Neem Karoli Baba (Maharaji) Stories: Lessons and Wisdom

Why Were You Angry?

“Forgiveness is the greatest weapon, because a saint so armed is unperturbable… he can give up anger immediately.” – Neem Karoli Baba.

A young fellow once came and Maharaji asked him how he was, and he said, “Oh, Maharaji, I’ve overcome anger.” Maharaji said, “Oh, very good!” and kept praising him.

At the time, there was another fellow present who had been asking Maharaji for many years to come to his house, but Maharaji had never come because the boy’s father didn’t believe in sadhus or saints. But now Maharaji turned to this boy and said, “Do you still want me to come to your house?” The boy said, “Yes, but let me arrange it with my father.” Maharaji said, “Go and then we will all come.” The visit would mean, of course, that the place of honor in the house would be given to Maharaji so the father would have to sit someplace else.

Finally, the whole party went and Maharaji sat on the tucket belonging to the boy’s father. Then Maharaji leaned over and looked the father in the eye and said, “You’re a great saint.” But in Hindi he used the very personal form, which you use only with very intimate friends and to people in the lower caste. So it was really an insult to use that form to the old father. The old man got upset but held himself together. A little time passed and Maharaji leaned over again and said, “You’re a great saint.” By this time the father’s face got red and he was getting worked up, but he still kept control. A few minutes more went by and Maharaji leaned over and said the same thing again. This time the father completely lost it. He got up and started screaming at Maharaji, “You’re no saint, you just come in and eat people’s food, you take their beds, and you’re a phony.”

At this point the young fellow who had overcome anger leaped to his feet, grabbed the father by the collar, and started shaking him, saying, “Shut up, you don’t know who you’re talking to. He’s a great saint; if you don’t shut up I’ll kill you.”

At this point Maharaji got up, looked around bewildered, and said, “What’s the matter, what’s the matter, don’t they want me here? We should go – they don’t want me here.” So he got up and started walking out, and he turned to the young fellow as he was going out and said, “It’s very difficult to overcome anger. Some of the greatest saints don’t overcome anger.” The fellow said, “But Maharaji, he was abusing you.”

“That’s right, he was abusing me. Why were you angry?”

– Excerpt from Miracle of Love: Stories about Neem Karoli Baba

Changing Hearts

One night Shrimati Kamla Pande had a dream in which she saw Maharaji sitting on a takhat in the front room of a house on the roadside. He was looking outside through the door, and some young men were passing by singing obscene film songs. Kamla ji, Sri Ma, and Sri Jivanti Ma were also in the room and appeared disturbed by the young men’s indecent behavior before Maharaji. Next she saw that Baba called those young men and asked them to sing a song. They came and sang many devotional songs of Kabir, Mira, and other saints. Baba said to them, “I called you to sing the same songs that you were singing in the street.” They appeared ashamed and joining their hands in respect said, “Baba, we have forgotten those songs and we know only these devotional songs.” Baba turned his face towards Shrimati Kamla and whispered in her ear, “I do not know anything. I just know how to change hearts.”

– From The Divine Reality of Sri Baba Neeb Karori Ji Maharaj by Ravi Prakash Pande “Rajida”

A Price For Compassion

One morning Babaji was in his small room in Kainchi. A sadhu with a half-dozen of his disciples came for Baba’s darshan. I took them to his room. After they had taken their seat, Babaji said, “This is Mahant Digvijaynath, a great saint. Bow at his feet.” When another person came, Babaji made him bow as well. Babaji smiled and asked people to bow low to the saint instead of touching his own feet. But when the third one came and Babaji repeated his words, the Mahant stood up and clasping Babaji’s feet, with tears in his eyes, said, “Baba, you are the saint of saints sitting before us, and you are making people touch my feet, taking me to be a saint.”

“A saint can be known only by one who himself is a saint.” That is what has been said by the wise. So we cannot have – at least speaking for myself – any pretension of knowing Babaji, the great saint. In the Bhagavad-Gita we learn that a saint is a person with a dual personality – the divine and the human. Many of us have seen the human person in Babaji, but that doesn’t mean that we can claim to have seen the divine person in him.

In a saint, the divine person is encased in the human frame but is not entirely identical. The bottom of the human and the top of the divine stand far apart from each other. There is a co-mingling in the inner space, and in noble human beings, some of the divine qualities merge entirely with their human qualities, destroying all distinction between human and divine. I am saying this about Baba from my own experience of him- I have never seeing him wearing his divine crown, but I have always seen his divine qualities of love and compassion. He was always ready and alert to mitigate the sufferings of the helpless by taking their pains upon himself. His body became a honeycomb of diseases. This was the price he had to pay for his compassion and his readiness to help.

– Dada Mukerjee

You Have To Sacrifice Something

Once a Mother came to Maharaji and said, “Maharaji, you always talk about worldly things – how many children, how much education, which job, how much money. Why don’t you teach us about Brahm (the Formless)?”

Maharaji said, “Okay, I’ll teach you.” The mother went off to do her work at Kainchi, and when it was time for the last bus to Nainital she was making her pranams and was going to the bus. Maharaji asked her, “Now, are you going?”

She said, “Yes, I have to attend to my family, prepare meals and all.” Maharaji said, “Listen, don’t go just now. I’ll teach you about Brahm. You sit here.” She insisted she had to go home and look after her family. He said, “No, no. I’ll teach you about Brahm. You sit here. Don’t go home today.”

“How is it possible? I must go.”

“But first you wanted Brahm, and now you ask how is it possible?”

After she left, he said to me, “Look at her. First she was talking about Brahm and now she is thinking about home. One person cannot do two things at one time. Brahm is not a thing, a toy that you can play with. You have to sacrifice something.”

– From Miracle of Love: Stories about Neem Karoli Baba

A Life Long Penance

One evening in May, Baba was sitting in a chair on the lawn at Church Lane. Some families of the judges of Allahabad’s High Court were sitting around him on the ground. I was sitting alone on the other side of the lawn. Some time passed, and two men came and stood near me. One of them was dressed in a black coat, like a lawyer, and the other was in the traditional Indian dress of dhoti and kurta. Both of them bowed to Baba in salutation, but he did not look at them. Baba continued to sit with his head bent, talking to the devotees near him. The newcomers waited for some time in the hope that Baba would turn his eyes towards them, and eventually they sat down quietly.

The man wearing the black coat seemed to be impatient. He was signaling to the man in the dhoti-kurta to leave. Seeing him so restless, his friend got up to attract Baba’s attention and said, “Maharaj, I have come with a friend of mine. He is in trouble and wants your blessing.” Seeing his friend standing, the man in the black coat also stood up. Baba said to the man wearing the dhoti-kurta, “You are a lawyer.” The man agreed. Then Baba said to the man wearing the black coat, “You are not a lawyer.” He nodded. Everyone stared at Baba in fascination. Baba asked the man directly, “What is your trouble?” Being nervous, the man did not reply.

His lawyer friend said on his behalf, “Maharaji, he has been involved in a murder case, and the police are after him.” Baba asked the man in the black coat, “Have you not murdered?” On his short negative reply, Baba said harshly, “Didn’t you have a hand in the murder?” Then he told the truth saying, “Yes, Maharaj.” Though no details of the murder were given, Baba knew all. He said, “The man who you got murdered was very gentle. Why did you do this?” The man humbly replied, “Maharaj, he was a stumbling block in my way.” With grief and anger, Baba burst out saying, “His children are still young. How will they be brought up?” Filled with remorse, the man felt mortified and could not give Baba any reply.

Baba told the man that he must do a lifelong penance by taking full responsibility for the family and ensuring that the wife and children were looked after. Baba told him to take a vow that he would do so. Weeping, the man promised to do what Baba commanded. Baba asked the lawyer, “Whose court is the case to be tried in?” The lawyer gave the name of a Muslim judge. Baba said, “All will be well.”

By acquitting the man from the justice of the law, Maharaj ensured that the family would be looked after. Instead of just a jail sentence, the man did lifelong penance by serving the family. He realized the enormity of his crime and suffered great remorse throughout his life.

– From The Divine Reality of Sri Baba Neeb Karori Ji Maharaj by Ravi Prakash Pande “Rajida”

Honoring the Spirit

Maharaji honored purity of spirit, no matter what the tradition or lineage. He kept drawing us back from our concerns about individual differences, back beyond the forms, with his oft-reiterated remark, “Sub Ek (All one)!”



A Moslem devotee invited Maharajji to attend a religious festival at his home. The whole family and many of their friends gathered together to sing Sufi songs and to hear readings from the Koran. Many Moslem mullahs (priests) and scholars attended the festival to perform the rituals and read the scriptures. When Maharajji arrived, the devotee escorted him to the place of honor in front of the scholars. They immediately ceased their singing and complained to the host. They said that they couldn’t continue the rituals in the presence of a Hindu. Maharajji verbally abused them for their prejudice and narrow-mindedness. He quoted from the Koran and from some great Sufi poet-saints on the oneness of all religions. Maharajji asked for some prasad. When it was brought he distributed food, sweets, and money to the scholars. Happy again, they started their chanting. Maharajji accompanied them for many hours, singing “La Il Aha El Il Allah Hu.”




– From Miracle of Love: Stories about Neem Karoli Baba

Selfless Loving Service

When asked why he was surrounded by so many badmash (naughty people), Maharajji said, “Only sick people come to a doctor.” And like an old and trusted family physician, Maharajji was available day and night for his devotees, and he made “house calls.” Thus Maharajji’s own behavior was a perfect model for that sadhana he most encouraged in his devotees: selfless loving service.

For the householders, who composed the largest percentage of his devotees, Maharajji did not generally encourage severe austerities, nor extensive meditation practice, nor complex rituals. Rather, he guided us to karma yoga, a way of coming to God through living life as an act of devoted service. In this way Maharajji mirrored the teachings of the greatest devotional literature, as in the Ramayana, the Bhagavad-Gita, and the Bible. But Maharajji made it clear that hard work alone was not the essence of the matter. Rather, it was work carried on with remembrance of God; that is, work done with love in the presence of God’s grace.

– Excerpt from Miracle of Love: Stories of Neem Karoli Baba, compiled by Ram Dass

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