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Features | Experience of the Divinity of Bhagavan by Devotees | Group III | Mr. Howard Murphet

Mr. Howard Murphet
New South Wales,

Mr. Howard Murphet was from New South Wales, Australia. He was a multifaceted personality and a known ardent devotee of Bhagavan. He authored the books ‘Sai Baba – Man of Miracles’, ‘Sai Baba Avatar’, ‘Sai Baba – Invitation to Glory’, ‘Where the Road Ends’, ‘Sai Mission to Mankind’, etc. He passed away recently.

This is an article by Mr. Howard Murphet himself based on the narration by a Muslim Doctor, who was a classmate of Bhagavan at the School. The Doctor wrote the account for the Sanathana Sarathi a few years earlier. Mr. Howard Murphet based this article on the account of the Doctor stated in the Sanathana Sarathi.

‘This case concerns a medical doctor in the district of Sri Baba’s birthplace. The doctor was, he states, at High School with Satyanarayana Raju (Sathya Sai Baba). He wrote the story for the Sanathana Sarathi (the ashram magazine) a few years ago, and here it is, essentially as he told it.

I am a registered medical practitioner, engaged for some years in my profession at Uravakonda, Anantapur district, Andhra Pradesh. As a result of some unforeseen circumstances and their effect on my mental condition, I got involved in the vicious habit of taking injections of morphia.

It began with two injections a day. Within eight days, that is, from the 20th of June 1968, I was taking four injections a day. In another fortnight I needed eight, and within a month after that I was forced to give myself sixteen injections per day. A month later the quantity my body clamoured for increased to twenty injections. This continued for three months, then I had to take thirty injections every day. I could not find any way to reduce the intake.

My income from medical practice was about 800 to 1000 rupees per month. That proved insufficient for the morphia I had to give myself. So I sold five acres of my lands for 13,000 rupees. This, added to my income, sufficed for only sixteen months. Then I sold 3 acres for 10,000 rupees and that somehow got me through another sixteen months of slavery to the habit.

At the end of that period I had no money remaining, so I sold the building sites I owned in the town for 6,000 rupees, and spent it on the morphia during the next eight months.

I have ten children – six girls and four boys. My wife had died. I had not been giving consideration to how the poor children were managing to exist. They obviously suffered for want of food and clothing, and went through manifold miseries. They used to wait outside my room and when they saw some patient giving me money, they would cry piteously: ‘father! Give it to us. We’ll buy some grain with it, some snacks.’ But I used to drive them away with foul interjections. I was not concerned about how they ate or how they managed.

Evidently some patients used to give the children, now and then, part of fees owing to me, and from this meagre source they kept flesh and bone together. Nine years passed thus.

I was in a state of deep despair. I could not reduce the intake in the slightest. When I was forced on some days to take less than usual, I suffered extreme agony; pain all over the body, yawning, sweating, fear, effusion of saliva, stuttering, cramps – all these gave me great distress.

On account of the high cost of the habit my family had been ruined. My medical practice declined and almost dried up, and my physical health deteriorated from day to day. How could I escape from the coils of the drug? What could I do?

One of my friends who had fallen victim to morphia had gone to Madras for a cranial operation by which they said the habit would be cured. Another doctor friend, too, had gone to Madras and stayed for a treatment taking three or four months. He was cured of the morhia habit, but it had cost the first friend 3,500 rupees, and the second, 5,000 rupees. Though I wanted to go, too, I did not have the money for it.

To continue the injections, I begged, borrowed, visited hospital and somehow managed to get sufficient morphia for my minimum daily quota of 30 to 35 injections. In the nine years I had run through 40,000 rupees, yet I could not escape that habit, nor even reduce the intake. One can free oneself from the jaws of a crocodile sooner than from the jaws of morphia.

Meanwhile the devotees of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba had begun a Bhajana Samajam in our town. It was organized by my friend, Dr. N. Anjaneyulu, M.A., Ph.D., and was held every Thursday at the Subrahmanyeswara Temple and I sat in a distant corner, listening to the bhajan songs.

During the singing, a thought arose in my mind: ‘Baba! You were my classmate in the High School, years ago. You must be remembering me. You must be knowing the depths to which this habit has dragged me. There are some who doubt you, and many who adore you as God. I am not involving myself in that controversy now. I want to find, from my own experience, the Truth. Well, if you can bless me with the mental courage and strength to get out of this vicious morphia habit, I shall believe that you are God.’ With this vow, taken with a full heart, I steadied myself.

Within a few seconds the bhajan ended. They distributed vibhuti prasad to every one. Holding the packets in my palm as a precious gift, and resolving to rely upon Baba for the strength to free myself, I returned home.

I decided that, whatever might happen, however hard the conditions, I would not take a single injection of morphia for a full three days. ‘If on the fourth day I am free from the tentacles of morphia, I shall adore Baba just as those people are doing at the temple’, I told myself.

On the first day I did not take any injection – not even one. I had no calls of nature that day. I had profuse sweating, cramps in muscles, a burning sensation all over the body, wild imagining, streams of tears and a cough. These gave me a terrible time. But I swallowed small quantities of vibhuti and carried on.

The second day was worse. The urine and faeces were full of blood; frightful thoughts of suicide haunted me. When the third day dawned, I thought that I might not even survive it. By nighttime, I was shouting and wailing aloud. I hit the floor with my feet. I hit my head against a pillar. I blabbered wildly and loudly. The children wept and wailed, awakening the neighbours. Some friends came in and, seeing my condition, shed tears in sympathy with the children.

During the night a doctor friend came in, and understanding the reason for my pitiable condition, he brought four injections of morphia, and advised that I take some.

I replied, ‘Doctor, the promise I have given to Swami will lapse tomorrow. Keep the injections safe until morning.’

The time was then 3:45 a.m. My children were sitting around me. I said to my little daughter, Hafiza Begum, ‘go and get me the vibhuti of Swami I have kept on that shelf over there.’ She brought it. I took a pinch, placed it on my tongue and drank some water to wash it down.

In about ten minutes I fell asleep. During the sleep I felt as if I was on a pilgrimage, and did not wake until 11 a.m. the next day. That was the fourth day. As promised, the doctor friend, hearing that I was awake, came with the morphia injections.

‘Dear friend, how do you feel?’ he asked, softly.
I replied, equally softly, ‘By Swami’s Grace, my mind is clear and calm.’
‘In that case I believe you have no need of this morphia.’
In a firm tone I replied, ‘no, there is no need.’

-- Mr. Howard Murphet,

(Source: The article is extracted from the book ‘Baba is God in Human Form’ by Mr. Prem Luthra – Serial No.69)