The following letter is from Suren Karapetyan (Sannyasa dasa) and Karen Saakyan (Kamala-mala dasa), who are presently imprisoned in Armenia for practicing Krsna consciousness. The letter, written in February 1987 to other devotees in the Soviet Union, was on a tiny piece of paper that was folded many limes so that it could he smuggled out of the prison.
Dear devotees of Lord Krsna,
Please write us a letter and let us know how you are doing. Many unpleasant rumors are reaching us here. We heard that some devotees were arrested as a result of searches of their homes. These stories have not been verified, though. Some visitors told us that Petya's mother died and that he has been arrested. If you do not know about this, then please check into it and see if he needs help. Also, please see about the welfare of Gevork.
Please convey our congratulations to our friends [regarding their initiation]. Jaya, Nityananda Rama dasa! Jaya, Prana dasa! Jaya, Haridasa Thakura dasa! We are very joyful on hearing the news about them and all those who may soon also become initiated.
How are the Armens (Armen Saakyan and Armen Sarkisyan] doing? One man was brought here from the Nork District, and he told us a little about Armen. We were also glad to hear from Arsen and Aram. Please give them our heartfelt thanks and best regards. Kamalamala and I have been separated. Now I am in cell number twelve, and he is in cell number forty-three, which is on the third floor. Krsna always causes the activities of the materialists to backfire. They tried to stop our preaching by separating us, but now the number of people who are discovering the nectar of Krsna consciousness has doubled!
It looks like you received our last letter because you did not meet with Sako. You were right in doing so, because we have not received anything through him. We are suspicious of him because it appears that the letter we sent to our aunt has fallen into the wrong hands. He is the most likely person to have done this.
Did you remember to send the English Gita to that person in Moscow? If that has not been done, then please do it if it is not too much trouble for you.
What is going on with our registration [as a government-recognized religion]? In here we are getting the impression that it may soon become possible. Perhaps it is a good idea to push the authorities again. Maybe we could present a new application for registration. The best plan would be to appeal to the highest authorities. By the way, how is the democratization process going on in the Soviet society, and what is your experience of it?
Do you have any more of that maha-prasadam, especially that rice [from Jagannatha Puri]. If there is any left, please send more. Many people here have tasted it, and we also taste a tiny bit once in a while. But now there is almost nothing left. Please send us small pictures of guru and Krsna if possible. We would also very much like any information from our guru, if there is something letters, instructions, etc.
We are eager to learn about what the devotees are doing in other cities. What is happening with those who are imprisoned? Have there been any releases? When you have an opportunity, please give our best regards to devotees from other cities. What is the news about Advaita dasa, Sarvabhauma dasa, and Saci-suta dasa?
Please tell everyone that by the grace of guru and Krsna this Krsna consciousness movement is spreading, and also by their grace we manage to follow our guru's basic instructions. It is so nice that Krsna sent us to Moscow last year, because now people are coming here from there who have heard about Krsna from people we preached to there, as well as other places, during our tour of so many prisons throughout the country.
Dear friends! Guru's mercy is so great upon those who are subjected to horrible circumstances, like prisons, etc. Without this mercy one would leave Krsna consciousness immediately. Even within this prison Maya keeps trying to do her job on us, so we can imagine what is going on outside in freedom. It looks like the time has come when, as the New Testament says, "Only those who endure the sufferings to the very end will be saved."
Stand firm, dear devotees. There is evidence that we may not have very long to wait for better times. When will the time come for all of us to meet our dear Guru Maharaja? But I must admit that I am not prepared for that event at all.
Our dear devotees, please tell our beloved Guru Maharaja that both Kamala-mala and I are begging him for one thing only to please make us worthy servants of His Divine Grace. Otherwise, we do not see any point in living. And it does not make any difference for us where we have to stay whether in a prison, in a special psychiatric hospital, or in so-called freedom if we could only surrender to him and serve him to the end of our lives. We do not have any other confidential desire; neither do we hope that this desire we have can be satisfied other than through the causeless mercy of guru and Krsna.
I have made some prasadam for Guru Maharaja here. Perhaps I will send it out, but I'm not sure whether I should. Let us see what happens. It appears that we are not yet worthy to have the devotees' association, but by guru's grace perhaps we will meet all of you maybe. In the meantime, we hope you all make nice spiritual advancement under the guidance of our dear Guru Maharaja.
Sannyasa dasa and
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The following letter is from Yakov Dzhidzevadze (Yamaraja dasa), who is imprisoned in a labor camp in the Soviet Union for being a Hare Krsna devotee.
Hare Krsna! Dear devotees,
I was very glad to receive your letter. Thank you very much for sending me the medicine. I am very happy to learn that by the Lord's grace everything is going well with the devotees there. I have heard that the number of devotees is increasing and that the situation for devotional service is becoming more favorable.
Of course, you probably want to know what it is like in our labor camp. Everything is quite well. First of all, I meet many people with whom I have conversations. There are many here who support Krsna consciousness and know the Hare Krsna mantra.There are some here who have decided to dedicate their lives to Krsna in devotional service. One young man out of these has recently been released.
Not long ago Vakresvara Pandita dasa [Ashot Setrakovich Shaglamdzyan] arrived here. He settled himself very nicely and immediately joined the spiritual program one hundred percent. In all honesty, we have plenty of service to do here for Krsna, and we are not at all worried about when we will leave this place. Krsna sent us here, and when He will consider it necessary, then we will leave. In this labor camp we feel Krsna's help very distinctly. This is due to the great mercy of our beloved guru.
Ambarisa dasa [Otari Shalvovich Nach-hebiya] and Mayuradvaja dasa [Nugzar Antizimovich Chargaziya] are in a neighboring labor camp. Everything is all right with them, and the Krsna consciousness over there is of the proper standard. The materialists want to eradicate Krsna consciousness in our country, but on the contrary their efforts have made the roots of this mighty tree of life (Krsna consciousness) even stronger, and while eliminating the weeds (insincere devotees), they contributed to the growth of new shoots (new devotees). In other words, not realizing what they were doing, the materialists were engaged by the Supreme Lord in His plan for spreading the Krsna consciousness movement on a large scale. Those whose knowledge is stolen by illusion sometimes try to extinguish Fire by throwing fuel on it.
By the way, we have been receiving enlivening news about our Armenian God-brothers. It appears they are carrying out the mission of Lord Caitanya very effectively. If you happen to get the chance. please offer our most humble obeisances unto the lotus feet of our eternal guru. Please say, "Hari bol!" to all the devotees for us.
Respectfully, your friend.