Kalpagiri’S Life Sentence-A True Story
Kalpagiri committed cold blooded murder but managed to escape the police of the area. Like a slimy snake he slithered silently to the Himalayas and donned the flame coloured robes of a monk. He hopped from one Dharamsala to another, trying to drown his guilt pangs in the din of religious chanting. He spent four years thus, trying to run away from his conscience.
He met hundreds of monks walking the spiritual path. But he eyed each one with suspicion for he felt that they too perhaps, were wearing the ochre robes to conceal something else within, just like him. He read many religious texts and debated with the learned on the role of Bhakti, Jnana and Karma. All this aside, he could not thwart the voice of his conscience, that persisted on pricking him. However hard he tried, the voice refused to leave him alone.
One day, he decided to go on a pilgrimage to South India where he belonged, for he was sure that the guardians of law would have forgotten him by now. He visited Thirupathi, Kanchi, Rameshwaram, Madurai etc. While at Bangalore, somebody told him about Bhagwan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Soon he found his way to Prashanti Nilayam and was seated in the Darshan Hall.
Baba called the ‘monk’ into his room. The omnipotent Lord knew everything. He chided him for running away from the consequences of his misdeeds. Baba said to him, “Why postpone for another birth the suffering which you must undergo in return for the dire dead?” Baba told him that the ochre robes did not become of a man who had not yet paid his dues. Baba gave him some white clothes and asked Kalpagiri to shed his ochre robes; go to the police in his area and confess. Baba also gave him the fare and four packets of precious Vibhuti Prasadam. We quote the words of assurance given by Baba to Kalpagiri, “Go, confess and undergo cheerfully whatever punishment they ultimately give you. You will not be hanged; I promise that. Your neck will wear a Japamala, a rosary, which I shall myself put round it, when you come to Me after the sentence is over.”
Kalpagiri emerged from Baba’s room, like a serpent that had discarded its dilapidated diaphanous skin and walked with a strength and purpose that stemmed from being charged by divinity personified. He resolved to obey the command of the Lord and save himself, rather than shrug his shoulders and commit his soul to another ‘life-sentence’ as another next birth.
He boarded a train that night, to make his way to his home town, to get to the police station there. On the train he saw a passenger writhing with abdominal pain. Contrary to his basic instinct, he gave him one of the four precious vibhuti packets and was amazed and strongly comforted to see that the man was relieved of pain and fell into sweet slumber.
To cut the long story short, Kalpagiri confessed to the police. The Judge that heard the prosecution, pronounced a death sentence. While the mercy petition was being considered by the President of India, a period of a few weeks passed. During this period, Kalpagiri in his prison cell, shared with his fellow convicts, his experience with the Incarnation of the Lord at Puttaparthi and also that the Lord had promised that mercy would be shown to him and Baba would reward him with a rosary. The words of the Lord came true and the petition bore fruits. Baba’s promise revealed its meaning when the death sentence was later compounded by the President of India into a sentence of life imprisonment. (Life sentence in this life as opposed to another one in the next!)
That was one life that was blessed by the Lord in His infinite mercy. But the miracle doesn’t end here. The numerous convicts, who came into contact with Kalpagiri during his stay in jail while he served his life sentence, were transformed. They read about Baba, they wrote to Baba, in their own unsophisticated style, for His blessings, His pictures and books about Him. And Baba replied to their letters! He told them that for the deeds done in ignorance, repentance is the way to make amends and to earn pardon. Not to repeat the same mistake is the sign of the morally strong.
This is the Kaliyuga. Baba says that He has come to transform. His biggest achievement is not the schools, colleges, or hospitals that He is running free of cost. Neither is it the huge water project. His biggest project and achievement is the transformation of the human heart! And for that transformation He uses just one weapon and one that is not even visible! In His own words, “The most powerful weapon to destroy the forces of evil rampant in the world today is LOVE!”
Living in an era where everyone is talking of the world coming to a hopeless end, we are blessed to be drenched with endless hope from the portal of our beloved Bhagwan Baba.
Baba tells us, “When divinity takes on the human form as described in the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, and the Bhagavatha (Indian Epics), one has to interpret the actions as providing examples and lessons and not as human stories enacted for entertainment”