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I. Transformation of the Heart

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 Prasanthi Nilayam.

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.

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