Kainchi

Neem Karoli Baba MaharajjiAfter the Kainchi ashram was built, Babaji began spending the summer months there.

In 1964, when some devotees were going there, I was asked to accompany them. I explained that I had to stay back because Babaji might visit at any time.

When the devotees got to Kainchi, Baba asked what my reply had been when invited to come to Kainchi. Then Babaji said, "Dada cannot leave his house because of my unscheduled visits. But those who are near to me do not bother about me."

In May 1966, we received a letter from Babaji, who was already in Kainchi, asking us to come as soon as the university closed. Didi and I reached there within a week. This was our first visit. Babaji was waiting for us in his room.

While sitting with him, a devotee brought a basket of various kinds of fruits from his garden. Babaji took out some of the fruits and showed me which I might eat and which I should avoid. After I had my tea and prasad, he took me around the ashram.

I Am Always Here

Neem Karoli Baba MaharajjiMy mother and aunt were deeply religious and accepted Babaji as the head of the family.

Ma would often tell us that the family and the household belonged to Baba and we were all his children. Her whole treatment of him was based on the fact that Babaji knew what was in the minds of everyone and behaved accordingly.

He treated them as his Ma and Maushi Ma, giving them all the freedom and indulgence and grace. They reported to him everything going on in the house and sought his advice and guidance for running it.

The most important duty assigned to them was to prepare the food and feed everyone coming to him. "Ma khana khilao" [Ma, make food] was his pet method of asking them to feed the people. Often emphasizing the importance of their work, he would say, "Maushi Ma, this is the home of the deity. Here everyone gets his food, so I also get mine."

Chamatkari Baba

Neem Karoli BabaBabaji's miracles were well-known. Swami Vijayananda, an eminent sadhu writing about Babaji, said that Baba Nibkarori's very name radiated an aura of mystery and miracles.

There were many devotees—not educated or literate—who used to know him only as Chamatkari Baba—the Baba of miracles. Since we had come to know him, we were experiencing miracles one after another.

One year there was a very heavy flood of the Ganges and the Jamuna Rivers at Allahabad. Floods are a yearly affair during the rainy season, but that year the flood was devastating, even the fort at Allahabad was damaged.

There is a Hanuman mandir on the bank of the river, and every year the murti goes under water. As the water recedes, Hanuman ji comes out, little by little, covered with mud and debris. The pujaris take some days to clean him. But that year the flood was so severe that there was danger that the entire mandir might be washed away.

Winter Camp

Neem Karoli Baba MaharajjiAs I have said before, when I first met Babaji I was not at all interested in sadhus or saints. It was out of sheer grace that he visited our house.

Although many unusual things were happening, we failed to realise their importance or to see his hand in them. His visits meant some thrill and excitement and we looked forward to them, but I still looked at him as a kind and affectionate guest.

A new process started, however, when we moved onto the larger stage of the new house. Many miracles occurred, acting as shock treatments on me. But no less important was the association with some of his oldest and most trusted devotees, whose love and devotion for Babaji were really my eye opener.

The devotees who started coming to our house when it was built included Siddhi Didi and her husband, Tularam Dada, Hubbaji (Hira Lal Shah), and Umadatt Sukla. They were the earlier ones. We had already met Kehar Singh. Then came Mr. Sang, Inder, Thakur Jaidev Singh, and later Kishan Tewari, Jiban, Ram Narayan Singh, and Gurudat Sharma.

When these persons started coming, we were unknown to each other. We were in different stations of life, with different professions and interests, but we were like different streams which come together, reach the ocean and become one.

I Shall Give You a Mantra

Neem Karoli Baba MaharajjiWe are not following the guru; the guru actually is following us.

I say this because I have found it in my own life, my own personal experience, and I have seen it in the case of others, too. Babaji came to me himself, unsought, unknown. I had no need, no desire, no idea, but still he forced his mantra on me.

I came from a village in Bengal, which is now part of Bangladesh. We belonged to the landed property class and the income from our property was sufficient for the maintenance of the family, but there wasn't that much coming from it.

We had in the India of those days the joint family system: father, mother, grandfather, grandmother, uncle, aunt, children, all living together—a very big family. I was a small boy in that village in 1928, and I had the sacred thread ceremony. Just a few months after that my father died.

I had finished my village school education and the question was where I was to go for further study. Had my father been alive, we could have moved to some town or city where he could have earned money for this purpose, but now that was not possible. So I was sent to Allahabad to the home of a maternal uncle—the joint family system providing help and support. I read for exams there and after high school my uncle wanted me to get a job and earn money, rather than continue my education.