Hare Krishna! My journey is now coming to a close and I will be released soon (Andrus was released in 2022). I want to formally thank you and everyone involved in your prison ministry program. You have provided a means for incarcerated souls to break free from the bondage of self [false self; false ego]. What started out as an inquiry into life after death led me to a new sense of freedom, one made possible through the service of great atmas, like yourselves [IsPM volunteers]. Many people who seek Krishna in here rarely seek Krishna outside of prison, as Srutadeva Prabhu would say, but you can rest assured that I will be participating in temple duties in both Chandler & Tucson [once released]. The magnitude to which your service has gone on to help extends far beyond myself and to elaborate I’d like to tell you my story, which if you like have permission to publish in any newsletter.

My spiritual journey began in November 2018 with a search to discover what happens after death. I read many books that didn’t click until my sponsor in AA gave me The Science of Self-Realization by Srila Prabhupada. Finally, something made sense and I began to read more from Prabhupada. Jesus says that ye will know the truth when ye hear it, and I certainly could feel I was reading something genuine and truthful.
Shortly after I began reading the Bhagavad-gita As It Is. In 2019 I decided to write you myself and was given Srutadeva Das as my pen pal. I was able to ask questions and learn much more about the Vedas. I was blessed to receive the Back to Godhead magazine, Freedom Newsletter, and many books, including the Mahabharata.
For a while I was the only bhakta on the yard. Then, in early 2021, I saw another inmate meditating and began a conversation. He was involved in Buddhist Monasteries on the streets and so we shared interest in Eastern philosophy. We later became good friends, and I gave him my pen pal’s address and a few books to read (including the Mahabharata). Now there are two bhaktas on the yard, enough to register with the chaplain, for services.

At this point I had read the Bhagavad-Gita four times and the Mahabharata from cover to cover. People on the yard knew what I was about and knew me from the classes I teach or taught, such as Morning Meditation, A Path to Virtue, and Redefining Success. My release date was coming, and I couldn’t let this yard be devoid of Krishna. I went around the yard to those I knew were spiritual seekers and asked if they would be interested in studying the Gita.
I compiled a list of seven people who were interested in learning more. I wrote to Balabhadra Dasa in Boise and told him my idea to start a study group here and asked his opinion. He said it was an excellent idea and he poured out his energy into helping us get this thing started. About three months later, the seven inmates interested in study received their own copies Bhagavad-gita and two more books as well. Bhakta Wes and I now lead a Gita study group every Saturday.
What’s more is that I also reached out to the Tucson temple to see if they would be interested in volunteering service here at Graham. I got in touch with Sandamini Dasi, the temple president, and she sounded very sincere and interested. I linked her to our complex chaplain and soon there will be a community of Krishna Consciousness inmates to attend Kirtan and further their study in the presence of devotees.

What seemed impossible at first, started to become very real. this yard was completely void of Krishna Consciousness less than three years ago and now we have a community of seven inmates studying the Gita, with volunteer devotees on their way. If Srila Prabhupada can start a global movement with nothing, surely a sincere inmate can gather a group of inmates in prison for a higher purpose.

I ready myself for release now feeling like I did something to make a difference. The Krishna Consciousness that began here will continue in my absence and for me there is no greater joy. Hare Krishna! Jaya!