“I have never traveled in rail, rickshaw or the motorcycle...”

February 10, 2002 (Sunday Evening)

Swami : Emi Samacharamu? (What news?)

Prof. Anil Kumar : Swami, the Chief Minister is coming.

Swami : Who told?

Prof. A.K. : Swami, people are talking about it.

Swami : What are they saying?

Prof. A.K. : Swami, they are saying that the Chief Minister is coming to Puttaparthi for the inauguration of the new railway line on the 20th.  These are the days they have decided. But your dates may be different.

Swami : Are you Prasanthi Nilayam newspaper?

Prof A.K. : I always convey good news to every one!

Swami : Railway Board Director came yesterday. He is sitting in the verandah. He said the train would go very fast. But I told him not to go very fast.

Prof A.K. : Swami, It will take 15 minutes from Dharmavaram to Puttaparthi.

Swami : No, It will take 20 minutes. No one knows about the new railway line. Slowly, people will come to know about this.

Swami then asked the Warden to call the Railway Chairman (RC).

RC : Swami, A bogie will be added to the train at Puttaparthi for You. You have to inaugurate this new railway line by travelling in the train.

Swami : What is the distance from here to Dharmavaram?

RC : Swami, 32 kms. It will take 45 minutes.

Swami then enquired about the various trains from Puttaparthi. He also asked about the various trains that would pass through Puttaparthi.

Swami : He is a very strong person. There were many political problems. But he was very strict. He saw to it that the railway line is laid. (To the Chairman.) Will there be a train to Delhi also?

RC : Yes Swami. The train will be from Delhi-Dharmavaram-Puttaparthi-Bangalore.

Swami  : Is it meter-gauge or broad-gauge?

RC : Swami, broad-gauge.

Swami : It will be convenient for devotees to come and go. (Turning to Prof. A.K. and with a smile) Don’t sit on top of the train!  (Turning back to the Chairman.) Are there trains till Jammu and Kashmir?

RC : Swami, there is train till Jammu. Now it will be extended to Udhampur.

Swami : When I went to Udhampur with General Malhotra, I stayed there for 8 days. There is a military center there. It is easy to go to Tirupati than to the Vaishnavi temple out there. (Seeing the Railway Chairman kneeling down, Swami said.) You are kneeling down. It will pain.

RC : No Swami. When You are there, there is no pain.
Then Swami asked him to go to the upper portico.

Swami : He wears such a simple dress in Puttaparthi. He is the All India Chairman for Indian Railways. He said that he will attach a separate bogie like the one for the Governor’s use, for My sake. I told him, “I am 76 years. What will I do sitting in a train?” I never went in rail or rickshaw or bike. When I had gone to Madras during wartime, there were no cars, etc. I used to walk those days because I could not bear to see the trouble the people used to take in pulling the man cart. In it, few fat people used to sit and people used to pull the cart. It was very difficult.

Prof A.K. : Swami, did you go in bullock cart?

Swami : Yes, I have traveled in a bullock cart. I used to go in cart from Puttaparthi to Dharmavaram.

Prof A.K. : Then how did the devotees travel with You?

Swami : The devotees used to walk behind. Only Subamma used to come on the cart. All others used to walk.

Prof A.K. : How much distance was it Swami?

Swami : About 16 miles. There was no road at that time. I have never traveled in rail, rickshaw or the motorcycle. In those days there was no motorcycle.

Prof A.K. : Has Swami traveled in a tonga?

Swami : They use Tonga near Shirdi. It has a small top and it goes Tuk, Tuk, Tuk, Tuk. It is a horse-pulled carriage. The one used in the Shirdi Avatar is here. They have kept it in the museum. (It has been put for display in the Chaitanya Jyoti Museum.)


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