Steve on a spiritual visit

by Guruprasad

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1974. Steve Jobs on a spiritual visit to India.

At the age of 18, Steve Jobs was a college dropout, had become a hippie, experimented with drugs like LSD and Psychedelic. For his livelihood, he needed a job & managed to get one at Atari (the video game company). As with any other hippie in those days, he had a quest to search for truth and to attain enlightenment. He concluded that India is the only option for it and requested Atari to grant him leave for this purpose (and they agreed. In fact, they told him to visit Germany on the way to fix some Atari machines and then go to India). He called a friend to accompany him and agreed to bear all his expenses too.

On the first day of his visit, he was shocked to see the poverty and filth in India. He decided to give away all his clothes and money to the poor and traded it for a lungi with other simple clothes and wore it throughout the stay in India (which lasted a few days only). He used to survive on food given as alms by people. He would haggle hard in bazaars to get the best price for his purchases and led a very simple life. This photo was taken during that time.

They met a baba (Neem Kairolie Baba) who promised them enlightenment, took them to top of a mountain and shaved their heads. For days, these guys did not understand what they were doing. They were wondering what was the truth. All they could see was poverty everywhere. Hungry people dying of starvation. Within few days, they were told that the Baba was a “fraud”. So they immediately went out in search of another guru and that also lasted for few more days before they concluded that its time to return back to USA.

Steve returned back to Atari in a saffron robe, shaven head, as a buddhist. He did not get enlightened, but he says he learnt a lot from that visit which actually influenced his work later.