Somewhere in the middle of the lecture Smita Krsna Maharaj called the inmate’s attention to the fact that they could contact us about spirituality and that we could visit them again if they would like that. I think that almost everyone present exclaimed unexpectedly and with joy that they would. Their caretaker, Mrs. Danira, got up, stood in the middle, in front of Maharaj, facing us and, with great enthusiasm and smile, confirmed that this would be desirable and nice.
We arrived at the prison according to plan. H.H. Smita Krishna Maharaja, Sudevi dasi Marunda dasi and I (Yours truly Vrsabha das). The first thrill was at the reception when the doorwoman complimented our ladies for being wonderfully and elegantly dressed. On the third floor we were welcomed by another doorman who was thrilled by our visit. He told us that he had to stay at the reception desk, but he wanted some contact info because he liked what we talked about. He received my web page and thanked us.
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?
It was Ajitendra prabhu, Yashopati prabhu and me (bhn. Lara) . As it was a sunny day, not surprisingly, only 5 inmates came. Three regulars and 2 new inmates. We chanted for some 15 minutes, and then Ajitendra prabhu read a verse from the Bhagavad-gita 2.13: Continue reading
Devotees: Mahatma, Zoran, Dharma-vatsalah
Attendance: 20 inmates
This time, our trip to Lepoglava was without the fog, we entered the prison very quickly. A few inmates were already in the room where we hold the program and they eagerly told us that more inmates are coming. Sure enough, soon there were 20 along with three guards.
Devotees: Mahatma . Zoran Dharma-vatsalah
Attendance: 13 inmates + guard
Preparing for our eight prison preaching program in Lepoglava, I felt very happy knowing that we were bringing them a new book translated into Croatian – The Definitive Guide to Practicing Krsna Consciousness in Prison by inmate Tirtha Das.
After a 3 month break we were finally back in action. There were 3 of us: Ajitendra Prabhu, Yashopati Prabhu and myself. Everything was “as before“. The guards let us in, we then had to wait for some officer to open the building door. In the designated room there were already 5 inmates waiting for us all sitting in one corner.
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.
In Varaždin prison the inmates mainly come from the Gipsy community. It was the Ekadasi in the Kartik month. When Mahatma and myself arrived, there were three inmates waiting for us, one of them had attended our programs before. A bit stiff, the new ones needed some time to relax. We attempted to involve them in bhajans, with moderate success. The philosophy part was also quite challenging – a simplified story of hunter Mrigari was something they could relate to, I then followed with the story of the life of Maharaja Bharata. We managed to connect with the inmate that came to the programs before, but the others were a bit withdrawn.
Attendance: 10 inmates + 1 guard
Shortly after an unexpected and very serious surgery, our main man, Mahasimha Prabhu, the organizer, was back in his seva, (devotees ardently prayed for his well-being) therefore we got the chance for another program in Lepoglava, ,the Croatian- Mecca of prison preaching. With joy and zest I was prepared for another encounter with the inmates. Mahatma Prabhu drove us to the prison on time, but the guards were late as usual. To our surprise this time they took us to a lot smaller room but it turned out to be our Krishna’s mercy as the arrangement brought us closer to one another.