Picture of Guru ‘Neem Karoli Baba’ Attracted Julia Roberts to Hinduism

Oscar winner Hollywood star Julia Roberts (Pretty Woman) became interested in Hinduism after seeing a picture of Hanuman devotee Hindu guru Neem Karoli Baba, who died in 1973.

In an interview with anchor George Stephanopoulos at news program Good Morning America on ABC News on August nine, Roberts said that her interest in Hinduism “came from seeing a picture of a guru called Neem Karoli Baba and I was so drawn to this picture of this person and I did not know who he was or what he was about but felt a very strong interest.”

Answering Stephanopoulos’s question, “Did you ever meet the man?” Roberts replied, “No. He passed long before I saw his picture but you know just very intriguing, and that is the way things come in to our lives. They are not these big gate crashing moments, it is just the little like…hoon…what is this about.” Roberts said that she did practice Hinduism and added, “Hinduism is something I am very intrigued by and very interested in.”

The September issue of women’s fashion magazine Elle, on which Roberts, 42, is the cover girl, reportedly points out: The entire Roberts-Moder family, she reveals, goes to temple together to “chant and pray and celebrate. I’m definitely a practicing Hindu,” says Roberts, who grew up with a Catholic mother and Baptist father.

Neem Karoli Baba, born as Lakshmi Narayan Sharma in village Akbarpur (Uttar Pradesh, India), also known as Maharaj-ji, has a large number of followers in India and the West, including spiritual teacher Ram Dass (Remember, Be Here Now), yogi Bhagwan Das, musicians Jai Uttal and Krishna Das, spiritual activist Lama Surya Das, humanitarian Dr. Larry Brilliant, etc. Apple CEO Steve Jobs reportedly travelled to India to meet him but Baba died on September 11, 1973, before he could reach him. Baba established dozens of temples and reportedly performed what can be called miracles. Establishments/temples/ashrams related to his mission are spread around India, Germany, the USA, and etc. Some of the quotes attributed to him include: “Love everyone, Serve everyone, Remember God and Speak the truth”, “Whenever you’ll think about me, I will come to you”.

According to reports, Roberts has been interested in yoga for quite some time. She was in Haryana (India) in September last to shoot “Eat, Pray, Love” in an ashram (hermitage). In January 2009, she sported a “bindi” (vermillion mark on forehead) during her trip to India when she also visited Taj Mahal with husband Danny Moder. She has a production company called “Red Om Films”, and “Om” in Hinduism is the mystical syllable containing the universe.

Julia Fiona Roberts, one of the most successful Hollywood actresses besides a producer and fashion model, has won best actress Oscar for “Erin Brockovich” and earned Oscar nominations for “Pretty Woman” and “Steel Magnolias”. Roberts lead “Eat, Pray, Love” (Ryan Murphy) which is to be released on August 13.

Hindu statesman Rajan Zed has heartily welcomed Roberts into Hinduism. She will appreciate the rich, diverse and long tradition of Hindu philosophy and its interpretation of the nature of reality, Zed added in a statement in Nevada (USA).

Rajan Zed, who is President of the Universal Society of Hinduism, says that if Roberts needs any help in deeper Hinduism exploration, he or other Hindu scholars will be glad to assist. Zed suggests Roberts to realize the Self. Ancient Hindu scripture, the Katha Upanishad points out that when wise realize the Self, they go beyond sorrow. Self is supreme and those who meditate on Self are freed from the cycle of birth and death. When one realizes Self, there is nothing else to be known, quotes Zed.