Prison and prisoners

People in prison are our brothers who have made mistakes. But before they can make inner progress, first they have to recognise that they have made mistakes and then they have to feel that there is another way of life which will prevent them from making further mistakes. This way of life is the way of aspiration, not the way of binding desire. When one wants to expand oneself inwardly, the light that is there is bound to guide and illumine him. Again, when one wants to bind himself, unconsciously or consciously, there are forces to misguide him.

Nobody wants to remain in prison. An individual feels that the judge was unjust or he feels that the judge was just, but the punishment he got was more than his due. So everybody who is in prison wants to get out. But we have to know whether a particular individual is coming out to lead a better life or to do something destructive. He has killed one person. Is he coming out with the idea that this time he will kill ten persons or is he coming out with the idea that he has done something wrong and now he wants to turn over a new leaf and only do the right thing? If he is determined to do the right thing, the divine thing, when he comes out of jail, then who is there to prevent him?

It was desire that prompted him to do something undivine, destructive. If he leaves the prison and aspiration does not come into his life, then again and again he will do the same thing. Temptation-world will again capture him. He has his own temptation; then there is the temptation of the world, which will try to capture his mind. He will again do something horrible and then he will be caught. What can save him? Obedience. Something inside him is bound to say, “Do this, don’t do that,” and this voice has to be obeyed.

A child’s mother can say, “This is fire. Don’t touch it; it will burn you,” but if a child does not believe her, he will still touch it. Just because of his innocence, do you think the fire will not burn his finger? No, it will burn him. He did not listen to his mother’s warning. For a child there is his mother to warn him. For a grown-up there is something which is more powerful, and that is called conscience. You may say that someone’s consciousness can be totally eclipsed by foul desire, but I will say no. Everybody’s conscience is very powerful, but some people listen to it while others do not.

If somebody wants to come out of jail and lead a better life, he can pray to God, “O God, I did something wrong. Now inner illumination has dawned. Please forgive me. Now let me be Your real instrument and make You happy.” If he prays like this, do you think that God will not listen to his prayer? God is bound to listen to everybody’s prayer provided it is sincere.

A prisoner is he who has made a mistake, consciously or unconsciously. His mistake can be rectified provided there is an adamantine will. There is no mistake that cannot be rectified. But how many of the prisoners are trying to rectify their mistakes? When people do something wrong, very often a kind of inner arrogance comes forward against the authorities and against their own life of discipline. They become mad that they have done something wrong and then they try to destroy their own inner possibility. They say, “If I have done this, who asked me to do it, who allowed me?” There is no real answer. The vital may say, “If God was really compassionate, how did He allow me to become a thief, a hooligan?” This is how we blame God at every moment. First we become victim to our undivine desires and then, when we get the punishment, we blame God: “How is it that God allowed us to do this?” Poor God! What will He do? Right before us He kept two rooms. One room was full of light, illumination. The other was full of darkness. We didn’t choose the illumined room, we chose the dark room. So naturally we shall have to meet with the consequences.

There is every hope for a prisoner. His case is not lost. As long as creation exists, God will supply him with hope and aspiration. It is up to him to accept inspiration from his inner life. A prisoner can start his spiritual journey, inner journey, right in the prison. If he is really sincere and wants to become spiritual and divine and work for mankind, then let him study a few spiritual books. There he may not have the guidance of a spiritual person, a spiritual Master, but I believe most prisons allow books. Let him start at the beginning and then, when he comes out of prison, let him go one step forward. First let him be satisfied with a few drops of water and when he comes out he can really try to quench his spiritual thirst. If he comes to a spiritual Master who has Light and Bliss, this spiritual Master will give him a glass full of water. He will say, “Drink as much as you want to. I have an inexhaustible source of Light.” But the prisoner has to start like everyone else right from the beginning, with perhaps only one minute a day of spiritual life, of dedicated life. In prison he may not get the opportunity to lead a dedicated life, but he can study spiritual books, religious books, which will give him inspiration. The light from the spiritual books will enter into him and create a new field in his life.