It is clear that Maharajji has left us many names by which to remember Him.
Maharajji left two names by which He is best known worldwide.
These names are "Baba Neeb Karori" and "Neem Karoli Baba". In India, there are often many ways of pronouncing the same word(s). The village of Neeb Karoli, where Maharaji resided for some time in the 1930s is the principal source of the name. In essence, the meaning is "the baba from Neeb Karori." However, the village name is alternately pronounced "Neeb Karori" or "Neem Karoli" in common daily speech. So, you can see "it's complicated'. Ram Dass and the Westerners picked up on the "Neem Karoli Baba" version and that name was brought to the West. More properly, Maharajji's name would be pronounced (and written) as "Baba Neeb Karori". However, there is also the case that at the time Maharajji was called Lakshman Das when He lived in Neeb Karoli village. Maharajji's birth name is Lakshmi Narayan Sharma.
In this manner Maharajji has encompassed a greater area of names. These create more ways for His devotees to find Him.
The following information about Maharajji's names comes from Maharajji's 'signature', a book called Prema Vatar written by Mukunda and from the neebkaroribaba.com Web site operated by Maharajji's family in Agra, India."
There is also an email note from a person who grew up in the village of Neebkarori that sheds some light on the matter of the names of Babaji.
The lila of Maharajji's names seems to matter little to the true devotee of Maharajji. When any and all of Maharajji's names are spoken these devotees are becoming happy and at peace.
Maharajji's Signature Maharajji has signed : "Baba Neeb Karori" Updated Dec 7, 2007, Vrindavan
Update February 25, 2007
In emails with Dr. Atul Chandra Mishra a person who grew up in Neebkaroli, Dr. Mishra writes: "In govt. records its known as Neebkarori but people also know it as Neem karoli. In my childhood people use to use both interchangably. I hadn't done Darshan of Maharaj ji. But I met several times with Mataji during her visits to Neemkaroli in my child hood only. But my Parents had his (Maharajji's) darshan. I know a lot of his lila what he had done there during his stay. Also people saying that he had done a lot of tapsya (worship of hnuman ji) there at his kutiya (Hut)." This is another example of the interchangability of the Neebkarori/Neemkaroli name in India and in the village itself. Thus, it is unlikely that the Neem Karoli Baba name came from Western devotees but rather it has always been used in such a way. This naming is, of course, just another part of Maharajji's lila.
|Sri Neem Karoli Baba Maharajji
"In His fancy, a young 'yogi' carrying a chimta (a pair of tongs) and a 'kamandal' in his hand boarded a first class compartment of the Tundla bound train at Farrukhadab station. The train had gone a few miles when an Anglo Indian, T. T. E. came to check tickets and was taken aback to see a half-naked sadhu in the first class compartment. On demanding the ticket and getting a negative reply, he lost his temper and ungraciously compelled the sadhu to get down at the next Neebkarori halt. The sadhu quietly sat under the tree and dung the pair of tongs in the earth. The train got the green light signal to leave. The engine was started, but the train did not move further. The steam was applied with full force, but the wheels turned round and round at their place. The engine was checked throughly and everything was found in order. Being worried the European guard came to the driver and asked him what the matter was. The driver could not point out any fault. Nothing was found. Despite all efforts the engine would not budge. By now it was time for some other trains to pass by on that track. Eventually some Indian travellers suggested to those foreign authorities to request the sadhu Maharaj to board the train and then only it would move. They fretted and fumed and at last decided to try allowing the sadhu to travel by train. They went to Babaji, apologized and requested Him to board the train. The jovial Baba said "if you say so, I will oblige you." As soon as Babaji entered the compartment, the train started moving.
"And on account of that incident, the village of Neebkarori, one of many insignificant villages of India, became famous in no time.
"After having stayed for a long time in this village when the above-mentioned Baba Lakshamandas left it; he bore the name Baba Neebkarori or Baba Neemkaroli.
"After the incident each and every train passing by that village stopped there for one or two minutes. The residents also travelled to Farrukhabad by train (even without ticket). In due course of time, Neebkarori station was also built. Now right in the center of the village a flag station named Lakshamanadas Puri has been made. This is only one among many wonderful lilas of Babaji.
"In Uttarakand, instead of Baba Neebkarori, Maharajji is addressed as 'Neemkarori wale Baba' or Baba Neemkaroli. But being indifferent to his fame, Babaji never tried to get this distorted form of His name corrected. Afterwards, many people began addressing him mostly, as Neemkaroli Baba or Babaji or Maharajji..."
From Introduction of "Premavatar" by P. C. Josi 'Mukunda' - Kainchi Dham.
|Sri Neeb Karori Baba Maharajji
Maharajji was born as Lakshmi Narayan Sharma and this was the name given to him by his parents. When he left his home and wandered in search of truth, he came to be known as Lakshman Das. When he did tapasya at Bavania in Gujarat, he was known as Tallaiya Baba.
Later when he lived at the Indian village of Neeb Karori, he was called Neeb Karori Baba by the local villagers. There is a lot of confusion about the spelling of 'Neeb Karori'. Neeb Karori is the phonological translation of the same word from Hindi. Neeb is also sometimes written as Nib and Karori is sometimes written as Karauri. The 'ee' in Neeb is to be pronounced as in 'speed' and the 'o' in Karori is to pronounced as the 'a' in 'raw'. It is to be noted that the name Neeb Karori was taken up by Maharajji himself. He has signed with this name at some places. Neeb (In pure hindi - neev) means foundation and Karori (in pure hindi - karari) means strong. So Neeb Karori means a strong foundation.
However over the years the name Neeb Karori was transformed in various ways like Nib Karori, Neeb Karauri and it eventually took the form "Neem Karoli". This name became popular among the western devotees and has continued as such. It is true that it must have been by Maharajji's wish that the name took such a form and became so dear to his devotees. But the words 'neem karoli' means very different things. Neem is an Indian tree and Karoli is a place in India. The western devotees who have eventually learned Hindi and the Devnagari script have acknowledged that the spelling in English should indeed be Neeb Karori.
From neebkaroribaba.com - Gokulpura, Agra