The Story of Kalpagiri
How Bhagawan brought about a
change of heart in a criminal
The story of Kalpagiri, Prof. N
Kasturi says, deserves to be inscribed in letters of gold. It is a
story of a base metal turning into gold with the loving touch of
Baba. Here is the story in Prof. Kasturi words:
Kalpagiri had committed a foul murder and escaped the police of his
area. He slithered silently towards the Himalayas in the north. He
donned the ochre robes of a monk and wandered from one Dharmasala
(monastery) to another, trying to smother the squeaks of conscience
by chanting the Name of God. Four years he spent thus, trying to
flee from himself into the sylvan glory and silence of the snowy
mountains spread before him.
He met many a saint and sage and sadhakas (spiritual aspirants) and
read many sacred books, discussed the role of Bhakthi, Jnana and
Karma in releasing man from bondage and soon became proficient in
the dialectic of non-duality.
After a few years had passed this way, he decided that he could
safely venture into the old familiar regions and extended his
pilgrimage to Simhachalam, Tirupati, Kanchi and Rameswaram in the
southern part of India. Thence, he turned to Madurai and Srirangam,
Chamundi Hills, Melkote, and reached Bangalore. In Bangalore he was
told that a new Shirdi had now emerged in Puttaparthi. He boarded
the Guntakal train, alighted at Penukonda, and a bus brought him to
Baba called the Sanyasi in. He is the All-knowing One. Nothing can
be hidden from Him, by time or space or the artifice of man. He
chided him for running away from the consequences of his deed.
While at Shirdi in the Sai Baba body Baba had told Shama, one of his
close devotees, "Debt, enmity and murder have to be atoned for;
there is no escape." So, Baba admonished Kalpagiri, "Why postpone
for another birth the suffering which you must undergo in return for
this dire deed?"
He told him that ochre robes ill became a debtor who has not paid
his dues. He went up to His room and brought white clothes for him
to wear in place of the ochre ones. He commanded him to go to the
police in his area and give himself up. He gave him the fare and
also the precious Vibhuthi Prasadam, four packets of it; He assured
him, "Go, confess and undergo cheerfully whatever punishment they
ultimately give you. You will not be hanged; I promise that. Your
neck shall 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 the room, like a serpent that had cast off
its skin and renewed itself. There was a new glint in his eye, fresh
vigour in his voice and a lightness in his gait that was not there
that morning. Baba must be the Lord Himself, he thought. He decided
to obey His command and save himself, rather than discarding it and
get caught in the net of retribution and rebirth.
Travelling in the crowded train that night, he saw a fellow writhing
in pain, with his hand pressed on the abdomen; he could not but part
with one of the four Vibhuthi packets he had with him; he was happy
to find that the pain stopped and the man slept soundly. He knew
that his estimate of Baba’s divinity was correct.
So, he confessed to the police and the death-sentence the Judge
pronounced was compounded by the President of India into a sentence
of life imprisonment.
During the weeks when the petition for Presidential Mercy was being
considered, Kalpagiri in his cell was telling his neighbours
Chengappa and others that he had met the Incarnation of the Lord at
Puttaparthi and that He had assured him that mercy will be shown and
that, he would get from Baba Himself a rosary when he finished his
term and went to Him, freed from the recoil of the stab that he had
inflicted on a fellow being.
The word came true and the petition bore fruit.
Reference: “Sathyam Shivam Sundaram”, Vol-II, by Prof. N
Kasturi. Page: 108-110. Published By Sri Sathya Sai Books and
Publications Trust, Prasanthi Nilayam.