ISKCON Prison Ministry's blog

Embracing all of Krsna’s Family

NOTE from Bhakti-lata Dasi: As the inmates evolve in their Kṛṣṇa consciousness, increasingly realizing the importance of Prabhupada’s teachings and making a conscious effort to apply them in their life, they develop in strength and realization. Being a witness to this spiritual growth, I feel the joy and pride of a mother seeing her children mature. I am forever captivated by the power of Srila Prabhupada’s words to completely transform the lives of so many who receive his mercy.

Romanticism Versus Realism

For many years I have wondered why it is so difficult to find devotees who are inspired to not only correspond with inmates but to do so steadily as well. It’s been quite a bottleneck since there are far more inmates who write than there are volunteers to reply to them.

It seems that often the devotees who volunteer with IPM have an unrealistic, romantic view of what this service is and they get discouraged when reality turns out to be different. I am wondering if, in some way, this IPM NEWS itself contributes to this misconception. Why?

Typing my Way Closer to God

[For a couple years I’ve had the pleasure to do service with Yahna, who has been steadily volunteering to type letters for IPM. She has been very quick to type the letters I send her and she is so humble that when I asked her if she would share her realizations from this service, she emailed me the following response, “I've written a little something, but is that okay as I am not really a devotee of Krsna Consciousness and just want to be of service?”
Below are her reflections. She’d rather not disclose her last name and location.]

Janmastami in Huntsville, Texas

One of the most memorable experiences during our last visit to Houston was our trip to the Estelle Unit of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice near Huntsville, Texas on September 19, 2015.
Although we had not planned it into our schedule, Krishna apparently had, so we went along with Krishna's plan. It's always good to cooperate with Krishna's plan.

Transcendental Postman

A few months after I started working with ISKCON Prison Ministry, I received a letter from an inmate which helped drive home to me the nature of this service and just how important it is.
“I only know what I read in your letters and Prabhupada’s books,” was part of his response to me, regarding my reply to a question he had posed. His words brought me a sudden, clearer understanding and. I’ve often since reminded myself of them.

Entering the new year 2016!

A month ago, I was in the kitchen, cleaning up after dinner—in the Prabhupada House where we stayed at the time—when there was a knock on the door. My husband answered the door and I heard,
“Is Bhakti-lata there?”
A polite young man entered and he told me,
“I know someone you know”
“Who?”
“Yogi.”
I thought for a second.
“Richard C.?”
“Yes!”

Yogi is the prison name of bhakta Richard (whom we now call Krishna Kirtan). The young man had been in prison with him for a short while. Now that

Petersburg Krishna Kirtan Concert

By Phalini Devi Dasi

At 7:00 a.m. on August 22, 2015, my husband and I climbed into the car with Sarva-drik dasa and his wife Sudevi. We all drove to the Petersburg (Virginia) Federal Correctional Complex where we all had gone for a kirtan and preaching program in September of 2014. Our first trip there had been such a positive experience that we were eager to go again.

My Faith in Prabhupada and Krsna is Set in Stone

I believe Srila Prabhupada really knew what he was talking about and had a close personal relationship with Krishna. I choose the bliss he has offered to anyone willing to serve and worship Lord Krishna and His devotees’ lotus feet.

I feel very low and unfit to approach Krishna on my own strength so I will make the attempt through service to His devotees. “The servant of the servant of the servant of the Lord.”

Krishna Kirtan’s Continued Journey

For those of you who read the previous IPM NEWS, you will remember that inmate bhakta, Richard Chase—affectionately nicknamed “Krishna Kirtan”by Sarva-drik prabhu—was very well situated in a prison in Petersburg, Virginia where he had started what became a very successful and popular Hare Krishna program at the chapel library. Last year, however, he was transferred to a prison in Lisbon, Ohio where the chaplains were quite inimical toward Krishna Consciousness and who prevented him from starting a Hare Krishna program at their chapel.

Joyful Prison Program

Early in the morning on Saturday, September 13, 2014, my husband Haripada dasa and I picked up a couple of friends--Sarva-drik Prabhu and his wife Sudevi dasi--and headed north. We arrived at the Medium Security Facility of the Petersburg Prison in Virginia around 11:15 a.m. We were checked through security, our hands were stamped, and we were escorted through several heavy, metal doors until we found ourselves in the prison chapel.

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