I delivered a 60-minute lecture to seven female inmates and two guards. The official title of the topic was “How to overcome stress and bad thoughts”. I took a chance and spoke extensively on reincarnation. The inmates appeared to be very vigilant and inquisitive. Each of them was given a book. Three copies of “Life comes from life”, three copies of “Meetings” (an interview with HH. Bir-Krishna Maharaja) and one copy of “On the way to the truth”.
In the last few months (nearly a year) the preaching program in the Bjelovar Prison has almost stopped. There would be no one submit, occasionally someone, two or three very rarely. But this time, by Krishna’s mercy there were nine inmates. Some of them were in Osijek on such a program and they were surprised to see that I came alone, with guitar. I gave them cards with maha-mantra and we started singing. It was wonderful and funny at the same time to see how they are trying to pronounce the maha-mantra reading from the card. After several repetitions they caught the rhythm and sang. We all sang together. Even the manager was trying. In the end they were very pleased. We shared another Bhajan and then I presented them the philosophy of Krishna consciousness for 30-40 minutes. They were very interested, asked questions and stated their individual beliefs. In the end I shared the books and asked them to come to the next program.
- ISKCON delegation:
- 3 inmates
Karatals, Mrdanga, Harmonium, books by Srila Prabhupada, Maha Mantra cards, CD with Kirtan
3 Aspects of the Absolute Truth
The ISKCON delegation dressed in Vaishnava cloth came on time to the program. Prison staff by the name Dalibor escorted us to the venue.
The program is being held in a large classroom where 3 inmates were waiting. There were 2 regulars and one new inmate that came last time when Srila Prabhupada film was played . The prison guard was surprised how little inmates came, as there is a big interest for other programs. The chairs were put in circle the prison staff sat with us.
Roberto was the MC. He greeted everyone and introduced the delegates and the subject of discussion. The kirtana was longer this time, giving the inmates more of the Holy Name. Kirtan ended and Adhata began speaking on the subject matter referring to Srimad Bhagavatam verses and purports that he prepared. The new inmate expressed doubts of everything that was said. Most of the time we were speaking on existence of God which was not the chosen topic. The MC co-ordinated the discussion to give space to the new inmate, in this way raise his interest for coming back when more advance devotees would come and speak. At one point even the Prison staff jumped in the discussion giving arguments of existence of God.
The presentation went on for some time and we closed the program with kirtan led by Roberto. After the kritan, the two remaining inmates took some books, especially the new one that was satisfied with the discussion and said he doesn’t disagree what we are saying, he is open for everything but needs someone that could convince him of the philosophy.
We exchange some good words with prison staff agreeing on the existence of The Supreme Personality of Godhead and how it is important to understand the philosophy. After reflecting what happened, we understood that we can always expect new inmates in the program which will change the subject. As we want to motivate new and regular inmates to come, we suggested dividing the group to new and regular so that one can speak on the basics and other more deeply about Krishna consciousness..
On the way back, devotees stopped at the local river bank to rest and take prasadam. Unexpectedly they met one famous actor with his friend who invited the devotees to associate. After speaking about philosophy they participated in the kirtan and in the end took 2 books from Srila Prabhupada. We took photos.
We are coming next month.
Jai, Srila Prabhupada!
- 3 inmates participating in the discussion and kirtan
- 1 famous actor got association of devotees, participated in the kirtana and took Srila Prabhupada’s books
- 6 books were distributed
- Come with 2 or more speakers that can speak separately to new and regular inmates on the subject of Krishna consciousness