“Even if you are considered to be the most sinful of all sinners; when you are situated in the boat of transcendental knowledge, you will be able to cross over the ocean of miseries.”
— Bhagavad Gita 4.36
Srila Prabhupada’s Vision
When Srila Prabhupada spoke of prison preaching, he no doubt envisioned a long and extensive association between the International Society for Krishna Consciousness and prisons worldwide. When he spoke these words at Jansi, ISKCON had not yet been formed; he had perhaps only one disciple, a local Indian boy. There was no international movement, no charter, no mission statement and no devotees. He may have been speaking of prisons in India, yet with all that followed and all he achieved, he was without doubt speaking of prisons internationally. He foresaw the wide reach that ISKCON would have in the future, of the thousands—millions—whose lives would be touched by Lord Chaitanya’s mercy.
Nor can it be a coincidence that ISKCON entered prisons and began helping prisoners both in India and the United States in the same year: 1971. Srila Prabhupada most certainly had a plan, and he chose that year to reach out to all imprisoned souls on an international scale.
“The mission of the ISKCON Prison Ministry is to bring the Science of devotional service to prisoners around the world by providing opportunities for inmates to practice Krishna Consciousness and to guide them in their spirituality.”