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Divine Masters

Neem Karoli Baba

NEEM KAROLI BABA is a great saint and a True Divine Master, hailing from North India. A humble, yet brilliant spiritual teacher, in search of whom ‘Steve Jobs’ is said to have come to India, continues to be a revered figure 42 years after his death! Also known as Neeb Karori Baba, he is fondly called as “Maharaj-ji” by His numerous devotees. Maharaj-ji’s teachings were simple and universal. It is believed that by the time Neem Karoli Baba was 17 years old, he knew everything. Many believe that Neem Karori Baba has miraculous powers. He came to these hills of Nainital (Uttar Pradesh, India) and set up “Kainchi Dham” in 1962.

He is known outside India for being the guru of a number of Americans, who travelled to India in the 1960s and 1970s. He often said, “Sub Ek” — All is One. He taught us to “love everyone, serve everyone, remember God, and tell the truth.” Strongly connected to Hanuman, the Hindu God in the form of a monkey, Maharaj-ji “taught” in a highly personalized, non-traditional way that reflected the deep devotion of the bhakti path of the heart. He was a lifelong adept of bhakti yoga, and encouraged service to others (seva) as the highest form of unconditional devotion to God.

Born as ‘Lakshmi Narayan Sharma’ in a ‘high-caste’ Brahmin family in Uttar Pradesh’s Firozabad district, Karoli Baba got attracted to spirituality pretty early in his life. Neem Karoli Baba opted Vrindavan’s land for his Samadhi. He died on September 10, 1973. A temple for him was subsequently built at the Ashram. His statue was consecrated on June 15, 1976.

"Constant repetition of God’s name, even without feelings of devotion, in anger or lethargy, brings out his grace. Once this is realized, there is no room for misgivings. Compassion is the highest virtue".

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. Some devotees even say that Babaji had conquered space and that he could be anywhere and in any place he wished within the twinkling of an eye. Also, he was characterised by a total non-attachment to anything on earth He established two ashrams and numerously temples dedicated to Hindu deity Hanuman during his lifetime. Foreigners from different corners of the world flocked to his ashrams and worshipped his feet to attain ‘enlightenment’. These ashrams are located in Vrindavan in Uttar Pradesh and Nainital

Kainchi Dham is a small temple complex situated on the banks of the Kosi, a river in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand. Located at an altitude of about 1400 mt on the Nainital-Almora Road, on the banks of the Shipra river, the name ‘kainchi’ for the ashram is derived from the two sharp hairpin bends on the road. In 1962, Baba Neem Karoli built a chabootara around a place where two spiritual gurus Sadhu Premi Baba and Sombari Maharaj had performed Yagyas in Kainchi village. This Kainchi Dham ashram where he stayed in the last decade of his life, was built in 1964 with a Hanuman temple. He also built Lord Hanuman’s temple at many places. The first temple of Lord Hanuman was inaugurated in June 15, 1964. The second temple was built in Vrindavan. Baba Karoli Baba has temples in several places including Lucknow and an Ashram in Texas, US. According to his website, Maharajji established at least 108 temples.

There is a temple dedicated to NEEM KAROLI BABA in Mehrauli , in New Delhi. The Delhi Ashram has many murtis, including the second biggest Annapoorna Mandir in India with a series of delightful bells to be rung as devotees climb the stairs up and also on the way down. Maharaj ji inaugurated this ashram in the summer shortly before His mahasamadhi in 1973. Morning and evening arati is performed. This ashram has Beautiful Gardens

He is remembered every year on September 15, when devotees flock to his Kainchi ashram to pay their obeisance to the ‘great soul’. However, his spiritual journey began only after marriage as he left his home for Bavania in Gujarat. As usually happened in those days, he was married at tender age of eleven. After travelling length and breadth of country for over fifteen years, he changed his name to Sadhu Neem and started living in a nondescript village of Karoli in Farrukhabad district of Uttar Pradesh. Known as the “Miracle Baba” throughout north India, He manifested many siddhis (powers), such as being in two places at once or putting devotees in samadhi (state of God consciousness) at the touch of a finger.