More Nectar From the Mouth of the Inmates
Posted July 29, 2010
Below are some more excerpts from inmate letters. There is so much nectar that I feel compelled to share it with you!
“Hare Krsna! I received your letter, the books, pamphlets, and magazine! Thank you so very much for the response. Yes, I truly am searching for pure knowledge of the Absolute Truth. I have been down a great many paths; I have studied Christianity and Islam, but they DO NOT explain our true relationship with God (Krsna) as has been shown to me through Krsna consciousness….
I have always felt that life was more than the “hustle and bustle” of society and I felt that it was more to us than these bodies that we use to fulfill our “animalistic desires”…
I just did not know where to go to research my idea and I was stuck in an “Islamic” mind-state, so venturing to the other religions was a “no-no.” Then I began to feel “empty” as you stated. The prayers and rituals of Islam have not been able to allow me to feel any closer to God. So I found a “Back to Godhead” magazine in an empty cell when I moved in and read an article that has changed my whole way of seeing God (Krsna).
I agree 150% with Krsna philosophy. After reading all of the books, applying myself to chanting the mantra, and really focusing on Krsna, I desire nothing else. I won’t lie, I have to fight urges to drink coffee, and look at women, but I do NOT eat meat, I do not drink or smoke. All I want to do now is read the material that you have sent me and focus on true spirituality! I have spent my time trying to educate myself so that I can live a better quality of life….
My biggest request is if you are able to send me a copy of “Bhagavad-gita As It Is.” I have read so many excerpts from it and now I think that I am ready to read it! It seems like a truly wonderful book!
I am sincere about my devotion to Lord Krsna, and I truly would like to become an initiated devotee….Thank you!”
“A sign of the Lord’s grace upon us, I have found, is our compassion on them for we are instruments in the Lord’s service. In fact we should offer opportunities for others to know Krsna, for without such mercy or kindness how can one, who is drowning in the ocean of illusion, obtain freedom?
I’ve realized the enjoyment in being enjoyed by the Lord. Service brings life-giving enjoyment once one gives everything to Krsna. Even the desire for enjoyment must be given up in order to be enjoyed by the Lord for our only enjoyment should be to serve the Lord. This place gives us the experience of life’s ultimate goal, the love of Godhead.
Listen, my friend, I was a dreamer who had no other purpose other than practicing material life or sense gratification, but simply by being engaged in service unto the Lord, I have learned that my real happiness comes from gratifying the transcendental senses of the Lord, through love and devotion. Therefore, I must give to others as I now receive it from others, the love of Godhead. Remember mother Shyama-priya Devi and Mukta Kesa Dasa for they gave their hearts so you could learn the art of love for Krsna. This is the grace of giving Krsna’s mercy to others.”
“I just released $100 to be sent to you. I know it’s a pittance compared to all you’ve done for me but my glamorous prison job only pays two dollars a day – it’s actually taken me several months to save that hundred bucks.
I often use the analogy of annoying telemarketers calling at inopportune times. I’m just trying to “take the phone off the hook” so to speak and strengthen my focus so I can hear the Holy Name even while I’m emptying or filling trucks on the loading dock at work.
I rise around 4 and do six or eight rounds. Then when I return from work (or sometimes in the evening) I chant eight or ten rounds.
Sister Margaret Graziano is “hipper” than your average nun. She knew who Prabhupada was and helped one me get vegetarian meals (you should’ve heard the Jell-O argument – “Whadda ya mean Jell-O’s not vegetarian?!” The food coordinator boomed, “Can he just have cottage cheese instead?” Sister Margaret insisted. “Sure” he replied.
I told these guys the story of the first time I saw a guy attempt to break out of jail to illustrate the difference in trying to escape from whatever prison we’re imprisoned by – whether the obvious steel and stone of the penitentiary here or the prison of one’s own choosing like liquor, cocaine, money, debt, greed, lust or any of the infinite prisons that shackle most of the world – and true freedom or liberation, which I pointed out is available here behind these walls, and offered free tickets to – in the form of maha-mantra on cards. Ethan has been back every week. He first came for chapter 12 of the Bhagavad Gita and has been a part of our KC religious activity the past four weeks.
My cellie’s friend, Sage, an American Indian, locked eyes with me while we were watching the DVD “The Simple temple–Chowpatty” and said, “This is the Great Spirit, this is good. I say ‘Creator’ you say ‘Krishna’. Then he invited me to come to the sweat lodge with him.”
“Thank you, Bhakti-lata. And thank you IPM. What you have given this prisoner of the Lord is beyond measure, that is, the light of knowledge in the words of our spiritual father, Srila Prabhupada. I can assure you that this scripture will be studied, and not simply read and set aside. It will be absorbed as far as it is in my poor ability to do so.
I am so pleased with all that you have sent, but I was especially thrilled with the Srimad-Bhagavatam. I know in my heart, deep inside, that these words hold the key to everything, that is, Lord Krishna. I know that we are supposed to reject “desire”, but my thirst for knowledge of the Absolute and the real truth behind this existence of ours is one desire that I cannot shake or deny. I desire to know more of Krsna and this path and I am not ashamed to admit my failing in this regard.
I wish to thank you too for your kind letter. Your words are very much taken to heart, and I read and re-read them many times to make certain that I glean as much as possible from the lessons that you impart. Nothing is wasted on this prisoner.”
Iowa Park, Texas
“I was told to write you in order to obtain more knowledge concerning Hare Krsna. My roommate is Mark Dozier and honestly, he has been an inspiration to me concerning this subject….
I have up until this time studied various religions, but haven’t shall we say, applied myself due to their contradictions and illogical reasoning, so to speak.
After being introduced by Mark to this movement and reading various articles in the Back to Godhead Magazine by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, I feel that I have found what I have been seeking. His Divine Grace wrote that “You have this human form of life. REALIZE GOD. This is responsibility. Otherwise, you are finished. Your only responsibility is to understand God.” So I must now apply myself.”
“I’ve been reading the Mahabharata, which has been increasing my character and virtues.”
“Greetings! I’m a Texas prisoner and I found your address in a Back to Godhead magazine. The BTG was three years old. Please tell me if I can get knowledge on Krishna and my personal walk/growth. Thank you for your help.”
“Yesterday, some rascals wanted to insult me by calling me many names, but he only dared doing so from far. I am not identifying with my material body, so soon he realized that I was not even hearing him; then he stopped his nonsense. It’s amazing how devotional service can make one very humble, for I used to be very violent toward such big talkers before my coming to understand that I am not my body but an eternal servitor of the Lord. Now, I am thinking, “Oh, it’s my karma which could be much worse, but the Lord is giving me such little punishment for my past wrongs.” This is how I think when someone insults me or something happens that would usually cause others to give up hope in achieving their goals. Because my goal is the lotus feet of the Lord, I am always encouraged and purified in my loving devotion unto the Lord.
This morning my chanting was very nice, as always. I felt pure bliss as I relaxed and chanted the Holy Name with full attention.”
“None of this material hullabaloo seems important. All that’s important is to try to remember Krsna at every moment and especially at the time of death. Maybe we’ll be as fortunate in the end as Ajamila! I still find memorizing scriptures and prayers to be a good method of training the mind to always be on Krsna. Haribol!”
Bhakta Gerald Niles
Daytona Beach, Florida
I hope these quotes were of inspiration to you. If you want to read about IPM’s activities and volunteers, we can send you the IPM NEWS, our monthly electronic newsletter; simply send us an e-mail with “Subscribe to IPM NEWS” in the subject line. If you want, you can also tell us your name and where you live in the body of the e-mail.
At this moment, we are in great need to replace the ink cartridge for the IPM Dell laser printer, model W5300. This cartridge will last 3 years and cost $280.00 on the Dell website.
This printer is essential to IPM and is used every day. We print letters to inmates and chaplains; 70 copies or more of the inmate monthly newsletter; labels; pamphlets, etc.
Can you help? If you can, please contact Mukunda Dasa or Bhakti-lata Dasi at:
ISKCON Prison Ministry
PO Box 2676
Alachua, FL 32616-2676