Picture of guru “Neem Karoli Baba” attracted Julia Roberts to Hinduism

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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.

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

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.”

Rajan Zed, who is President of 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 *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.

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 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. 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, USA, 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) is releasing in USA
and Canada on August 13.

Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one
billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal.