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Neem Karoli Baba and Baba Ram Dass
October 25, 2010  |  Neem Karoli Baba and Baba Ram Dass

Richard (now Radhanath Swami) met an extraordinary saint, Neem Karoli Baba, in Vrindavan. The Baba was affectionately addressed as ‘Maharaji’ by his followers. He taught that by chanting the names of Krishna and Rama everything desirable is accomplished. His solution for avoiding the addiction of criticizing and finding faults with others is very simple, “Love everyone, serve everyone, and feed everyone.” Radhanath Swami learnt that Neem Karoli Baba was a siddha Purusha, a perfected being. It had been documented that sometimes he could be in two distant places at the same time.

One of Radhanath Swami’s most endearing qualities is his humility, and I can therefore understand his natural liking for Neem Karoli Baba, who also exemplified this precious quality. I once heard that a certain sadhu who had heard that Maharajji was a great saint, decided to test him. He went to Maharajji’s house in the village and asked for food. Maharajji served rotis (flat bread) but the sadhu threw them into the fire and angrily got up and walked away. Maharajji was unperturbed in his service; he begged forgiveness from the sadhu for his offense and then requested him to wait for some time. Neem Karoli Baba then personally cooked rice, vegetables and sweets for him. Seeing this great soul’s humility, the sadhu was moved, and fell at Maharajji’s feet and begged forgiveness. He truly practised, “Love everyone, feed everyone and serve everyone.” Radhanath Swami once fondly recollected Neem Karoli Baba’s instruction on remembering God, “Keep God in your heart the same way as you keep money in a bank”.

Radhanath Swami describes his soul-searching discussions with Ram Dass, a celebrated disciple of Neem Karoli Baba and the author of the classic ‘Be Here Now’. Ram Dass was formerly Richard Alpert, a professor at Harvard University, and along with his friend and colleague, Timothy Leary had popularized LSD as a means of expanding consciousness. Radhanath Swami saw Baba Ram Dass’s deep affection for his guru and was touched by their exchange of spiritual love.

Radhanath Swami writes about Ram Dass in his autobiography as a friendly person with whom a sense of brotherhood grew as they shared the realizations and inspirations they had gained in their spiritual journeys.  Radhanath Swami also learnt that in 1967, Ram Dass (who was then Richard Alpert) travelled to India, where he met the American spiritual seeker Bhagavan Das. As he guided Alpert barefoot from temple to temple, Bhagavan Das began teaching him basic mantras and asanas, as well as how to work with beads. After a few months, Bhagavan Das led Alpert to his guru, Neem Karoli Baba.  Maharajji soon became Alpert’s guru and gave him the name “Ram Dass,” which means “servant of God.” Under the guidance of Maharajji, Ram Dass was instructed to receive teaching from Hari Dass Baba, who taught in silence using only a chalkboard. While in India, Ram Dass also corresponded with Meher Baba; however, he remained primarily focused on the teaching of Hari Dass Baba.

Among other things, Hari Dass Baba trained Ram Dass in raja yoga and ahimsa. It were these life-changing experiences in India that inspired Ram Dass to write the contemporary spiritual classic, Be Here Now, in which he teaches that everyone is a manifestation of God and that every moment is of infinite significance.

Radhanath Swami was meeting many saints in India as well as western seekers like himself who impressed him with their sincerity.

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86 Comments


  1. Nice write up on the Radhanath Swami’s Journey Home book. Thank you very much.

  2. Thank you very much for sharing. It is only by the pure devotees, the love of Krishna can be given to every one.

  3. Neem Karoli Baba’s humility is amazing. thanks to H.H.Radhanth Swami Maharaj for bringing all these gems of experiences to us about people who would have otherwise been lost in obscurity. Also H.H. Radhanath Swami interprets it for us to learn life’s greatest lessons.

  4. Hare Krishna.
    Nice expressions and explanations.

  5. Nice analogy – keep God in your heart like you would keep money in a bank. First, it is precious, second it is easily accessible if only we want to see our heart for it and third, it grows with time provided we feed the relationship by chanting the Holy names.

  6. Thank u for sharing

  7. Thank you very much for sharing this moment from Radhanath swami maharaj’s life

  8. “Keep God in your heart the same way as you keep money in a bank”.- Great analogy

    Thank you very much for sharing these moments from Radhanath swami maharaj’s life

  9. Its amazing to see how Radhanath swami has great appreciation for different gurus he met on his journey home…

  10. Radhanath swami maintains high regards for all the saints even after having met his own guru. That is glorious. Generally people respect no one except their own teacher.

  11. I agree with Swaminathan Pr.
    Keep God in your heart as you keep money in bank.
    - Very important.

  12. Thank you very much for sharing this

  13. “Keep God in your heart the same way as you keep money in a bank”.
    interesting way of enlightening a person.
    Thank you swami ji

  14. thank u ver y much for sharing this RNS maharaj ki jai

  15. Insightful read – Thanks a lot for sharing these wonderful stories.

  16. Hari Hari

  17. Thank you very much.! Nice Article.!

  18. thank you Maharaj

  19. Thanks to Radhanath swami for reminding us to be humble :)

  20. Radhanath Swami’ ability to shower appreciation on and express gratitude to all those who influenced him by their teachings and behaviour is exemplary, worth emulating.

  21. it is very difficult in the followers of religion to find some one who follows what he teaches, Maharaj has given given us a hint through his spiritual journey that there are followers who are genuine and are dedicated to the service of Lord, presence of such genuine followers increases our faith in religion and God.

  22. We should keep God in our heart like we keep money in bank. Love of God is precious and also it is easily accessible if we look into our heart for Him. The love of God grows with time provided we feed the relationship by chanting the Holy names. A nice analogy.H.H Radhanath Maharaj is an example and is teaching the same all over the world.

  23. Its amazing , how swamiji takes valuable lessons from each of the gurus he met, without any bias or prejudice.

  24. Love everyone, serve everyone, and feed everyone. Wonderful instruction to follow.

  25. thank you Radhanath Swami for so wonderfully explaining about every aspect of life as part of purification of our heart.

  26. thank u radhanath swami maharaj

  27. If we understand Swamiji’s statement, we will see God’s hand in everything, and thus achieve God Consciousness.

  28. Thank u Radhanath Swami for teaching us to see each & every situation of our life as a mercy of Lord & accept every moment with positive attitude.

  29. Hare krsna Dandavat Pranam

  30. thank u radhanath swami maharaj

  31. Most remarkable lesson of keeping GOD within Heart

    Thank You Radhanath Swami

  32. Wonderful article. Just by reading The Journey Home, we receive knowledge from many saints in all faiths. Radhanath Swami extracts the essence from all faiths for our benefit.

  33. Tejas Deshpande

    Thank you Maharaj for exemplifying that a real seeker of the spiritual truth takes out the essense from everything and everyone.

  34. “Keep God in your heart the same way as you keep money in a bank”. Wonderful advice!

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