsletter: $100 a month.
• 300 BTGs: $172.50 a month
Incidentally, after providing BTGs for all or our inmates every issue for years, our sponsor will now be unable to continue with this service. This is rather a disastrous turn of event since BTG is a powerful bhakta-maker and it also enlivens very much those who are already on the way to become devotees. We would be grateful of any help in this matter. If you want to sponsor the whole fee or even only part of the fee, please contact us.

3) Give an occasional or a one-time donation (every cent makes a difference in an inmate’s life).

4) Donate books, music CDs (no burn copies), pictures (no bigger than 5x7), printing paper, and labels. We ofthen have more than we need in our own house! Our inmates are eager to hear kirtans and bhajans and also to bathe their eyes with spiritual pictures; you can make them fortunate!

5) Offer to print labels for mailing both the BTGs and the Newsletters.

If you are inspired to help in any way, please contact us at:

ISKCON Prison Ministry
PO Box 2676
Alachua, FL 32616-2676