Neem Karoli Baba (1900) Of Kainchi Dham Nainital

Neem Karoli Baba, also known as Neem Karoli Baba or Maharaj-ji, was a Hindu guru and devotee of the Hindu deity Hanuman. He was born around 1900 in Akbarpur village of Uttar Pradesh, India, and left home at a young age to become a wandering sadhu. He later returned home and lived a settled married life, fathering two sons and a daughter.


  • In 1958, Neem Karoli Baba left his home again and wandered throughout Northern India, where he was known by many names, including Baba Lakshman Das, Handi Wallah Baba, Tikonia Walla Baba, Tallaiya Baba, and Chamatkari Baba. He built two main ashrams, one in Kainchi and one in Vrindavan, and over 100 temples were constructed in his name.
  • Neem Karoli Baba is known outside India for being the spiritual master of a number of Americans who traveled to India in the 1960s and 1970s, including the spiritual teachers Ram Dass and Bhagavan Das, and the musicians Krishna Das and Jai Uttal. He died on September 11, 1973, in Vrindavan, India.

Neem Karoli Baba is known for his miracles and inspiring several Americans who traveled to India in the 1960s and 1970s, including the spiritual teachers Ram Dass and Bhagavan Das, and the musicians Krishna Das and Jai Uttal. Amongst the Americans who spent time with Maharaj ji were Larry Brilliant, who went on to eradicate small pox from India, Daniel Goleman, creator of the concept of Emotional Intelligence, Krishna Das, Grammy nominee and world’s best known kirtanwallah, and Ram Dass, the author of Be Here Now, and the West’s foremost spiritual teacher in recent times.

One of the most famous stories about Neem Karoli Baba is about his encounter with Richard Alpert, who later became Ram Dass. Alpert was a professor of Psychology at Harvard and had discovered LSD. He had been expelled from the university for experimenting with them with students. To understand what LSD does to people, Alpert arrived in India with a boxful of pills and met with sadhus and mystics on the Himalayas. Finally, he met Maharaj ji. When Alpert first saw Maharaj ji, he saw a rustic old Indian man in a shawl sitting on a rock surrounded by 5-6 other Indian men. Nothing seemed special about this man. But soon, Maharaj ji took one look at Alpert and correctly told him that the previous night he was looking at the stars and remembering his mother, and that his mother had passed away six months ago of spleen. The cognitive-minded Harvard professor was knocked out of his skull at that very moment.

Neem Karoli Baba’s message was very simple. He told devotees that the way to enlightenment is servitude and the way to God is by feeding people. He often said that ‘giving’ doesn’t come easy. “You can only truly give if you don’t consider it your own in the first place,” he would tell devotees. He often tested his devotees by asking them to make big sacrifices. For his devotees, Maharaj ji’s life was his message. In his presence, they felt boundless love, the taste of which changed their lives forever.

Neem Karoli Baba’s ashram in Kainchi is a popular pilgrimage site for locals and tourists alike. The ashram is situated on the banks of the Kosi River and is surrounded by the beautiful Kumaon region of Uttarakhand. The ashram is closed for a large portion of the year as it becomes very cold there.

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