Kainchi Ashram in Nainital Uttarakhand,
inspired Mark Zuckerberg :-
Kainchi Hanuman Mandir & Ashram
P. O. Kainchi Dham
Uttarakhand (UK) India
Vinod Joshi, the secretary of the trust that
manages a small temple and ashram nestled
in a picture-postcard valley called Kainchi
near Nainital, got a call from Larry Brilliant,
an American physician and former director
of Google's philanthropic arm Google.org.
"Larry said some Mark would be coming to the
ashram for a day," recalls the short, bubbly
man with twinkling eyes, who has spent his
life in the service of his spiritual guru
Neeb Karori Baba at the ashram.
Joshi doesn't remember exactly when because
he had no idea who Mark Zuckerberg was. Facebook
was yet to become a daily habit of about a
billion and half people. But he does remember
that Zuckerberg flew down to Pantnagar,
about 65 km from Nainital, and then drove
to the ashram of Neeb Karori (often called
Neem Karoli) Baba, who died in 1973 but continues
to enchant several highprofile Americans.
The Baba's halo shined bright last week when
Zuckerberg mentioned to Narendra Modi during
the Indian prime minister's US tour that he
had visited a temple in India during the early
days of Facebook on the advice of Apple founder
Steve Jobs. "...he (Jobs) told me that in
order to reconnect with what I believed as
the mission of the company I should visit
this temple that he had gone to in India early
on in his evolution of thinking about what
he wanted Apple and his vision of the future
to be," Zuckerberg told Modi at a town hall
meeting at Facebook headquarters.
"So I went and I travelled for almost a month,
and seeing people, seeing how people connected,
and having the opportunity to feel how much
better the world could be if everyone has
a strong ability to connect reinforced for
me the importance of what we were doing and
that is something I've always remembered over
the last 10 years as we've built Facebook."
MARK ZUCKERBERG SPENT 2 DAYS AT THE KAINCHI
Joshi says Zuckerberg landed up with just
a book in his hand without even a change of
clothes. "He was wearing a trouser which was
torn at one knee," he told ET. Zuckerberg
was supposed to spend only one day, but stayed
for two because Pantnagar was hit by a storm
and flights could not take off.
The ashram, located beside a bubbling brook
and surrounded by tall pine-forested mountains,
itself is small for a saint who has an elite
following that includes Hollywood star Julia
Roberts. It has five shrines, including
one for his favourite Hanuman. Many of the
Baba's devotees believe he himself was the
monkey God incarnate. Opposite the shrines
is a white building with square columns where
the sage used to live. "We call it the White
House," Joshi says.
On its verandah, there is a small wooden platform
covered with a dark woolen blanket sprinkled
with fresh flowers — the Baba used to spend
most of his day seated on it. All over the
place there are pictures of the ever-smiling
Baba sitting or half lying down with his left
palm supporting his head. He is always wearing
Even in the shrine where the Baba lives on
in a life-size marble statue, he wears a Burberry-check
blanket. As the evening aarti (lamp service)
winds down at the shrine, I tell Rameshwar
Dass standing at the back of a small crowd
of worshippers that the statue is life-like.
"Well, almost," Dass replies with a mischievous
smile, his eyes crinkling up crows' feet on
the edges. "He looked quite different."
Dass, a former New Yorkbased photographer,
was Jim until the sage gave him his new name.
When Jim first met Neeb Karori Baba in 1970,
he stayed by his side for two years.
BABA SPOKE ABOUT CHRIST
"The atmosphere around him was very powerful.
It was like a spiritual pressure cooker,"
Dass says. I ask him what is it that attracts
foreigners to the sage. Dass thinks for a
moment and then says, "He talked to us a lot
about Christ. He used to say that Christ and
Hanuman are the same. That Christ never died."
He says when the Baba talked about Christ
it was as if he was seeing him. "Tears used
to flow from his eyes." Dass says the Baba
never gave sermons or scriptural lessons except
urging them to be of service to others. "The
idea of service appeals to Christians like
He remembers Ram Dass, one of the Baba's earliest
disciples, joking with him about a giant statue
of Hanuman at another ashram of the Baba in
Nainital. "Ram Dass said, 'What would my friends
in the US say if they saw me worshipping a
giant concrete monkey'," Dass says with a
hearty laugh. It was Ram Dass or Richard Alpert
who made Neeb Karori Baba famous among elite
Alpert, an American psychologist, met the
Baba with fellow psychologist and psychedelics
researcher Timothy Leary while on vacation
from Harvard. He spent many years with the
sage and wrote an unusually designed book
'Be Here Now' on him and Hindu philosophy.
The book, written like a graphic novel, influenced
many readers in the US who began to associate
with a commune and foundation Alpert had established
in New Mexico.
"I met Steve when we were all young and the
world was full of promise and so, of course,
we went to India as spiritual seekers," he
writes in the email. "Girija [Brilliant's
wife] gave him our only blanket from Maharajji
when Steve was very ill." Though Neeb Karori
Baba is no more, he evidently continues to
be a comforter to many.
Karoli Maharaji Photo Gallery
Ashram in Nainital Uttarakhand, inspired Steve
Jobs to Found Apple
Ashram in Nainital Uttarakhand, inspired Mark
Courtesy : By Economic Times -------------
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