Within These Walls

By : 
Bhaktin Bonnie

I received a four month sentence within these prison walls, faced with time on my hands. The first three weeks were in the county jail and then onto prison, where there were three more grueling weeks of lockdown, before I was brought into the prison “yard.” All through this experience KRSNA was there and opened the doors for me to preach to the women that I would have seen as closed.

In the beginning, I would walk around the “yard” every morning and every evening chanting the maha mantra, not counting the time. As little as I know, I knew this: I wanted to remain close to Krsna. Immediately Krsna answered my prayers and the women started coming up to me to ask what I was singing and why? I explained that this is how I love my Lord. I am still amazed at what happened.

Next thing I know I am writing the mantra down on scraps of paper again and again and teaching women how to chant! Me! And they’re learning wanting to know more about Krsna.

I had written the mantra for a young woman to chant. Twenty minutes later she comes running up to me crying. The only words from her lips were, “the Krsna chant!” I assumed she had lost it and I told her not to cry because I will be happy to write it again. She said “No. I have it right here.” Then why was she crying?

She had been facing eleven months and I had given her the mantra to chant. Twenty minutes had gone by as she walked around the yard chanting, she was called to the desk and informed her charges were reduced. She was being released that moment.

I looked up at the sky and chanted a few rounds and then said “Hey Krsna... she did twenty minutes, You are listening to me, right?” He was.

This same woman is still chanting and coming to remember Krsna! This experience was repeated again and again at every level of my incarceration.

I continued to chant at all times of the day, in all the places where I was. When I was in the prison yard I chanted. Walking the half mile around the yard I chanted. Women would ask, I would answer. It came to be that every morning and every evening numerous women came to walk the yard along with me and chant Lord Krsna’s name. I am moved by the power of Krsna’s love.

Knowing I love Krsna, a friend sent me four books from the temple. In prison a book can only be sent to you from the book store or the publisher, and even then it has to go through “property” where you can stand in line a couple hours to claim it. Even if the Bible comes from a church you have to experience the same thing; but not this time.

I went to the ‘bubble” window in my yard to collect my mail, the officer hands me a large yellow envelope and there they are: four Krsna books from the temple mailed to me by my friend. I looked at the officer and asked him, “Sir, there are books in this. Don’t I have to collect them from Property?” He said “Not today,” and closed the window! Through this entire experience Krsna was with me.

I write this now for all to know that there is a thirst for Krsna among our forgotten within those prison walls.

At no time was there a moment when I was not writing the mantra for women to learn, no time when I was not sharing with women the little I know about Krsna, no time that I was not followed and chanted with. Please remember, there is a thirst for Krsna within those prison walls. By the way, the books are still in that prison traveling from inmate to inmate, and Krsna is loved.

Krsna’s love reaches beyond anything I can realize or imagine. I have seen first hand the power of love in Krsna consciousness in the changes in these women. There are women in prison for a variety of reasons from DUI to murder, some of whom will be there for the remainder of this life finding comfort in chanting Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

These truths I write about within this prison experience are not about me. I am simply repeating an experience of Krsna’s love that I was blessed to witness.