ISKCON Prison Ministry's blog
For those of you who read the previous IPM NEWS, you will remember that inmate bhakta, Richard Chase—affectionately nicknamed “Krishna Kirtan”by Sarva-drik prabhu—was very well situated in a prison in Petersburg, Virginia where he had started what became a very successful and popular Hare Krishna program at the chapel library. Last year, however, he was transferred to a prison in Lisbon, Ohio where the chaplains were quite inimical toward Krishna Consciousness and who prevented him from starting a Hare Krishna program at their chapel.
Early in the morning on Saturday, September 13, 2014, my husband Haripada dasa and I picked up a couple of friends--Sarva-drik Prabhu and his wife Sudevi dasi--and headed north. We arrived at the Medium Security Facility of the Petersburg Prison in Virginia around 11:15 a.m. We were checked through security, our hands were stamped, and we were escorted through several heavy, metal doors until we found ourselves in the prison chapel.
Hare Krsna, dear devotees!
Below are some excerpts from inmates, as well as some Chaplains' appreciation for the work done by ISKCON Prison Ministry. I hope they bring you pleasure and inspiration.
The time I spend chanting the Maha-mantra in the quiet early mornings is one of my most favorite times of the day. It is that special time spent in direct association with our dear Lord Sri Krsna. But there are days when I don’t feel anything special, that even in this most auspicious transcendental activity, I feel alone, and oh, so far from my dear Lord. When this happens, it is easy to wonder if I am actually receiving His mercy; if there is purpose to my chanting or if I am just wasting my time.
By Srila Prabhupada and Lord Caitanya's infinite mercy, here all the books and material distributed from the Alachua, Florida IPM office in 2013:
Prabhupada’s Books total: 2,717
Magazines (10 to 50 pages): 864
Books by other devotee authors: 332
Audio tapes: 104
Japa Mala Sets: 97
Neck Beads: 25
GRAND TOTAL of all Books and BTGs in 2013: 3,807 !!!
Please accept my humble obeisances.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada!
Hare Krishna, Jai Sri Sri Radha Bankebihari Ki Jai!
My Initiated name is Candra Das. I am a disciple of H.H Bhakti Tirtha Swami Maharaja. I am currently employed as a correctional counselor at Snake River Correctional Institution in Ontario, Oregon (Snake River Correctional Institution is located 11 miles east of the Idaho/Oregon state line). I have been employed with the Oregon Department of Corrections for 18 years.
ISKCON Prison Ministry
2 Vyasa-puja Offerings
Hare Krsna dear devotees,
Below are the first Vyasa-puja offerings of two inmate bhaktas. I hope they will bring you great transcendentally pleasure!
Your servant, Bhakti-lata Dasi
1) Offering of Bhakta Richard
nama om vishnu-padaya krishna-preshthaya bhu-tale
srimate bhaktivedanta-svamin iti namine
namas te sarasvate deve gaura-vani-pracarine
by Caitanya Dasi
A team of four ladies received permission to teach a volunteer program on bhakti yoga and mantra meditation at a women’s prison in Florida.
It took a couple of months to get through the red tape like back ground checks, etc. Once this was completed, we coordinated with the prison wardens and chaplains. In this particular state prison there are three separate facilities run by different chaplains and wardens, which made it a bit unclear how their system works.
Very often, the only link an inmate has with the outside world is his correspondence with the IPM devotees. Some are fortunate enough to have supportive family or friends, but most are not. I am realizing more and more how important the relationship the inmates develop with their devotee pen pal(s) is for them.
By the mercy of His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada and my Guru Maharaja, I received the inspiration to serve the ISKCON Prison Ministry. On Vyasa-puja day, while chanting myjapa, the inspiration came to me to serve in the prison ministry. Interestingly enough, at that time I didn't even know the prison ministry existed.
I researched the internet, saw on the web site a request from IPM for volunteer pen pals. I thought this was an easy service, one I would enjoy and could do from the comfort of my home and in my