During the 17th century when Tanashah was ruling Golkonda, Kancherla Gopanna was one of his Tehasildars (tax collectors).
Once, Gopanna was visiting the Ram temple at Bhadrachalam, where he realized that the temple was in need of rebuilding. He initiated that thought in the minds of local people and helped them collect initial donations from nearby villages/towns, enough to get work started.
But, the funds ran out before the construction was complete. Given that harvest season was a few months away, no one was able to give new donations. People from Bhadrachalam requested Gopanna to provide them a loan from government funds, which they promised to refund once the crop is harvested. Gopanna was reluctant but caved in, as it was just a matter of a few months, and he thought he could manage it without anyone knowing it.
But unfortunately, the harvest wasn’t good that year and people couldn’t repay the loan. The matter reached till Tanashah, and Gopanna was fired from the job and sent to jail for life.
While Gopanna was in Jail, he used the entire time doing bhakti of Ram, complaining him about the situation, completely engrossing himself in it. It is said that, after 12 years, Ram and Laksham came to Tanashah’s court, and repaid all the money owned by Gopanna along with interest. Tanashah was so overwhelmed by the events that he donated all the money to Bhadrachalam temple, freed Gopanna, and requested him to re-join the job.
But, by that time Gopanna was completely out of this material world, wanted to spend rest of the life at Bhadrachalam, and hence called ‘Ramdas of Bhadrachalam’.
As we can see, it was due to Gopanna’s Prarabdha karma that he had to go to jail, but what’s important is how he chose to spend time while in there. Instead of resenting those people who got him into trouble, he decided to use that distress to further himself on spiritual progress in such a way that, Ram himself had to come to free him.
We all too maybe to a lesser degree, go through various distressful situations in life, but instead of using that for worrying and bitterness, we should channel it to help us on spiritual progress.