BORN AKBARPUR - 11th SEPTEMBER 1973 ( VRINDAVAN INDIA ) NEEM KAROLI BABA
Neem Karoli Baba
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|Neem Karoli Baba|
|Born||Lakshmi Narayan Sharma|
(date of birth unknown)
Akbarpur, British India
|Died||September 11, 1973|
|Notable disciple(s)||Bhagavan Das|
Neem Karoli Baba (Hindi: नीम करोली बाबा) or Neeb Karori Baba (Hindi: नीब करौरी बाबा) (died September 11, 1973), also known to followers as Maharaj-ji, was a Hindu guru and devotee of the Hindu deity Hanuman. He is known outside India for being the guru of a number of Americans who travelled to India in the 1960s and 1970s, the most well-known being the spiritual teachers Ram Dass and Bhagavan Das, and the musicians Krishna Das and Jai Uttal. His ashrams are in Kainchi, Vrindavan, Rishikesh, Shimla, Bhumiadhar, Hanuman Gadi, Lucknow, Delhi in India and in Taos, New Mexico, USA.
Sadhu and guru
Neem Karoli Baba left his home around the time when his youngest child (daughter) was eleven (1958) and wandered extensively throughout northern India as a sadhu. During this time he was known under many names including Lakshman Das, Handi Wallah Baba, and Tikonia Walla Baba. When he did tapasya and sadhana at Bavania in Gujarat, he was known as Tallaiya Baba. In Vrindavan, local inhabitants addressed him by the name of Chamatkari Baba (miracle baba).
He was a lifelong adept of bhakti yoga, and encouraged service to others (seva) as the highest form of unconditional devotion to God. In the book Miracle of Love, compiled by Ram Dass, a devotee named Anjani shares the following account:
Neem Karoli Baba died at approximately 1.15 a.m. in the early morning hours of September 11, 1973 in a hospital at Vrindavan, India after slipping into a diabetic coma. He had been returning by night train to Kainchi nearNainital, from Agra where he had visited a heart specialist due to experiencing pains in his chest. He and his travelling companions had disembarked at Mathura railway station where he began convulsing and requested being taken to Vrindavan.
Among the most well known of Neem Karoli Baba's disciples were, spiritual teacher Ma Jaya, Ram Dass, the author of Be Here Now, teacher/performer Bhagavan Das, Lama Surya Das and the musicians Jai Uttal andKrishna Das. Other notable devotees include humanitarian Larry Brilliant and his wife Girija, Dada Mukerjee (former professor at Allahabad University, Uttar Pradesh, India), scholar and writer Yvette Rosser, and Daniel Goleman author of Emotional Intelligence. Baba Hari Dass (Haridas) was not a disciple, however, he supervised several buildings and maintained the ashrams in Nainital area (1954-1968) before heading to the USA to become a spiritual teacher in California in the beginning of 1971. Steve Jobs, along with his friend Dan Kottke, traveled to India in 1973 to meet Neem Karoli Baba, but arrived after the guru died in September of that year.Hollywood actress Julia Roberts was also influenced by Neem Karoli Baba. A picture of him drew Roberts to Hinduism.
After returning to the United States, Ram Dass and Larry Brilliant founded the Seva Foundation, an international health organization based in Berkeley California that is committed to applying the teachings of Neem Karoli Baba toward ending world poverty. One of Seva's greatest accomplishments is to have helped return eyesight to over 3.5 million blind people suffering from cataract blindness in countries like Tibet, Nepal, India, Bangladesh, Cambodia and throughout Central and South America and Africa. The organization also has a Native American Community Health Program that works to fight an epidemic of diabetes in Native communities throughout the United States.
In the late 2000s another Foundation evolved, the 'Love Serve Remember Foundation', whose purpose is to preserve and continue the teachings of Neem Karoli Baba and Ram Dass.