Thanks to Prabhupada

I am an ardent follower of this beautiful magazine, and I have decided to share my story with the thousands of readers of BTG. I came from a family with a strong religious background, all widely read in the holy scriptures. We were disciplined to follow the strict Vedic rules, like going to satsangas and singing bhajanas. Unfortunately, I was married into a home where religion was not viewed as a top priority. But although the family was large I made time to do some service to the Supreme Lord.

Many years later my dad passed away, and as we were an extremely close family I became severely depressed. It was then that a friend suggested I join the temple and chant the Hare Krsna maha-mantra. I did. It immediately gave me tremendous inner strength.

Today I am a regular devotee of the Hare Krsna temple and the congregational services in my district. They remind me of my happy days I spent with my parents.

Happy chanting to all your wonderful readers. Through your magazine I would like to thank the dedicated, much revered, and true guru His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada for clarifying the Bhagavad-gita, for founding the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), and for writing his many literary works. Through the dedication of His Divine Grace we are able to understand and follow righteous principles. As Krsna says in Bhagavad-gita, "One who is engaged for the welfare of others, who works without fruitive gain, and who is always thinking of Me as the supreme goal will no doubt attain Me, My dear Arjuna."

Our deepest gratitude for bringing knowledge, wisdom, hope, and spiritual guidance to so many towns, villages, and suburbs. Thank you.

S. Persadh
Durban, South Africa

Prison Ministries Appreciation

BTG magazine is like a spiritual feast. Each preparation is more succulent than the one before.

I'm writing to get across a brief message for more devotees to get involved with ISKCON Prison Ministries.

Spearheading IPM is a selfless devotee, Candrasekhara Dasa. He gets hundreds of names of interested prisoners. He passes them out to different IPM workers like myself. I began writing inmates three and a half years ago. I was given five names.

My body is always breaking down, so I had lots of time to write, and eventually I had over sixty men to write to! I usually write two to four hours a day, five days a week.

Srila Prabhupada's Centennial year is here, and we need more people to lighten the load, which gets bigger and bigger every day! One of my inmates was initiated last year by Bir Krsna Goswami, who went into the prison to perform the initiation ceremony. I hear that he may be initiating another inmate of mine in 1996.

This service keeps me fired up. Researching answers to the many questions I am asked each week keeps me focused on Srila Prabhupada's blissful purports.

IPM is a service that is never over. Once I think I am finally caught up, the mail comes and I start all over again.

In three and a half years I've probably placed 200 books and the japa beads I cannot count. I am very blessed to be a part of ISKCON Prison Ministries, and as long as I have the strength to write, I'll write. Thank you.

Bhagavati Devi Dasa
Aurora, Colorado

Armenians in India

First, thank you for your very inspiring magazine. I think the November issue on Manipur is one of the best I have ever seen. I particularly enjoy those extended features on the traditional culture of India.

I would also like to comment on the atrocious persecution in Armenia (BTG, July/August 1995).

It would be desirable if the violent elements in that country would learn the same tolerance always displayed to the Armenian minority living in India.

My research at my local public library reveals that there is a very old relationship between Armenia and India. The first foreign settlers in Calcutta were the Armenians who arrived in the sixteenth century. They gained much influence at the Nawab's court, becoming bankers, generals, and ministers. By the time the British East India Company arrived in the 1690's, the Armenians were so wealthy that they were able to lend the British money to purchase trading rights.

Armenian settlers in India later spread their influence to Burma, China, and Southeast Asia, becoming influential in trade and politics.

Today two hundred Armenians still live in Calcutta. They have their own independent church and three centers of worship there. The Armenian Holy Church of Nazareth is the oldest Christian church in Calcutta.

If the people and government of Armenia were mindful of these long and successful links that they have with India, then surely they would treat with the respect they deserve their own citizens who follow Lord Caitanya's Vaisnava movement from Bengal.

Armenians have always been allowed to follow their own customs in India, so surely the same treatment should apply to those who choose to follow India's great spiritual culture in Armenia.

Peter Commandeur
Christchurch, New Zealand

Satisfying Nectar

Thank you very much for your column on book distribution by Navina Nirada Prabhu. I can easily read pages more of his or any other book distributor's realizations. It is the nectar for which we are always anxious! Any of us who have directly distributed Srila Prabhupada's books or his magazine Back to Godhead or are doing so now share an open secret: There is an immediate feeling of transcendental satisfaction and reciprocation from the Supersoul when someone you've talked to walks away with one of Srila Prabhupada's books.

When I moved into our Chicago temple at the end of 1975, there was an incredible momentum for book distribution. It was like a party every day to go with the book distributors to O'Hare Airport. A sankirtana party! To serve the book distributors was always a thrilling experience. I would bring them more books or arrange prasadam and observe and listen to them as they encouraged celebrities, dignitaries, and ordinary folks from all over the world to receive Srila Prabhupada's books. That was the most devotionally intense and ecstatic time of my life.

The description of Navina Nirada Prabhu's sankirtana pastimes with the handicapped man, the drug addict with AIDS, and the gentleman depressed over his mother's death reminds us that there is hope for all who take shelter of the Krsna consciousness movement. Everyone can be freed from suffering very quickly through the enlightenment that book distribution brings.

Gaura Dasa
Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Reasons for Thanks

I couldn't help weeping somewhat when I read Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami's "Lessons from the Road" in the November/December issue. Actually, this is not an unusual reaction for me when reading BTG articles. I often offer to read to my husband from BTG or a Prabhupada book when he's driving us somewhere, but I invariably start to choke on the words and make it a very awkward scene. This particular article, however, was wonderfully presented with the perfect choice of Vedic references. I know because this past year has been for me an extremely treacherous one of health and financial hardship. "Lessons from the Road" was so convincing that it gave me great relief and remembrance of all the reasons to be thankful. Thank you, Satsvarupa Goswami, and thank you, BTG.

Raga Dasi
San Diego, California

Looking Forward to Krsna's Presence

I am glad to find you have put a Hare Krsna Catalog in the middle of the magazine. I look forward to BTG. There is so much to read. It is like looking at and being in the presence of Krsna.

Evelyn K. Harris 
Hayward, California


We'd like to hear from you. Please send correspondence to: The Editors, Back to Godhead, P. O. Box 430, Alachua, Florida 32616, USA.

Fax: (904) 462-7893.