Siddha Yogi Neem Karoli Baba, Mark Zukerberg and Narendra Modi

By: Yvette C. Rosser, PhD. (ईवेत्  सी.  रासर रामरानी)

In late September 2015, when Mark Zuckerberg met Narendra Modi in Silicon Valley, he informed Modi that years earlier when he was developing the idea of Facebook, Steve Jobs told him to go to Kainchi Dham for inspiration. The next day, on October first, the Hindustani paparazzi descended on Kumoan! Reporters repeatedly asked the same question, “Why were these high tech honchos, as the Indian media called Jobs and Zuckerberg, interested in Neem Karoli Baba?”

The reporters were swarming in the valley for days, and someone told a film crew that there was a woman who had actually met Maharajji living up the hill, and sent a TV crew up to the retreat where I lived. They asked lots of questions, and I tried to answer in Hindi for the Hindi medium program. The reporters begged us to sing the Hanuman Chaliisa since Maharajji loved to hear it, so like well trained videshi Monkeys, we sang! Thank goodness my friends can both carry a tune!

Journalists were coming and going for several days, and repeatedly asked me the same question: “Why would high tech honchos, as the Indian media referred to Jobs and Zuckerberg, be attracted to Neem Shri Neem Karoli Baba?” I was also asked by a Delhi magazine, for which I sometimes write, to contribute an article that addressed the same question, why were these high profile techie guys attracted to Maharajji?

I had two days before their publication deadline. I needed Baba to answer that query! So I sat down in front of my puja table and asked Baba to please answer this persistent question. ‘Why were these high tech guys attracted to You, Baba?’ An idea came to me through the silence, and I answered the media thusly:

“Perhaps the lure of IT people like Jobs and Zuckerberg are Maharajji’s abilities to seemingly overcome the laws of nature, such as gravity and time and space. Just like the virtual realities these techie masters created, where anything is possible, so too Maharajji is a virtual Baba in what we know as the ‘real world’. He obtained his siddhis (powers) through practicing mental and physical austerities and meditating for long periods of time. He is an example of a human being who through employing, then transcending His human abilities, overcame the limitations of being human, and reached the divine. Neem Karoli Maharajji is a virtual Baba operating in the human world as we know it!” When my friend Gauri heard me answer a reporter with that Virtual Baba statement, she was amazed and thought that was a pretty smart reply. I told her Maharajji had helped me come up with the snazzy answer.

Here is the article I wrote for the Delhi magazine, ‘The Organiser’ with the same explanation about Virtual Maharajji:

Siddha Yogi: Shri Neem Karoli Baba Maharajji

Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, told Narendra Modi that Steve Jobs had advised him to visit the Himalayan temple of the north Indian siddha, Sri Neem Karoli Baba Maharajji. Jobs had gone to meet the saint, but sadly arrived in Kainchi Dham shortly after His Maha Samadhi in 1973. Even though Neem Karoli Baba never traveled in His human body to the West, His influence has brought the Dharma into the lives of countless Americans.

One of the first Americans to meet Neem Karoli Baba was the Harvard professor Richard Alpert, who traveled to India in 1968. Neem Karoli Baba instantly read Alpert’s mind and wrenched open his heart.  Alpert was renamed Ramdass; he found himself being reworked into a spiritual being from the inside out. Ramdass wrote about his experiences in a best-selling and hugely influential book called “Be Here Now”. In this way in the last years of His terrestrial life, Neem Karoli Baba, became one of the most famous and defining gurus on earth.

Neem Karoli Baba has a magical ability to touch the hearts of His devotees, often before they even know who He is. Someone may see a photograph and just can’t stop thinking about that man in the plaid blanket, so they seek out books or satsang. Indeed, some of His most devoted followers never met Him in His human body. He, like Hanuman, is present on earth at all times and comes to His chelas in visions and inspirations. He gives guidance and succour to those who remember Him.

In “Mystic of Northern India” Swami Chidananda, a direct disciple of Swami Shivananda of Rishikesh, wrote:

“Sri Baba Neem Karoli—is … the most unique phenomena among the religious fraternity of Saints [and] Sages …. It would not be a wonder to me, if, as I am sitting and dictating this article … at this moment Babaji is perfectly aware of this … and knows exactly … what words I am dictating… in spite of the fact that … He has left His body… Though this … may seem rather extraordinary … it is nevertheless true that … Babaji’s … devotees had personal experience …that [he was] aware of whatever they had been saying and doing in distant places, far away from him…. This has convinced most of His closest followers that Sri Baba Neem Karoli was a ‘Siddha Purusha’ (perfected being) and knower of the past, present [and] future—Trikala Jnani. …. Close devotees of Baba Neem Karoli have seem Him simultaneously at two different places,  at one and the same time…..”

In 1973, I spent the spring and monsoon in Kainchi Dham with Sri Neem Karoli Baba Maharajji. I would sit near him, entranced, mesmerized. He was animated with some people and with others very tender, and sometimes quite stern.  Maharaj-ji was ever changing. Once when He was walking, He took my hand, an enviable experience, because everybody wanted Him to take his or her hand. He seemed like a frail little old man, shorter and rounder than me. He slowly shuffled up the stairs to the takhat. Not long after, He again took my hand, I gladly walked beside Him. This time, He appeared taller than me, strong and agile. He took the three steps up to the takhat in stride. People have often said that Maharaj-ji is a manifestation or incarnation of Hanuman. He certainly could change shapes and sizes!

One quiet day, I was sitting on the mat against the wall, beside Maharaj-ji’s takhat when an Indian family came for Baba’s blessing.  They bowed and stood attentively as Baba spoke to them. There was a college-aged son, and a twenty-something year old daughter who was wearing blue jeans. In 1973, very few women or girls in India wore blue jeans, whereas now they are quite common.

While Maharaj-j was conversing with them in Hindi, the daughter in blue jeans began weeping profusely, falling against her mother, who was wearing a purple sari. The father and the son looked at Maharaj-ji without blinking, hands in supplication. The mother was comforting her daughter. Maharaj-ji told me to take them to the dining hall so they could have prasad.

The young woman wept all the way to the back of the ashram. I asked them what Maharaj-ji had said that had made her so upset. Baba said “not to wear blue jeans but wear saris, that she should embrace her culture.” He told her, “Your husband was a chor (a crook) and a badmash. You are much better off without him. Let him go! And know that your life is saved because he divorced you. But hold on to your Hindu culture, don’t adopt Western ways just because your husband left you:  Embrace your Dharma.” Baba told her several times that her life will be better without that badmash husband. As we ate Prasad, the girl calmed down and the family kept asking, “How did He know?”  I could only answer, based on my own experience, “Maharaj-ji seems to know everything!”

In Kainchi Dham in July 1973, Maharajji gave me a command that has helped to guide me through for the past few decades. He told me, “When you go back to America, study about in India and help make Hinduism better understood and respected.”

On September 12, 1973, the day after the passing of Neem Karoi Baba’s corporal body, I got a telegram. It was delivered to me by two postal workers as I was walking down a steep hill. I couldn’t read it. It was gobbledygook, incomprehensible marks on paper, as if I was totally dyslexic. My friend, Dayaramdas read it out word for word, “Maharaj-ji left His body STOP. Bhandara in Vridaban tomorrow STOP.”

We immediately turned to go. As I was walking up the steep hill, the whole world turned plaid, the river, the mountains, the clouds, all the leaves on all the trees, all plaid. Baba was everywhere! (Though it seemed like He could be everywhere even when in His body.)  Since then, through the decades, I am grateful that Maharajji still graces me with occasional darshans and advice.

On April 22, 1984, when I was giving birth to my second child, Maharajji came in through the wall as a ray of light. Then standing before me like a well-formed hologram, barefoot, wearing a white dhoti, with a red and blue plaid blanket over His shoulders, He extended the fore-finger of His right and said in English with an Indian accent, “Call the boy Jai Hanuman”. He then turned and walked out the door, bare-footed. My first impulse was to chase Him down the hall, but because of my pregnancy I couldn’t move very quickly and immediately realized that He had come in through a ray of light in the wall, He wasn’t going to be walking by the nurses’ station! (Btw, my son, Jai Hanuman loves his name!)

Perhaps the lure of IT people like Jobs and Zuckerberg is due to Maharaj-ji’s abilities to seemingly overcome the laws of nature, such as gravity and time and space. Just like the virtual realities these techie masters created, where anything is possible, so too Maharajji is a virtual Baba in what we know as the ‘real world’. He obtained his siddhis (powers) through practicing mental and physical austerities and meditating for long periods of time. He is an example of a human being who through employing then transcending His human abilities, overcame the limitations of being human, and reached the divine.

Here ends the article.

In the late 1960’s Narendra Modi lived in Almora at the Swami Vivekananda ashram. There is only one road from the plains to Almora.  It passes right by Kainchi Dham. At that time, all the UP Roadways buses stopped for darshan. I have written Mr. Modi and asked him if he met Maharaj-ji. As of yet, he has not replied. But a Hindu-centric young man living in Kumoan at that time, would have in all likelihood met Neem Karoli Baba. Narendra Modi seems like he has Maharajji’s Grace! Clean Bharat was his election campaign – Svachchha Bharat, building a toilet in every home. When Maharajji was building the ashram in Kainchi Dham, He had well over a dozen toilets built, with several septic pits… some people jokingly called Him “Latrine Baba”.

Please note with due reverence that on December 22, 2019, Maharajji’s beloved chela, Baba Ramdass (Dr. Richard Alpert) left his corporal body:

Ramdass’ first book “Be Here Now” was largely responsible for helping to bring the Dharma to the West.

Also a very heavy heart I have to inform of the recent sad demise of one of Maharajji’s most beloved devotees: KK Sah in Nainital:

Another devotee of Neem Karoli Babba, Dr. Larry Brilliant, with Maharajji’s urging and insistence was personally responsible for eradicating small pox in India. See:

In September 2015, when Zuckerberg informed Narendra Modi he had gone to Kainchi Dham, as mentioned, on the next day the paparazzi descended on Kumoan! Camera crews were all over the place!! Here they interviewed Vinod Joshi, the manager of the Kainchi Dham ashram and also a western devotee:

More of Maharaj-ji in the media:

The recent passing of the body of Baba Ramdass was very traumatic for millions of Americans whom he had led to the Dharma during the past six decades.

A recent Chanel 24 TV interview (in my non-fluent Hindi) explains how Maharajji commanded me to help make Hinduism better understood and respected:

I’ve always told my children and other people, that when humans die they all become Hindus again and are then reborn as Hindus (Sanata Dharma) and only get converted and indoctrinated into the religion of their new birth family, be it Christian or Muslim, etc. Then when they die again …. they are again reborn as Hindus and depending on the faith of their birth families.

My more writings about Maharajji at:

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