Memoirs of Neem Karoli Baba in Vrindavan

It might seem strange that I am writing about Neem Karoli Baba because I have no stories about him. But I did see him, and since it was one of the most memorable events of my life, I want to add my voice to those who speak of his greatness. (If you do not know about his life, please read some of the books about him. They are a great inspiration.)

I was in Brindaban with some of the members of our ashram for the Samyam Sapta with Anandamayi Ma. After a few days quite a number of Americans and Europeans began showing up for Ma’s darshan, which was a sign that Neem Karoli Baba must be in town. We knew where his ashram was, so one morning we went to see him. And that was all we did: see.

The Story of Writing of Vinaya Chalisa

At around 5:00 PM, I went to the manager of the Ashram and asked for Prabhu Dayalji's* room. Only a few minutes ago, somebody had told me that the writer of Vinaya Chalisa and Pushpanjali had come for today's bhandara. I did not want to lose an opportunity and so rushed to him. He was sitting peacefully in his room, a sober looking bespectacled man in his early sixtees. When I asked him about what inspired him to write Vinaya Chalisa, he told his story:

Mr. Prabhu Dayal Sharma was a Cashier in ITI, Vrindavan in 1965. The story starts one fine day in the same year. Mr. Sharma was feeling uneasy and thought of going for a walk. He thought of going towards 'Lutere Hanumanji' (a famous temple of old-day Vrindavan). As he was passing the temple, he met a certain friend Mr. Jagdish Prasad Singhal. Mr. Singhal asked Mr. Sharma if he had met a saint called Neeb Karori Baba. When he said no, Mr. Sharma gave him the address of Haathi waale baba (who used to sit at the Gore Dauji temple just next to Maharajji's ashram). He said that Haathi waale baba would direct him to Maharajji.

It's All Love

During my initial experience with Maharajji, I focused on two aspects of his being : that he knew everything and that he was loving me unconditionally.

It took me a long time to put the two together in myself, to understand the depth of a being who could do that. I had to go from identifying in my head to identifying in my heart-mind.

I keep coming back to what Maharajji did that first morning I was with him. It was not just mind reading. It was not only that he loved me unconditionally, although may be it was that love that took me into the One.

Now I think it was grace. That graceful love allowed the awareness and love to merge in the heart-mind, allowed the horizon of the sky of consciouness to open, allowed me to experience the One.

He Loved Everybody

How do I explain who Maharajji was and how he did what he did ? I don't have any explanation. May be it was his love of God. I can't explain who he was.

I can almost begin to understand how he loved everybody. I mean, that was his job, he was a  saint. Saints are supposed to love everybody. But that's not what always staggered me, not that he loved everybody - but that when I was sitting in front of him I loved everybody.

That was the hardest thing for me to understand, how he could so totally transform the spirit of people who were with him and bring out not just the best in us, but something that wasn't even in us, that we didn't know.

Girija About Maharajji

Maharajji was about the same height as his younger son, right around six feet. Maharajji loved atte ke laddoo(wheat flour laddoo), kheer(milk preparation) and pua(this is the standard prasad at the Kainchi June 15 bhandara every year). He also loved mangoes and milk. In salty foods, he loved aloo gobhi(cauliflower potato preparation) and missi roti(thick chapattis made with hand over an oven fire).

When someone would come over, he would always have pooris and kachoris prepared(fried breads)

Often times ashrams prepare the foods  Maharajji liked for  bhandaras.

- As told to Ira Rose