NEEM KAROLI BABA
Maharaj Neem Karoli Baba was born in the village Akbarpur ( Ferozabad district ) of Uttar Pradesh ( India ) in a wealthy Brahmin jameendar ( landlord ) family. He was born on Shukla Paksh Ashtami in the month of Margashira and was named “ Laxmi Narayan Sharma ” by his father Shri Durga Prasad Sharma. From early child-hood, Maharaj ji was detached from worldly attachments. At the age of eleven he was married to a girl from an affluent Brahmin family.
Immediately after his marriage, Maharaj ji left home and went to Gujarat. He roamed around various places in Gujarat and the entire country.
After around 10-15 years, his father was informed by someone that he had seen a sadhu ( ascetic ) who was a look-alike of his son in the village of “ Neeb Karori ” ( misspelt as ‘ Neem Karoli ’ at times ) in the Farukhabad district in Uttar Pradesh.
His father immediately rushed to the village of Neeb Karori to meet and get his son.
There he met Maharaj ji and ordered him to return home.
Maharaj ji followed his father’s instructions and returned. This was the beginning of two different types of life that Maharaj ji led. One that of a householder and the other that of a saint.
Maharaj ji devoted time towards his responsibility of a householder … and at the same time he continued to look after his bigger family i.e., the world at large.
However, there was no difference in his life and style of living when discharging duties of a householder or that of a saint. In his family, as a householder, he has two sons and a daughter.
Maharaj ji said that “ The whole world is my family ” and preached “ Love all .. Serve all .. Feed all. ” He said “ This is the key to attain God and salvation. ”
Maharaj ji organized yagyas and bhandaras wherever he went. Both of these were organized simultaneously. Yagyas were to feed the God, and bhandaras were to feed the worldly people.
Maharaj ji built Hanumanji’s temples at many places. Before attaining Nirvana. He established two ‘ ashrams ’ (places for people to stay).
One ashram is at Kainchi in Nainital district of Uttranchal and the second one is at Vrindavan in Mathura district of Uttar Pradesh.
Maharaj ji selected Vrindavan as the place for his ‘ Mahasamadhi ’.
“ Vrindavan ” is the place where Lord Krishna played and lived. Vrindavan is also known as “ Golok Dham ”.
In the late 60s, “ Richard Alpert ”, an eminent Harvard psychologist and psychedelic pioneer ( later known as “ Baba Ram Dass ” ) authored a book, “ Be Here Now ” .. telling of the Indian Guru “ Neem Karoli Baba ” which led hundreds of Westerners, tired of American politics and new-world materialism, in search of Maharaj ji’s darshan.
Maharaj ji was as elusive as the stories tell, but many were allowed to be in his presence and they continue to tell stories to this day that are a wonderment of love, grace, lilas and awe.
Much of the yoga, meditation and Hindu spirituality movements in the West today can be directly linked to the western disciples who were taught by Maharaj ji.
Some prominent musicians such as “ Jai Utal ” and “ Krishna Das ” spread the Teaching through traditional Hindu Chants. And, “ Baba Ram Dass ”, despite his paralyzing stroke, continues to spread the knowledge and practice through books, lectures and retreats.
Although Maharaj ji himself often forbade the discussion of .. and never admitted to .. the performance of any miracles, they were never the less seen and experienced by all who were around him.
His devotees have authored many books, mostly telling of their personal transformations and the grace of Maharaj ji, but also detail the countless miracles that melted the hardest skeptical hearts into devoted servants of God.
Maharaj ji left Kainchi Ashram on 9th September 1973 for Agra. This was his last visit to Kainchi and he left signs of his last visit which people could make out only later on. Description of the same is available in the book “ Miracle of Love ” ( by Ram Dass ).
On reaching Agra on 10th September, he immediately set for Vrindavan where he attained “ Mahasamadhi ” on 11th September, 1973.