Neem Karoli Baba or Neeb Karori Baba, is also widely known as Maharaj-ji.
It is said that he was born in Akbarpur, Firozabad but his birth date is not known. He died on September 11, 1973 in Vrindavan, India. Much is unknown about him and his work. According to K.M. Munchi, former governor of Uttar Pradesh, “Nobody knows where he came from or where he went away to, nor is his original name known to anyone.” What we know about him is only by his grace. He is a perfect example of how the eternal power assumes human form and dwells for a time amidst the masses.
He has been called one of the greatest saints of the twentieth century and was much loved by his many devotees – among the western followers are Ram Dass and Bhagavan Das, and musicians Krishna Das and Jai Uttal. His ashrams in India are located in Kainchi, Vrindavan, Rishikesh, Shimla, Bhumiadhar, Hanuman Gadi, Lucknow, and Delhi; and one has been established in Taos, New Mexico, USA.
Every time I travelled by road to Almora when visiting my brother, I would stop at Neem Karoli Baba’s ashram in Kainchi. It is a very well-kept small and clean ashram; shoes are to be left at the entrance. His charpoy still stands on the porch in front of the small bungalow where he stayed; notably he used to sit there, often bare chested or wrapped in a checkered woolen blanket. There is a tangible energy at the ashram, lively and also joyful; the atmosphere is very mellow and quiet unless there is celebration day when the entire road is clogged with buses and cars for kilometres in all directions, bringing people from around India to partake in the festivities.
Neem Karoli Baba did not teach any formal doctrine beyond urging his followers to “Love everyone, feed everyone, remember God, tell the truth.” Instead, devotees say, he was simply a realized being who radiated love. “He’d bop people on the head and pour grace into them,” remembers one woman who first met him in 1970. “God was always singing in his heart.”
Ram Dass, who first met him in 1967, compiled a book with stories about him called Miracle of Love, which has been widely read by seekers since then. He said,
In 1967 I met Neem Karoli Baba,
a meeting which changed the course of my life.
In the depth of his compassion,
wisdom, humour, power and love
I found human possibility never before imagined…
an extraordinary integration of spirit and form.
Ram Dass mentioned in his Acknowledgements that “this book is for those who have never met Maharaj-ji. For those who have, no books is necessary.
Although Osho to our knowledge mentioned Neem Karoli Baba only once very briefly in a discourse with regards to Ram Dass, we found this photo where Osho is reading a book with a photo of Neem Karoli Baba on the back cover, most likely Miracle of Love.
The accounts of Neem Karoli’s leela, or his divine play, described in the main body of this book are personal experiences by his devotees. Since he was averse to public acclaim, the accounts remained verbal during his lifetime and for some time after he left his physical body. Devotees rarely shared their experiences with people they did not know, and no one could gather the courage to keep a record of his leela while they were with him.
Further Comment by Osho News:
We heard the following from Peggy:
During Rajneeshpuram days she was told by Yoga Prem (Nirupa’s brother) about a darshan he had attended many many years ago. Someone had come to take sannyas and Osho apparently said, “I am not your master, Neem Karoli Baba is your master. Go to him.”
Related review about Ram Dass’ new book, Polishing the Mirror