By the mercy and power of Srila Gurudeva, the IPBYS Prison Program expands and reaches the lives of so many jivas on its own accord. Sometimes I think, “I wish I could do more”, and as Syamarani didi pointed out and reminded me,
We cannot do anything, Krsna and Guru are doing everything.”
Here we will share a few exciting happenings since our last report we posted on June 1st.
Eight new inmates have become members through writing in through our official PO Box in North Carolina, managed by Bhagavati-kanta prabhu and his sanga. Two more inmates have written in to our first address in Martinez through Bhaktiprojects (that address has now been changed in the system, but some old resource directories may still be floating around). This is one of the many beautiful letters we receive. This inmate is in Louisiana:
Journey to Prema:
We fell a bit behind in sending out the monthly course, Journey to Prema. Several inmates have written to us that they are relishing this course and could we send the lessons out more quickly. Bhakta Carl (now Bhakta Rupa because of his affection for Rupa Manjari), who preaches in his institution sent the following feedback about two individuals who are in our program:
Carl’s son Jacob is an integral part of the IPBYS Prison Program Seva team. Recently he was inspired to create a Facebook Page (IPYBS Prison Program) for the program which will grant the program even more exposure. He also received this letter through Facebook:
Hi my name is Misty. My husband is currently in Corcoran, CA. We are currently fighting his case. Until then God is working on us both growing in His love, and mercy. If possible I would like to sign my husband up for your course to help strengthen his walk, and give him something productive to do. Please let me know what I need to do to get it started.
Thank you and God bless.
The head of the chaplains for Texas approved our books and now they are about to be sent to 114 prison libraries throughout Texas. Mahabuddhi prabhu started communication with him 3 months ago, and it took this long for the chaplains to review and approve our books being placed in their libraries. Ten books will be sent to each library costing GVP Sponsorship Program about $5,000. We are extremely grateful to all of the donors for being instruments in this process. Nityananda prabhu will make the prison kits and mail them out before the end of this month.
A few months ago we sent books to all the libraries in Virginia. Each book gets stamped with our PO Box address. We took note that three new members of our program are in the Virginia Women’s Correctional Facility where books were sent.
Last but not least of the good news is Jai Uttal and Radhanath prabhu performed another kirtan at San Quentin. I met Jai Uttal at Shaktifest and asked him if he would distribute books at his kirtan. He said he would love to and to mail them to Radhanath prabhu to bring and distribute. This was posted on Facebook just after that event by Radhanath prabhu’s wife, Kilimba dasi:
Just as last time (the first time) back in March, Radhanath called right after getting dropped off at the car, and I had to get the whole story! This time only 30 inmates came, but they all really, really wanted to be there. Jai told about the bridge of stones to Lanka and how they floated on the surface of the ocean due to having the name of Sri Rama written on each stone before being placed in the water. Then Radhanath told something he heard from Gurudeva, that Sri Rama Himself was also placing stones on the water, but to His dismay His stones were all sinking to the bottom! He went some distance away, wondering why His stones were not floating, and Hanuman, knowing His Lord, came to where He was and explained how the stones they were placing had Sri Rama’s holy name written on them, and that’s why they were floating! This story illustrates how the NAME of God is even more powerful and merciful than God! (best to find the exact quotes.. sorry if I butchered it).
SO THEN a Sita Rama chant took place, followed by another Sita Rama chant. This all after an initial Om namo Sivaya chant. Then after the second Sita Ram Kirtan there was a natural stop.. it seemed like the end.
But then one inmate jumped up onto his feet and said real loud, “Hey, you guys can’t end here! He hasn’t DANCED and done his DRUM SOLO!”
So Radhanath said to Jai, he says to the man, he says: Hey Jai, we’ve gotta sing the MAHAMANTRA! Jai said, They want to see you dance and do your drum solo! So Radhanath said, OK, I’ll start a rhythm and dance and you come in with the mahamantra! Radhanath played a 6/8 beat used for nagar sankirtan and after singing the first mantra, Jai came in with his harmonium and SANG so sweetly and this went on with the inmates all visibly enlivened for fifteen more minutes.
The inmates all came up, every single one of them and THANKED them for coming there and bringing that Love and Light to them at the prison. ALL GLORIES TO THE SRI KRSNA SANKIRTAN!
Oh! They ALL wanted the small books Radhanath brought that Vasanti sent: Siva Tattva, Way of Love, and Secrets of the Undiscovered Self. He was only able to personally bring in six of each. The chaplain, a really broadminded warm-hearted guy told him, “Just bring them all to my house. I’ll get the books to them!”
All glories to the most merciful Sacinandana Gaurahari and Nityananda Prabhu! All glories to Srila Gurudeva! All glories to Srila Prabhupada! All glories to our Guru-parampara!
We are still in need of more penpals for inmates, so anyone who would like to be a penpal, please logon to www.prisonseva.org or contact myself (email@example.com) The GVP Sponsorship program has spent almost $15,000 on various projects this past summer and now we are almost out, therefore we are begging for your kind mercy to make any donation — big or small. They can be given through paypal: firstname.lastname@example.org or write to me for bank account details.
On behalf of the sevakas of IPBYS Prison Program,
Aspiring for the service of Sri Guru and the Vaisnavas,