I am a second-generation Indian American devotee. I was born in Gujarat state and raised in Atlanta, USA. I have been in prison for almost 3½ years and have about 3½ years to go, unless I am released earlier.
I cannot express in words what BTG means to me and what impact this magazine has had on people’s lives in prison. There are so many testimonials of “BTG-lila” in prisons that I could give you. Here are just a few:
Once, a South American inmate started chanting and dancing when he saw my BTG and found out that I am a devotee. The other Latino inmates smiled and listened attentively as he told us how his old girlfriend in his native Uruguay was a devotee, how he went to the temple, ate prasadam, etc. He told me, “You have a real good culture, real good religion.”
Another time, at another prison, another Latino inmate saw the BTG in my hands and immediately started chanting Hare Krsna and dancing in ecstasy. I hadn’t mentioned a thing, and we hadn’t even introduced ourselves to each other. He told me how he used to go to the Laguna Beach temple, how nice the devotees were, how he liked the programs and the food. He immediately took the BTG. Srila Prabhupada’s BTG has a transcendental life of its own.
Another time, I was moved into an open dorm, where I knew only one person out of eighty or so inmates. I had the BTG issue of Sri Panca-tattva in Mayapura and another issue, which had His Holiness Sridhara Swami’s life story. I hadn’t even set my mattress and belongings down when a crowd of people immediately started picking up and looking through the BTGs, saying they wanted to read them. They felt a spontaneous attraction.
It seems that no matter what religion, viewpoint, opinions, background, experiences, culture, or knowledge a person has, there is something for everybody in BTG. I want to thank you and the staff Vaisnavas for writing and producing such an excellent, interesting, spiritually entertaining, and enlightening magazine.
(Hardik Kaswala,Calhoun State Prison,Morgan, Georgia)
I am a twenty four year old man incarcerated in Florida. The first contact I ever had with this wonderful movement was in January of 2002. I had written Muktakesa Dasa of the ISKCON Prison Ministry and asked a few questions. His reply came with two copies of BTG. When I opened the pages and laid my eyes on a picture of Lord Krsna, I was instantly hooked. Since then, I’ve stayed in contact with devotees regularly, and I practice the philosophy to the best of my ability.
I just wanted to send a big thank you and to let you know that I’ve very grateful for the service you provide.
(Bobby Glover, Hardee Correctional Institute Bowling Green, Florida)