Excerpts from the book "Man of Miracles"
Howard Murphet, well-known and
respected author from Australia, has investigated the miracles of
Sathya Sai Baba for decades. What follows are excepts from his book,
"Man of Miracles", where he tells some of his fascinating and
incredible experiences (pp. 81-87).
One afternoon soon after our arrival we all went for a drive
and, leaving the cars, strolled about on a rocky knoll of the hills.
Baba several times picked up a piece of broken rock, played with it
awhile, and then threw it away. Finally, just as we were returning, he
kept a piece about the size of a man's closed fist and carried it back
to Circuit House.
Arriving there, he took us into one of the suites and sat on the
carpet while we sat in a semi-circle around him. He began to talk
conversationally on everyday topics, occasionally throwing the piece
of rock a couple of feet in the air and letting it fall on the floor.
Presently he tossed it over to me, asking:
"Can you eat that?"
I examined the rock closely. It was hard granite, streaky and rather
lightish in colour. I admitted its inedibility and bowled it back to
him — he was not more than two yards away from me.
He took the stone and, still chatting casually, threw it in the air
again, while a dozen pairs of eyes watched expectantly. I felt that
something strange was going to happen and never let the stone out of
my sight. Now as it lay on the carpet I could see a slight change in
its appearance. Although of exactly the same size and shape, and still
streaky, it was a little lighter in colour than before.
Swami rolled it back to me across the carpet. "Can you eat it now?" he
asked. To my amazement and joy it was no longer rock but sugar candy.
Baba broke it into pieces, giving us each a portion to eat. It was
sweet and delicious as candy should be. Is this an illusion, I
wondered, are we all hypnotised? So I put a piece in my pocket. I
still have it and it's still sugar candy.
I thought of the popular song about 'The Big Rock Candy Mountains' and
jokingly said to him, "I wish you would turn the whole mountain into
candy or chocolate." Baba seemed to take this seriously or maybe as a
kind of challenge. Anyway he replied solemnly that it would not be
right to interfere too much with Nature's housekeeping.
Then it occurred to me that my joke was rather superficial. If will
power, or whatever power it is, can transmute a small piece of igneous
rock into an entirely different substance, why not a large piece? And
why not into any substance?
One sparkling morning I was walking with Swami and the two teenage
youths in the gardens of Circuit House. Baba was wearing an
ochre-coloured robe which fell like a smooth cylinder from shoulders
to ground. As Iris had ironed some of his robes a couple of days
earlier, I knew for certain that they contained neither pockets nor
places where anything could be concealed. His sleeves were straight
and loose, without cuffs. He carried nothing in his hands.
One of the young men was returning to Bombay next day and wanted to
take photos of Swami, so the latter posed for several pictures.
Occasionally, as we strolled and talked, he paused to pick a berry or
a bud from one of the shrubs. This he would examine with the
concentration and thoughtfulness of a botanist: then after a while he
would throw it away as if it were not quite suitable to some purpose
he had in mind. Finally he picked a small bud from a bush, examined it,
seemed satisfied, and handed it to me, saying: "Keep that."
Soon afterwards we went back up the steps to the front entrance. Baba
did not go to his own suite but walked straight into ours. He sat on
an armchair while the young men, my wife and I gathered around him on
Swami asked for the bud that he had given me. I handed it to him, and
he held it in his fingers for a while, discussing it.
"What flower is it?" he asked.
We confessed our ignorance. He suggested that it might be a button
rose and we agreed.
Then looking at me he asked: "What do you want it to become?"
I was at a loss to know what to say, so I replied: "Anything you like,
He held it in the palm of his right hand, closed his fist, and blew
into it. Then he asked me to stretch out my hand. I gasped, and my
wife gave a squeal of delight as from the hand that held the flower
bud there fell into my open palm a glittering diamond of brilliant
cut. In size it matched the bud, which had completely vanished.
We were on the floor around Baba expecting a morning discourse,
perhaps one of those wonderful stories from Indian mythology which
lead the mind to the deeper truths of life. However, before talking,
he showed us a green leaf and wrote on it with his fingernail. Then he
handed the leaf to me, but I could make nothing of the writing, which
he said was a mantram in Sanskrit.
Next he asked for a book, and one of the ladies who occupied the suite
passed him her Telegu grammar. Placing the leaf between the pages, he
shut the book and tapped its cover several times. Now he opened it and
took out the leaf. The writing was still on it, but instead of being
green and fresh as it had been a moment before it was brown and so dry
that it easily crumbled into dust.
Baba tossed the book on the carpet nearby and, after talking for a
while, left the room. Well, I thought, on the face of it this miracle
would not stand up to the sceptic; the brown leaf could have been
somehow "planted" in the book earlier. So I picked up the volume and
searched its pages for the missing green leaf, but could find nothing.
Why am I doubting, I asked myself, when I have seen him do so many
things equally incredible and inexplicable? Sai Baba had somehow
blasted this leaf, as another One who stood above Nature had blasted a
tree two thousand years ago. It was as if, for the leaf, many months
of summer had been telescoped into that one magical moment when Baba
tapped the book.
At Horsley Hills Sai Baba produced a particularly striking example of
such telekinesis. One evening a party of us were sitting on the carpet
in his suite; Ramanatha Reddy, the doctor, the young men, Iris and
myself were there. Swami asked me the year of my birth, and when I
told him, he said that he would get for me from America a coin minted
there in that same year.
He began to circle his down-turned hand in the air in front of us,
making perhaps half a dozen small circles, saying the while: "It's
coming now ..... coming ..... here it is!"
Then he closed his hand and held it before me, smiling as if enjoying
my eager expectancy. When the coin dropped from his hand to mine, I
noted first that it was heavy and golden. On closer examination I
found, to my delight, that it was a genuine milled American ten-dollar
coin, with the year of my birth stamped beneath a profile head of the
Statue of Liberty.
"Born the same year as you," Swami smiled.
What would the skeptics say about this, l wondered. Would they suggest
that Baba carried around with him a stock of coins so that he would
have one to match my year of birth. Such old American coins, now long
out of circulation, would not be easy for him to obtain in India
through normal channels.
I have no doubt whatever that this was one of Baba's many genuine
apports. While he circled his hand before us, some agency under his
will had dematerialised this gold coin at some place somewhere,
carried it at space-annihilating velocity, and re-materialised it in
Sai Baba's hand.
From where did it come? Who knows? Baba would never say; perhaps from
some old hoard, hidden, lost, forgotten long ago, and now belonging to
no one alive.
Although I had come to know through first-hand experience that Sai
Baba was certainly not an impostor and that his miracles were genuine,
I could not help thinking that the use of sand as a medium for
production was something which gave fuel to the sceptic. Admittedly
several of his followers had told me that in fact everything he had
produced from sand he had also produced at other times without it —
that is, from the air.
Even so, an objective psychical researcher, hearing the stories of the
sand wonders, is bound to raise the queries: are the objects
previously "planted" in the sand? Or does Baba by some lightning
sleight-of-hand slip them in just before he digs them out? In fact,
for anyone who had neither seen the miracles for themselves nor felt
the spiritually elevating presence of Sai Baba, I suspected that "sand
productions" must leave a bigger question mark in the mind than "other
But this was because such events had not hitherto been fully and
thoroughly reported to me by a careful observer. At a later period I
had my own close observations of the sand miracles confirmed by
several of India's leading scientists — but that is jumping ahead of
The first point I want to make clear about my Horsley Hills experience
of Baba's "sand productions" is that on the journey from Circuit House
to the place of the miracles I sat in the front of the car with Sai
Baba and Raja Reddy, who was driving. Baba carried nothing in his
hands, and he was wearing his usual robe; none of the objects later
produced could have been concealed on his person.
A few miles from Circuit House the car, and several other vehicles
following it, stopped by the roadside. We all got out and went to a
patch of sand some fifty yards away which had been seen from the road
on an earlier journey.
Baba asked the young men in the party to make him a sand platform, so
they scraped and pushed the sand with their hands to build a flat
stage about a foot high and four feet square. Baba sat cross-legged in
the middle of this and the party clustered in a semi-circle around him.
I was in the front row of the spectators, right at the edge of the
sand platform. The thought passed through my mind that if any object
had previously been buried here, near where Baba was sittting, he
would have to dig down more than a foot through the newly-piled sand
to reach it.
He began as usual with a spiritual discourse which, apparently, aIways
has the effect of harmonising and purifying the psychic atmoshere
around. Maybe this is a necessary preparation for the miracles. Then
with his forefinger he made a drawing on the surface of the sand just
in front of him, and asked me what it was. From where I sat it looked
rather like a human figure, and I told him so.
Laughing, and with the expression of a happy child playing on a beach,
he scooped up the sand to form a little mound above the drawing, about
six inches high. Still with an air of happy expectation he put his
fingers lightly into the top of the mound, perhaps an inch down, and
drew out, head first, a silvery shining figure, like the drawing he
had made. It was a statue of the god Vishnu, about four inches in
height. He held it up for everyone to see, then put it to one side,
smoothed out the mound before him to make a flat surface again, and
began once more to discuss spiritual topics.
Soon he made another drawing in the sand on the same spot as before.
Again he scooped sand over it, making a mound — a wider flat-topped
one this time. Again with a happy chuckle he felt with his finger-tips
into the top of the mound and scraped a little sand away; less than an
inch down was a photograph. He pulled it out, shook the yellow grains
away, and held it up for us to see. It was a glossy black-and-white
print, about ten inches by eight.
He passed it around for some of us to look at closely, and later I
examined it at leasure back at our quarters. It was a photograph of
the Hindu gods and avatars, standing in two rows to form a
forward-pointing arrowhead, with Lord Krishna in the foreground at the
tip. Heads of Satya Sai Baba and Shirdi Baba could be seen as small
inserts on the body of Krishna. This print, I felt, was not produced
in any earthly studio. Baba later gave it to Mr. and Mrs. T. A.
Ramanatha Reddy, our hosts. It stood with the unearthed statue of
Vishnu for some days on a side table in the dining room at Circuit
Other objects produced from the sand in the same manner went to
various people in the audience. There were, for example, a
jappamala (rosary) for Mr. Niak, the Collector of Kolar District,
and a pendant which was given to a revenue officer.
But there was one supreme production from that sand patch of which we
all had a share. Baba did his outline sketch, which I could see from
where I sat was a little container of some kind. Then, in the usual
way, he scraped the top sand with his open hands to make a tiny hill
above the drawing. Pausing a moment with a delighted smile, he felt
into the crown of the hill and took out a silver-coloured container.
This was of circular shape with a neck and a screw-top. At a guess its
spherical bowl would be perhaps two and a half inches in diameter.
Sai Baba unscrewed the lid and a wonderful perfume pervaded the air.
Putting the container to one side, he went through the same process
again of drawing and mound-building. This time the product was a
golden spoon like a small teaspoon. With this he stirred the contents
of the bowl and, standing up, began to give some to each of his
Like the others I opened my mouth while he poured a spoonful onto my
tongue. The word that came into my mind was "ambrosial"; it seemed
nothing less than the food of the gods; it suggested a mixture of the
essences of the most heavenly fruits, the divine archetypes of the
loveliest fruits of earth. The taste is quite indescribable; it has to
The devotees call this glorious nectar amrita, which has much
the same meaning as ambrosia — the food of the immortals. Several
devotees, including some westerners like Nirmalananda and Gabriela,
had told me about seeing it produced on rare occasions from the sand,
and all tried in vain to describe its exquisite taste and aroma.
Others, including Dr. Sitaramiah, had witnessed Baba produce amrita
by squeezing his own hand, and in other ways. But no one at this time
had seen manifestation of amrita for about three years, and I
was very grateful that Baba had given my wife and myself this personal
experience of a thrilling, deeply-moving miracle. It was witnessed on
this occasion at Horsley Hills by about forty-five men and more than a
dozen women. Baba went around giving some to all, except to the women
who were staying at Circuit House. There was enough amrita for
everyone to have a spoonful each and the bowl was still not empty.
Baba handed it to me to carry back to our quarters. I felt very
honoured and held it carefully in my hand as we drove up the sharp
bends to the crest of the hill. Sand still clung to the designs carved
on the silvery metal, which I was told was the sacred alloy
panchaloha. On the balcony of Circuit House I handed the container
back to Baba and he straight away walked around giving some to each of
the ladies who had not yet tasted the "food of the gods".
I sometimes wondered afterwards what had happened to the little bowl
but about a year later a Bombay.devotee told me he had visited Baba at
Horsley Hills a day or two after the event and been presented with the
panchaloha container. It still held some amrita which he
and his family enjoyed, and the miracle bowl now occupies a place of
honour in his home.
So here are the answers to the two points raised by my inner psychical
researcher. First, the objects could not have been previously hidden
in the sand patch ready for Baba to take out because they came from
the top of a mound, made before our eyes, on the top of a foot-thick
sand stage, also built while we watched. Secondly, even if Baba could
have carried the objects to the sand patch that night without my
seeing them, an utter impossibility, he could not by the most expert
legerdemain have slipped such articles as a glittering idol, a large
photograph, a bulky jappamala and a shining bowl of nectar into
the sand under our noses without our being aware of the fact. If he
could, he is superior to the most expert conjuror and should be making
fame and fortune on the stage as an entertainer.
Quite apart from the miraculous production of such objects there is
the strange mystery of the amrita itself — its ambrosial
out-of-this-world quality, its power (shown on various occasions) to
increase in quantity to meet the needs of whatever numbers happen to
be present. What, I wondered, was its actual significance? I
determined to ask Sai Baba about this at the first opportunity.
(from Man of Miracles by Howard Murphet, pp. 183-189)
The wealth of miraculous things that my own eyes have
witnessed assure my acceptance of things of similar nature about which
I have heard. This acceptance is aided by my knowledge of the
integrity, intelligence and high moral character of the many witnesses.
But, though to many eminent community leaders, and to thousands of
ordinary folk like myself, the Sai miracles are indisputable facts,
the eye witnesses represent only a small fraction of mankind. So what
about the millions beyond the orbit of those who have been fortunate
enough to see for themselves? What about the masses of materialists
and atheists, conditioned by the superficial philosophy of modern
technological progress? Is there the slightest likelihood that they
may credit the truth of the incredible events described in these pages?
The human mind by its nature regards anything outside a commonly
accepted framework of rationality as impossible and rejects it. A
materialisation phenomenon, for example, is so foreign to everyday
experience that, even after watching it happen, it is not easy for one
to believe that it really took place. One seems to have been in some
odd way out of space and time. When one is back in the normal
dimensions of space and time, the reality of a miracle seems to vanish.
It goes as the reality of a dream goes on waking.
"Did the miracle really happen?" the thinking mind asks. But the
glittering jewel, which came from nowhere, lies in the hand; the taste
of the candy, which a moment ago was granite or paper, is undeniably
on the tongue. The effects are apparent; the comprehensible causes are
missing, and they are not to be found by our rationalistic thinking.
There is little doubt that all continents and all peoples will have
the chance to see Sai Baba in the years ahead. So here is something
never known before in the world's history. A God-man, a living worker
of miracles, will be able through the use of modern global
communications to travel the world, and make his message known to all
people during his lifetime.
Of old, this could not happen, and tidings of such amazing events
reached the mass of mankind either through verbal reports or by
accounts written long after the events took place. Now the sceptic,
the doubting Thomas, who cannot believe in either the greater or the
lesser miracles can prove their reality for himself. If keen enough,
he can visit Prasanti Nilayam to witness them; otherwise he can wait
until Sai Baba comes nearer to his part of the globe.
The miracles of Christ and Krishna must be taken on trust or through
faith; those of Sai Baba you can see for yourself.