Chakra Discussions

ISKCON Iraq: The preaching has begun

by Jaya Govinda das

Posted July 12, 2004

Lord Caitanya's mercy has spread to Camp Anaconda, where fourteen soldiers gathered last night to chant the maha-mantra and take some prasadam (sent to me by the good devotees of New Vrndavana).

One of the soldiers attending the gathering was none other than my unit chaplain, who I've been slowly cultivating over the last couple months). Chaplain "L" (we'll call him Chaplain "L" for safety reasons) is a very educated and open-minded Roman Orthodox, who happens to be going through some "faith issues" at the present

He has found new comfort and assurance in the Bhagavad-Gita, though he feels a bit guilty from time to time, as he doesn't want to lose his faith in the Holy Bible. After all, he's belonged to that "club" for thirty some-odd years. I encourage him to embrace the teachings of Lord Jesus, but not to let those teachings limit him to a sectarian mindset.

It's funny, though. The chaplain, whose sole purpose in the Army is to provide spiritual guidance and morale to the troops around him, is questioning his own faith and finding solace in Prabhupada's Gita. Amazing!

A small group of ultra-"born-agains" (including one guy who told me I'm going to hell because I have tattoos) have accepted defeat in the argument of vegetarianism in the Bible, but only one has decided to apply it, which brings the number of vegetarian recruits to three (the other two being Chaplain "L" and another guy who couldn't come up with a reason not to try it).

There's a group of Indian contractors who live on the camp, and we've been having weekly meetings for the past few months. They all eat meat, but they like to have me over for some chanting and bartering. We've had to improvise with various tools for kartalas, but the holy name is there.

One Iraqi man on who works on-post turned out to be an amazing artist who paints portraits for some extra cash. I gave him a picture of Srila Prabhupada and a picture of Krsna, and he painted them beautifully. He told me he spent half the day just looking at the picture of Krsna to soak up every detail. Glory to Allah!

So, the preaching is going on, by Prabhupada's mercy, and the mercy of the devotees who have supported our mission here. (My godbrother, Partha Sarathi prabhu, is also doing some much needed preaching at his base).

I'm calling on all devotees to help. If anyone has anything they can spare to assist in spreading Krsna consciousness to the soldiers here, it would be a remarkable service. We've all heard people saying "support the troops." Well, this is the best way we can support these guys. There are people dying over here, and we might be their last chance.

If anyone could help, I could use books, devotional CDs, prasadam (non-perishable, obviously), beads/bags, and anything else you think would be useful.

My mailing address is:

King, Justin B.
C Co. 29th SIG. BN.
Camp Anaconda
APO AE 09391

Mail takes about two weeks from the US. You can write me with any questions or comments at: jayagovinda@msn.com. Thank you. I appreciate your help, and so do the troops.