Alcatraz, Robben Island, etc. – do these names ring a bell ? Yes, these are among the most famous maximum security prisons of the world. High-level political prisoners, mafia bosses, cartel barons, and drug lords are some of the people who were incarcerated here.

What makes a prison earn the “maximum security” title? 24-hour monitoring, dangerous terrain


around the institution, watchtowers, and security guards with latest gadgets are some of the things that may come to your mind.

Interestingly, this material world is also compared to a prison house. And in the Srimad -Bhagavatam (Canto 3, Chapter 18) we learn how it was constructed. Lord Brahma, who is in charge of this prison house, devised a set of coverings over the intelligence of all living beings who are supposed to stay here. The first covering over living being is that of anger. Anger or envy makes a living being think, “Why shall I not be a free enjoyer like God?” But however hard he may try, the minute living entity can never be an equal enjoyer with the Supreme Lord.

Being extremely angry at this situation he then tries to merge his existence with that of God. Many socalled spiritual leaders and institutions openly advocate this idea of merging oneself completely with God in order to achieve happiness. This second covering is called andhatamisra. Due to this covering a person considers death to be the ultimate end. He thinks, “There is nothing after death, so enjoy your senses to the maximum while you are alive. Beg, borrow or steal but somehow celebrate life.”

Due to the third covering called tamas, a person has absolutely no knowledge about the spirit soul. He only sees his physical body and considers all that is related to this body as having a relationship with him.

The fourth covering called moha makes the world divided into sectarian societies, families and nationalities, and then they fight tooth and nail over temporary, destructible objects.

And finally, maha-moha makes a person mad after material enjoyment.

So, you may hear about some rare prison break occurring in the maximum security prisons built by man but nobody so far has been able to break free out of this material world without piercing these five coverings made by Lord Brahmä.