About Neem Karoli Baba:
Neem Karoli Baba is also known as Neeb Karori Baba, and his devotees call him “Maharaj-ji”. The teachings of Maharaj-ji were simple and universal. He often said: “Sub Ek”: All is One. He taught us to “love everyone, serve everyone, remember God and tell the truth”. Strongly Hanuman follower, the Hindu god in the form of a monkey, Maharaj-ji “taught” in a highly personalized and non-traditional way. it reflected the deep devotion of the path of the bhakti of the heart. Known as “Baba Miracle” throughout northern India, he manifested many siddhis (powers), such as being in two places at once or putting devotees in samadhi (God consciousness) with the touch of God. ‘a finger.
Maharaj-ji is best known for the unconditional love He showered on all who came into His presence as well as those who never met Him in the body but established a connection to him beyond the physical plane.
This is how Maharaj-Ji is known as Neem Karoli Baba, which means the Neem Karoli (or Neeb Karori) sadhu. It was many years ago, maybe when Maharaj-ji was about thirty or thirty years old. For several days, no one gave him food and hunger drove him to board a train to the nearest town. When the driver discovered Maharaj-ji sitting in the first class coach without a ticket, he stopped the emergency brake and the train. After a verbal debate, Maharaj-ji was abruptly diverted from the train. The train stopped near the village of Neeb Karori where Maharaj-Ji lived.
Maharaj-ji was sitting in the shade of a tree while the driver whistled and the engineer opened the accelerator. But the train did not move. For a while, the train sat there doing everything possible to make it move. Another engine was called to push him, but all was in vain. A local magistrate with an arm, who knew Maharaj-ji, suggested to the officials to convince this young sadhu to return to the train. Initially, officials were horrified by such superstition, but after many frustrating attempts to move the train, they decided to try it.
Many passengers and railway officials approached Maharaj-ji, bringing them food and sweets as offerings. They asked him to board the train. He accepted two conditions: the railways must promise to build a station for the village of Neeb Karori (at that time, the villagers had to walk several kilometers to the nearest station), and the railway should treat the sadhus better. the next. The officers promised to do what was in their power, and Maharaj-ji finally took the train. Then they asked Maharaj-ji to start the train. He became very abusive and said, “What, it’s up to me to start the trains?” The engineer started the train, the train went a few meters, then the engineer stopped him and said, “Unless the sadhu orders me, he will not go forward.” Maharaj-ji said “Let him go. And they proceeded. Then Maharaj-ji said the officers kept their word, and shortly after a station was built at Neeb Karori and the sadhus received more respect.
All I Remember is That It was Great Fun:
Someone recently asked what it was like to be near him. When I was a kid, all I remember was that it was fun.
Thinking back to these meetings, today I feel different: there was a man who did not look like any saint I knew; his tongue was often colored; He did not have the same disadvantages as most of the other sadhus with whom he had met me, most of them have severe restrictions on where they will eat, who will cook, etc.
His devotees also did not fit into a pattern: they were rich, they were poor; They were Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Sikh and even atheist who did not realize they were attracted.
There were VIPs and dacoits, all in the same room.
He did not preach anything, yet his devotees were constantly learning.
He met no pattern, he fit no description, and yet from where he sat he was telling the kitchen what he wanted cooked; he was telling an eight year old what he would be when he grew up; he was scolding someone else about a recent lapse in judgment; addressing someone else about a concern that he/she was yet to express and probably dealing with creation elsewhere in the Universe, all at the same time.
The answer to every question was still ‘How do I know?’ He defies description and he does so on purpose.
Freed From the Bondage of Desire:
One night when all the inmates of the ashram were asleep, Baba called out to Sri Jivanti Ma, “Jivanti, Jivanti, make some moong dal for me. I am hungry. ” Both Sri Ma and Sri Jivanti Ma got up and reminded him that he had already taken prasad and that it was past midnight. Baba made a show of being angry and said, “If you don’t want to cook the food for me, I will wake Brahmachari Baba to do it.” Jivanti Mata ji cooked moong dal and roti for him, which he ate. The two Mothers also ate again, and then they all went back to sleep. The next day Baba received the news that a certain devotee died at 2 amthe previous night. Baba siad, “On his deathbed his mind was thinking of moong dal and roti instead of being focused on God. My devotee would have gone thinking of food. I had to eat for him to relieve him of that desire so that he would be freed from rebirth.”
On October 12, 1974, a holiday, I went out to a bookshop about twelve o’clock. My mother, my auntie, my brother, all were sitting on the porch.
About one o’clock I returned and went through Babaji’s room to go to my own. I found that the picture of Maharaj ji’s feet that was always kept on his bed since his mahasamadhi had changed direction. It had been facing south, now it was turned to the east. The odd thing was that the picture had been turned, but the line of flowers had not been disturbed.
There was also a copy of the Hanuman Chalisa there that Maharaj ji used to keep under his pillow. When children came, he would take it out and say, “Read from this.” That Hanuman Chalisa had been taken out from under the pillow and placed in front of the picture.
Usually I put gardenia flowers before the picture, but that day for some reason I had put a saffron-colored flower from a creeper in the garden. It had no smell, so it was not normally used, but we called it “Hanuman’s flower.” That flower was put on top of the Hanuman Chalisa.
I asked, “Who has turned this?” They said, “We have been sitting here the whole time, nobody has come, so no one could have turned it.”
When other persons came to hear of this, they said, “Maharaj ji has revealed himself. He actually placed the Hanuman Chalisa there and put the flower on it!” Now October 12th is an important day. We have a Sundarkand reading and bhandara each year on that date.
From then on I put flowers on the bed a little more systematically. After some time a sadhu came and the question came up about why the direction of the photograph had been changed. He said, “You do not know? He was facing south. South is the gate of death, people go by the south gate. He was showing you, ‘Do you think that I am dead?’ and therefore changed direction.”
I went on placing the flowers and the idea came, “Let me write ‘Ram Ram’ on the Hanuman Chalisa,” and with small flowers or leaves I began doing that. After some time, the idea came that I should make a symbol of Babaji’s feet. That is how the flower arrangements started. In the beginning, when it was changing almost every day, the devotees wanted some sketches to be done. At first I said no, but they kept asking and Didi said she would do the sketches. Now there is no escape from it; we have to do it. It takes three hours or more, but every day it is done. I do not know what or why it is we must do it, that’s all. Perhaps it is to keep us occupied.
Kainchi Dham Samadhi Temple:
During His stay in Kainchi Dham, Babaji Maharaj generally stayed in Ram Kuti. He also held durbars there and gave audience to groups as well as individuals. He gave darshan from the meshed windo opening on the south side. Whenever He did not want a crowd in the kuti, He used to close the entrance to the kuti and gave darshan from the window. Then durbar was held outside the window.
Maharajji sitting alone in Ramkuti would gaze at a particular spot through the window about one or one and a half year before His final journey. During this period, besides the Indian devotees, a large number of foreign devotees (English, German, French, Greek and others) used to come for Maharajji’s darshan. These devotees recited Hanuman chalisa and sang Krishna’s name (kirtan of Hare-Krishna) for Babaji in deep and melodious voice. Babaji also heard the kirtan emotionally or in a trance. These foreign devotees did not know Hindi, nor could they make out what Babaji said (unless someone translated it to them), but their devotion and love for Him was such that they laughed when Babaji laughed and when Babaji shed tears in His super-conscious state, they also wept. Those moments were very spiritual.
It was the Janmashtami of 1973. Following the Indian tradition these foreigners were also on fast. The Janmashtami festival is traditionally celebrated in Kainchi at night. Aarti of God Krishna and Babaji is performed at midnight. As the night fell, these foreigners along with the other devotees arranged candles on the Aarti-plate, started chanting kirtan and singing devotional songs. Babaji opened the window a little before 12.00 AM. These devotees frantically sang Kirtan – “Gopala, Gopala, Jai Devaki-nandan Gopala” in a deep voice. The Aarti was being performed from outside the window. It was a unique sight permeated with spirituality. Overwhelmed with emotions they were not conscious of their mind or body and their Krishna was born in the form of Maharajji.
Maharajji selected the very spot for His commemorative temple. He left Kainchidham on 9 September 1973 saying, he would be back within four days. True to His word, he did come back on the fourth day not physically, but in the form of Kalash containing his ashes.
By Baba’s mystic inspiration, Shri Siddhi Ma got the Kalash placed on the very place Babaji looked at so intently and where the Hanuman Chalisa was recited and the grand Kirtan of “Devaki-nandan Gopala” was sung. Babaji Maharaj’s temple has been built and His Vigrah has been installed therein. Many people come there to take a pledge of offering and have their desire fulfilled. The seekers get answers to their most difficult questions. The devotees complete their sadhana by getting their spiritual complexities solved.
Samadhi Temple at Vrindavan Dham:
Babaji Maharaj had already fixed the date of His leaving this mortal body. He had to choose a place for the cremation of His body and to prepare back-ground for His devotees to build a commemorative temple. Babaji had already got a yajna performed for nine days in the premises of the temple by His devotee Vishambhar from Aligarh on the occasion of Chaitra Navratra in March-April, 1973.
The place situated between the dharamshala on the northern side of the courtyard and the boundary wall of the temple on the south side leaving one third of the area of the courtyard on either side. Thus the place was sanctified by adoration of the goddess Durga. Babaji ordered that this small area be blockaded and its sanctity should be maintained.
Babaji left His mortal body in Ramakrishna Mission Hospital at night 10 September 1973. Inspired by Babaji’s mystic power, Pagal Baba advised His devotees that His physical body be merged with elements inside the ashram. The devotees, accordingly, made a platform of sandal-wood and cremated Baba’s physical body on the sacred festival of Ananta Chaturdashi, on 11 September.
A commemorative temple to preserve Baba’s mortal remains was built by His devotees on that very spot. The speciality of this temple is that it merges the architecture of all, a temple, a mosque, church, Gurudwara and Pagoda. After all Babaji belongs to all.
Maharaj’s samadhi temples have been constructed at five places – Kainchi, Vrindavan, Neeb Karori, Veerapurum (madras) and Lucknow. Sarkar Babaji) had selected all these places on His own. The incidents related to them are captivating and are the living examples of His will-power.
I Do Not Do Anything, God Does It:
Whenever people thanked Baba for his act of grace, he would say, “I do not do anything, it is god who does it”. Some one who was truly humble and egoless enough to say, “I do not do anything only Baba does” could only take up the hot seat and carry on the good work. Baba would often say that following the spiritual path was like “walking on a sword’s edge” and such person had to face hardships, humiliation, and criticism and yet carry on with the mission of singing the Lord’s glory.
In the summer of 1958, Baba initiated me at Allahabad and promised to continue the relationship. Same year. Ma along with her family came to Allahabad during winters, for a prolonged stay. The moment I met her, I became an instant son to her.
Whenever Baba came to Allahabad, I would drop my file at her place of stay and go to Baba. I would take message to and fro. From 1958 to 1972 although I had undergone strong transformation from brathood to adulthood to a householder (since 1970), I kept on meeting Ma at various occasions and developed extreme fondness for her. In June 1973, when I last met Baba ji, Ma gave me a bottle full of the Ganges water after washing Maharajji’s feet with the same, with instructions that I should drink a spoonful of the same. As described earlier, those days I had bucketful of financial problems. When Baba left his body I fully geared up to take side with the Mother and support her with all my mind, body and soul.
I have been a lucky participant in both phases of Baba’s form and formless play. The duality that disappeared with his pat on my head in the year 1958 gave me the understanding to fully enjoy and participate in the future game. It also gave me the strength and spiritual maturity to remain undeterred and focused when few devotees tried to undermine my faith.
The Grand Unification:
It happens to rare few. It is when you meet a master who apparently does not alter any thing physically, but a chemistry develops with him and all your duality disappears.
From there on, you have a lighthouse to guide you through the rigmaroles, jerks, jolts, bumps, and grinds of life. These oddities do not break you; instead, you get seasoned, toughened and yet remain tender and caring, without collecting bitterness on life’s journey.
Duality is seeing two alternatives to all actions. when his grace descends, you have no hesitation in choosing your options. Such master gives you the anchoring you call faith.
The moment he takes command of your life, you stop seeing two. Parallex is synchronized and you are hooked for good. For, he is your constant companion, consciously and unconsciously.
The physical presence of the master from then on is immaterial. He has given you the entry into the time and distance warp, and you stay connected to him whether awake or in sleep, whatever be your state of consciousness.
Love Everyone & Tell the Truth:
I once found myself becoming very angry while at Maharajji’s temple. Most of the anger was directed against my fellow westerner devotees. Although there were perhaps some justifiable reasons for the anger, the fever pitch to which it had risen at the end of the two weeks was surprising, even to me. It was at that point that I walked to the temple and arrived late.
All the westerners were sitting in the usual row on the porch, on the opposite side of the ashram courtyard where Maharajji was sitting. From here they could watch him from a distance while they were taking prasad (lunch in this case). When I arrived and sat down, one of the Westerners brought over a leaf plate of food that had been saved for me. And at that moment the fury broke and I took the leaf plate and threw it. From across the courtyard, Maharajji watched.
Almost immediately I was summoned to his presence, and I crossed the yard and knelt before him. “Something troubling you?” he asked. “Yes,” I said looking over at all the Westerners. “I can’t stand adharma (those behaviours which people manifest that take them away from God). I can’t stand it in them (pointing to the westerners), and I can’t stand it in me. In fact I can’t stand anybody at all except you.”
And as I looked at him, I felt that he was my only safe harbor in this darkness of my soul, and I began to cry. No, not just to cry but to wail. Maharajji patted me vigorously on my head and sent for milk, and when I could see through my eyes, I saw that he was crying, too.
He fed me the milk and asked me if I loved him. I assured him that I did. Then, when I had composed myself sufficiently, he leaned up close and said, “I told you to love everybody.”
“Yes, Maharajji, but you also told me to tell the truth. And the truth is that I just don’t love everybody.”
Then, Maharajji came even closer, so that we were practically nose to nose, and he said, “Love everyone and tell the truth.”
The way he said it left no doubt about the way it was to be. For a fleeting moment I had an image of a casket – apparently symbolic of my death – but it was shaped in a way that was unlike my body. It seemed representational of this conversation in which, in effect, I was protesting that, who I thought I was could not love everyone and tell the truth, and Maharajji was saying, “When you finish being who you think you are, this is who you will be. When you die you will be reborn to love everyone and tell the truth.”
The he said, “Sometimes the most anger reflects the strongest love.”
Looking across the yard at those Westerners, toward all of whom I self-righteously felt anger, I saw suddenly that the anger was at one level, while immediately beneath that, at a slightly deeper level, was incredible love – two planes of relationship in which a person might say, “I love you but I don’t like you.”
And if Maharajji’s instructions were to be carried out – and there was no doubt that they were, for he was my guru for better or worse – the anger would have to be given up to make way for the love.
Then Maharajji offered me a bargain: “You must polish the mirror free of anger to see God. If you give up a little anger each day, I will help you.” This seemed to be a deal that was more than fair. I readily accepted. And he’s been true to his end of the bargain.
Maharajji’s Help for The Foresaken Ones:
Every individual suffers from some kind of physical and mental pain. But with many, hunger and disease of body or mind become acute. One of Babaji’s visible methods of helping people was by feeding the hungry, arranging medical treatment for the sick, and giving money and materials to the helpless. The brief interlude of his life in the ashrams was spent in caring for the hungry and curing the sick, like the head of a household busy with his large family. Those who visited his ashrams, especially Kainchi, saw how prasad was being served throughout the day to all and sundry without any discrimination. For some it was prasad, an auspicious token of spiritual elevation, but for many more it was a whole meal for the stomach.
Seeing that food was being given in such large amounts, some persons complained that the food was being wasted. Babaji was unrelenting and continued to ask us to give in plenty. “Give more, give more, Dada.” No doubt Babaji would never allow food to be wasted or abused, but his idea of abuse and waste was different from ours, so the bhandara continued, giving food to the needy.
Some persons have suggested that one of the reasons for his choice of Kainchi and Bhumiadhar for ashrams was to be in direct contact with the helpless—particularly the shilpakars, the forsaken ones. They fell easy victim to the allurements of the preachers [Christian missionaries] who approached them with loaves of white bread, biscuits, etc. After several bhandaras at Bhumiadhar, he said one day, “Dada, the preachers do not come anymore because they have seen that their ‘double roti’ (white bread) and biscuits cannot fight with your puri and halwa.”
From: Saints and Devotees Chapter of The Near and The Dear.
I Shall Give You a Mantra:
In 1935 I was on vacation from school and went to Dakshineshwar on a religious pilgrimage. When I reached the place where there were many Shiva temples, a man appeared before me whom I had not noticed to be there before.
“My son,” the man said, “You are a Brahmin? I shall give you a mantra.”
“I will not take it,” I said, “I do not believe in it.”
“You must take it,” he insisted and so I relented.
Thereafter I faithfully recited the mantra daily. Many years passed.
It was June 1955. I had some close friends who were like members of the family. Every Sunday we’d chat in the evening at our house.
Around 9:00 p.m., I saw my wife, aunt, and mother going out. I asked them where they were going, and they said just to an adjacent house, that some baba was visiting. One of the fellows with me said cynically, “Does he eat? I can arrange food for him.”(This fellow was a hunter)
My wife said, “You should not say things like that.”
In ten minutes they returned. They reported that he had been sitting in a dirt hut with an oil lamp and had told them to go. When they didn’t go, he said, “Go! Your husband’s Bengali friends have come. Go and serve them tea. I shall come in the morning.”
In the morning my wife and I went over together. Maharajji was on a small cot in a tiny room. As we entered he sprang up and took my hand, saying, “Let’s go.” We left so fast that my wife had to remove her sandals to keep up. He took us to our own house and said, “I shall stay with you.” When the women from the other house came to take him back he would not go.
Later he questioned me: “You are a devotee of Shiva?”
“You already have a mantra.” It was at that moment that I realized it had been Maharajji who had given me the mantra twenty years before.
Excerpt from “Miracles of Love”
The Guru Must Know Everything About You:
I KNOW EVERYTHING. WHY DO I KNOW?
NOT ONLY WAS Maharajji watching over us, but he could easily see within us as well. And that was quite a different matter.
To realize that someone has access to the secret compartments of your mind is unnerving. It gives rise to a type of intimacy that is unparalleled in most of our human relationships. Those of us who are close to another person often sense what the other is feeling. When we have come to know the way another thinks we may even be able to guess what is on his or her mind. But there are so many tiny, subtle thoughts; and many of these are censored almost the moment they come to mind because they would be socially unacceptable or even unacceptable to our own conscious image of ourselves. To realize that someone has access even to these thoughts immediately puts you at an extraordinary disadvantage, as if your opponent had broken your code. You are so vulnerable. But of course it is also incredibly exciting to meet another consciousness in such an intimate way. And with Maharajji, added to this was a quality of unconditional love coming from the other, as if he were saying to you, “I know all about you and I love you.”
The most precious things about Maharajji cannot be described in stories— like massaging his legs. If I had a useless thought as I was massaging him, he’d pull my hand away; and then, when I would recenter my mind, he’d put my hand back. In those subtle ways he would teach you. – Miracle of Love.
Baba Keeps His Word to a Child:
“Only Baba Neem Karoli is capable of restoring life. You pray to him to fulfill your wish.”
This event happened during the Second World War. Chandra Shekar Pande, S.D.O, M.E.S, was very worried about his wife. She had fever for a long time and was now so emaciated that she was close to death. He sent a telegraph to his father-in law, Motiram who lived in Anupshahar. The elderly Motirarn was very disturbed at this news. He went to his Guru, Mauni baba, who was a highly elevated holy man of the time, and asked him, “O Gurudev, today I beg of you, please, somehow or the other, restore life to my daughter, or end my life also. ”
Mauni baba remained in a meditative pose for some time and then said, “Only Baba Neem Karoli is capable of restoring life. You pray to him to fulfill your wish.” So, at Anupshahar, Motiram. meditated on Baba and prayed to him. Meanwhile at Jhansi, Baba arrived at Pande’s house and asked, “How is your wife?” Pande did not know Baba and asked him who he was. Baba replied, “Baba Neem Karoli. ” Pande said, “She is lying dead inside. ” Baba said, “Will you show her to me?” Pande took Baba inside.
Baba looked at her dead body and said, “She is not dead yet. You have some grapes in your house? Fetch them, and a bowl and a spoon. ” Baba extracted some grape juice by pressing the grapes in his hand and poured that juice into her mouth. Her pulse began to beat and in a few moments she opened her eyes. Baba said, “Give her grape juice and milk to drink, she will be cured.” Then Baba went away. Pande’s wife began to recuperate and she regained her health without any treatment.
It turned out that Baba visited Motiram’s house when Pande’s wife was six years old. Someone had died in the neighbour’s house, and as the child had seen this for the first time, it had shocked her tender heart. At that time Baba very lovingly said to the girl, “Ask whatever you want.” She said, “Baba, when I die, bring me back to life.”
Baba was committed to his words, but said nothing at the time. Baba kept his promise given to a child.
One Ailment, Different Treatment:
“God takes care of the person who has no one to look after him”
One day Baba was sitting on a parapet by the roadside when a sadhu named Balak came and offered pranaam to him. Baba said to Balak, “What’s the trouble?” Balak told him that he had been suffering from stomach pain since the previous evening. Baba gave him some of the remaining water from the lota (metal pot) that he used when washing. Balak drank this, and then Baba made him run around. In a little while the pain subsided.
The same day Pandit Mama also had pain in his stomach. Baba immediately got him admitted to Ramsay Hospital in Nainital and sent his devotees to enquire about his health throughout the day. A devotee asked Baba the reason for according different treatment to Pandit Mama. In reference to Balak, Baba said, “God takes care of the person who has no one to look after him. Pandit is a well-to-do man. He wants good treatment and also expects others to express their sympathy for him.”
Maharaji’s Surprise Appearance:
His goodness to his devotees also expressed itself in the way he would fulfill their fond expectations, trying to save them from disappointment.
This was revealed during the opening ceremony of the temple in Panki, Kanpur. Babaji was at Allahabad for his winter stay. Devotees coming from Kanpur requested him to bless the occasion by his presence, which he did not agree to do. They went back feeling disappointed and sad that all their efforts had failed. On the day of the inauguration, Babaji finished his toilet, and changing his clothes early, went back to his room. It was seven o’clock. He told me that he was not feeling well, covered himself with a blanket and asked me to bolt the doors, not allowing anybody to disturb him or enter his room. Hours passed, and the people waiting outside for darshan started speculating about his trouble. At twelve he opened his eyes, asked me about the time and said, “Oh, it has been five hours that I have been asleep, but such a nice sleep that I feel refreshed.” The doors were opened, and people rushed in and had their darshan. Life began again as usual. The next day, Babaji was sitting in the hall surrounded by his devotees when a person came with a basket of ladoos – prasad from the inauguration ceremony of the Panki temple the day before. Being handed a basket, I was told that Babaji had been there in the morning, but at twelve he suddenly disappeared. “We searched for him, but he was not there, so we brought the prasad for him.”
Mr. Jagati, an old devotee, asked, “What are you talking about? Babaji was here lying on his bed feeling unwell, and we were waiting for him outside. The door was opened at twelve and we all saw him. So how could he be at Panki when he was in his room all the time?” While they were all trying to convince each other, Babaji was sitting silently with his smile. This incident reveals so much about his invisible movements to fulfill the wishes and expectations.
Babaji Leaves at Night:
The eyes had given all the snapshots to the mind, but it could not develop them immediately.
Sometimes during our nightly satsang. Babaji used to visit us in our room, where we were busy with our talk. One night, more than an hour had passed and we were still talking when Babaji entered the hall, sat down on Sukla’s bed and began counting the layers of bedding. Babaji said, “You are enjoying much luxury here.”
Everyone laughed at the joke, but Sukla was much moved and said with tears in his eyes, “This is my Didi’s house, so I have got them.” Babaji said, “Your Didi is good, but she is generous to you and gives you five layers for your bed, but only three layers for mine.” Our satsang was punctuated with many such visits and inimitable comments. Everybody would say after such an experience that this really was our Babaji, the one whom we all seek.
Days passed in quiet succession. All we wanted was that the ecstasy and excitement in which we were spending our days should not halt. But one night, after Babaji had gone to bed, the devotees finished their meals and assembled in the hall as usual. After some time, we noticed that there was no light in Babaji’s room. Taking him to be asleep and thinking we would have no visit from him that night, we all took to our beds. Before twelve, everyone was asleep and all the lights were switched off.
We were all in deep sleep when we heard Tularam shouting “Dada, Babaji has gone away. He is not here in the house.” Tularam caught me by the hand and started running for the gate. Siddhi was already there waiting for us. We had not even taken our slippers, when we started running on the road. We came across a rickshaw by the roadside, but the rickshaw-puller was asleep on it. Tularam actually pulled him down. We two took our seats and Siddhi jumped on the footboard and asked the rickshaw-puller to drive fast. He was not fully awake, and that there was no accident was only because there was no traffic on the road.
When we arrived at the railroad station, we saw Babaji sitting alone on a bench. The two devotees who had come with him had been sent for their tea, so Babaji was alone when we came before him. We were agitated and could not talk, so he started the talk in a very casual way. It was as if he was sitting on his bed, where we had left him earlier. He inquired how we came to be there. Tularam replied as Siddhi and I could not talk or even open our mouths, “We came in search of you. How was it possible for us to stay at home when we learned that you had gone away?” Babaji behaved as if it was a very common and everyday affair and we had unnecessarily given so much importance to it. Then the usual questions began, as if cursorily directed to Tularam: how did he know, what did others think when they heard of it, and all such questions. Tularam could tell him only the little which he had heard from Siddhi when she came rushing down to wake us up.
Everybody had been sleeping in the house, but Siddhi and two other ladies who slept on the roof above, were sitting looking toward the road in front of the house. It was a full moon night, and they were sitting silently, as if in meditation, when they saw some movement going on there. Two rickshaws had come and were standing at the gate when someone came out carrying something in his arms. The gate was opened, and there were some others waiting there. They all sat on the rickshaws and started off. The ladies saw but did not understand what it was all about. The eyes had given all the snapshots to the mind, but it could not develop them immediately. What all the pantomime was about, they could not know.
Babaji said that the thing was so simple that it was a surprise for him that we could not understand it. He said that he had some important work at Mathura and his presence was necessary there. Moreover, Ram Prakash, who had come from Agra, was wasting his time here and his work was suffering, so he had to be taken home. He continued, “This was decided at night when I was going to bed. You were busy with your food. Kanhai Lal came to see me before leaving for home. I asked him to come with two rickshaws after two in the morning. I could not ask you for that because you were all busy with your food. When the rickshaws came, I was ready to start but you were all asleep. So I came out of my room alone and when I saw Ram Prakash sleeping on the verandah along with others, I lifted him and took him out of the gate. My problem was that he should not know it. If he woke up, he was sure to draw everyone from the house by his shouting. So the wise thing was not to wake him. For such a simple thing there was no sense in making a fuss like you people would have done. One must use one’s brain before anything. You people do not do that. That is the cause of all your trouble.”
The sermon was over. Then as consolation for our troubles, he said that his work was very urgent. It had not been in his plan to go now, so he did not talk to us about it. However, he would return soon. Ram Prakash and Kanhai Lal had returned and were standing nearby. It was almost time for the train to come, so Babaji said we should return home. It was then that Tularam asked him the question which had been itching at his mind for so long. He said his only request to Baba was that henceforth he should not leave the home without telling Dada about it; it was painful for Dada when he learned that Babaji had gone while he was sleeping. Babaji smiled, and granted his prayer outright, “All right, from now on I will let Dada know before leaving the house.” A promise, very precious, extracted by Tularam for the benefit of us all. Babaji honored his promise till the last day before taking his samadhi. Whenever Babaji informed me that he was leaving the house, I was reminded of Tularam and his love for me.
Babaji returned after five or six days. Many devotees had left for their homes, so Tularam and I had plenty of time to talk. He had much to say about Baba. He had spent many sleepless nights sitting or moving with Babaji in Nainital, Almora, Bhowali and Bhimtal. It was a life spent on the streets, sometimes inside a culvert on the roadside. For those who spend their lives in furnished houses and soft beds, it was a tough life and often painful. But no one would think of giving it up. They were caught like bees in honey, but not in the hive anymore.
Hanuman in Prayag:
The work was done; that was enough for Baba.
There was a very heavy flood, and the water of both the Ganges and Jamuna (Yamuna) had risen to a high level in Allahabad. The currents were very strong. Some stones of the adjoining fort were washed away, and water was getting into the fort. All the adjoining areas, including the famous Hanuman temple, were submerged under water, facing the fury of this flood. Dr. Katju, then Defense Minister, accompanied by his staff, came to see the situation for himself. Seeing Dr. Katju, who was a highly religious person, some priests of the Hanuman temple prayed to him to save the temple. They said every year during the rainy season Hanumanji goes down under water and comes out when the water subsides. But this time the threat was very serious; some old pipal and banyan trees that had stood firm through the ages had been washed away. The same threat held for Hanumanji also. Dr. Katju sympathized with them but said it was beyond his power, rather beyond all human power, to save the murti of Hanumanji. Only Hanumanji himself could do that. He said they should seek the help of Neem Karoli Baba, who was considered to be an incarnation of Hanumanji. It is not known, nor is it necessary to know, how many of them believed what Dr. Katju said about Babaji being an incarnation of Hanumanji. Their need was very great and they would try anything. Since this advice came from such a wise and respected person, many of them actually started shouting for Baba.
After some time they stopped, and not having much hope for the success of their venture, many of them left. A jeep came, but few took notice of it, as the vehicles of many sightseers were coming and going. Someone got down from the jeep and started coming their way. Several persons shouted, “Here comes Babaji! He is Neem Karoli Baba!” They all rushed to him and narrated to him their tales of woe. Everyone was pressing him to save Hanumanji.
Babaji told them that he could not do that – only Hanumanji himself could do that, and they should pray to him. Babaji just took a little water from the flooded rivers in his palm, sipped a few drops, and went away in his jeep. Most of the others left after the jeep had gone. Those who remained were not sure that much would come out of that august visit, and they were left disheartened. But that very night the water started receding and, within two days, the threat to the temple was over. Many felt afterwards that Babaji had done his miracle, but many more thought it happened of its own and Babaji had nothing to do with it. This made no difference to Baba. People remembered him in their distress and so he came. The work was done; that was enough for Baba. It was not for him to wait to see the success of his work and collect laurels from the seekers who cried for help. These stories can sometimes help us to see the work of his unseen hands in the many critical situations facing his devotees. Some of them had their faith strengthened by him. When they came out safe from their misfortunes, they took it to be all Babaji’s doing. He would deny flatly that he had anything to do with it. This is the Babaji we know.
There are so many more stories of how restless the saints become at the sufferings of others. Although as highly realized souls they are free from attachments, they cannot stand as mere spectators when the cries from the helpless reach their ears.
Police Superintendent Gets His Post:
All he could do was remember him in his heart.
Ram Narayan said that during his long period of service, he had to work in many different places in the state and it was difficult to have Babaji’s darshan when he wanted it. In almost every town where he was posted, there were people who knew Babaji. Sometimes Babaji visited them, but it was difficult for him to contact Baba by searching him out. Baba was an itinerant saint, and nobody knew about his visits or movement except when they were with him.
Ram Narayan said he also suffered from an additional handicap: Babaji’s devotees, like all others, generally used to stay away from the police and would not easily fraternize with them socially. This made it difficult to keep in contact with the other devotees in order to keep track of Babaji. He was emphatic that there was no such discrimination in Babaji’s mind. The police were as near and dear to him as his devotees in other walks of life.
Ram Narayan mentioned the names of many high-placed police officials, such as Jamuna Prasad Tripathi, Rai Bahadur Tika Ram, Chaudhary Omkar Singh, and Shri Deep Narain Rai, who were among his very great devotees and received his grace freely. He said his experience was that getting darshan had to be left to Baba’s decision; all he could do was remember him in his heart.
One day, while officiating as Superintendent of Police at Bijnor, he learned that his claim for confirmation as Superintendent had been rejected and he was to revert to his previous post. This was a very big shock and disappointment for him. He had officiated as Superintendent for several years with full credit, but the claim was rejected on the technical grounds that he did not come through proper selection, but through promotions from the lower ranks.
Ram Narayan narrated, “This was a great disgrace for me, and how was I to face it? So I decided to resign. There was a pall of mourning over the entire household. I was in my official quarter within closed doors in the evening and there was no cooking in the house that night, as everyone was in distress. It was about nine when a policeman knocked at the gate. He said, ‘Someone is sitting on the road ahead, and he asked me to send you to him.’ I actually jumped up. I was convinced that it must be Babaji who had come at this time of night when I was shedding tears and remembering him.
“When I reached there, Babaji was sitting in the middle of the road. There was not much traffic because it was within the official quarters. Facing me he said, ‘You are going to resign from your job? What kind of a man are you? You have not allowed food to be cooked and have made everybody in the house miserable. Don’t worry. You will remain in your present post and be made permanent.’ I said there was no such chance; the decision was final. He said, ‘How can that be? There will be the Lahin Commission going through such cases and you will be confirmed.’ Then he said, ‘Bring my food; I have to eat.’ I took him along with me to the house.
The lights were switched on and cooking was started. After some time, he began hurrying us up, ‘Bring my food. Bring my food. I have to go.’ The food was served and he took a little. It was not that he was hungry himself or needed the food, but it was a way to get the day’s cooking started for the people who were hungry. Soon afterwards, I was confirmed in my post.”
While narrating these incidents, Ram Narayan said again and again, “This is the Baba I know, and take to be Hanumanji in a human body. How could it be anything other than that?” For me there was no question of believing or not believing him. All I wanted was for him to repeat his stories as often as possible and give us some taste of the joy that was with him.
An Umbrella of Protection:
“Keep it with you. It will be a protective umbrella.”
In 1967 R.P. Vaish, a devotee of Baba’s, came to Kainchi to see Baba. He was being transferred to Delhi, and he told Baba that he wanted to tour Kashmir before taking up his post. When Vaish was leaving, Baba gave him an umbrella and said, “Keep it with you. It rains heavily there.” Vaish hesitated to accept the umbrella and said, “I have an umbrella at home. This one will serve many people here at the ashram.” Baba did not listen to him and again asked him to keep it with him. During his stay in Kashmir, Vaish went about holding the umbrella. On his return to Delhi, he again went to Kainchi for Baba’s darshan and to return the umbrella. On seeing him, Baba said, “You have come to return the umbrella?” Baba then said, “Keep it with you. It will be a protective umbrella over you.” Vaish did not understand what Baba meant, but he went back to Delhi, taking the umbrella with him.
In 1978, five years after Baba’s Mahasamadhi, Vaish was transferred to Lucknow and left his extra luggage, including the umbrella, at his house in Delhi. In Lucknow he started suffering from heart, liver and spleen trouble. A check-up at Balrampur Hospital revealed that his spleen was enlarged by thirteen centimeters, but the doctors did not advise an operation due to his heart trouble. As no other treatment option was available to him in Lucknow, he and his wife went to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi. Back in Delhi, Vaish was getting ready to go from his house to the hospital when his wife noticed the umbrella lying there. The idea came to her that by not keeping the umbrella gifted to him by Maharaj with him always, he might have been deprived of Baba’s protection. In the hot month of June, Shrimati Vaish escorted her husband to the hospital and hid the umbrella under his pillow.
Vaish was examined thoroughly once again. His spleen was still enlarged by thirteen centimeters. The doctors told him that he would have to stay in the hospital for six months and agreed that it was not advisable to operate on the spleen in his condition. They would have to rely on the medicines to affect a cure. They told him that he would have to take a special tablet once a month that would reduce his spleen by two and a half centimeters over thirty days. He took the first tablet that same day. The next morning he felt so much better that he asked the doctor to get his spleen examined again. Saying encouraging words to him, the doctor explained that the process of measuring would be repeated after six months, not every day. Vaish was not satisfied with this and sent his wife to the chief medical superintendent with a request to get his spleen examined again as a special case. The superintendent ordered it to be re-measured, and the results showed that his spleen had indeed reduced in size by thirteen centimeters. Since the tablet was not that effective, the doctors were all amazed at the sudden change. When they expressed their surprise to Vaish, he pulled out the umbrella and said, “By its grace.”
Excerpt from The Divine Reality of Sri Baba Neeb Karori Ji Maharaj by Ravi Prakash Pande “Rajida”
Neem Karoli Baba Ashram Mailing Address:
Neem Karoli Baba Ashram,
PO Box 1710,
New Mexico 87571.
Office & Puja Dukan: 575-751-4080
Map to Ashram:
Neem Karoli Baba Ashram and Hanuman Temple,
416 Geronimo Lane,
Taos, New Mexico 87571