February 2021

Dear Friends,
Namaskaram!

Neem Karoli Baba (1900 – 11 September 1973), Lakshman Das Sharma was born around 1900 in the village Akbarpur, Firozabad district of Uttar Pradesh, India, into a wealthy Brahmin family. After being married by his parents at the age of 11, he left home to become a wandering Sadhu. He later returned home, at his father's request, to live a settled married life. He has two sons and a daughter.

Neem Karoli Baba left his home in 1958. Baba lived in the village of Neeb Karori for a while and was given his name by locals. Thereafter he wandered extensively throughout Northern India. During this time he was known under many names.

He was a lifelong adept of Bhakti yoga, and encouraged service to others as the highest form of unconditional devotion to God. His devotee, named Anjani shares the following account:

“There can be no biography of him. Facts are few, stories, many. He seems to have been known by different names in many parts of India, appearing and disappearing through the years. His non-Indian devotees of recent years knew him as Neem Karoli Baba, but mostly as “Maharajji” – a nickname so commonplace in India that one can often hear a tea vendor addressed thus. Just as he said, he was "nobody". He gave no discourses; the briefest, simplest stories were his teachings. Usually, he sat or lay on a wooden bench wrapped in a plaid blanket while a few devotees sat around him. Visitors came and went; they were given food, a few words, a nod, a pat on the head or back, and they were sent away. There were gossip and laughter for he loved to joke. Orders for running the ashram were given, usually in a piercing yell across the compound. Sometimes he sat in silence, absorbed in another world to which we could not follow, but bliss and peace poured down on us. Who he was no more than the experience of him, the nectar of his presence, the totality of his absence, enveloping us now like his plaid blanket”.

He is known outside India for being the spiritual master of a number of Americans who travelled to India in the 1960s and 70s, the most well-known being the spiritual teachers Ram Dass and Bhagavan Das, and the musicians Krishna Das and Jai Uttal.

There are several ashrams in his name in India and a few foundations in America. After returning to the United States, Ram Dass and Larry Brilliant founded the Seva Foundation, an international health organization based in Berkeley, California. Steve Jobs, a friend of Brilliant, also funded the organization. It is committed to applying the teachings of Neem Karoli Baba toward ending world poverty. In this issue, we have given some of his quotable quotes.

This month, our front page covers the synopsis of the famous book – “Voluntary Simplicity” written by Duane Elgin

In happenings section, we have covered (i) V.K.Organic Products WhatsApp group meeting (ii) Construction and commissioning of Bio-toilet (iii) Visits of farmers and ATMA groups (iv) Technology transfer of Moringa powder to SHG federation and Sis.Premalatha’s address to the farmers at Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore.

In the wisdom section, Deepak Chopra, the famous Indian-American tells us the process of personnel discovery, Paramacharya - Pujasri Chandrasekara Saraswathi emphasises importance of proper chanting of Vedic mantras and finally Tony De Mello, Psychotherapist hammers the point that we have to recognise the God within.

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G.Vasudeo,
Secretary,
Vivekananda Kendra - NARDEP,
Kanyakumari - 629 702,
Tamilnadu.
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