Ganesh Baba

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From The Flower Raj Wiki

Shri Mahant Ganesh Giriji Maharaj (aka Swami Ganeshanand, aka Ganesh Baba, born Orissa, India c1890 - died Nainital, India, 19th November 1987).

Ganesh Baba, NYC, USA, c1979



Born around 1890 in Orissa, India, little is known of his early life; he is said to have married and to have had financial, social, and familial success.

By the 1960s, as an old man, Ganesh Baba had become a renunciate spiritual seeker and he met and interacted with many Westerners over the remainder of his life. He was sometimes called "The Psychedelic Guru" due to his use and advocacy of certain mind-altering substances.

Ganesh Baba visited and taught in the USA between 1979 & 1981. He died in Nainital, India, in 1987.




  • Interview with Terry Clifford (Part I):
  • Interview with Terry Clifford (Part II):

(See Ganesh Baba talks with Terry Clifford Article)

Blog Posts


  • Nico Morrison wrote:
"I'd heard of the Sanskrit University, Banaras while spending the winter 1965/66 in Kathmandu, from the Western Theravada Buddhist Monks Peter Zimmels & Ian Rutherford. I knew nothing of Hindu renunciates. Arriving at the Bauddh Kaksh, I was taken by several of the Western students to see my first Indian 'holy man'. We took rickshaws down to Godolia/Dashashwamedh and entered the Madras Hotel, where Ganesh Baba had a room on the first floor."
"There on the open balcony, overlooking the teeming street, was a tiny & very old man, dressed all in white, with long flowing locks, clutching a smoking chillum firmly in one hand & gesticulating vigorously with the other while declaiming loudly in fluent complex English."
"He never stopped talking except to smoke his chillum; he never passed the chillum, in fact another chillum circulated; one for the Baba; one for everyone else."
"What did he talk about? Well ... everything under the sun! I was usually too stoned to take in any detail. But ... sit up straight - keep a straight back, posture is crucial. That I did take in and learnt to sit in Padmasana encouraged by him. Asana he considered crucial."
"Secondly he validated a certain use of drugs; thirdly he believed in Buddhi the discriminative faculty. I have always been grateful to him for NOT tearing a strip off me as he did with so many others; he used to look at me, 22 years young, with compassion & tell me to sit up."
"He was a great debunker of the spirit and it's advocates; he'd slag off and rudely put down any other spiritual teacher he felt like taking the mickey out of; I liked that - his independent, anarchic, rebellious spirit."
  • Andrew Somerville wrote:
"I first met Ganesh Baba at the Prayag Raj Kumbh Mela in January 1966. We were staying at Anandamayi Ma's camp. It was the start of an intense but short acquaintance which continued afterwards in Benares, my home town in those days. Later that year I went to Darjeeling and met him again for the last time. Jasper Newsome came too and got to know him much better. As the years went by, I'd hear news of him from Jasper, who was with him in Nainital when he died."
"He was a sage of immense power. Yet for all his penetrating intellect, scathing wit, vast learning & yogic attainments, he really wanted us to grasp just one thing. He used to say: "I'm not your Guru. I'm your Back Straightener." Nothing was more important & no understanding of reality, ultimate or otherwise, remotely possible without an erect spinal column."
"My last sight of Ganesh Baba: he was dancing nimbly down the hill with a bunch of the local street urchins & singing at the top of his voice a sanskrit hymn to the Divine Mother."
  • Klaus Schlichtmann wrote:
"I am very touched to see those pictures of Ganesh Baba, and read all about him recently, e.g. the wonderfully written and very insightful accounts by Eva Neuhaus and Corinne Vandevalle and Peter Meyer. I didn't know he became so famous and travelled so extensively teaching Kriya Yoga etc."
"He did have a decisive impact on me, too, although I am not sure I would call him my Guru, but in a way he was. I remember his saying (to Jay Jay and us): "Buck up and you will get bucks." Indeed, as everybody who so eloquently has written about Ganesh Baba said, that was one of his most important instructions, which I suppose we all followed, carrying our cross boldly and diligently ever since."
"I would like to revel in some of those memories, but they are still tucked away somewhere in the pockets of my memory. Perhaps if we talk about him more, more will be remembered. He was certainly a most extraordinary, wonderful, loving and unconventional guru and friend."

Books on Ganesh Baba

Book Reviews

"Wit and wisdom, posture and possibilities, drugs and discourse on the hippie trail - the book on the multi-faceted Shri Mahant Swami Ganeshanand Saraswati Giri, aka Ganesh Baba, has enough to keep the serious seeker as well as those just curious, engrossed".

External Links

Arthur Mandelbaum wrote: "The best bio of Ganesh Baba that I have read is " Ganesh Baba - a Memoir " by Peter Meyer, the chela who was with him in his final years. It's on the first page of a Google search and is cited in the Wiki bio. I don't know how much of it you can use but at least post the link to it."
Andrew Somerville wrote: "I think I didn't yet mention the dozen or so Youtube clips of Ganesh Baba in the USA that some thoughtful soul has posted up - I've been much enjoying them & commend them to you."

(thanks to Wikipedia for some external links)

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