Neem Karoli Baba

Take Chai

“Take chai [tea].”
“But Maharajji, I’ve already had chai.”
“Take chai.”
“Okay .”
“Go take kanna [food].”
“Maharajji, I just ate an hour ago.”
“Maharajji wants you to take kanna now .”
“Maharajji sent these sweets over for you.”
“But I couldn’t eat another thing.”
“It’s Maharajji’s wish that you have these sweets.”
“Maharajji sent me to give you chai.”
“Oh, no! Not again!”
“I am only doing my duty. It is Maharajji’s wish.”
“Okay .”
“A devotee has just arrived from Delhi with a large bucket of sweets. Maharajji is distributing it. He wants you to come.”
“Oh, my God, I’ll explode.”
“It prasad.”
“Thank you, Maharajji. (Oh, no, not the apples too!) Ah, thank you, Maharajji.”

While many experienced Maharajji’s qualities of timelessness or love at darshans, everybody who came before him felt his concern that they be fed. Often even before you could sit down he would insist that you “take prasad.” People just never went away from him hungry.

I stopped at a gasoline station in Berkeley, California, run by a Sikh fellow. I thought I’d practice my Hindi with him. When he found out that I stayed at the temple at Kainchi, the first thing he said was, “Oh, you belong to that baba. I visited him. He gave me puris [fried bread]. Nobody else gives you food just for nothing. ”

Many of the poor people in the areas around the temple or on pilgrimages came to depend upon the food that was freely given for their survival; but for the rest of us, such excessive feeding and continuous preoccupation with food seemed to indicate that the food represented some thing more.

My first impressions focused on all the food that was present. I had just come down from Nepal, where I had been on a strict Buddhist meditation trip for a long time, and I saw all these people sitting down and stuffing their faces! I thought, “Oh, they don’t know where it’s at. Look at the gluttons!” Then I sat down to eat . . . and in a few days I was stuffing my face. I had never before experienced such a feeling as that. Literally I could not get enough to eat. It was as if I were feeding my spirit. – Ram Dass, Miracle of Love – Stories about Neem Karoli Baba