Letters From Prison Inmates About Bhagavad Gita As It Is

Two months prior to 2006 Gita Jayanti festival, I requested inmates, who regularly write to me, to write down a few lines about how they received the 1st copy of Bhagavad Gita As It Is and what they learned from the Gita and what are their favorite verses. I have tried to keep the inmates responses as it is in order to keep the originality of the text. The following is a compilation of inmate’s quotes:

Supreme Knowledge: I got Bhagavad Gita As It is from the Vedic resources. I learned it is Divine instruction for the battlefield of one’s life to serve the Supreme Personality of Godhead. My favorite verse is in chapter 9, This knowledge of Gita is king of education, the secret of all secrets. It is the purest of all knowledge and because it gives direct perception of self realization, it is the perfection of all religion. This is Raja-Vidya as there is no higher knowledge than Bhagavad Gita. It is spoken on the battlefield of Kuruksetra between Sri Krishna and His disciple friend Arjuna. (Mark Barnett, Canon City, CO, he is seriously practicing Krishna Consciousness)

Bhagavad Gita must be understood in Disciplic Succession: I found a Bhagavad Gita As It Is in a used bookstore, as soon as I saw it I purchased it immediately, I was already familiar with Srila Prabhupada’s books by reading BTG (Back to Godhead Magazine), BTG was given to me by sankirtana devotee. Under Srila Prabhupada’s expert qualified guidance, I learned that Gita must be understood in the disciplic chain of succession. When approached by a sincere student, a bona fide guru transmits knowledge of the Absolute Truth, namely knowledge of soul, the relationship between soul and supersoul, understanding of the time activity and cosmic manifestation. This knowledge is contained in the Bhagavad Gita, and Bhagavad Gita must be accepted in the manner Arjuna, disciple accepted from Sri Krishna the original guru. (Anonymous inmate, he holds a very nice Krishna Conscious program on festival days in the prison)

Krishna reveals Himself in Bhagavad Gita: I read all the books on Buddhist philosophy and I was not satisfied. As I read Bhagavad Gita As It Is, Krishna began to reveal Himself to me and the realizations were so deep. The information of Bhagavad Gita totally made Buddhist literature seem weak. Besides reading Gita, I decided to chant one round of Hare Krishna Maha-mantra. By doing these two things I had a spiritual experience, this is something I will never forget, something that has changed my life forever. (Kyle Weatherwax, Mineral Wells, TX)

Give up all forms of religion and surrender unto Me: Once I was child in the juvenile lock up in the Orange County, CA, where I met a long haired boy who would read Bhagavad Gita very nicely, he had a name like Arjuna, may be it was John or Aaron. He would sit up perfectly straight and read the Bhagavad Gita and he would teach me how to pronounce the Sanskrit. My favorite verse in the Gita is where Krishna says to Arjuna, give up all forms of religion and just surrender unto Me. (H. Sullivan, CA)

Everyone has to follow Krishna’s will: I received the copy of Bhagavad Gita from H. G. Chandra Sekhar ACBSP in 2001. I have learned from the Gita that I am not this body I am spirit soul, I am eternal and once dwelled with God. My goal is to return home back to Godhead, and only way to do this is through devotional service unto Lord Krishna; and I must become His devotee. To become Lord Krishna’s devotee I must render service unto Him and follow His will which is set forth in the Vedic literature specifically set forth in the Gita. The basic of devotional service is the hearing and chanting of Krishna’s glorious pastimes and names and to follow the four regulative principles. (Travis Becker, Parchman, MS)