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Life of a Saint

Maharaj Ji Neem Karoli Baba (vegetarian): The All-Knowing Miracle Saint of North India, Part 1 of 2

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Maharaj Ji Neem Karoli Baba, known throughout North India as the “Miracle Baba,” was a unique and astonishing mystic who lived in Nanital, in the Himalayas. He was born around 1900 in the village of Akbarpur in Uttar Pradesh, into an affluent Brahmin family. Named Lakshmi Narayan Sharma, He was unmoved by worldly attachments even as a child. He married at the age of 11 but left for Gujarat soon after to advance His spiritual quest. Becoming a wandering sadhu (monk), He led an ascetic life and traveled to many parts of India in His youth. Some 10 years after the Baba had left His house, His father received word from people that they had seen a sadhu that very much resembled his son. Maharaj Ji Neem Karoli Baba’s father finally caught up with Him in the village of Neeb Karori in Uttar Pradesh, and under His father’s orders, He finally returned home. From then on, Maharaj Ji Neem Karoli Baba, or the Maharaj-ji, as He was popularly called, played out His role as a Saint and as a householder with two sons and a daughter, and proved to be adept at both. For the Maharaj-ji, nothing had changed; He was always Himself – authoritative, all-knowing, playful, and perfectly in His element in any situation.

Maharaj Ji Neem Karoli Baba was also a Master of bhakti yoga and lived mostly “half here and half there,” His attention incessantly alternating between the physical and the spiritual world. He possessed amazing spiritual powers which He sometimes demonstrated to great effect.

In his book “Living with the Himalayan Masters,” Sri Swami Rama recounted several encounters he had with Maharaj Ji Neem Karoli Baba. One day, declaring Himself to be hungry, the playful Baba suddenly snatched and ate a handful of arsenic powder from His pharmacist-devotee who had dropped by for a visit. Then the Baba washed it down with a glass of water. The pharmacist was shocked, thinking the poison would certainly end the Baba’s life, but Maharaj Ji Neem Karoli Baba was not in the least affected…

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