Penitentiary is seemingly like any other facility where the souls, due to bodily identification, are forced by law to reap what they sown. From a spiritual perspective, aren`t we all in a penitentiary?
I had a scheduled appointment with two ladies, one of them was prevented from coming, so only Mother Marunda Devi and I were there. We were registered in advance with the Warden Ksenija, who seemed very nice at our first encounter.
The penitentiary is mostly for female inmates, but it also holds a smaller number of men. We were greeted at the entrance by two of them, mistaking them at first for the guards, but their blue Texas shirts revealed their current residence. One of them said: “I have your book. I got it and I have a signature of some Krishna, I guess that`s the name of the guy.“ They entered with smiles on their faces, and other female inmates joined them, coming through another door. There were 14 in number with blue shirts and 4 were wearing work uniforms, including Warden Ksenija.
They were looking at us curiously as we gave a short introduction about who we are and what we do. We started with a bhajan which lasted 20 minutes. The hall was acoustic so we had a pleasant experience singing the maha–mantra.
After, I gave a lecture and I noticed that the hall was silent they were listening carefully to what I was saying. The lecture lasted for about 70 minutes. Anyone could see on some of their faces that they were happy because someone from the ”outside“ world remembered them, the forgotten ones.
Women were predominant in the audience, they registered in advance, and so they naturally asked more questions.
One of them asked if plants had souls, and aren’t we killing them when picking? And, why weren’t eggs acceptable as food, being dead once cooked? How did we, according to our philosophy, see the end of the world and when could we expect it?
One of those two smiling inmates asked if it was necessary to cleanse one’s chakras in order to practice spirituality. There were no provoking questions. They all seemed nice, we didn`t even feel like we were in a prison. We had an audience like everywhere else, the souls subconsciously wanting something timeless.
In the end, Mother Marunda gave them the books we had prepared for them. We gave 5 books to Warden Ksenija, which were meant for prison library (3 Definite Guides on Practicing Krsna Consciousness in Prison and two of my books –”Just Passing By“ and “A Message from the Future“). The warden said that she wanted us to visit again.
The time of the program was running out, some inmates were walking away happily, with words of gratitude, in anticipation of our next meeting.
As the gates were closing, Warden Ksenija was opening the exit door for us, and then we felt how happiness is alive only when it`s being shared selflessly. Happiness descends in this way from the spiritual level, when we talk about spiritual matters being taught by our Spiritual masters. We just wanted to make one of their boring, prison days happier and realized that we made ourselves even more happy doing it. Thanks to Krishna for this wonderful experience.
Your servant Vrsabha Das