Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, told Narendra Modi that Steve Jobs had advised him to visit the Himalayan temple of the north Indian siddha, Neeb Karori Baba. Jobs had gone to meet him but arrived shortly after the saint’s Maha Samadhi in 1973. Even though Neeb Karori Baba never travelled in his human body to the West, His influence has brought the Dharma into the lives of countless Americans.
One of the first Americans to meet Neeb Karori Baba was the Harvard professor Richard Alpert, who travelled to Bharat in 1968. Neeb Karori Baba instantly read Alpert’s mind and wrenched open his heart. Alpert was renamed Ramdass; he found himself being reworked into a spiritual being from the inside out. Ramdass wrote about his experiences in a best-selling and hugely influential book called Be Here Now. In this way in the last years of his terrestrial life, Neeb Karori Baba, became one of the most famous and defining gurus on earth.
Neeb Karori Baba has a magical ability to touch the hearts of his devotees, often before they even know who he is. Someone may see a photograph and just can’t stop thinking about that man in the blanket, so they seek out books or satsang. Indeed, some of his most devoted followers never met him in His human body. He, like Hanuman, is present on earth at all times and comes to his chelas in visions and inspirations. He gives guidance and succor to those who remember Him.
In Mystic of Northern India Swami Chidananda, a direct disciple of Swami Shivananda of Rishikesh, wrote: “Sri Baba Neeb Karori—is… the most unique phenomena among the religious fraternity of Saints [and] Sages….It would not be a wonder to me, if, as I am sitting and dictating this article…at this moment Babaji is perfectly aware of this…and knows exactly…what words I am dictating…in spite of the fact that…he has left his body…Though this…may seem rather extraordinary…it is nevertheless true that … Babaji’s…devotees had personal experience…that [he was] aware of whatever they had been saying and doing in distant places, far away from him…. This has convinced most of his closest followers that Sri Baba Neeb Karori was a ‘Siddha Purusha’ (perfected being) and knower of the past, present [and] future—Trikala Jnani.…. Close devotees of Baba Neeb Karori have seem him simultaneously at two different places, at one and the
In 1973, I spent the monsoon in Kainchi Dham with Sri Neeb Karori Baba Maharaj. I would sit near him, entranced and mesmerised. He was animated with some people and with others very tender, and sometimes quite stern. Maharaj ji was ever changing. Once when he was walking, he caught hold of my hand, an enviable experience, because everybody wanted him to catch hold of his or her hand. He seemed like a frail little old man, shorter and rounder than me. He slowly shuffled up the stairs to the takhat. Not long after, he again took my hand, I gladly walked beside him. This time, he appeared taller than me, strong and agile. He took the three steps up to the takhat in one stride. People have often said that Maharaj ji is a manifestation or incarnation of Hanuman. He certainly could change shapes and sizes!
One quiet day, I was sitting on the mat beside Maharaj ji’s takhat and an Bharateeya family came for Baba’s blessings. They bowed and stood attentively as Baba spoke to them. There were a college-aged son, and a twenty-something year old daughter who were wearing blue jeans. In 1973, very few women or girls in Bharat wore blue jeans, whereas now these are quite common.
While Maharaj ji was conversing with them, the daughter in blue jeans began weeping profusely, falling against her mother. The father and the son looked at Maharaj ji without blinking. The mother was comforting her daughter. Maharaj ji told me to take them to the dining hall so that they could have prasad.
The young woman wept all the way to the back of the ashram. I asked them what Maharaj ji had uttered that had made her so upset. Baba said “not to wear blue jeans but to wear a sari, that she should embrace her culture.” He told her, “Your husband was a chor (a crook) and a badmash. You are much better off without him. Let him go! and know that your life has saved because he divorced you. But hold on to your Hindu culture. Don’t adopt Western ways just because your husband left you. Embrace your Dharma.” Baba told her several times that her life would be better without that badmash husband. As we ate Prasad, the girl calmed down and the family kept saying, “How did he know?” I could only answer, based on my own experience, “Maharaj ji seems to know everything!”
In Kanchi in 1973, Maharaj ji gave me a command that has helped to guide me through out for the past few decades. He told me, “When you go back to America, study about India and help make Hinduism better understood and respected.”
On September 12, 1973, the day after the passing of Neeb Karori Baba’s corporal body, I got a telegram. It was delivered to me as I was walking down a steep hill. I couldn’t read it. It was gobbledygook with incomprehensible marks on paper, like I was totally dyslexic. My friend read it out word for word, “Maharajji left his body STOP. Bhandara in Vrindaban tomorrow STOP…”
We immediately turned to go. As I was walking up the steep hill, the whole world turned plaid, the river, the mountains, the clouds, all the leaves on all the trees, all plaid. Baba was everywhere! (Though it seemed as if he could be everywhere even when in his body.)
Yvette Claire Rosser (The writer also known as Ram Rani is an American Scholar who writes on Hinduism)