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Neem Karoli Baba and Baba Ram Dass
October 25, 2010  |  radhanath-swami

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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87 Comments


  1. Jitendra Pardeshi

    So much to learn from everyone around only if we have a seeker’s heart like Radhanath Swami Maharaj. Thank you for sharing such wonderful personalities and wonderful lessons that were drawn from all such exchanges.

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  2. World is an image of ones own consciousness. Because of having a simple heart full of love, Radhanath maharaj can see everyone loving and humble.

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  3. wonderful experience, regards, rajesh

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  4. its very important to understand the fact that we all need to keep the Lord in our hearts as always, haribol, bhakti

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  5. Indeed India is the land for true spiritual seeks, we can learn so much if we have open heart, like Radhanath Swami & Ram Das.

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  6. Radhanath Swami loves & respects everyone as a part & parcel of the Supreme God. That is a sign of a pure devotee.

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  7. Radhanath Swami is a true spiritual seeker. His search for truth has taken him to different guides who were seekers in their own merit. All this has been wonderfully conveyed through the book ‘The Journey Home’ written by Radhanath Swami. Please visit http://www.radhanathswami.com for more details.

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  8. “Keep God in your heart the same way as you keep money in a bank”. This is an amzing quote of Neem Karoli Baba as remembered by Radhanath Swami. Thank you Radhanath Swami for such a nice meditation.

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  9. Its amazing how the website contributors are able to take such precious extracts from Radhanath Swami’s book and put it up in such an interesting manner with so many inputs and realizations. Thank you for this nectar. This is truly food for the souls hankering for more of Maharaj’s pastimes.

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  10. an excellent quote keeping god in heart as we keep money in bank. this shows how mech we should treasuring our spiritual life. thank u swamiji

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  11. Humility wins hearts.

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  12. sharings about radhanath swami is always inspiring and soul touching,

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  13. Thank you for sharing these experiences from the life of Radhanth Swami.

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  14. This reminds us of experience of Ambarish Maharaj how he not being at fault was begging for forgiveness. This is a quality which only pure devotees of the Supreme Lord possess.

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  15. This is a very wonderful meditation. If this one principle loving every one and serving everyone is followed the whole world becomes a Vaikunta. Thanks for sharing this wonderful meditation.

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  16. Radhanath Swami got invaluable association of genuine saints on his spritiual quest…….

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  17. Thank you for such a nice article.

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  18. Thanks for sharing this wonderful article from Journey home.

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  19. Radhanath Swami Maharaj is full of all good qualities & great leader who sets an example by himself

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  20. It is amazing how many good souls Krishna has placed in Maharaj’s path through his spiritual journey. Maharaj was sent by Krishna to propagate his Holy name and teachings and through these wonderful souls Krishna has facilitated this process. My humble obeisances to Maharaj.

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  21. hrishikesh mafatlal

    The land of Bharata is blessed by the appearance of great sadhus like Neem Karoli Baba.

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  22. Madana Kishore Das

    I like the instruction “Keep God in your heart the same way as you keep money in a bank”. It is someone that every one can relate and understand.Awesome. Thank you.

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  23. this is a wonderful example of how to live. thank you for sharing such an amazing experience.

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  24. thank you for sharing such a wonderful article

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  25. Radhanath Swami Maharaj has the rare quality of appreciating everyone!

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  26. Radhanath swami’s exchanges with great personalities bring various spiritual qualities in the front for general people to meditate. Thanks a lot.

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  27. “Love everyone, serve everyone, and feed everyone.” – This statement shows the humility of Neem Karoli Baba ji and Radhanath Swami who accepted so many teaching like this is really a great soul.

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  28. Radhanath Swami Maharaj is truly simple at heart. That’s why he could genuinely appreciate the simplicity of Neem Karouli Baba and his followers.

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  29. “Keep God in your heart the same way as you keep money in a bank”.Simply Amazing!!! Thank you Radhanath Swami

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  30. Love everyone, serve everyone, and feed everyone. Very sublime teaching to practice.

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  31. “Keep God in your heart the same way as you keep money in a bank”. Wow! What a realization this one is, Radhanath Swamis book ‘The Journey Home’ is full of experiences with persons from all walks of life infact it is like a artists canvas which is a mélange of colours which appeals the eye, in the case of the book it gives joy to the soul.

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  32. Radhanath Swami has learn spiritual principles from all the saints of India.

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  33. Heart touching, thankyou for sharing

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  34. World is perceived as an impression of one’s consciousness. Since Radhanath Swami Maharaj is so humle and can love everyone, he could look for only good qualities whomsoever he met.

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  35. Radhanath Swami’s sincerity is really very touching…!!!

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  36. M. Pandurangayya Shetty

    Serving everyone as everyone is the child of God is the remarkable statement and acting up on is the best process to please the God. Radhanath Swami always remembers such activities from many saints whom he met earlier. all glories to Radhanath Swami.

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  37. thank you maharaj

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  38. The teachings of Radhanath Swami enables us to appreciate sincere spiritual efforts of different Gurus.

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  39. one sincerer soul attracts other sincere souls.Radhanath Swami Maharaj learned different qualities/things from the different spiritual aspirants he met. And now we are also able to learn it through him.

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  40. Radhanath Swami is the embodiment of the quote, seek and you shall find.

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  41. Great saints like Neem karol baba are very rare in this world

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  42. Very nice descriptions of sadhu and the loving exchanges they exhibited for us to learn and practice in our lives.

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  43. Siddharth Hindlekar

    Thank for such a wonderful article

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  44. I liked the point on humility

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  45. Liked the point on humility

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  46. A very important lesson to learn as to what kind of company must a spiritual practitioner seek.If one’s desire for pure devotion is sincere,Krishna leads them to right people and places.Thanks to Maharaj.His experiences are enriching our lives in ‘Bhakti’.

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  47. krishna addepalli

    its really amazing article.We can learn many thing from many people in our lives

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  48. All Glories To H.H Radhanath Swami Maharaj

    How spiritual qualities in one follower of spitiuality shall attract another follower is truly exhibited by the above narrative. These qualities are the one also which become a point of attraction for the world at large and and inspiration for many. Such experiences in life of Our Maharaj are and will serve as potent inspiration for generations to come.

    Hare Krishna

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  49. This article shows how sincere and serious Radhanath Swami was in his voyage for seeking the Absolute Truth which he finally got.

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