About Baba Neem Karoli Maharaj and Ashram
“Baba Neem Karoli Maharaj was a great Indian saint of the Himalayan lineage who left his body in 1973. Neem Karoli Baba is also known as Neeb Karori Baba, and is called “Maharaj-ji” by His devotees. Maharaj-ji’s teachings were simple and universal. He often said, “Sub Ek” — All is One. He taught us to “love everyone, serve everyone, remember God, and tell the truth.” Strongly connected to Hanuman, the Hindu God in the form of a monkey, Maharaj-ji “taught” in a highly personalized, non-traditional way that reflected the deep devotion of the bhakti path of the heart. Known as the “Miracle Baba” throughout north India, He manifested many siddhis (powers), such as being in two places at once or putting devotees in samadhi (state of God consciousness) at the touch of a finger. Maharaj-ji is best known for the unconditional love He showered on all who came into His presence as well as those who never met Him in the body but established a connection to him beyond the physical plane.”
“This is how Maharaj-Ji became known as Neem Karoli Baba, which means the sadhu from Neem Karoli (or Neeb Karori). This was many years ago, perhaps when Maharaj-ji was in his late twenties or early thirties. For several days, no one had given him any food and hunger drove him to board a train for the nearest city. When the conductor discovered Maharaj-ji seated in the first class coach without a ticket, he pulled the emergency brake and the train ground to a halt. After some verbal debate, Maharaj-ji was unceremoniously put off the train. The train had stopped near the village of Neeb Karori where Maharaj-Ji had been living. Maharaj-ji sat down under the shade of a tree while the conductor blew his whistle and the engineer opened the throttle. But the train didn’t move. For some time the train sat there while every attempt was made to get it to move. Another engine was called in to push it, but all to no avail. A local magistrate with one arm, who knew of Maharaj-ji, suggested to the officials that they coax that young sadhu back onto the train. Initially the officials were appalled by such superstition, but after many frustrating attempts to move the train they decided to give it a try. Many passengers and railway officials approached Maharaj-ji, carrying with them food and sweets as offerings to Him. They requested that He board the train. He agreed on two conditions: The railway officials must promise to have a station built for the village of Neeb Karori (at the time the villagers had to walk many miles to the nearest station), and the railroad must henceforth treat sadhus better. The officials promised to do whatever was in their power, and Maharaj-ji finally re-boarded the train. Then they asked Maharaj-ji to start the train. He got very abusive and said, “What, is it up to me to start trains?” The engineer started the train, the train traveled a few yards, and then the engineer stopped it and said, “Unless the sadhu orders me, I will not go forward.” Maharaj-ji said, “Let him go.” And they proceeded. Maharaj-ji said that the officials kept their word, and soon afterward a train station was built at Neeb Karori and sadhus received more respect.”
Selfless service (seva): Seva is the spiritual practice of selfless service. Seva, a Sanskrit word, springs from two forms of yoga, Karma Yoga which is yoga of action and Bhakti Yoga, the yoga of worship inspired by divine love. Seva is one of the simplest and yet most profound and life changing ways that we can put our spiritual knowledge into action. Seva is asking “How may I serve you?” Or ask “Can I help you?” Another way of doing service is to roll up your sleeves and help where you notice that you are needed. We can share our resources and energy with those in need and respond positively when a person asks for help. “Being there as the need arises” is a simple definition of Seva by Sri Ravi Shankar of the Art of Living Foundation. When you consider work as divine service, you can do it anywhere, at any time. Doing Seva is uplifting your own self, your own people and your world. Offering our Seva is a way to make a significant contribution to the spiritual community of fellow beings on earth. It is a practice that feeds us spiritually and a spiritual discipline that awakens us to the greater truth of our own being.
We are one big family; we depend on each other for our existence and we cannot exist alone. Therefore, we should work for the good of all. I am reminded to how Native Americans say “All my relations” as a blessing to all beings and an acknowledgement of connectedness with all life. In our interconnected existence, we are called to treat each person as a sister or a brother and to remember ahimsa, the yogic precept of non-harming. Performing Seva helps us live in a way that is non-harming to others and to live up to that ideal.
All people have a human need for contribution. Everyone wants to help people and have their efforts make a difference in the world. What is your path? What is your contribution? The question in thinking of Seva, is less what you do and more how you do it. When we practice selfless service, we imbue our actions with intention, and we do so without expectation of reward.
There are two main benefits in practicing Seva; the healing impact it has on other people and the environment in which we are offering our service and the transformation that takes place within us as we come to new spiritual understanding. Doing service as a devotional act can bring us to an elevated state of being. It can connect us with our ability to love. Seva is an ideal way to both give and receive simultaneously. We are giving the very best of ourselves to the people and the activities we are engaged with and by the nature of spiritual law we cannot help but receive in return the inner inspiration, revelation and fulfillment.
Kirtan: What is Kirtan? Kirtan (from the Sanskrit word for singing) is easily learned and instantly memorable. The mantras are projected overhead, making them simple to follow. The form is simple: a lead group calls out the melodies. The crowd responds, clapping and dancing as the rhythms of tablas, finger cymbals, harmonium, tamboura, electric bass and guitar build and accelerate.
Meditation: Meditation is the process of conscious, controlled focus of the mind which may take place when the thinking processes, both in pictures and in words, have been stopped. Meditation, or any other activity that focuses the mind, causes the mind to become quiet because it keeps it busy with a task. Actually any activity that we are fully engaged in can serve as a meditation. When we focus all of our attention on something, the mind becomes quiet and serves us only when needed.
We tend to skim by on the surface of life, instead of diving into the moment and really experiencing it. The mind keeps us at a distance from the real experience and, instead, substitutes thoughts about the experience. It distances us from the present moment, where life is rich and alive. We can learn to be more present to the moment by just noticing what is going on. This is usually accomplished by taking our attention off of thoughts and putting it on whatever else is happening in the moment.
Satsang: Satsang, meaning “companionship of the righteous,” is emphasized for spiritual aspirants of all levels….What is so important about worshipping together or interacting with other people who share the same interest in spirituality? First of all, it teaches us to connect to each other and to God in place of connecting to God alone. Connecting with each other for a righteous cause is an important lesson to be learned in life, for it gives us a foresight in dharma at a collective plane. Without this initial lesson, we may never develop the impressions for tolerance, peace, and “seeing God everywhere,” cultivation of which is compulsory for becoming a great soul. Satsang teaches us to keep our ego in check, for it promotes sharing of God’s love and prevents us from ignoring fellow humans under the excuse of spiritual evolution. It opens the gates for exchanging good wishes and blessings with fellow beings. In addition to making us more spiritual, satsang develops the wish to live with ethically gifted people. Thus, in the long run, this translates to an eternal wish of making our community a better place to live.
In a more traditional sense, satsang refers to the company of saints, who have God in their heart and continuously aspire for him.* It is believed that they can radiate positive or spiritual energy to our minds, and their presence can accelerate our spiritual progress, just like the company of the immoral can trigger our tamas instincts.
The Neem Karoli Baba Ashram facilities are provided to support devotional activities such as selfless service (seva), kirtan, meditation, satsang and the offering of food (prasad).
All are invited to share in the lunch prasad served on Sundays. All are welcome to take from the prasad at Hanuman’s feet and to have chai
7 am – Opening Aarti
7 pm – Evening Aarti
9 pm – Temple Closes
(Winter Hours 7 am-8 pm)
7 pm Tuesday – Evening Aarti
followed by kirtan and prasad
11 am Sunday – Hanuman Chalisas followed by prasad
Aarti is a form of worship where we offer the light from the aarti lamp to Maharaj-ji and all of the deities in the temple room. In essence, we are acknowledging the Source of All. The Hanuman Chalisa is a chant consisting of forty verses in praise of Sri Hanuman-ji.
Neem Karoli Baba Ashram
Post Office Box 1710
Taos, New Mexico 87571
Telephone: – 575-758-3025
Fax: – 575-751-4080
Email: – firstname.lastname@example.org
Web Site: – http://www.nkbashram.org