|It’s 10 on a bright Sunday morning. Group of enthusiastic gathering come together to sing loud, melodious kirtans, accompanied by the sounds of karatalas and mrdangas, followed by a wonderful discussion on Bhagavad Gita. Nothing unusual one might say, except that all this happens behind tight security at the Changi Prison Complex.Devotees have been conducting spiritual counseling at the prisons since 2000. The aim of counseling is to raise awareness of Krishna consciousness among the prisoners and to help them change/adapt using religion as a medium.
A typical session will start with the singing of the maha mantra. This is followed by speaking from authorized scriptures such as the Bhagavad Gita or relating some pastimes from the Ramayana or Mahabharatam. There will be an interaction period where the inmates can ask any questions related to the topic discussed.
This is the most interesting part of the session where the inmates will ask about anything ranging from karma to vegetarianism diet, expressing their concerns and difficulties. Often they ask thought-provoking questions which only highlights their interest and self-reading they have done. This will be followed by a Japa session, where the inmates will sit together in a circle and chant one round of the Maha Mantra. Occasionally, we screen a video show.
The inmates have expressed much gratitude. As one of them quipped, “These sessions charge us with spiritual bliss to last through a week.”
Many inmates are chanting Hare Krishna regularly & many are reading from Bhagavad Gita with genuine interest.
For more details on these programs, please contact Gopalak Krishna das (+65 90029978).