Sai Baba - Howard Murphet – A present of thanks for Dr. Shree Murugappa Chennaveerappa Mudi
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Sai Baba Man of Miracles – Howard Murphet
Dr. Shree Murugappa Chennaveerappa Mudi is known throughout India and in medical circles abroad as an eye surgeon and ophthalmologist. But to the six million blind of India he is much more than that. He is a hope for light in their darkness. They call him "our brother who gives sight". Son of a Bombay merchant, he became a medical practitioner in that city in 1940, specialising in eye surgery.
"Many of my patients had to sell a precious cow, or even their mud-and-straw house in order to travel and have the treatment," he recalls, "so I decided to go to them."
In 1943, he gave up his private practice and began his now famous free-treatment Eye Camps. With his headquarters in the Mysore town of Davangere he ranges over an area of some 300,000 square miles with a population almost as large as that of the United States of America.
He usually sets up his mobile hospital in a school, loaned by the grateful town authorities. Anybody in the district, rich or poor, may come and have their eye troubles examined and treated without any charge. Free hospitalisation is provided in the school building. The Eye Camp generally lasts for about two weeks, and in that time Dr. Modi treats thousands of cases. While he corrects squints and other optical troubles, the bulk of his operations are for cataracts. He has reached a high degree of dexterity in this and has been known to perform – with the help of trained assistants - over seven hundred cataract operations in one day. This production-line pace enables him to handle large numbers, and apparently efficiency does not suffer. His cataract operations are more than 99 per cent successful.
Since he began his crusade against blindness nearly twenty-five years ago, Dr. Modi's surgery has given back sight to well over 100,000 people. State and local health departments, philanthropic organisations and some wealthy individuals pay the expenses of the camps. But Dr. Modi accepts no fees for himself.
I met Modi when he was brought to Whitefield. He was there with Mr. Niak, the Collector, to take Sai Baba to Kolar. Baba had agreed to be present at the closing function of an Eye Camp just completed in this town, about thirty miles from Whitefield.
I was lucky enough to be invited to go with them. Also in the car were Raja Reddy and Seshgiri Rao, who lives at Whitefield and is a cousin of my Madras friend, G. Venkateswara Rao. As we drove along in the hot sun of the early afternoon, Dr. Modi answered our questions about his work. He is a man in his late forties, solidly-built, with a shining bald head and large gentle eyes. I noticed that there was a western flavour about his manner and speech, and understood why when he told me that during the three month monsoon season when travel would be difficult for his patients he goes abroad to America, England and other countries. This is to keep himself abreast of new techniques in eye surgery.
Outside the large school building where the eye hospital had been conducted a crowd of about five thousand was waiting. We were conducted to the decorated platform. First the Collector made a short address, then Dr. Modi, who had been sitting near me at the side of the stage, went to the microphone. As he spoke in the local dialect, I could not understand much of what he said, but I picked up one point; he said that although he worked to cure physical blindness, we were all of us spiritually blind until our inner eyes were opened by a great teacher such as Sai Baba.
When he had finished, but before he could return to his seat, Baba stood up beside him and waved his theurgic hand in several swift circles.
There was a flash of gold as between Baba's thumb and forefinger appeared a solid gold ring, set with a large ruby. This he slipped neatly and firmly onto the doctor's third finger. A deep hush passed over the crowd of watchers before they broke into delighted applause. The doctor seemed quite overcome with emotion when he sat down again, and gave me and others a close look at the beautiful ring. It fitted his finger as if measured for it.