What A Day/Night
Center of the World, Ohio
Right next to this tiny hamlet market by a gas station and a miniature replica of the Statue of Liberty is a state prison which houses one thousand men in one building and five hundred women in another. I try to make it a bi-annual visit to see one of the inmates with the arrangement of Akilananda, a family man and student of guru, Srila Prabhupada. You can’t meet a finer person than Akilananda. He’s an artist, craftsmen, trumpeter, could easily pass as a standup comedian and is just a good human being. Whenever visiting Cleveland he takes me to see Arjuna aka Aaron Caton, another fine soul, who sometime in the past just messed up in behaviour that put him in the roll for a few years.
Arjuna is a man on his own reform and regrets what he had done. He is making good progress. Daily he does his japa meditation in addition to working out and running to take care of his health. He is very much appreciated by other inmates and is perceived as a type of mystical person. That’s good because when you hear him speak regarding “a wave of gang boys coming in” there is a desperate need for some kind of direction coming from someone. Arjuna has been encouraging many of his prison friends to consider pursuing higher consciousness. “Broken homes,” he explained, “is one of the main causes of young men and women resorting to violence.”
You can’t help but to think that someone like Arjuna might be placed there to be that special big bro to those who haven’t seen or tasted hope.
My evening was spent in Cleveland at the home of Dayal aka Don Foose, a punk rocker of the past and who still pumps out stuff but with deeper meaning lyrics these days. In his home we formally initiated three new people into Krsna Consciousness with Dayal as head priest. After the ceremony our three actors I’m travelling with, Godruma Nitai and Nitai Priya, put out a powerful “Lonely People.”
What a day! What a night!