Dying in Prison

2018-03-31_13-24-19

Drawing of Tulasi Devi by Bhakta Sasha

By Bhakti-lata Dasi

One of the inmates who has been in contact with the prison ministry since 2009, Bhakta Sasha, now has terminal cancer. He is fifty-seven years old. The prospect of dying is overwhelming for everyone, but having to die in prison is even more daunting. Prisons are not known for their warm, loving atmospheres; they are cold and impersonal at best. However, Bhakta Sasha is armed with Prabhupada’s teachings and graced with the holy name and he is taking full advantage of it.

Premvilas prabhu, from Columbus Ohio, has generously sponsored a Srimad-Bhagavatam set for him to read. Hopefully he’ll have time to read it all before he passes away. Due to prisons’ regulations, I cannot send him the whole set at once, so I send him two volumes at a time so that when he finishes a volume he always has the next one ready.

Bhakta Sasha writes:

“Thank you for sending the first and second cantos of Srimad-Bhagavatam. I have just finished the first canto note-paper-and-pencil_7239-157and was intrigued by the in-depth description of all the friends and kinsmen of the armies from the Bhagavad-Gita. From the demigods to the demons—like Kamsa and Sisupala— to King Yudhishthira and his actions which determined the future of the Pandavas. It really helps me get a better grasp and understanding of how the saga has carried the words of Sri Kṛṣṇa to the Kali-yuga.

I start my day at 2 AM, showering, cleaning my room, and doing laundry. I now have pure vegetarian meals. I do not think about how I feel. I take it one day at a time. I am only concerned about staying Kṛṣṇa conscious. I spend my day reading and listening to my Kṛṣṇa CDs. I own no other kind of CDs. My day begins with the Daily Temple Program CD.

There are a few CNAs (certified nursing assistants) and RNs (registered nurses) here that are Kṛṣṇa conscious. They were surprised to see that I spend my days in this way.

Unfortunately, in this particular unit, everyone has only 6 months or less to live.

Every day I also let other patients read some of my other books like Coming Back, A Second Chance, and Holy Jail (the book by Candramauli Swami, about prison inmates).

I only want my last breath to have Kṛṣṇa on it. Reading and hearing bring me so much peace of mind and calm in my everyday life. It’s a battle, but I resist taking any strong dose of morphine. I want my days to be lucid; I only ask for some to take the edge off my pain.

I am going to close for now as I tire easily while concentrating on writing the proper words to express my thoughts. Until my next letter. I bid you peace, joy, love and happiness in everything related to Kṛṣṇa. Hare Kṛṣṇa.

Bhakta Sasha”

NOTE:

This article is just a part of IPM NEWS, our bi-monthly electronic newsletter. To read whole issues, please go to: http://www.iskconprisonministry.org/

If you wish to receive it in your mailbox, simply email me at iskconprisonministry@gmail.com with “SUBSCRIBE” in the subject line.

More excerpts of inmate letters and also their artwork are available on our website at: www.iskconprisonministry.org

 

WANT TO HELP?

3 Donation Options

  1. Send check or postal money order to:

    ISKCON Prison Ministry

PO Box 2676

Alachua, FL 32616

  1. Donate through PayPal at: www.paypal.me/IPM
  2. For automatic, monthly donations, you can do so on our website (with the PayPal button), or through your bank “Automatic Bill Pay” option, which is free and easy.

We can send you a tax deductible receipt at the moment of the donation or at the end of the year, as you wish. ISKCON Prison Ministry

PO Box 2676

Alachua, FL 32616

IskconPrisonMinistry@gmail.com

www.iskconprisonministry.org 

images

Share this article...Share on Facebook0Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Google+0Email this to someonePrint this page

Leave a reply