ISKCON Prison Ministry:
Let the Inmates Speak for Themselves

by Shyama Priya devi dasi
Posted February 12, 2003

Since placing articles on Chakra we've received wonderful responses. Letting others know about the ministry has really helped us move ahead in assisting the inmates in Krsna Consciousness. Many more books, BTG magazines, Bhagavad-gita CDs and music tapes have been mailed out than ever before.

The last mailing of donated issues of Back To Godhead magazine, done by the Prison Ministry, included a letter stating, "This is a free complementary issue of BTG and if you have any questions or would like to write us please contact us at ISKCON Prison Ministry." We received many delightful letters, as follows:

Dear Mother Shyama Priya,

Hare Krishna!

Thank you so much for the Jan/Feb copy of BTG! It was such a pleasant surprise. I am your servant and God-child. I am a 45 year old aspiring devotee of Lord Krsna, but recently I have not been studying or chanting as I should. I think it is by Krsna's mercy that you sent your letter and the BTG. I hope you can help me as I want to get back on the right track, studying Krsna Consciousness and chanting the Holy Name.

A few months ago I was moved around in the system and much of my personal property was lost by corrections staff. All of my treasured books by Swami Prabhupada gone. I am still angry, but I want to start over.

Mother Shyama Priya, please, if you can send me a copy of the Bhagavad-Gita As It Is and any other Krsna Conscious books you may be able to send. I can receive both hard and soft cover books, up to 4 books at a time. I miss Swami Prabhupada's words so much. Please help me in my endeavor. I am a very serious student. I have about four years left to serve on my sentence. I do not want to waste another moment of this time.

I enjoyed so much the BTG. Please, if you can send me a copy from time to time. I would be so very grateful. Or, if there are any old or damaged copies available, I would be so thankful to receive them.

Thank you for what you are doing for prisoners. I know you must work very hard in your ministry. Please know you are loved and appreciated. Krsna gives people wonderful hearts of compassion. Most folks couldn't care less about rascals like myself, who wind up in these places. But through the Grace of the Guru, Swami Prabhupada and Krsna's endless mercy we have opportunity to know the truth about ourselves, God and the way out of this prison of material existence.

I am so glad that you sent your letter and the BTG. It showed me clearly that Krsna is not letting me go, that He is close and wants me to love and serve Him.

I'll close for now with the hope of hearing form you soon. Please know that any material you send will be profoundly appreciated and put to the fullest use. May Lord Krsna bless, guide and protect you,

Your Humble Servant,
Bhakta R

Dear Mother Shyama Priya,

Thank you for the Back to Godhead. I sincerely desire to one day offer service to the Krsna Movement, once I am free in 2008.

I have one favor to ask of you that I hope you can grant. We are preparing a feast here at Atwater for the SYDA Yoga group and since I represent the Krsna inmates they've asked me to plan a menu to be included.

Unfortunately, I'm still too uninformed and have no experience planning good meals for the feast. Perhaps you can help me by sending recipes I can use for this occasion.

Any help you offer will be a blessing! Hare Krsna.

Thank you,
Bhakta D

(We are sending him a Higher Taste Cook book.)

Dear Mother Shyam Priya,

I received the Jan/Feb 2003 issue of Back to Godhead, which was sent to me and I wanted to write and thank you and everyone else who made it possible for me to receive a new issue. I have been a member of ISKCON for about two years now and some of my penpals have sent me back issues of BTG and I throughly enjoy the magazine. I would subscribe to the magazine, but I just don't have the funds available, so being able to receive a fresh copy is a treat. Then again, any copy I receive is new and fresh to me and I read and re-read every copy several times, before I set them out for others to read, in the hopes that maybe others will join me in the quest for Krsna realization.

I have a request, I am trying to save up for a hardbound copy of Bhagavad-Gita, could you send me a catalog, so I may know the price?

Bhakta C

If you would like to help with the preaching in the prison ministry, by writing inmates, donating books or helping us pay for books and postage, please contact us at:

4455 Quince St. #A,
San Diego, CA 92105
Or email us at

Jaya Sri Krsna!