Remembering Lama Norlha Rinpoche, I am filled with love

By February 22, 2018 Blog, Kirtan Wallah Foundation

Lama Norlha Rinpoche was a disciple of Kalu Rinpoche who was considered to be the greatest Yogi of the previous generation of Tibetan Lamas. Kalu Rinpoche sent Lama Norlha to the US in 1974, I believe, and he started a small monastery in Wappinger’s Falls NY. I met him there in 1975 or 1976, but it was only in the last few years that I started to visit him as much as I could. This was because I heard that he had spent 2 years with my Guru, Neem Karoli Baba, in 1963/64, after he had escaped from Tibet to India.

He told me the following story.

He had found a small broken down abandoned kutir(hut) in the hills above Haridwar and had just finished settling in to it, when a man came and started yelling at him and kicking his stuff around. After few minutes the man left. Lama thought to himself that maybe he should leave, because the kutir might belong to this man. But he decided to stay anyway. After a couple of hours some Indian people arrived with tea and snacks for him and told him that there was a Baba who wanted him to come for a meal at a house nearby.

Lama went with the Indians and he was surprised to see that the Baba was the same man who had yelled at him and kicked his stuff around. That was my Guru, Neem Karoli Baba, Maharaj-ji. He told Lama that the kutir was not safe as there were many poisonous snakes there. He asked Lama to come stay with him. Lama did. They spent much time together and loved each other very much. Maharaj-ji called Lama, “Tibeti Baba” and said, “We’ll stay together our whole lives…we love each other so much.” For 2 years Lama and Maharaj-ji spent much time together. When they went to the bazaar, Lama told me that the shopkeepers would accept whatever Maharaj-ji offered them for there goods. Maharaj-ji would often say “Who will feed my people when I’m gone?”

Lama told me that he believed Maharaj-ji to be the greatest Siddha in the Himalayas.

After 2 years, early one morning, there was loud banging on Lama’s door. He opened it and Maharaj-ji was standing there He said, “Don’t listen to them. Don’t listen to them. Don’t listen to what they say.” And then he turned and walked away.

Lama was confused…he had no idea what Maharaj-ji was talking about. However later that day Kalu Rinpoche’s brother arrived there. He had come to bring Lama up to Darjeeling, where Kalu Rinpoche was living after escaping from Tibet. Lama had been Kalu Rinpoche’s meditation master in Tibet and had led retreats for Kalu’s disciples.

Lama came to Maharaj-ji and said, “Baba, they want me to go with them to Darjeeling.”
Maharaj-ji said, “Don’t go. Don’t go. We love each other so much. We’ll stay together our whole lives.’
Lama answered, “But Baba, he is my Guru.”
Maharaj-ji said, “You must go. If you don’t go your sadhana won’t bring fruit.”
Lama: “But Baba, We’ll meet again.”
Maharaj-ji,  “Yes, We will meet again, but after you have died.”

Lama told me this with such joy and happiness remembering those times with Maharaj-ji.

Another time I was with Lama Norlha and I asked him if he and Maharaj-ji had talked about philosophy.
He said, “Oh yes, we talked a lot.”
Then he looked at me and with great seriousness, he said, “He liked my view (spiritual understanding of things.)
Then Lama leaned towards me and in conspiratorial whisper and a sweet smile said, “But he liked his view better!”

Whenever I spent time with Lama he would always give me food to eat and talk like Maharajj-ji, mimicking his voice and teasing manner.

About a month ago I had heard that Lama was in hospice and I went to his monastery, KTC. I was hoping to see him but didn’t want to be a burden. When they told him that I was there, he agreed to see me. He had not spoken much for about a week. He was sitting up in a chair because he had much trouble breathing.

When I came and bowed he started talking to me in Hindi and handing me things to eat. I just fell into his lap and he put his arms around me and held me. It was unbearably sweet. He asked for a protection cord and with great difficulty tied it around my neck. After a few minutes I got up to go and as I bowed to him I said “Ram Ram”. I don’t know what made me do that, but he immediately lit up and started say,

“Ram Ram Sita Ram, Ram Ram Sita Ram” over and over again in a very loud and powerful voice.

Everyone there was amazed. Need I say that this is very unusual for a Tibetan Rinpoche. I was infused with happiness and joy…and whenever I remember Lama, I am filled with love.



  • Durga says:

    So So sweet, thank you KD. This brought tears…again. Ram Ram
    Love, Durga

  • Kevin Kinser says:

    What a wonderful story! Thank you for sharing it. May you share kirtan and your stories for many years to come.

  • Peter says:

    KD a long time ago you told a group that I was in, “when in doubt, just say ‘Ram Ram Sita Ram… or just say Ram Ram Ram.” – advice to live by, and beyond. Love and Light

  • gary says:

    KD, very touching story. Thank you❤️🙏

  • Linda Boucher says:

    Very touching. Thank you for sharing.

  • Tisha says:

    Thank you for sharing this loving sweet story. I feel the love! xoxo Ram Ram Sita Ram!!

  • Karen, Kalya says:

    What a beautiful heartfelt story! Food for the soul! Thank you for sharing KD.

    Ram, Ram Karen

  • Adita says:

    Krishna Das, I always live your stories . So warm & heartfelt ! Thank thank you!
    Love Adita from Atlanta

  • Eric Geffner says:

    Oh beloved teacher and Wallah, your story filled my heart with love, thank you for all you do. Ram Ram Sita Ram, Ram Ram Sita Ram.. I can just hear Baba say this to Lama Norlha Rinpoche and then as you retell this it is like it is coming down from all the miles and generations and time to us….
    Ram Ram Sita Ram, Indeed!
    Eric Geffner, living in Los Angeles (yep, that place) hahahaha

  • Judy says:

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful memory ❣️
    Ram Ram Sita Ram

  • Anna Brewer says:

    Beautiful homage to a loving soul who is reunited with Maharaji Baba!

  • Martha Laska says:

    This story answered a question for me. Thank you.

  • Suzanne says:

    Ram ram Sita ram 🎶🎶🌹

  • Shyama Chapin says:

    Such a being. Thank you for writing. ❤️

  • Gloria Ellis says:

    Lovely story. Thanks so much for sharing. What a lovely gift to have found him years after Baba was gone and to hear such sweet stories. Sweet mystery.

  • Rohit Anand says:

    Another beautiful story from KD…I love all of them ❤. Thank you for sharing.

  • Colleen says:

    We are so fortunate to have such an incredible teacher in LNR. Thank you for sharing this story. While his physical body will be missed his presence is ever abounding and may his works always bear fruit through his disciples.

  • Nancy Maldonado says:

    I love your story very heartfelt and brought me to loving tears 💧Thank you for sharing Krishna Das ❤️ Ram Ram Sita Ram 💫

  • Tom Petersen says:

    Yes thank you For sharing
    Always great stories of. NEEM KAROLI BABA

  • Yeshe Drolma says:

    Thank you for this loving memory! He has been my Lama for 15 years and will be dearly missed, though I will feel his love in my heart forever.

  • lynne says:

    This photo and story has lifted my low spirits today!! Thankyou….and Ram Ram!

  • Rick Amaro says:

    Thanks for sharing this story, all the more meaningful to me, as I met Maharaji in May 1972 (while you were there, KD) and later in 1974 took refuge vow and teachings from Kalu Rinpoche.


  • Mark says:

    Thank you for this very lovely rememberance of our dear Lama. Rinpoche’s knowledge of the Dharma was profound yet he brought his teachings to us beautifully through his spirit – always calm and always loving. Who would not want to emulate his playful joyous spirit? He soothed many in times of difficulty and inspired many to better themselves just with a gentle smile. Many of us have stories to tell of oue encounters with him. I can see gathering some for posterity.

  • Laurel Cole says:

    Isn’t it beautiful the way our lives and experiences intermingle with others thru the years, unfolding in
    mysterious and unexpected ways according to the desire of the Guru. Whether in the body or spirit, They continue to profoundly affect us. Thank you for this deeply moving story. As always…RamRam

  • noahji says:

    So sweet

  • Anne says:

    Words fail, but my heart is very full. Much love to you and to all of Lama’s students. May he continue to bless all living beings.

  • Such a wonderful share. Pranaams for all you do, KD.

  • Barbara Beverley says:

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful experience . I feel your experience..
    heart and soul… many blessings from down under 🙏💓 Barbara Beverley 💙 Australia .

  • Sachie says:

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful story. I still remember when I met Lama Norlha Rinpoche-ji at KTC Monastery August 20th 2016, KD’s Kirtan.
    So sad but all things I can do are just say “Ram Ram Sita Ram”. All Love

  • Catherine Usha says:

    Thank you KD for this heartfelt tribute to the depth of Lama Norla ‘s love and kindness. Usha

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