How The Faith Of Little Mayan Gave Her A New Life

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba

How The Faith Of Little Mayan Gave Her A New Life
Howard Murphet and his wife Iris met the Harrison family in 1976 and through them could see the unfolding of ‘a great Australian miracle’. For a detailed account of this incident, over to Howard Murphet:

Early in 1976 in Australia my wife and I became acquainted with Pearl Harrison, a retired secretary of the medical faculty of a university in Sydney. At first we thought this seemed to be just a chance meeting, but later we wondered.

At that time the manuscript of my book ‘Sai Baba Avatar’, after much rewriting, was ready for the final, publisher’s draft. Pearl, although busy with volunteer welfare work, expressed a desire to type the manuscript. Why she should have this desire she did not understand, but she does now.

Anyway, arrangements were made for her to do the typing, and thus she was introduced to the miracles of Sathya Sai Baba. One of her two grand daughters, eight-year-old Mayan Waynberg would, at times, help Pearl by reading aloud the material to be typed. While the grandmother felt sceptical about the miracles, the granddaughter accepted them without question. To the child they seemed quite natural.

The typing of the first few chapters had been completed when Mayan, who had lately been looking very pale and had been bruising too easily, was taken to a doctor for a blood test. The doctor was appalled at the results. He phoned Mayan’s mother, Helen Waynberg, and strongly advised that the child should be collected from her school and taken home to rest without delay. He also made immediate arrangements for her to be given a bone-marrow test at the Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney.

At this stage the family became very worried indeed. Pearl told me about it when I called to find out how the typing was progressing. I could see she was afraid, very afraid, that her little granddaughter might have some drastic, killer disease, like leukemia. It proved not to be leukemia, but something equally lethal – aplastic anaemia, in which the bone-marrow fails to produce the vital blood components in sufficient quantity to maintain health and life.

Her blood picture at that time showed the haemoglobin count at less than half normality, the white components of the blood about a third the normal level and the platelets way down to one-fifteenth of the normal count. Mayan was put under the care of a specialist who told her mother that the only treatment was the use of certain drugs, one a male hormone named Prednisolone and another, Fluoxymesterone.

From both of these, distressing side effects could be expected, such as stunting the child’s growth, causing puffiness and obesity, hair growth on the face while causing baldness on the head. The patient would need to have constant blood and bone marrow tests to monitor her condition. As Mayan had a deep phobia about needles piercing her skin and blood vessels, this was a frightful ordeal for her and everyone else concerned.

But the most tragic part of the situation was that, after going through this treatment and suffering its side effects, she would still not be cured. The best that could be expected was a few more years of life, with very limited activity. The drug therapy was not a cure, the elders were told; all it could do was to delay the inevitable for a time. No one could say how long that period would be.

In this sad situation Pearl 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.

Then it was as if my mind suddenly opened with a jerk, and I began to think that perhaps there was something real in all I had typed. Howard and Iris Murphet were most concerned when I told, them about Mayan. They said they would bring some Vibhuti over and Mayan could start taking it immediately.”

It has often been said and written that Sai Baba is specially interested in anyone in whom his devotees are interested. So the link was there. Yet, I remembered him saying emphatically that two necessary ingredients of divine healing are faith and surrender. Could we find such ingredients in this Sydney suburban home, where no one seemed to have religious or spiritual interests, and Sai Baba was a remote, almost fictional, figure in a far-off foreign country?

Well, we could but try. To Mayan I said earnestly, ‘You must really and truly believe in the power of Sai Baba!’

‘Oh, but I do’, she replied, and in the way she said it I sensed the simple, child-like faith that Christ had put of first importance.

A little later, Grandfather Jack Harrison made me feel that he too may be fertile soil for faith. He said, standing in the garden of their home, ‘I am going to India as soon as I can to thank Sai Baba for curing Mayan.’ He did not say, ‘If he cures her.’ The Sai treatment had hardly begun, yet he seemed to have no doubts about its effectiveness.

We may be born with faith, that inner certainty of the omnipotent Supreme, or we may acquire it, but we can never acquire it through reasoning and logic. In fact, the reasoning mind can be a handicap, blocking the birth of the deeper knowledge that men call faith.

Grandmother Pearl had her intellectual barriers but a very warm heart. Mother Helen was non-committal. Judging by her talk, she was atheistic but she was willing to try the Vibhuti treatment. We kept assuring the family of the importance of prayer – constant prayer. They agreed to pray to Swami for His help. My wife and I prayed to Him fervently and regularly.

There was, however, an urgent question to be answered. We knew from studying many cases that Swami sometimes cures people through drugs prescribed by doctors, while preventing any bad side effects. Sometimes, on the other hand, He will not let drugs be used at all. What would be His Will in the case of Mayan?

The only way to be sure was to ask Him. In the meantime, we thought, it would be best to let the child start the drug therapy, particularly as the doctors had said that no side-effects would become evident for about three months. We had to find some way of asking Swami the vital question as soon as possible. He must be asked directly.

By a stroke of good fortune, our friend Lynette Penrose was about to set off on a visit to Sai Baba. Incidentally, it had been in Lynette’s home in Balmain that we first began Sai meetings in Sydney. Lynette agreed to take to Swami a photograph of Mayan, and letters asking the vital question about drug treatment. We hoped, moreover, that she would have the opportunity of asking Him this question, herself, orally. She went off to India, and we all eagerly awaited word from her. It was not long before an airmail letter arrived.

Lynette told us that she had been granted an interview and had given the photograph and letters to Swami. When He looked at the photograph, she wrote, ‘His face had become very, very soft and compassionate.’ About the drug therapy His reply was, ‘No, no drugs, just Vibhuti in water twice a day.’

Pearl Harrison writes: ‘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 took nothing but Vibhuti from then on. This was putting complete faith in the healing power of someone no member of the family had ever seen, except in photographs.

We felt some responsibility as we had been the channel through which they had heard of Sai Baba. All we could do was to hold fast to our own trust and faith in the Lord. Then we thought of something that might help at the receiving end of the divine healing ray. We suggested that they start holding Sathya Sai meetings at the Harrison home in Greenacre. They readily agreed to this, and their house in Latvia Street became the second centre opened in Sydney for Bhajans and study.

The meetings were a success from the start, people coming from all parts of the metropolitan area, and from distant places in the Blue Mountains and the south coast. Soon Jack Harrison decided to convert his large garage into a Sai temple, buying a new carport to shelter his car. Within the Sai temple, lined and decorated with the help of devotees, a beautiful shrine was erected. The place acquired a sacred atmosphere and the size of the group expanded. It was surprising to see, both at the Greenacre temple and at Balmain, how quickly and wholeheartedly the Australians took to singing Bhajans.

Many learned to lead (the Bhajans), the child Mayan being one of them. Mayan’s health was soon showing a steady improvement. The family decided it might be better to let the doctors think, for the time being, that Mayan was taking their drugs. Every two weeks she was given a blood test at the hospital, and the medical people were delighted at the results. No doubt they were surprised too.

There was a dramatic rise in her red blood cell count, a good improvement in the number of white cells, and the platelet count was creeping upwards. After a few months of the Sai Vibhuti treatment, with no medical assistance whatever, the red and white cell count was back to normal. The doctors then decided that tests could be taken every two months only, instead of every two weeks as before.

Her platelets, in these tests, showed a rise of about 10,000 every two months. The doctors had earlier examined Mayan’s sister, Alona, who is about a year the senior, for bone-marrow compatibility with that of Mayan. When the results were known, and it was found that the sister’s bone-marrow was compatible, they advised a bone-marrow graft.

Even though Mayan’s condition was showing satisfactory improvement, the platelets were still far from normal, and it was felt that such a graft would help in arresting the disease. Thus another question was posed to the family and to us – should the operation be performed?

Fortunately another Australian devotee, just leaving at this time for Puttaparti, was able to ask Swami directly if the operation should be done or not. Swami’s reply was definite: ‘She is getting better and will soon be completely well. There is no need for such an operation.’

The news came back to Greenacre quickly, and immediately it was decided, to the great relief of Mayan, and indeed to all concerned, that there would be no operation. The family felt confident now that nothing was needed but Swami’s power, coming through the Vibhuti, to bring Mayan’s platelets up to normal, and so create a perfectly healthy blood picture.

But though climbing, the platelets were not normal when my wife and I left for India early in 1978. However, before we had an opportunity to speak to Swami about the case, we received a letter from grandmother Pearl, telling us that Mayan’s last blood test, given after we left had shown her platelet count up to normal – in fact, at 174,000, it was better than normal.

The child was completely cured of her ‘incurable’ disease. Early the next year Jack and Pearl did what he had declared he would do even before the treatment had begun. They came, bringing the two granddaughters, to thank Swami personally for the wonderful, miraculous cure. The family also, at the end, told the specialist in charge of the case that sacred Vibhuti had been substituted for the drugs he had prescribed. He was not so shocked as they had expected.

In fact, he said: ‘I thought it must be something like that as there were no side-effects.‘ Then he added, ‘My mother believes in spiritual healing.’ The doctor kindly gave the family all the figures of Mayan’s blood tests as documentary evidence. He also agreed to accept a copy of the book, ‘SaiBaba: Man of Miracles’.

When Pearl handed it to him, she said: ‘now don’t let it just lie on the shelf; read it, and then pass it on to somebody else. If you feel you don’t want to read it, please send it back to me.’ It has never come back.

Reference: “Sai Baba: Invitation To Glory” by Mr. Howard Murphet. Page: 33-41. Published by Macmillan India Ltd, 1982.

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