Saints and Devotees Chapter

Neem Karoli Baba MaharajjiMy first darshan was sudden and unexpected, and came at a time when mentally I was least prepared for it.

I lived a carefree social life with friends, mostly from my college days, whose company and friendship I valued. On holidays we used to get together to enjoy our time.

One Sunday evening in June 1955, we were sitting in the courtyard, joking and laughing. My mother, Maushi Ma (my aunt), and Didi (my wife) said that they were going to an adjoining house to see a baba who had come there. Hearing her, a friend asked, "What kind of baba is he? If the baba wants to eat, I could feed him."

Umadutta Shukla 2 Chapter

Neem Karoli Baba MaharajjiAt the Kumbha Mela of 1966, a big camp was set up in the mela grounds for the devotees who were coming to spend the entire period of the mela there and also for feeding the sadhus and pilgrims visiting the mela.

At the bhandara, thousands of people were fed without any distinction or discrimination all day, every day of the mela.

There had never been anything like that before, nor was there afterwards.

This was all done through the dedicated and inspired services of devoteees, not through hired cooks and servants, as it is mostly done in the ashrams.

Umadutta Shukla 1 Chapter

Neem Karoli Baba Maharaj jiUmadutta Shukla belonged to the first batch of devotees who visited us. These devotees differed from each other in the nature of their association with Babaji and in their understanding of him, but they were all helpful with regard to my understanding and devotion to Babaji at a time when I lacked both.

It is a clear indication that his grace was coming to me from the very beginning that, through them, Babaji linked me to the mainstream of joy and solace from which they were constantly drawing.

The nature and variety of the experiences Shukla derived form his long association with Babaji were different than those of many of the other devotees.

Tularam

MaharajjiMany persons have felt that Babaji's methods of making and remaking the lives of his devotees were often very hard and sometimes appeared to lack mercy.

This, of course, was not true. The whole basis of his work was nothing but mercy—kripa for the helpless and forsaken one. He knows where, when, and how much mercy is to be used in the job.

A murti may be made from clay, wood or stone. The work of the clay modeler is done with soft and delicate touches of his hand. When it comes to the sculptor working with stone, he has to take up the chisel and hammer. They are both merciful in their jobs, but the mercy has to work in different ways.

Babaji knew this very well; we can see it in his work at different places and with different materials.

Emptying and cleaning are considered essential in the making of a vessel suitable for holding sacred water. The processes differ from one another according to the state of the vessel.

A Gift from Babaji

Maharajji with Indian DevoteesMany persons had heard that Babaji was a great saint and so were interested and enthusiastic to meet him.

There were certain things that were very striking about Babaji and some people were disappointed when they saw him acting like a common householder.

He would go on talking with all and sundry about family and work or business - only worldly things - not of God or prayer or worship. They felt that a sadhu who was busy with common man's talk, with-out the saint's hallmark of saffron clothes, matted locks and all that, could not be a real sadhu.

Babaji was fully aware of this and told me several times that many persons came to test him, not out of devotion for a saint. He did this deliberately to keep away curious sightseers.

"There was something unique about him which was not displayed like the robe worn by a sadhu. One who came with patience and an open mind - without any set ideas about sadhus or saints might catch a glimpse of it, but that depended on Babaji.