“In the Eastern traditions, spiritual teachings are handed down from Guru to student in a form of transmission – often orally or physically. Neem Karoli Baba is Ma’s guru, and that is the lineage of Kashi. Baba’s two words, “Feed Everyone” are the essence of the teachings of Kashi. Ma also has many teachers who were very influential in her spiritual life.
About lineage, Ma says “It is in your lineage to walk the path of the heart and live your lives, while taking care of others and yourself in the divine name of God. Be filled with joy and bliss this life. This is in your blood and in your lineage. The beauty that you receive as you walk the path of the guru tradition is one of the links to the chain of lineage. This is an endless chain that reaches to the formless, allowing the form to remain motionless until it is absorbed.”
Ma Jaya’s Teachers and GuruAs Ma’s personal journey unfolded in the early 1970’s, several saints and teachers came to teach her starting with an experience of Christ who told her to “Teach all ways, for all ways are mine.” This established Kashi as an interfaith path of life.
Her personal journey then led her to her teacher, the great Indian saint, Swami Nityananda of Ganeshpuri, whose influence created a foundation for her teaching to this day.
Neem Karoli Baba, appeared to her. This began another chapter in Ma Jaya’s life. Through her work, Neem Karoli Baba’s blessings have continuously graced her students’ lives. His presence is felt in every aspect of life at Kashi.
Among the other saints and sages who have had an influence on Ma Jaya’s teachings are Ramana Maharshi and Shirdi Sai Baba.
Swami Nityananda of Ganeshpuri is one of the most beloved Saints of India, born in the first half of the 19th century. He is closely connected with Sri Neem Karoli Baba, and is one of Ma’s most important teachers.
Nityananda is considered by many to be an avatar. He is known by the world for his great austerity and compassion. He left his body in 1961. He is also known as both the author of the Chidakash Gita and as the carrier of the essence of Lord Dattatreya (the Hindu Trinity of “Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva in One Form) and of the Dancing Lord Ganesha.
Swami Nityananda brings to the world the gift of the Chidakash. The Chidakash is the “heart space over the head”. Within this sky of consciousness rises the great orb, Surya– The Sun — The Absolute Godhead. This divine space, where one’s individual soul merges with its Divine Soul, makes its heavenly home in the upper part of the skull. This space is our true home, our birthright.
For books about Swami Nityananda’s life and teachings, click here. For photos of Swami Nityananda, click here.
Neem Karoli Baba
Ma’s Guru, Neem Karoli Baba, was is believed by many to be one of the greatest spiritual masters of our time. Even today, many years after his death in 1973, Baba continues to touch people’s lives in many different ways.
Neem Karoli Baba first appeared to Ma Jaya in 1973 and has been teaching her ever since. Through Ma’s work, Neem Karoli Baba’s blessings have continuously graced her students’ lives. His presence is felt in every aspect of life at Kashi.
Baba’s main teaching can be crystallized in the words, “Feed everybody.” This command to feed pertains not only to physical food, but to the food of the heart, direct and unconditional love.
Following in his footsteps, Ma Jaya and her students are engaged in service activities, touching people with AIDS and other diseases, children from backgrounds of abuse and neglect, and many others.
“Having seen Him, all is seen. Having heard Him, all is heard.
Having touched him, all is touched. Having known him, all is known.”
Ma Jaya – speaking about Neem Karoli Baba
While Neem Karoli Baba never gave sermons or speeches, he taught through the immediacy of his profound ability to love. As many people who experience his presence today say, “He is as alive today as ever.” In this way, he maintains the ability to touch the lives of many in tangible and lasting ways, opening those who turn to him by awakening a great and never-before-known depth of love within themselves.
- To find out more information about Neem Karoli Baba click here.
- To see video of a puja to Neem Karoli Baba in a train caboose at Kashi click here.
- To purchase books about Neem Karoli Baba, click here.
- To purchase photos of Neem Karoli Baba, click here.
Shirdi Sai Baba
Shirdi Sai Baba is worshiped and loved by millions of people in India and throughout the world. He taught tolerance and harmony between Hinduism and Islamic traditions, and in fact, it is not known whether Sai Baba was himself Hindu or Muslim. He often taught in simple parables and stories, using metaphor and paradox. He would sit by the side of the road and beg for one rupee. By this, he would teach individuals about generosity and stinginess. It is said that his presence conveyed a direct experience with the holy and sacred.
Shirdi Baba is remembered for promising his devotees that … If you look on me, I will look on you. Shirdi Sai Baba left his body in approximately 1918.
For a book about Shirdi Baba’s life, click here. To see websites about Shirdi Baba, click here andhere.
Ramana Maharshi (1879-1950)
Revered as one of the greatest spiritual teachers of modern-day India. At the age of 17, Ramana Maharshi had an experience of death, in which he realized that one’s body dies, but the eternal stream of consciousness is not touched by this death.
This was a profound experience of the True Self, and notably occurred without the guidance and protection of a guru. He remained conscious of his identity with the Absolute at all times, and for the rest of his life. From this awareness, he taught his students to simply ask, “Who am I?”
For books about Ramana Maharshi and his teachingsclick here. To view websites about Ramana Maharshi click here and here.”
The above texts were taken from a page in Ma’s blog. She left her body at Kashi Ashram on the night of 13th April at 10pm.
I chose this picture of Ma because it says so much to me.
She sits with open hands. Hands that pray, hands that serve, hands that hold, hands that give, hands that bless, Hands that wrote the poem that I first heard and draw me to her:
“ Children play by my River
Sadhus stay by my River
Cities old by my River
Temples made of gold by my River
Cows stray all day by my River
Young men and women now die by my river
We are all the widows who cry by my River
1008 candles drift on the leaves that float on my River
They light the hope of the many by my River
River, river, I am thirsty
I am burning, my River
Quench my thirst, my Mother
I need the River to know her own
Ganga, take my children home
Let them feel your abundance
Let them know your tears
Let them know that you, the Ganga, are always near
The worship of my river is so very old
Her story must be told
I shall worship and tell of she I bow to
Mother Gange, I shall tell of you
The River of my dreams lives and flows in the
City of Lights.
Her blanket is Kashi
Her soul is Shiva
Her sister is Kali
I, Ma, am her daughter
I, Ma, thirst for her water
I shall drink my fill and then drink more
I shall give what I have consumed to my sons
Her riverfront shrines shall live in my heart
The Holy walk down Kashi’s narrow ancient streets
Behind the dead they walk repeating the name of my
Her name comes to the near-dead
I place her tilak upon the dead’s head.
(from Ma’s book, “The River” Kashi ashram)
In 1993 the Franciscan community in Montreal sent me as a delegate to attend the Parliament of World Religions in Chicago. It was there that I first met Ma.
She was coming into the hall in procession just behind a Cardinal from N.York (they had become friends). I was standing near the door and as she approached she was smiling and the young Indian man next to me said “let me introduce you to Arlo Guthrie’s Guru” and with that he said “Ma, this is a friend from Montreal”. Ma had a warm smile.
One night at the Parliament, Ma read the poem written above, and for some unknown reason I began to cry. I wanted to know why and wanted to know more about her. This led me to take a workshop that Ma was giving, in which she was giving teachings as how to serve people with aids.
This was in the early 90s and we know how much stigma and prejudice existed then. I took the workshop.
St Francis of Assisi, at the end of his life wrote how he was converted and he attributes his service to the lepers of his time, as the key factor which led him to be the man we now know as a Saint.
In the 90s, people with aids were treated as lepers and I felt drawn to serve but did not know how. I was very inspired by the way in which Ma served and gave herself so fully to the cause of these men who were so ostracized.
Ma invited me to come and visit her Inter-faith ashram in Florida and that began a whole new world of service and adventure for me. I will develop more about this in time to come.
Ma was an embodiment of service, especially to the poorest and most abandoned. She also stated that the ‘flesh of the Christ’ was the cement on which her teachings are based. “as you do unto the least of these, you do unto Me.”
I have grown to know and love Ma over these years although I have not been able to visit her ashram as often as before, and will miss her physical presence, her teachings and words will never leave me. She is a great source of inspiration and grace.
She passes away at a most auspicious time when we are still contemplating the greatest moments in the history of mankind as we celebrate the passing of our human brother Jesus and his Resurrection. As the words of an early father of the Church said “God became man so that man may become Divine”
There is a depth of understanding that surpasses our human mind to grasp fully what Jesus meant when he spoke of the Resurrection to Martha in the Gospel of St John 11 v 25
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
27 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”
I understand and fully believe that one day we will also, because of our faith in His Word, our very human flesh will be as Christ Himself. Death is conquered and will be no more!
Jai Ma! http://youtu.be/xezYcILoO7