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ISKCON Prison Ministry's blog

Prison Program in Petersburg, Virginia— 10/16/19

By Candramauli Swami

After a weekend filled with programs I left Charlotte NC by car for Apex NC for a quick visit to the home of Karuna Sindhu and his good wife Arcana Siddhi. It was the last days of the Kartik month and so my hosts decided to invite many of the local devotees for an evening of singing the Damodarastakam prayer. Naturally in association with the devotees the gathering transformed into a full program of Kirtan and a talk. I had planned an early rest but was now speaking the entire pastime of Kṛṣṇa stealing butter.

A GOOD YEAR

By Bhakti-lata Dasi

When farmers have a good harvest, they say it was a good year. That’s the feeling I have at the end of each and every year; “it was a good year.” For the prison ministry, it’s always a good year! The IPM harvest is always aplenty; this is confirmed by the inmates’ wonderful testimonials and the wonderful things that happen in their lives.

The New Prison Ministry website is LIVE!

iskconprisonministry.org

After years of dreaming of a better, more modern IPM website for the pleasure of Srila Prabhupada, today it finally manifested. I felt like crying out of joy! Kṛṣṇa helped me make this desire a reality by inspiring Svarbhanu prabhu to embrace this project as his service. I am so very grateful to him.

The Hare Krishna Class

We go through three sliding doors (vertical bars) and two locked gates to enter the reception area. When we get to the classroom building, we have to ask the guard in the control room to announce the Hare Krishna Class so that all the different areas can get notified. There are often new guards there and it can take a few times before they pronounce the Holy Names properly. This guard then announces to all the guards in all the cell blocks that the Hare Krishna Class is starting. These guards then broadcast it over their PA systems to all the inmates.

WHEN KṚṢṆA DECIDES TO TAKE CHARGE

For the last five years I have been meditating on giving Kṛṣṇa consciousness to female inmates. Ever since I took the reins of the prison ministry, back in 2009, ninety percent of all inmates who write us are male.
I tried repeatedly to reach chaplains from female institutions—to obtain their permission to place books in their chapel libraries—but unfortunately, chaplains are very hard to reach and my time is always very limited, so I never went far with this project. Over the years, at different times, three volunteers also attempted to reach these chaplains, with similar poor results.

From Murderer to Vaisnava

From a Russian Article

In 1990, in Russia, during the criminal investigation of Andrey Sudarikov, the police was about to close the case due to the lack of evidence of the committed crime.

However, a Bhagavad-Gita As It Is came into the hands of Andrey. Having avidly read the blessed Holy Scripture, Andrey became spiritually reborn and he confessed, to the stunned investigator, the crime he had committed, thereby signing off on a death sentence for himself.

CHRISTMAS ALL YEAR LONG

As a child, Christmas was a time of great anticipation and excitement. Until my teen years that is, when it became more and more a source of disappointment—but that’s a story for another time.
Christmas, a time of giving and receiving, of goodwill for all mankind, is experienced all year long in devotional service, and it is certainly true of the prison ministry service. It is Christmas every day! And there is no disappointment, no letdown, and no hype about it: it is the real deal and it brings me the pleasure and satisfaction I have been hankering for all my life!

APPRECIATING KṚṢṆA AND HIS DEVOTEE

To write about the devotee who corresponds with me is an honor and a humbling effort as I do not believe myself worthy to write and discuss Reverend Rambhoru. She is gracious, patient and has a heart of pure gold. Our very first connection by mail was of a familial tone and nature. Her letter was written to me as though I was a longtime devotee. This began a teacher/friend relationship over three years ago. Not so long, but spiritually and soulfully enriching.

CRAVING TO READ ABOUT KRSNA OVER THE MUNDANE

[Excerpts from two of inmate Bhakta David's letters]

Dear Mother Bhakti-lata,

Hare Kṛṣṇa! My most humble obeisances to you. Jaya Srila Prabhupada!

I am so very grateful for all the books you sent me and I wish there was more time in the day, but I try to read at least fifty pages each day from a few of them. I am learning and enjoying the process so much! I actually find that now I crave reading this Kṛṣṇa conscious material over the mundane. Still, I am but an infant and have very far to go.

Strengthening my Faith

Hare Kṛṣṇa, Mataji.
Dandavat pranams. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

In prison my Kṛṣṇa consciousness has been truly "hands on" (isn’t it always? ). Sri Kṛṣṇa knows best and is always testing and strengthening His bhaktas. I truly feel that He has been especially and specifically helping me for the past twenty-six months I have spent in prison. I am a Naturopathic Physician and Ayurvedic Medical Consultant in my professional life and was brought here because of immigration issues with some of my employees.

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