THE EVER EXPANDING NECTAR OF KRSNA CONSCIOUSNESS

By : 
Bhakti-lata Dasi

When performing the same material activity, one will eventually get bored. Spiritual activities, however, have an ever fresh quality to them. “The holy name of Krsna expands the blissful ocean of transcendental life”; I have read this many times, heard it many times, and even experienced it over and over again. Still, there is some part of my mind that keeps being astounded at how exponentially fresh devotional service really is. Everyone experience this quality of bhakti and the inmates are no exception.

On a regular basis day, inmates come in contact with Krsna, either through IPM volunteers, or, more often, through other inmates who have become bhaktas and who direct them to IPM. The new inmates meet Krsna in the form of His name, His books, or His prasadam (many prisoners distribute the food they offer). By Lord Caitanya’s potency, most inmates who are given Krsna consciousness develop an irresistible urge to give it to someone else. And it is not long before that new recipient gets the “virus” to pass it on.

Living in very difficult conditions, inmates have first-hand realization that this material world is a place of misery. They don’t need much convincing; when they read Srila Prabhupada’s books, they just know his words are true. In their heart of hearts, they know that there is more to life than this endless suffering. “The holy name of Lord Krsna cleanses the mirror of the heart and extinguishes the blazing fire of material existence.” Prabhupada gives them the hope they had been seeking. So when they find this hope, and start experiencing a very real relief from pain, a very real higher taste, they are very excited and anxious to relieve the pain of others around them.
In this manner, IPM has been reaching out to inmates for over 30 years; there is never any shortage of souls and, having heard about Krsna from their peers, inmates write us on their own volition, begging for some enlightenment.

People sometimes ask if inmates really stick to Krsna consciousness. A surprising number of them do. Many keep to the path of bhakti, even after being released. You can read on our website, about three ex-inmates who are now fully engaged in service, two now initiated and one aspiring for initiation (http://iskconprisonministry.us/taxonomy/term/12 : newsletters for May, July, and August 2010).
Are there inmates who fall away after some time? Yes, of course, the same way some bhaktas and even initiated devotees “bloop” from time to time. That is the nature of this world; the illusory energy is 'so strong that it can forcibly carry away the mind even of a man of discrimination.' This is true of everyone, inmates and free men alike.
The mercy of the Lord, however, is so great that whatever devotional service one renders is a credit in one’s eternal spiritual bank account; "there is no loss or diminution, and a little advancement on this path can protect one from the most dangerous type of fear." In the next life, one starts from where one left off. So if an inmate chants Hare Krsna for a few years, a few months, or even a few days and then quit, what is the loss? There is everything to gain for the inmate and certainly also for the devotee who serves Lord Caitanya’s mission of reclaiming His lost servants. We all get purified in the fire of sankirtan!

Below are quotes from those inmates who share Krsna with others.

“I took the Nectar of Devotion to school today and I got to break the ice so to speak with a classmate. Who knows, lets pray about it. At any rate, I have read only a few of Srila Prabhupada’s books and currently am in a cell with someone who shares his Gita with me. I also try to do the studies or lessons in every issue of BTG.”
Jerry Moffit

“I have been engaging in giving the holy name to several inmates that they too may come to relish their eternal love for Krsna. One particular fellow almost began to cry upon hearing me chanting the holy name. I was surprised that he manifested such an experience…I am always desiring to spread the message of Lord Caitanya. By the mercy of other kind devotees as yourself who are willing to help us fallen prisoners come to know what actual freedom really is, freedom to surrender to the lotus feet of Sri Krsna.”
Kevin Brown
Waycross GA

“Lately, I have been preaching, to many inmates, instructing them, in the chanting of the holy name. They’ve such nice interest so I often give lectures, to them on the teaching of Srila Prabhupada, I learned from reading, his many books. I give everything as pure as I received it, reading his books, and following, the instructions of his devotees.
This morning as always, I chanted a real blissful 16 rounds of Hare Krsna maha-mantra; that always causes me to smile in my happiness of Krsna consciousness.”
Kevin L. Brown
Waycross, GA