Our sacred India time and again produces great mystics who travel, teach and deeply touch the lives of all the people they meet. There is never a dearth of these great souls, who out of immense compassion for mankind incarnate again and again in order to uplift mankind from the meaningless drudgery of life into a life with clarity of purpose filled with bliss. One such great saint was Neem Karoli Baba, who lived until 1973 in Uttar Pradesh, and touched the lives of countless men through his life and preaching.
The early life of Neem Karoli Baba was not clearly documented. He was known to have been born in a rich and influential Brahmin family in Akbarpur, Uttar Pradesh and was named as Lakshmi Narayan Sharma. It is believed that even as a teenager, he was deeply spiritual and liberated. He lived as a householder for a few years but he left home one day and disappeared. After several years, word was sent to his family in Akbarpur that a look alike of Lakshmi Narayan Sharma was seen wandering in a saint’s attire in the village of Neem Karoli. After his family found him and begged him to go back home, he came back home and continued to live the life of a householder, as well as be a saint and continue his meditation and yoga practice.
He set up ashrams in Kainchi in Nainital, as well as in Vrindavan, Mathura where he attained mahA samAdhi. This post will narrate an event where Neem Karoli Baba performed unbelievable miracles out of immense love for his disciples and arising out of his yogic powers resulting from years of austere penance and practice.
In 1973, Swami Chidananda (the former president of Swami Sivananda’s Divine Life Society) was driving through Kainchi while on a tour in his party. One person from the party took a detour to find out if Baba was available at his Ashram for a quick darshan. Neem Karoli Baba sent them a cordial invite and asked them to stop by at the Ashram for some rest and water. Upon seeing the Baba, every one in the party fell at his feet to seek his blessings. One among Swami Chidananda’s party had about 8 oranges wrapped in a small piece of cloth. He went forward, and placed those oranges as an offering to the Baba in an empty basket that was lying nearby. Baba smiled and blessed them all. He briefly spoke to all of them and then started distributing those oranges as prasAd to everyone there. One by one everyone in the party bowed to the Baba and received an orange from the basket. Soon eight people had already received the 8 oranges that were initially placed in the basket.
But as the next person bowed and extended his hand for the prasAd, Baba put his hand into the basket and took out another orange. Swami Chidananda seemed to notice this miracle and was stunned. Hearing that Baba was distrbuted oranges to all the disciples, many people from the ashram came running to receive prasAd from Baba. About 10 more people had arrived by that time, and each person went forward, bowed, extended his palms and received an orange from Baba out of that basket.
In this manner, aroung 8 oranges were distributed to 18 people. Only the merciful and kind Neem Karoli Baba knew where all the other oranges came from. He seemed to be producing oranges out of thin air out of the empty basket. When the last person in the room had received an orange, Baba finally put down the empty basket and went on and took his seat.
After this meeting, Baba retired and the party took leave of Baba. Swami Chidananda was filled with utter surprise and immense respect for this great yogi who possessed magical powers through the austere practice of yoga. Swami Chidananda writes about Neem Karoli Baba that he was a great yogi who had conquered the dimensions of space and time. He was a trikAla jnAni – knower of the 3: past, present and future and a siddha purusha – perfected man. 
Many of his devotees have claimed to have seen him at different places at the same time. For example, when two devotees invite him for lunch on any particular auspicious day, he would never turn down an offer. He would be present at both devotees’ house to eat and then bless them when he left. His devotees would claim that they saw him walk down the end of the street and then take a turn. As soon as he turned on to another road, he would just disappear from there. So it would always appear as if he walked down the road, and then turned. But the minute he turned, he would have disappeared.
Great souls like Neem Karoli Baba are incarnations of the compassionate divine. They wander from village to village, bless the local people who come to them asking for blessings and help in solving their wordly problems. They may visit temples, infuse their idols with their yogic powers and then move on to the next village to bless more people and so on. They are infinitely compassionate beings who only care about helping the innocent people and they expect nothing in return.
His devotees maintain a website  where they recount the miracles Baba performed and how he touched their lives. The photographs that are present in this post were taken from .
 Swami Chidananda, Baba Neem Karoli – A wonder mystic of Northern India. Available here.
 Neeb Karori Baba. Website
 Sri Neem Karoli Baba Maharaj-ji. Website
Phototgraphs of Neem Karoli Baba’s Ashram in Taos, New Mexico, USA:
The photographs below were taken by a friend of mine – Mr. Sudhir Sawarkar and his group, when they visited Neem Karoli Baba’s ashram in NM in July 2009. According to them, the ashram was beautiful and well maintained and very peaceful and conducive to meditation.