Lepoglava Penitentiary Croatia, Wednesday, 27. November 2013

Attendance: 16 inmates + guard

After work I eagerly waited for Mahatma Prabhu to pick me up so we could head for Lepoglava. This time the guard came on time, and he very thoroughly checked us. He wanted to check inside the harmonium and mrdanga, fortunately we didn’t. He apologized and said that it was his duty.

This guard didn’t take us to the small room where our last program was held, neither to the room where we had programs before. He said that we have to go through the church, and in the room in front of the church there was a priest with a man, possibly at the confession. They were very surprised seeing us in Vaisnava clothes and tilak on our foreheads. We greeted each other, and the guard apologized that we had to go this way. There were several inmates in the church. The room where the guard wanted to take us was not available. Another guard came and they took us to a empty room. I suspected that this was the wrong room. Luckily, one inmate came soon after that, then another one, and then another. They were all confused because nobody knew where they were suppose to go. There was only a few, and they were looking at each other, because they knew that more people were supposed to come. I said that we will start Bhajans and more will come. During the bhajans more did come, 16 inmates all toll.

Sitting in benches in two rows like in school, then two of them in a mood happy, began tossing something around, exchanging word and laughing. I thought, this could be trouble, so I tried to focus more on the holy name. Very quickly, the two of them stood up, raised their hands and started dancing I juiced up the bhajans. One of them, who came for the first time, said he had visited a Hare Krishna program in Rijeka.

I prepared a lecture on the modes of material nature. It wasn’t easy to keep their concentration, during the lecture, I was several times interrupted with questions. I decided to explain the basic attributes of each of the modes. I mentioned that Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita says that the mode of goodness is the purest and that it frees a person of sinful reactions. I told the story from Srimad Bhagavatam, about Maharaja Bharata.

Questions were:

  • What is that mark on the forehead and the nose?
  • Krishna protected Jada Bharata, so are we also supposed to be fearless. Can Krishna also protect us?
  • Can a curse be transferred to one’s family and to the next generations?

After the lecture they reminded me of my promise that I will show them the basic dance steps. Before that I made everyone repeat the Maha Mantra. Which they did very loudly.

The program ended with kirtan. Gradually more of them danced, at the end almost everyone was up and moving. It was great to see. They were all very happy, including the two or three that didn’t dance. One inmate played the karatals but couldn’t keep pace with the rhythm, another inmate took the karatals out of his hands and started following in an even faster rhythm. The kirtan ended in big style, one of the inmates did an exhibition, spinning around in break dance style, and another did the splits.

In the end, they asked me if we will come on New Year’s day.

One inmate requested I to bring halava next time, another said we brightened his entire year. Indeed, Krishna brightens not only our every day, but our entire lives.

Hare Krishna!

Your servant Dharma-vatsalah Das

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