I am currently awaiting trial for a capital death penalty case

By : 
Bhakta Ben

How I Came to Krsna

     Allow me to share with you how I came to become a bhakta.  I am sitting in a cell on the close custody level of the Fourth Avenue jail that is in Maricopa County, AZ.  I am currently awaiting trial for a capital death penalty case.  And in all honesty, I may very well spend the rest of my life on Death Row.  But that does not hold the anxiety for me that it once did.  Allow me to share with you what changed in my thinking. 

     In 2006, a friend of mine in the Arizona State Prison System sent me a Prisoner’s Resource List, and as I looked it over I saw an address for ISKCON Prison Ministries.  For some reason I was attracted to it, but I did not know why.  As I look back, I can tell you that Krsna attracted me, as He is all-attractive!  So I wrote a letter to ISKCON and Chandrasekhara Dasa wrote me back.  He told me that the reason I wrote was because I was drawn to by Lord Krsna. 

     The first thing that Chandra told me was that I was not this body, but that I was a spirit soul.  He quoted 2.13 of Bhagavad Gita:  “As the embodied soul continuously passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death.  A sober person is not bewildered by such a change.” 

     I was like, “Whoa!  This is some far out stuff, man!”  But the more I thought about it, it started to make sense.  Krsna was dissipating this illusion that was darkening my eyes.  I came to the conclusion eventually that if once I am done with this body, I would move on to another one.  What is the point of allowing myself to become so distressed over facing what I was?  So my first lesson was that I am not this body.  What a revelation!

     Chandra sent me a copy of Bhagavad Gita for me to peruse.  I flipped through it, reading things that caught my interest.  This verse jumped out at me like a flashing star:  “Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me.  I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions.  Do not fear.”  Wow! “Do not fear.”  Krsna tells me that He would deliver me from all of my sinful reactions.  But He also told me that I should surrender unto Him.  And as we all know, surrendering ourselves to anyone is not the easiest of things to do.  It was a fearful thing to do - surrender all of my convict pride, and bow down to God.  But He knows that it is hard.  He said, “ma sucah”.  Do not fear or worry.  And that is what I was doing, fearful of letting someone else run my life.  But hey, where is the need for the fear, I wasn’t running it well at all!  I ran it into the ground.  Krsna knew that, so He said, “ma sucah”!  Where is the fear?

     I am now chanting 15 rounds of the Maha Mantra, and will be bumping it up one more very shortly.  Where’s the fear?  I surrendered it to Krsna.  Why?  Because the Supreme Personality of Godhead told me, “ma sucah”!  I am no longer at the helm of my life.  Lord Krsna is running it.  I won’t lie to you and say it is all gravy, no; maya tries to trip me up time to time.  I am relying upon Lord Krsna to give me the strength.  And you know what?  He is giving it to me.  And I use it to do devotional service.  Why?  Because I love Him!  I came across a beautiful prayer that Lord Caitanya prayed.  Allow me to share it and it will touch your heart!  “I know no One but Krsna as my Lord, and He shall remain so even if He handles me roughly by His embrace, or makes me broken-hearted by not being present before me.  He is completely free to do anything and everything, for He is always my worshipful Lord, unconditionally.”  (Sri Siksastaka, verse 8)

     Man!  Doesn’t that prick your heart?  I want to be able to lay claim to this prayer some day!  Unconditionally!!!  Can you feel the love there?  No matter how I live or die, I want to be able to glorify Krsna through all the happiness and joy and through all the aches and pains.  All I want to do is serve Krsna no matter what!  Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.  As you read these 16 words with me, I thank you for the kirtan! 

     I thank you for taking the time to read this.  It is all true!  After all, Krsna is Truth!  We are part and parcel of Him.  I ask you not to just take it lightly, this ISKCON, also known as the Krsna Consciousness Movement, is Lord Krsna reaching out to you.  Won’t you come home with me?  Come on, let’s go back home to Godhead.  Ma sucah.

Your lowly servant and well-wisher,

Bhakta Ben