The Reason Why Neem Karoli Baba Sent Ram Dass to the West

The founders of Facebook and Apple, Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs, both found inspiration in Neem Karoli Baba, also known as Maharajji. In this piece, Cheryl Simone recounts her time spent with a disciple of Neem Karoli Baba, as well as her subsequent conversation with Sadhguru.

Baba Ramdass,
Baba ram dass, ram dass,

Neem Karoli Baba, also known as Maharajji. Cheryl Simone writes here about her time with a student of Neem Karoli Baba and her later talk with Sadhguru.

In a conversation with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg he mentioned his trip to Kainchi Dham, a modest temple in Uttarakhand, North India, on the banks of the Kosi River. Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, recommended the trip to see Neem Karoli Baba (also known as Maharaj Ji), and Zuckerberg made the trip on Jobs’ recommendation many years ago. Unfortunately for Jobs, a meeting was canceled because Neem Karoli Baba passed away before he could arrive. Neem Karoli Baba, a Hanuman follower, taught many famous people, including Bhagwan Das and Krishna Das.

This piece is adapted from Cheryl Simone’s acclaimed book “Midnights With the Mystic,” in which she reflects on her mystical encounter with Neem Karoli Baba’s pupil, Ram Dass. Many years later, she talks about the incident with Sadhguru, who gives her a detailed explanation.

Neem Karoli Baba’s Disciple Back In The Days

Cheryl Simone: While building my job and bank account, I also sought personal development. I pursued development in both the business and self-help/private growth spheres, as well as the spiritual spheres, at the same time. The American spiritual guru Ram Dass and I became friends, and I attended several of his retreats and lectures. I felt a strong connection to Ram Dass. He was obviously a smart guy since he used language that was easy for me to grasp. Ram Dass, like me, had tried LSD. I experienced a deep mystical experience during my first visit with Ram Dass.

At the time, I was still a young adult (I was 22) with many questions. By this time, I had experienced both psychedelic highs and some peculiar insights during meditation, and I had read extensively on yoga, enlightenment, and Eastern faiths. What I had read and seen led me to believe that there is more to humanity than meets the eye and that God is not some distant, benevolent older man.

I was aware of the scientific consensus that claims everything material is made up of energy and that all matter can be broken down into its parts. That power itself cannot be created or destroyed. In my increasingly esoteric readings, I kept coming across the idea that there is only one God, that God has adopted the form of the many, and that God is buried beneath all of us without our even realizing it. That was something my thoughts kept returning to.

To put it another way, when I finally got to meet Ram Dass, the question on my mind was, “How can we possibly all be one when I feel and experience life so separately?” Somehow, nevertheless, I understood the interconnected nature of everything. Many people had told me that life was just a big Maya, or illusion. Something about that has always infuriated me. It came out as quite heartless. Life seemed too harsh to be written off as entertainment. Although I found the accusation of being “unreal” extremely hurtful, I was also keenly aware of the transience of all things. So, what really is the truth? I was curious. What is immortal? God? Was I, or was there something I was, something real that I might know?

Ram Dass’s Time He Spent With Neem Karoli Baba

The New Resonance Of Ram Dass
BABA RAMDASS | Picture Credit – Ramdass.org

I brought all this upheaval with me to my meeting with Ram Dass. At that time, he had been away from India for very long. He was quite wonderful. He’d done a lot of spiritual work and spent a lot of time with his guru, Neem Karoli Baba. Some of my friends had relocated to New York to be with him, and they called to let me know that he would soon be in Atlanta. The address he gave in Stone Mountain, a suburb of Atlanta, prompted me to approach him despite my reluctance at the time. After Ram Dass stared at the ceiling for a while in response to my request for an interview, he answered, “Yes, okay. Tomorrow, please visit us at the Stone Mountain Inn. Time, location, and room number were all details he provided.

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I showed up the following day with bells ringing. When I rang the bell, Ram Dass invited me inside. I walked in on him, sitting cross-legged on the motel bed. He responded to my inquiry about his whereabouts with, “It is all a break.” Since I felt that life was getting harder and harder, I imagined that to be a wonderful blessing for him.

Anyway, he invited me inside and instructed me to make myself comfortable. I found a seat right across from him and struck up a conversation. He asked why I wanted to meet with him, and I told him that it was difficult to put into words but that somehow I knew that I was tired and I desired liberty. I thought human beings were capable of something more grander than this. As our conversation progressed, he started spilling the beans on me as if he knew me well. He shared a great deal of his innermost thoughts and feelings with me.

Then, an odd thing started to occur. While we were sitting there conversing, Ram Dass no longer looked like Ram Dass. The longer I watched him, the more he changed his appearance. His entire appearance was transformed. His hair, eyes, and full face were constantly shifting. I saw in his many guises the reincarnations of many sages. Each one seemed to radiate an ageless grace and knowledge. It looked as if, with every breath, he was evolving into a different enlightened entity. His appearance genuinely shifted.

After what must have been a long minute or two, with a bewildered look on my face, he finally asked me what was wrong. I lied and said I was merely observing his form transform. To which I replied, “Does that freak you out?” It was more real to me than anything else that had ever happened to me, but I answered, “No, I can’t believe this.” The only thing stranger than seeing someone’s form shift or vanish is becoming accustomed to it as though nothing unusual has happened. My “self” and the person in the chair opposite me seemed to be the same. A familiar, comforting, and familiar presence enveloped me. This event reinforced my realization that our physical forms are fleeting. I realized that our external selves are quick and that the thing I most desired to discover was the one constant about myself.

It was an intense encounter. It proved to me that underneath our varied outward appearances and who knows what else, we all share the same essence. After the meeting, I was elated. I had faith that, at last, the real me would reveal itself to me.

Of course, I did not feel comfortable telling many others about that encounter. Most people would probably dismiss me as completely insane. When I did talk to a buddy about it, they stated it was probably just a drug flashback caused by LSD, but I’d never experienced anything like that before and haven’t since. A New Ager friend told me that my third eye chakra had opened, but I had no idea what that meant. I only knew that it had a profound effect on me and that I desired more than ever before. Later, I went to Northern California to see Ram Dass and asked him directly if he was my guru. Not a guru, he flatly denied. He claimed that when a seeker’s desire is very strong, the universe would align to make a way for them. He assured me that when I found my true guru, I would recognize him. I had high hopes that great things were in store for me as I began my spiritual path.

It wasn’t until 30 years later that I finally met Sadhguru. Sadhguru heard about my Ram Dass experience. “When I saw you for the first time,” I stated to Sadhguru, “you looked to be the same entity or the same essence I had seen so long ago with Ram Dass. All I could think was “uh oh” because it was all too familiar. This job was going to end soon, and I expected it. What is real has finally shown back up.”

Neem Karoli Baba: A Phenomenal And Amazing Mystic

Sadhguru then began his explanation of the events. He explained, “Ram Dass, as you know, went to Neem Karoli Baba.” Neem Karoli Baba was an extraordinary man with boundless potential. Out of his love for Ram Dass or out of Ram Dass’s sincerity and openness to receive, a certain dimension has undoubtedly fallen upon him. Ram Dass may have stated this to everyone or just to you at that particular time, but Ram Dass can’t be your guru because of the way things are. However, he can serve as a portal to another side of life, which is just what he accomplished. It is because Ram Dass is not Ram Dass as a result of his sadhana or ability. Ram Dass has become Ram Dass because, in his life, he did one smart thing: He sat with a man like Neem Karoli Baba. In sitting with him, he gained some of that being’s wisdom and perspective. To achieve his goal of having many doors and windows open, Neem Karoli Baba sent a window to the United States.

Neem Karoli Baba Made Ram Dass A Window During That Period

After that, Sadhguru asked me if I knew how to use Microsoft Windows. “I believe you utilize XP. Do you know that? That’s how this works. It is a window, which is a type of program. He sent a window open to America so you could see something. If you sat with him for a while and really paid attention, you might see things that the window might not see. Later, I read that Ram Dass said that sometimes he isn’t even there when people meet with him. That made me wonder about that.

“Windows Never See,” said Sadhguru. “They have the power to make people experience and see things that are beyond their abilities.” The windows only show. The window lets you see the beautiful Himalayas, but the window may have yet to see the beauty of the Himalayas itself. That’s why Ram Dass is a good window—one that is clear and pure. It’s good. It’s great and shows you a lot of things. He is very brave of Ram Dass to tell you that he is not your teacher. He’s only a window. It’s really great. He is very humble because most people in his shoes would say right away that because they are a window, they are the Himalayas. Ram Dass is a great window because he knows what he can and can’t do. When it comes to himself, he understands both the good and bad things about himself. Being honest with yourself about your limits is a great thing.

“I’m not talking about limits you put on yourself just to be nice. The things that life has put limits on you that aren’t convenient are what I mean. The more you admit your flaws, the more humble you become. It puts you in the right place. It would help if you always were where you belong because what you think about yourself won’t get you anywhere.

He said, “So what you think about yourself doesn’t matter.” “You can make up stories about yourself all the time.” No matter how much you fancy yourself, it has nothing to do with the absolute truth of things. There may be some social value in your ideas and thoughts, but that’s about all. I want you to understand that the way existence holds you—the way you are existing right now—is seen by life, and the thing that makes life possible that you call God sees you just the way you are right now. No space in reality sees you differently than you are right now. It doesn’t matter what you’re wearing, how you look, how you talk, what you tell yourself you are, or what other people think of you. On the other hand, life is always aware of how you really are.”

“You can trick your friends, your society, the world around you, and yourself, but you can’t trick this existence.” If you try to trick reality, you will look like a fool. Everyone and everything around you is always seeing you. There’s no way you can get away with lying. The mind is the source of all lies. Your core being is not made up of thoughts. One way to describe something as spiritual is as something that goes beyond the mind. All of what you sense right now goes through the mind’s process. Thought is fantasy. It is what it means to say, “Everything is Maya or illusion.”

I often fell into a deep quiet while listening to Sadhguru answer a question I’d asked. I connected with his answer as it helped me understand a change that had happened since my meeting with Ram Dass. God is you, the same inner self that is always watching my life and is in everything. I really understood this when I was with Ram Dass. We’re all made of the same stuff. Even though we have different minds and personalities, we are all the same on the inside. When that self spoke to me through Ram Dass, I felt completely loved, and that love took away all of my masks. I realized what I had to hide if no one didn’t already know about me and if I was loved no matter what. It felt great like everything was okay because you’re loved anyway. You are allowed to be yourself.

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