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Steve Jobs Sought Enlightenment in India After Dropping Out of College

April 12, 2010

Steve Jobs

Fascinating excerpt from all about Steve Jobs:

It was at Reed that Steve started experimenting with Eastern mysticism. He delved into weird books and came to believe that if he ate only fruits, for example, he would eliminate all mucus and nten yearsa decade later, when he was a multi-millionaire). He tried LSDs, and became part of the whole hippie movement, although it already belonged to the past back then (he was a decade late). One of his best friends at Reed was Dan Kottke, who shared his interests in such philosophies.

The following year, in 1974, Steve desperately needed some money and he got himself a job at Atari. Atari was arguably the first video game company: it was created by Nolan Bushnell in 1972, and one of its first employees was Al Acorn, the inventor of Pong. Steve was hired although he would often call his co-workers names and smell pretty bad. That’s why he was soon moved to the night shift.

Young Steve Jobs looked up to Atari’s founder Nolan Bushnell. He was impressed by this iconoclastic man who made a lot of money by building pinball machines. He was clearly an inspiration for him to start Apple.

India

While he was at Atari, Steve convinced Bushnell of paying him a trip to India. Atari did pay his trip up to Germany, where he had to work on fixing some Atari machines. Then Steve was joined by his hippie friend from Reed, Dan Kottke, and they went to India in search for enlightenment. They came up pretty disappointed, especially after they met the guru Kairolie Baba, who, as they quickly found out, was a con man.

“We weren’t going to find a place where we could go for a month to be enlightened. It was one of the first times that I started to realize that maybe Thomas Edison did a lot more to improve the world than Karl Marx and Neem Kairolie Baba put together.”
(quoted in Michael Moritz’s The Little Kingdom“)

When Steve came back, he resumed his job at Atari, and would spend some of his days in primal scream therapy sessions or at the Los Altos Zen Center, where he befriended Governor Jerry Brown and his guru Kobun Chino. He also spent several weeks with his girlfriend Chris-Ann and Dan Kottke in a hippie commune in Oregon, the All-One Farm. Here they would cultivate apples and for some time, Steve would eat only that — when he wasn’t fasting, that is.

 

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17 Comments
  1. Thanks for sharing and I'm not surprised to hear this about him… Steve Jobs is an independent thinker, encourages others to develop their own beliefs and is an overall awesome man! 😉

  2. Thank you Bob for sharing this information. As Tamara said, Steve is an independent thinker.

  3. Wow – who knew? Thanks for this Bob!

  4. Thanks Bob! Primal scream therapy, huh? Intriguing.

  5. chris permalink

    I had some memory that Steve Jobs had such a background, and have heard it said that if Bill Gates had tuned in and turned on back in the day, Windows and Microsoft products might me a lot more interesting.

  6. hathima permalink

    steve jobs is a billionaire and neem karoli baba was enlightened. i would place my money on maharaji…

  7. Taj Majii permalink

    Without Neem Karoli Baba there would not have been the book “From Bindu to Ojas” later renamed “Be Here Now”, authored by Baba RamDass (aka Richard Alpert). This book brought a enhanced awareness for spiritual quest.

    Steve likely deciphered the identity and location of the guru of Baba RamDass and stayed for a short duration.

    Obviously one does not find enlightenment in one month (without Karmic endowment).

    Steve could also be designated a renowned con man his-self.

  8. Vivekananda permalink

    How on earth can the author call Sri Neem Karoli Baba a con-artist – especially after such poor research to not even get his name right…!? Neem Karoli Baba was one of the greatest Indian saints of this past century and he was guidance and inspiration to countless souls both in India and the west – even now, almost four centuries after his Mahasamadhi in 1973.

    That Steve Jobs chose the way of fame and money instead of a more direct spiritual path alongside a Guru in no way lessens Maharaji's greatness.

    Jay Sri Gurudev

  9. dharma_singh permalink

    I read a different version of his trip to India – that when he got to Neem Karoli's ashram he had just passed. Steve never actually met him. That makes a little more sense than the "con-artist" story.

  10. Guest permalink

    I suggest the author of this article do his homework on what is really true and also before calling a great guru a "con man". I really didn't expect something like this from Elephant Journal. Pretty disappointed in a few of these recent articles.

  11. Friend of Krishna permalink

    Though I doubt Neem Karoli Baba cares what anyone thinks of him to say such a thing is really disrespectful. I will be taking elephant journal off my facebook page

    • Ren permalink

      As far as I know, Elephant doesn't produce many of the articles – it's a collaboration of independent artists who are expected to do their own fact-checking. It is a curse and a blessing.

  12. Guest permalink

    Steve Jobs started at Atari in 1974 to earn money for a trip to India, according to the article. Neem Karoli Baba died September 11, 1973.

  13. I feel that is one of the so much important info for me. And i am happy studying your article. But wanna observation on some basic things, The website taste is perfect, the articles is really nice : D. Good task, cheers

  14. learnhow to meditate properly permalink

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Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Spiritual Practice is Spirit Lived. ~ Andrew Cohen | elephant journal
  2. Shambhala SunSpace » Steve Jobs and the art of thinking different (Updated)

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