Apple CEO Tim Cook Says Steve Jobs India Visit Was For Inspiration

During Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s five-day-visit to the US, he met Apple’s current CEO Tim Cook, and according to the Press Trust of India (PTI) during their meeting, Cook told Modi about a unique relationship that Apple founder Steve Jobs had with India.


According to Cook, India and Apple had a unique tie as Jobs went to India for inspiration. Cook during his meeting, told Modi:

“We have a unique tie with India. Our founder Steve Jobs went to India for inspiration.”

According to PTI, the information was given by External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup who quoted Cook as saying the above on Saturday.

Cook had met Modi at his hotel and was among the first top CEOs to meet him on the first day of his arrival itself.

After his meeting with the Indian PM, Cook in a statement to PTI, said:

“My meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi was terrific. We are fortunate to have many passionate customers along with a fast-growing developer community, and we’re investing to expand our operations throughout the country. There are now over 4,000 places in India where customers can buy Apple products, and we look forward to launching iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus there very soon.”

While Cook didn’t tell them anything about Jobs’ visit to India, Jobs’ India sojourn in the summer of 1974 has been much written about.

Though the details about his journey have always remained shrouded in mystery and speculation, an authorized biography of the billionaire which was published back in 2011, a month after Jobs lost his life to cancer, revealed some little known faces about Jobs’ experiences in India.

According to Walter Issacson’s book, Steve Jobs, Jobs was in India back in 1974 for a seven-month trip, and learnt a lot about the power of intuition in the country.


The book’s biographer Walter Issacson had interviewed Jobs, where he had said:

“The people in the Indian countryside don’t use their intellect like we do, they use their intuition instead, and their intuition is far more developed than in the rest of the world. Intuition is a very powerful thing, more powerful than intellect, in my opinion. That’s had a big impact on my work.”

He had then gone on to say that while in the West, rational thought is not an innate human characteristic and was rather learned, it was quite the opposite in Indian Villages, where they never learned it. He said:

“In the villages of India, they never learned it. They learned something else, which is in some ways just as valuable but in other ways is not. That is the power of intuition and experiential wisdom.”

According to Issacson, Jobs during his seven-month-stay in India and Indian villages, had realized how ‘crazy’ the the Western world and its capacity for rational thought was.

Addressing the Western ‘rational thought’ he had said:

“If you just sit and observe, you will see how restless your mind is. If you try to calm it, it will only make it worse. But over time it does calm, and when it does, there’s room to hear more subtle things – that’s when your intuition starts to blossom.”

But while the book does explain that that Job’s trip to India helped him hit a spiritual high, on the material aspects, India was wereless rosy.

On his arrival to India’s national capital New Delhi, he had received the same classic treatment that millions of foreign visitors meet almost everyday, he was miss-led by a cab driver who hard sold a hotel that in turn turned out to be bad. Later a motel owner had promised filtered bottled water, but had failed to deliver the same, and the worst part of it was the not-so-forgettable condition that almost all the foreigners face – the dreaded ‘Delhi belly.’

Talking about the nightmarish experience, Jobs had recalled:

“I got dysentery pretty fast. I was sick, really sick, a really high fever. I dropped from 160 pounds to 120 in about a week, and I felt waves of heat rising from the tarmac.”

But once the nightmare of Delhi was over and Jobs was better enough to travel, he decided to get out of Delhi, and headed to the spiritual city of Haridwar.

He was in luck as not only was he out of Delhi and on his spiritual journey, but also because his visit coincided with the famous Kumbh Mela, which is an overwhelming experience even for seasoned visitors.

Talking about his Kumbh, experience,  Jobs had recalled:

“There were holy men all around. Tents with this teacher and that teacher. There were people riding elephants, you name it. I was there for a few days, but I decided that I needed to get out of there too.”

According to the biography, Jobs then moved out from Haridwar, and went further north to Nainital looking for Neem Karoli Baba.

Jobs had heard about the Neem Karoli Baba, who lived in a village near Nainital, through a friend  Robert Friedland, who had suggested Jobs visit India in the first place. Friedland had visited India the previous summer and had studied with Neem Karoli Baba, but unfortunately for Jobs, Neem Karoli Babawas no more by that time.

When Jobs had got to his ashram, he rented out a room there and slept on a mattress on the floor. There he also read Paramhansa Yogananda’s autobiography, which had been left behind by a previous visitor and became part of a small commune. It was during this commune that he met Larry Brilliant, who later became a lifelong friend to Jobs and went on to become a famous epidemiologist.

Besides these, Jobs also mentioned his curious experience with a holy man who shaved his head, saying he was ‘saving his health’ and getting into a shouting match with a woman in a village market when she sold him watered down milk.

While majority of Jobs’ trip details are still shrouded in mystery, Walter Issacson’s book Steve Jobs, does clear some of his India experience.

Walter Issacson's Book - Steve Jobs

Walter Issacson’s Book – Steve Jobs

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