Radhe tu bad bhagini
Kaun tapasya keen
Teen lok taaran taarana
Soh tere adheen
Radhe, how blessed are you!!
What penance did you do,
That makes the redeemer of the three worlds
Subservient to you.
An oft repeated couplet by Neeb Karori Baba Ji to Siddhi Maa.
Siddhi Maa’s devotion to Baba Neeb Karori Maharaj Ji has no parallels except to that of Hanuman ji’s devotion for Sri Ram. Till date many still do not know about her because she had deliberately chosen to stay away from limelight putting her Guru on pedestal. But devotees close to her knew that in essence and spirit she was no different than Baba Neeb Karori Maharaj Ji.
Siddhi Maa’s Childhood
Born in the year 1928, in Almora, she was named Haripriya, though her doting father called her Siddhi. According to Hindu mythology, Siddhi is the name of Ganesh ji’s consort. Interestingly, as a little girl she would sneak into a Ganesh temple in the neighborhood and sit on the lap of the idol. From her early childhood, she was into the habit of writing ‘Ram Ram’ on a slate, recite Hanuman chalisa, have a sip of Gangajal before having her breakfast and heading to school.
Such was her spiritual aura that Anandmayee Maa(a revered Indian saint) picked up a five year old Siddhi dancing to the tune of a Meera bai bhajan, held her up for everyone to see and proclaimed that, ”Ye to Jagat ki Ma hai!”(She is the mother of the Universe!)
Many years later, when Siddhi Maa had gone to visit but couldn’t meet Anandmayee Maa, she herself walked to Siddhi Maa’s residence and asked for a gift .Siddhi maa quickly picked up a toy monkey from a nearby shop and gave it to her. Anandamayee maa instantaneously expressed, “Arrey, this is your deity Hanuman ji!” and kept the toy forever with her.
Her life after Marriage:
She was married off at the age of sixteen to Sri Tularam Sah, a well-known advocate from Nainital. As the youngest in a large joint family, she had a long day of household duties. Late in the night when the entire house had fallen silent, she would sit down for sadhana, and the world would lose meaning for her. One fine day, she along with other family members went to visit Baba Neeb Karori Maharaj Ji who was in Nainital at that time. Being a young bride, she sat at the back of the hall maintaining restraint in her demeanor. But Baba Neeb Karori Maharaj Ji gestured her to come forward from amongst the entire crowd and gave a vivid account of Maa’s silent sadhana and how she lived in the world like a lotus flower in mud, yet untouched by it. Her home Gita Bhavan had turned into a spiritual haven for devotees and pilgrims alike.
When Baba Neeb Karori Maharaj Ji was at Hanumangarhi, she would leave home at 2 am and walk to meet him so that she could return on time to address her household duties. On reaching there, she would sing a bhajan or two on Baba Neeb Karori Maharaj Ji’s request that would move him to tears. Over the years, Maa’s family went with Baba Neeb Karori Maharaj Ji on pilgrimages all over India and became ardent devotees of Baba Neeb Karori Maharaj Ji.
Her Life as an Ascetic:
A year after the demise of her husband, she left her family to permanently stay in Kainchi ashram along with Jivanti Maa (another pious soul). Staying in the inner quarters of the ashram she devoted her life wholeheartedly in Baba Neeb Karori Maharaj Ji’s service.
On 9th September, 1973, Baba Neeb Karori Maharaj Ji filled in two pages of ‘Ram Ram ‘ in his notebook, dated them 9th and 10th September and then slid it towards Siddhi Maa directing her to write in it from then on. It was a symbolical gesture of handing over the sacred baton to Maa. Following this, Maharaj Ji left his mortal body on 11th September, 1973 in Vrindavan.
After Maharaj Ji’s Mahasamadhi, Maa gave solace to all the souls who were disheartened and lost. Her magnetic pull of divine love brought everyone back to Maharaj Ji. If Maharaj Ji was like the wind, then Maa was like sail that had caught the wind to steer the boat. She completed and consecrated many of Maharaj Ji’s temples. Maa would meet all the devotees, giving them affectionate guidance and if anyone sought her blessings, she would ask them to pray Maharaj Ji and not her.
It was clear to everyone that for Maa, Maharaj Ji was foremost. Often delaying her meals and caring little for her own comfort, she would continue to meet all the visitors. Everyone began to see Maharaj Ji through her. One glimpse or one word from her would send forth a wave of devotional fervor amongst the devotees. She considered the ashrams as the body of Guru Maharaj Ji and ensured squeaky cleanliness.
After Jivanti Maa’s demise in the year 2005, Maa became more of a recluse and reduced her travel.
On the morning of 28th December 2017, Maa took MahaSamadhi leaving behind a legacy of devotion and service.
In Baba’s words, she was Devi Katyayani (a form of Goddess Durga) for whom Hanuman (referring himself) had to come.
My Personal Experience with Maa & Baba Neeb Karori Ji:
I had read and known about Maharaj Ji earlier (from a book “Apprenticed to a Himalayan Master” by Sri M). Sometime in the year 2020, my mother forwarded me the video “Mai aur Mere Baba Neeb Karori” from the YouTube channel “Insight Spirituality: Ranjan Kumar Dil Se” and I got hooked on to the channel.
I remember the initial days when I started reciting Hanuman Chalisa, a strange fear of some one’s presence around gripped me. The fear consumed me so much so that I couldn’t sleep for nights and if at all I slept I would wake up with a startle. But I continued my daily puja and slowly approximately 2 months later the fear within me subsided.
Gradually I experienced many positive behavioral changes in me like needless worries, anxiety and anger reduced on their own. Here I would like to add that coming from a devout family, reading, listening to spiritual stuff, and praying (not necessarily to Hanuman Ji) have always been a part of my life. Everything was going very well, until I suffered badly from acidity reflux this July 22. No medicine or changes in it could bring any relief. Again, I was having sleepless nights, this time due to sickness.
The gastroenterologist diagnosed it as GERD and suggested a laparoscopy to tighten the sphincter muscle if situation does not improve in a month’s time with the prescribed medicines. I was reading Hanuman Bahuk, praying fervently to Baba for recuperation but to no avail. We had a plan to take my parents along with us to Kainchi Dham during the October holidays. But a fortnight before our travel my health took a turn for worse, and I started having loose motions. One night in extreme distress, I complained to Baba that he has turned a blind eye towards me.
The very next morning, I opened my Instagram absentmindedly only to find a post of Baba on my homepage with a message “I’ve told the mother (” Goddess Durga”) and all will be well with you now”. I felt instantly the message was for me, but it left me confused. Incidentally, I came across another Instagram post that by Mother or “Jagat Janani,” Baba Ji meant Siddhi Maa.
Surprisingly, post that all my symptoms reduced, and we travelled with my parents to Uttarakhand and visited all the four dhams of Baba Ji. By then, I was off medicines too. I didn’t face any issues during the travel (hectic travel and hotel food). For the entire period, the entire world had lost its relevance for us. I bought a photo of Siddhi Maa and the book of Sri Siddhi Ma by Jaya Prasada.
The priest from Kakri ghat temple lovingly gave us a photo of Baba Ji. My symptoms have been gradually declining. I again visited doctor last week and sensing improvement in my condition, he gave me only oral medicines.
I will conclude here with the thought that once that Infinite power lifts us into her lap, she nurtures and protects us until we cross the shores of this temporal world.
Baba Baba sab kahen
Maiyya kahen na koi
Baba ke darbar me,
Maiyya kahe soi hoi
Everyone keeps calling Baba, Ma, they do not call, they know not that in Baba’s court, Ma’s word is all.