Effective transformation of heart is the greatest miracle that Bhagawan often performs. While achieving this, notwithstanding the Divinely ordained Law of Karma, faith, belief and surrender play vital role in achieving this stupendous feat. Howard Murphet, the Australian writer who was instrumental in introducing the the ‘Man of Miracles’ to the western world narrates an Amazing Australian miracle chronicling a family story of transformation , from being a family without religion to become one with a true spiritual religion.
The Great Australian Miracle
Early in 1976 my wife and I became acquainted with Pearl Harrison, a retired secretary of the medical faculty of a Sydney University. At first we thought this just a chance meeting, but later we wondered…
At that time the manuscript of my book, "Sai Baba Avatar" was ready for the final draft to be typed for the publishers. As Pearl still liked to do casual secretarial work, it was agreed that she type the manuscript. In this way she became exposed to the wonders of Sri Sathya Sai Baba for the first time.
One of her granddaughters, nine year old Mayan Waynberg, sometimes used to help her by reading aloud the material to be typed. While the grandmother was somewhat sceptical about the miracles, the granddaughter accepted the truth of them without question.
The first few chapters of the book had been completed, when Mayan, who was looking very pale and bruising too easily, was taken to a doctor for a blood test. The doctor was so appalled at the results, that he phoned Mayan's mother, Helen, and advised that the child be collected from school and taken home immediately. He also arranged for her to be given a bone marrow test at the Prince of Wales hospital in Sydney.
Blood tests showed that Mayan's haemoglobin count was less than half what it should be, and the white components of her blood were about a third of the normal level. Bad as this was, the worst were the platelets which were down to only one fifteenth of the normal count.
Her disease was diagnosed as aplastic anaemia, in which the bone marrow fails to produce the vital blood components in sufficient quantity to maintain health and life.
Mayan was put under the care of a specialist who told her mother that the only treatment for the disease was the use of certain drugs; one was a male hormone, Prednisolone, and another Fluoxymesterone. Both of these have very distressing side effects, such as stunting growth, causing puffy obesity, and bringing a growth of hair on the face while causing baldness of the head. The specialist said that the child would need to have blood and bone marrow tests constantly to monitor her condition. This in itself was a terrible ordeal for everyone concerned as Mayan had a deep phobia about needles piercing her skin and drawing blood.
But the very worst aspect was that, after going through all this, and suffering the terrible side effects of the treatment, she would still not be cured. One of the medical men told Pearl the depressing truth that the drug treatment could do no more than prolong the child's life for perhaps a few years, but could have no effect in the long run. Moreover, the child could not live a normal life even for the short time she was kept alive.
Then Pearl Harrison thought about the Sai miracles she had been typing. She writes: "I must admit to complete lack of faith in religion, considering myself a Jewess by tradition but not by observance. I had typed about many miracles that Sai Baba had performed, and had thought how interesting it all sounded intellectually, but, had not this dreadful illness occurred to my own granddaughter, I might have let it go at that. It was as if my mind suddenly opened with a jerk, and I began to think perhaps there was something real in all that I had typed. Howard and Iris were most concerned when I told them about Mayan, and said they would come over immediately, and Mayan could start taking Vibhuti.”
Lord Sai is specially interested in all those in whom His devotees are interested. But He had earlier told me the Divine cure requires faith, belief and surrender. Could we find these ingredients in this Sydney suburban home? When I said earnestly to Mayan: "But you must really believe in the power of Sai Baba,” she replied, without hesitation: "Oh, but I do." In the way she said it I sensed the simple child-like faith that is so important—and yet so hard for most people to achieve. Her grandfather, Jack Harrison, gave me a hope that perhaps he too might have the helping faith, when he said: "I'm going to India as soon as I can to thank Sai Baba for curing Mayan." The cure had not yet begun, but he seemed to have no doubt that it would take place.
Pearl, on the other hand, had her intellectual barriers to overcome. The mother Helen, though apparently sceptical, was willing to try the Vibhuti treatment. But constant prayer was important, we assured the family. They all agreed to pray to Swami; Iris and I prayed, too, fervently. We badly wanted Swami to cure Mayan of this terrible disease, not only because we felt love and compassion for the child but also because this could be the great Australian miracle that might bring more and more of our fellow countrymen to the Light.
However, the immediate question was should Mayan take the prescribed drugs? We knew from research into many cases that Swami sometimes cures through drugs, while preventing any side effects. Yet sometimes He will not have drugs used at all. The only way was to ask Him, and in the meantime let the child start the drug treatment. The doctors had said the side effects would not become evident for about three months.
By good fortune our friend Lynette Penrose was about to set off on a visit to Swami. Incidentally, it had been in her home in Balmain that we first began Sai meetings in Sydney. I believe they were the first in Australia.
Lynette agreed to take a photograph of Mayan and letters to Swami. We hoped, moreover, that she would be able to ask him verbally if the child should or should not take the drugs prescribed by the doctors.
No long after she reached India, an airmail letter came from Lynette. She had been granted an interview with Swami, had given him the photograph and letters, and asked the important question about treatment. She wrote that when He looked at the photograph, His face had become "very soft and compassionate" and He had said: "No, no drugs, just Vibhuti in water twice a day."
Pearl Harrison writes of the situation: "When this message came back, we had to decide whether to take her off the drugs and give her Vibhuti only. Mayan made up our minds for us. She said, `If Sai Baba says I should not take drugs, then I won't take them'. So after just three weeks on the drugs, she went off them and has taken only Vibhuti since." This was putting complete faith in the Divine Power of someone no member of the family had ever seen, except in photographs.
We thought it might help at the receiving end of the healing current if Sai Baba meetings were held at the home of the Harrisons in Greenacre. They readily agreed to this, and their house became the second centre for bhajan and study groups in Sydney. Soon Jack decided to convert his big garage into a Sai temple, and erect a new car port to shelter his car. The necessary changes to the building's interior were made and a beautiful shrine erected there by some of the devotees who had been to Swami. The temple acquired a sacred atmosphere and the size of the group began to expand, people coming from all parts of the metropolitan area, and from distant places in the Blue Mountains and the South Coast.
The meetings were a great success. It was surprising to see how quickly and wholeheartedly the Australians took to singing bhajans. Many learned to lead, the child Mayan being one of them.
Mayan's health was showing a steady improvement. The family had decided not to tell the doctors immediately that she was taking none of the drugs. She was taken to the hospital for tests every two weeks, and the medical people were delighted and perhaps surprised at the results. There was a dramatic rise in her red blood cells, a good improvement in the white cells, and the platelet count was slowly creeping upwards.
After a few months the red and white cell counts were quite normal, and the tests were then given every two months instead of every two weeks. Her platelets were showing a rise of about 10,000 at each test, but they still had a long way to go to reach normality.
The doctors had tested Mayan's sister Alona, who is about a year the senior, for bone marrow compatibility with that of Mayan. They advised, after the test, a bone marrow graft from the sister, saying it would help Mayan fight the disease.
Again a devotee going to India from Australia asked Swami if this operation should be performed or not. He replied that the child was getting better, and would soon be completely well. "There is no need for an operation," He said. So no operation was performed.
In November 78, soon after Iris and I arrived in India on a visit to Swami, we received a letter from Pearl Harrison telling us that Mayan's last blood test had shown her platelets as even better than normal—in fact, 174,000.
Early in the next year Jack and Pearl Harrison with their two granddaughters came to India to thank Swami for the miraculous cure.
This Divine healing across the thousands of miles had worked steadily, taking nearly two years to effect the complete cure. The time factor has, perhaps, something to do with the receiving ground—the depth of faith, belief, surrender to God and the intensity of prayer. But there are, no doubt, other inscrutable factors too. There may have been karma to work out, for instance, or something to be learned from the period of waiting.
All we can say is, that in moving through hope and prayer and worship toward this great Sai Cure, the whole family—with some relatives and friends as well—moved into the Sai Family. Their outlook and values changed when the Joy and Love of the Lord came into their lives. From being a family without religion they became one with a true spiritual religion—the Sai religion. While blessing Mayan with a cure of the body, the Divine Hand had touched many other lives for a cure of souls.
How pleased and grateful to the Lord we, ourselves, were that the great Australian miracle had come to pass!
From the Sanathana Sarathi Archives (May 1980)