There was a very heavy flood, and the water of both the Ganges and Jamuna had risen to a high level in Allahabad. The currents were very strong. Some stones of the adjoining fort were washed away, and water was getting into the fort. All the adjoining areas, including the famous Hanuman temple, were submerged under water, facing the fury of this flood. Dr. Katju, then Defense Minister, accompanied by his staff, came to see the situation for himself. Seeing Dr. Katju, who was a highly religious person, some priests of the Hanuman temple prayed to him to save the temple. They said every year during the rainy season Hanumanji goes down under water and comes out when the water subsides. But this time the threat was very serious; some old pipal and banyan trees that had stood firm through the ages had been washed away. The same threat held for Hanumanji also. Dr. Katju sympathized with them but said it was beyond his power, rather beyond all human power, to save the murti of Hanumanji. Only Hanumanji himself could do that. He said they should seek the help of Neem Karoli Baba, who was considered to be an incarnation of Hanumanji. It is not known, nor is it necessary to know, how many of them believed what Dr. Katju said about Babaji being an incarnation of Hanumanji. Their need was very great and they would try anything. Since this advice came from such a wise and respected person, many of them actually started shouting for Baba.
After some time they stopped, and not having much hope for the success of their venture, many of them left. A jeep came, but few took notice of it, as the vehicles of many sightseers were coming and going. Someone got down from the jeep and started coming their way. Several persons shouted, “Here comes Babaji! He is Neem Karoli Baba!” They all rushed to him and narrated to him their tales of woe. Everyone was pressing him to save Hanumanji.
Babaji told them that he could not do that — only Hanumanji himself could do that, and they should pray to him. Babaji just took a little water from the flooded rivers in his palm, sipped a few drops, and went away in his jeep. Most of the others left after the jeep had gone. Those who remained were not sure that much would come out of that august visit, and they were left disheartened. But that very night the water started receding and, within two days, the threat to the temple was over. Many felt afterwards that Babaji had done his miracle, but many more thought it happened of its own and Babaji had nothing to do with it. This made no difference to Baba. People remembered him in their distress and so he came. The work was done; that was enough for Baba. It was not for him to wait to see the success of his work and collect laurels from the seekers who cried for help.
These stories can sometimes help us to see the work of his unseen hands in the many critical situations facing his devotees. Some of them had their faith strengthened by him. When they came out safe from their misfortunes, they took it to be all Babaji’s doing. He would deny flatly that he had anything to do with it. This is the Babaji we know.
There are so many more stories of how restless the saints become at the sufferings of others. Although as highly realized souls they are free from attachments, they cannot stand as mere spectators when the cries from the helpless reach their ears.
- Excerpt from The Near and the Dear by Dada Mukerjee