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VIII. Lord of Time and Space

The Mysterious ring of Wilma Bronkey

Wilma Bronkey, from the United States of America experienced a fascinating miracle that demonstrates Baba’s omnipresence and omnipotence. Howard Murphet narrates this fascinating episode in his book “Sai Baba: Invitation to Glory”:

In her home, Enchanted Acres, Wilma Bronkey has long been taking care of crippled, and disadvantaged people. The people range from geriatrics to children; in fact, through the many years she has been doing this welfare work, 280 foster children have shared her home.

Then, the day came when Sai Baba sent an enchanted call to this woman of compassionate heart. The reason He sent it is known only to Himself. The manner in which He sent it to a humble home, 250 miles south of Portland, Oregon, U.S.A., would be totally unbelievable to anyone who did not know Sai Baba.

The story came to me from different people - some who knew the lady, and some who had heard the account second-hand. I felt that it may have been highly embroidered in the telling. But when I finally was fortunate enough to meet Wilma Bronkey and hear the story from her own lips, I found that there had been very little embroidery, indeed. Some events are so strange, so bizarre in themselves that man's imagination can add nothing to them.

Here is the sequence of events as told to me by Wilma Bronkey at Prasanthi Nilayam - where extraordinary things are part of the daily norm.

One day at Enchanted Acres Wilma answered a long distance telephone call. A woman's voice said: 'Dr Bronkey, would you please send, as soon as possible, the $200 deposit on your fare to India. Arrangements must be finalised for all those going in Indra Devi's party to see Sai Baba.'

Wilma replied: 'There must be some mistake. I have no plan to go to India. And who is Sai Baba?'

The line seemed to go dead. There was no further comment, so she hung up. What a strange call, she thought - and why had the voice called her 'Dr Bronkey?' She had no doctorate, but was known generally as the 'Reverend Bronkey'.

She had heard of Indra Devi, a well-known teacher of yoga, and now she felt a strong desire to find out something about Sai Baba. She made some enquiries, and soon the book “Sai Baba: Man of Miracles” came into her hands. As she read, she found herself wanting to go to India to see this “remarkable" man. But she pushed the desire aside. Such a journey was quite impossible for a number of reasons.

Not long after the mysterious telephone call, while she was finding out all she could about Sai Baba, Wilma Bronkey received an honorary doctorate. So she thought, the voice on the telephone has proved oddly prophetic in one way; will it in another?

Nothing seemed to be impossible to Sai Baba. But if He really wanted her to go, He would have to give her an unmistakable sign. Moreover, He would have to remove some difficult obstacles.

Wilma had a great liking for rings and always wore several on her fingers. Among them was a cheap ring with a stone of navy blue, made of glass, and badly scratched with constant wear. But she valued this ring above all the others because it had been a Christmas present from some of her foster children.

She had formed the habit of taking off all her rings while doing domestic chores, and putting them in a side pocket of her handbag. The reason for this was that if she went out in a hurry, she could put the rings on at some convenient moment later.

One afternoon, Wilma went with a friend to see a film on the care of handicapped people. When it started, she realised that she had seen the same film before, and her interest waned. It was at that time that she noticed she had not put her rings on. She felt in the side pocket of her handbag, resting on the unoccupied seat to her right and began to slip the rings on her fingers. Then she realised that the one with the dark-blue, badly scratched stone was missing. Had she put it somewhere else, or had it fallen out of the handbag?

Intently, her mind went back over the events of the day while her eyes rested vaguely on the screen ahead. Then from the corner of her eye she saw a stream of coloured sparks flying upward from the handbag on the side. At the same time a strange wind seemed to blow through the theatre, and a voice inside her head spoke clearly: 'You asked for a sign.'

She grabbed the bag and felt carefully inside it. Her fingers contacted the missing ring, but now it felt quite hot. Even in the dim light of the theatre it glittered so brightly that the friend by her side exclaimed: 'Wow! Where did you get that?'

Excited by the change in the ring's appearance, Wilma hastened out into the foyer to look at it in a brighter light. Her friend came, too. It was the same ring, with the same familiar gold band, but the stone was now a sparkling light blue in colour!

Both ladies, highly exhilarated by the incredible happening, left the theatre. They were curious to know what kind of stone it was that had taken the place of the dark blue glass. So on the way home they called on a jeweller. Wilma told him she wanted to know the value of the stone for insurance purposes, and handed him the ring. 'What a lovely aquamarine!' he exclaimed, and after examining it carefully, valued it at $1000. As they, continued their drive homeward, the friend protested, 'But glass cannot turn into aquamarine. We should ask another jeweller.'

They did so. As she handed the ring to him Wilma thought that the shade of blue had changed again 'What is this stone?' she asked. After putting it through some tests, the jeweler told her that it was a sapphire, worth between $1,000 and $1,500. Wilma thanked him and the ladies returned to their car.

'Well, I'm starting to believe in fairies again,' remarked the friend, as they drove along; 'I wonder if it will change again.'

Wilma laughed excitedly. No one but Sai Baba could be causing the changes in the ring to confound the jewellers in this way. 'I wonder', she replied ,'let us find another jeweler and see.'

They found one. Wilma kept her eyes off the stone as she handed him the ring with a request for its valuation. After examination, he told her it was worth about $1,500

'And what is the stone?' asked Wilma's friend.

‘Oh, a diamond - a nicely cut one', he replied without hesitation.

By the time they reached Enchanted Acres the stone had returned to the light blue colour it had acquired in the theatre. And that's the colour, it was when I saw it on Dr Bronkey's finger later at Prasanthi Nilayam. The leela of the enchanted ring had left Wilma in no doubt that Sai Baba was giving her a sign, and she felt sure that, if he wanted her to go to India, he would remove the obstacles in her way.

The two main problems were: who would look after her patients, and how would she get the money for her fare?

The first was solved by her son and daughter-in-law unexpectedly offering to take care of the patients during her absence. The second problem was resolved in an equally unexpected way. Two friends, whom she had once helped with some healing, called to see her. They said: 'We know you never take money for healing work, but we feel you specially need a sum of money right now. So we want to lend you $2,000. You can take as long as you like to pay it back and there will be no interest.'

That was just the amount she needed, so again the voice on the telephone had proved prophetic. Dr Bronkey found herself in Indra Devi's party, bound for India and the 'Abode of Supreme Peace'.

The day came - the wonderful day - when Wilma Bronkey sat on the sand with the crowd at Prasanthi Nilayam, waiting for Swami to appear. He came, floating, it seemed to her, on air. Smoothly He moved around the circle, and eventually stood in front of her.

Looking down, with a smile, and a merry twinkle in His eyes, He said softly, 'How did you like your ring?'

Wilma Bronkey had managed to make several more visits to Swami before the time I met her there at Christmas in 1978. She brings parties of sick people for the blessings of the Great Healer. During the 1978 visit, Swami told her to expand her humanitarian work, and to establish a convalescent home for patients who had been cured of cancer.

Dr Bronkey had been carrying on her commendable welfare work for years before the Lord called her in His own amazing way. That call was the milestone of her life. Now behind her service to mankind, blessing it and expanding it, is the love and inspiration of Sai Baba.

Reference: “Sai Baba: Invitation to Glory” by Mr. Howard Murphet. Page: 44-49. Published by Macmillan India Ltd, 1982.

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