Prison Preaching from Vrindavan
Posted June 11, 2004
My dear Prabhujis,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!
Since last 5 months since our last report, we have been having weekly programs in Mathura and Agra Prisons, and monthly in Tihar Jail. Now the Tihar Jail program will also be done weekly. One very sincere Brijbasi devotee named Janakinatha Das has joined this program and is very enthusiatically pushing it on.
Actually we were busy with Ujjain Kumbha Mela for one month and when we returned to Agra Prison, the jailer Mr. Gupta, was complaining that we missed you for one month. Where have you been? The prisoners have been asking for you every day. We invited other groups to come, but all the prisoners complain, why don't you call the Hare Krishna wales? In your absence, the prisoners have been doing two hours of kirtan every day.
Later the superintendent told us that since you have started these programs, the jail has become very peaceful, we don't have many fights, and they are doing their work very enthusiastically. So please don't have big gaps. It's nice you went to Kumbha Mela, but don't neglect us.
Now we have one prisoner who is doing 16 rounds. A few others are doing 4-8 rounds. They asked us to bring them a mrdanga for their daily kirtans.
The next day, we went to Mathura Jail and they showed us in the ward that they had a very nice picture of Radha Madhava from Mayapur and Srila Prabhupada. They were also keeping a copy of Srila Prabhupada's Bhagavad Gita. They were very happy to join with us in kirtan. Then they did some Brijbasi bhajans. After which we distributed prasad. The superintendant told us that we need to make a temple here in the jail. They are doing kirtan now every day, but we need one mridanga. So we will make arrangements for these things.
Then we went to Tihar Jail in Delhi where Srila Prabhupada had started prison preaching. This time we went to the Juvenile jail, where the superintendant was also complaining that why we were coming after a big gap. Then he asked if we had any CDs of our prison programs, so we can send them to other jails in the country and interest them in this project. Then they can contact the nearest ISKCON temple for having programs in their jails. Then we told them that we have decided to do this program now weekly and Delhi ISKCON will supply prasadam for our programs.
After our class and we distributed prasadam that was supplied by Food For Life from Delhi Temple. Then they took us to meet some of the inmates. Sarvabhauma asked one young fellow why he was in jail. He said I snatched one mobile. When asked why he did that he told the following story.
I came from the village and was doing some small key business. Then some people came and told me that their father needs a kidney transplant, if I will give one kidney, they will give you one lac of rupees. So they took me to their house and fed me very nicely for some days and got my test done in some hospital. Then one day we were going in the car and the man said that I need one mobile. So you see that lady across the street, you go and snatch her mobile and come. But when I snatched the mobile, the people caught me and the man who instigated me fled away, and I was turned over to the police.
After listening to you, I know that I have done wrong. So now I will change my life and never do things like this again.
Another young man said that he stabbed someone. When asked why did he do that, he said that he was a pickpocket and someone spotted him and was going to inform the police so I stabbed him. So that was not good. Oh no, I will never do this again.
So we are just distributing Srila Prabhupada's patent medicine for curing the criminal of his crime, the chanting of the Holy name. In this way, following in Srila Prabhupada's footsteps, we are trying to develop more and more this Prison Preaching Program. We want to start this program in Bharatpur Jail also which is not far from Mathura.
Your servant, Sarvabhauma das