July, 2012 – International Pure Bhakti Yoga Prison Program Report

Posted on July 27, 2012 by admin-vasanti

The International Pure Bhakti Yoga Societies (IPBYS) Prison Ai??Program continues to expand, and in the past few months a lot of exciting events have occurred. Mahabuddhi dasa has connected with chaplains in the Arkansas and Missouri State Prison systems who have requested a set of Srila Gurudeva’s books for their libraries. That is 40 libraries in total. He has recently connected with the Virginia system, and they would like us to send them our books. They will then meet with the other libraries, numbering 42, and discuss their taking books. Our goal for America with the prison program is to place Srila Gurudeva’s books in all the prison libraries in the 50 States.

Radhika dasi (from DC) has taken the responsibility of sending out a quarterly newsletter to all the inmates who have written to us requesting books. She would be able to send it monthly if someone were able to assist her. The newsletter includes a lecture for new people given by Srila Gurudeva and some personal information about our society. In response to the newsletter, we have received many letters of thanks from inmates saying that the lecture has impacted their lives. We hope to publish the newsletter each month.

Recently, a devotee inmate in Florida named Bhakta Carl has sent us an enthusiastic letter expressing a desire to assist the program and use his knowledge and experience to help the needs of the inmates. Before writing to us,Ai??he deeply meditated on what he wanted to communicate. In that letter, he emphatically expressed how essential it is for us to take the program seriously. This had a surprisingly deep impact on my heart. Compared with the sense of urgency of the inmates, I and the other members of our team were lackadaisical.

This is part of Bhakta Carl’s letter to us:

As of now, the IPBYS Prison Program is a small team of four (Mahabuddhi dasa, Radhika dasi, Kesava dasa (from Virginia) and me. Also, Nilambari dasi is fulfilling the book orders through bhaktistore.com .We are all committed now to embark on intensifying our IPBYS Prison Program by assisting the inmates who reach out to us to cultivate their spiritual quest and self-transformation through the process of bhakti. We pray to Srila Gurudeva for the inspiration and intelligence to fulfill their needs the best we can.

In 2003, there were 800,000 people in prison. Today there are 5 million. The abuses people suffer in prison are severe, and the majority of inmates are in for offenses such as smoking or selling marijuana. Even for such offenses, they are faced with 20 or 30 year sentences. During those 20 or 30 years, many people become increasingly depressed, violent, resentful or jaded.

By sending books about self-realization and love of God to the prisons, we are transforming the prison system from the inside out.

We hope to expand our team and welcome anyone who can devote time to taking on a pen pal or two.

And, of course, donations for books are always welcome. Many sponsors have assisted with this program thus far. It could not have developed to this point without them.




One Comment

  1. Anita dasi
    7 years ago

    What a powerful letter. This inmate has obviously read the books carefully and cares so much about helping other incarcerated people find the shelter of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. I hope the prison program can expand and help more people.