Baba Neem Karoli (Neeb Karauri) Maharaj

Neem Karoli Baba is counted among the greatest saints of the twentieth century. Neem Karoli Baba, also known as Maharaj-ji or just Baba-ji, was a famous Indian saint who impacted the lives of countless people during his lifetime.

Early life

Baba Neem Karoli Maharaj Ji was born on the Ashtami of Margashish Shuklapaksha in 1900 in a prosperous landlord Brahmin family in Akbarpur village of Firozabad. Pt. Laxminarayan Sharma's (Baba Neem Karoli Maharaj) mother Mrs. Kaushalya Devi and father Mr. Durga Prasad were devout Brahmin, who were simple, easy-going, and cultured. His mother died during his childhood. When Maharaj ji was about eleven years old, he married Lakshmi Swaroopa Kanya Rambeti of village Badam Bass. He left home at the age of thirteen due to his stepmother's immoral behavior.

He first traveled to Rajasthan, then to Rajkot, Gujarat. Here he got the nickname "Baba Laxman Das". After this, he reached Bawaniya village near Rajkot, where he used to do his rigorous meditation in a pond near Ramabai Ashram. Due to this everyone started calling him by the name of "Talaiya Baba". After some time, he left Bawaniya and while traveling, he came to Neem Karoli village in Farrukhabad district (Uttar Pradesh). Gradually the villagers grew fond of him and they convinced Maharaj Ji to stay in the village. The villagers dug an underground cave for him. Inside the same cave, he used to meditate on Lord Hanuman. After some time the villagers built a new cave on the barren land of a Brahmin named Govardhan, about 200 meters away from the old cave. Inside the cave, Maharaj Ji installed the idol of Shri Hanuman Ji made of Ganga soil. On the day of Abhishek, he shaved his long, matted hair and started wearing a long, cotton dhoti (a length of cotton cloth) instead of a loincloth. After moving to the new cave, he began more spiritual discussions with the villagers, as well as several projects for the social upliftment of the village. He became famous from “Laxman Das Baba” to “Baba Neem Karoli”.

He did various types of activities here. Stopping trains, converting salt water into fresh water, etc. are among them. After staying for about eighteen years he left that place. After leaving Neem Karoli, you lived for some time on the banks of Ganga at Kila Ghat, Fatehgarh. After 1940, you started spending most of your time in Nainital and Vrindavan areas. Maharaj Ji established the temple of Shri Hanuman ji in Hanumangarhi in 1950. After that, in almost two decades, he established innumerable temples and ashrams, prominent among which are Neem Karoli, Bhumiyandhar, Kainchi Dham, Vrindavan, Kakdighat, Kanpur, Lucknow, Delhi, and Shimla.

Since 1950 he never stayed in one place for long. Unaware of his fame and glory, Shri Maharaj Ji did not allow his name to appear anywhere in these temples and ashrams. After completing all the temples and ashrams in the name of Hanuman Ji, he made proper arrangements and handed them over to various local trusts. He completed this important task while remaining completely neutral. After his Mahasamadhi, his devotees expanded the ashrams and with this feeling of reverence and faith, the name of Shri Maharaj Ji got associated with the temples and ashrams.

Relations with Western countries:

Baba Ji's teachings started attracting people from Western countries in the 1960s and 1970s. One of Baba-ji's most famous Western disciples was Richard Alpert, who later changed his name to Ram Dass. Ram Dass was a Harvard professor who became disenchanted with property culture in the 1960s. He traveled to India and met Baba-ji, who became his guru. Ram Dass wrote several books on his experiences with Baba-ji, including "Be Here Now", which became a best-seller and helped popularize Baba-ji's teachings in the West. Baba-ji's other Western disciples also included the spiritual teacher and author Krishna Das, the musician Jay Uttal, and the author and lecturer Mirabai Starr.


Neem Karoli Baba died in a hospital in Vrindavan, India at approximately 1:15 am on 11 September 1973 after going into a diabetic coma. He was returning from Agra to Kainchi near Nainital by night train, where he had gone to a cardiologist due to chest pain. He and his traveling companions had alighted at Mathura railway station where he started having convulsions and requested to be taken to Sri Dham Vrindavan.

He was taken to the hospital's emergency room. In the hospital, the doctor gave him an injection and put an oxygen mask on his face. Hospital staff said he was in a diabetic coma but had a good pulse. Maharajji got up and pulled the oxygen mask from his face and the blood pressure measuring band from his arm and said, "Useless (useless)." Maharaj ji asked for Ganga water. Since there was no one there, they brought him regular water. He then repeated several times, "Jaya Jagdish Hare", each time in a lower tone. His face became very calm and all signs of pain disappeared, thus he completed his physical activities. Later his Samadhi temple was built within the premises of Vrindavan Ashram.