Anecdotes From Various Prison Courses

On Day 10 of the January Tihar course, a release order came for one of the inmates attending the course. His relatives had arrived to take him home. According to prison rules, an inmate cannot stay in the jail once a release order has been issued. The young man insisted that he be allowed to stay until the end of the course. The jail authorities were insistent that he leave, but he refused. His family was astonished! Finally, he convinced his relatives to sign a declaration saying that they would not file a case against the prison. While the inmate sat for the evening discourse, his relatives were busy filling out various documents. He got his wish: he was allowed to stay overnight. After attending the closing session of the course the next morning, he left the prison.

A convict named Baba Satyan Baiya is undergoing life imprisonment at Baroda Central Jail in Gujarat for murdering three male family members in broad daylight in a thickly populated city. After attending a Vipassana course in the prison, He had a complete change of heart. He humbled himself before the women whose son and husband he killed, and asked for their forgiveness. He further took upon himself the responsibility for the maintenance of the families who are suffering because of his crime. The women accepted him as their lifelong brother.

On the final day of the November Tihar course, a convict addressed the gathering of 2,000 including members of the press. He said that during his prison stay, he had prepared meticulous plans on paper to murder the judge who had wrongly convicted him. On the seventh day of the Vipassana course, however, he burned the plans, because he no longer felt any desire for revenge.

A 30-year old man served a seven-year term in Baroda Central Jail for bank robberies. He had escaped once from the prison. He had been plotting to avenge the death of his father, who had been killed by terrorists. After taking a Vipassana course, he said: "It is good that I attended this course. Otherwise I would not have rested until I had my revenge. Now I feel pure, healthy and free of any thoughts of crime." When he was released in 1992, he went to one of the established Vipassana meditation centers of India to take another course before returning to his home in the Punjab.