| Visitors read a quote of Swami Vivekananda on the special train and the crowd on platform number 7 at Patna Junction on Thursday. Pictures by Deepak Kumar |
A grandfather, who swears by the principles of Swami Vivekananda, on Thursday got an opportunity to introduce his grandson to the teachings of the monk on wheels.
Revati Raman, 80, a retired employee of the state finance department, and his grandson Rohit, 11, were among several enthusiasts who had gathered at Patna Junction to visit Vivek Express, an exhibition train, launched by Indian Railways on January 12, 2011, to mark the sesquicentenary of Swami Vivekananda in 2013.
The train has travelled all over the country. The fact that it was late — it was supposed to arrive at 10am but chugged into the station only at 12noon — did not bother many of the visitors. They eagerly boarded it to visit the exhibition, as soon as it was opened half-an-hour later.
“I have read a lot about Swami Vivekananda and his teachings have moved me deeply. I brought my grandson Rohit to the exhibition train to introduce him to one of the saints of modern India,” said Raman.
Rohit, a Class VI student of Don Bosco Academy, was surprised to see many of the exhibits in the train, including childhood photographs of Swami Vivekananda, his elder sister Swarnamayee Devi, brothers Mahendranath Dutta and Bhupendranath Dutta, and his ancestral home on Simla Street (now Gour Mohan Street) in Calcutta. The text of Vivekananda’s famous speech at the Parliament of World’s Religions in Chicago in 1893 is also on display, besides a handwritten document in Bengali by the monk.
Quotes of the founder of Ramakrishna Mission and of other famous personalities like Mahatma Gandhi, Rabindranath Tagore, and William James adorn the walls of the train.
Armed with a note pad and pen, Rohit diligently recorded some of the quotes. “I liked some of the quotes very much. I have recorded some of them so I can consult them later. I think these will help me understand the teachings of Swami Vivekananda,” the student said.
His grandfather encouraged him. “The present generation hardly takes any interest in the saints of our country. But I want my grandson to adopt the philosophy of Swami Vivekananda. Rohit will be a better human being if he follows the teachings of the saint,” Raman said.
You and I can share the experiences of Raman and Rohit if we visit the train between 10am and 5pm till Friday. After that it will continue its journey to Samastipur.
The chief disciple of 19th century Bengali saint Ramakrishna Paramhansa, Vivekananda was born on January 11, 1863 in Calcutta. A brilliant student, Narendranath — as his parents named him — met Ramakrishna in 1881 and gradually gave up materialistic life.
Vivekananda also influenced the nationalist movement and leaders of the freedom struggle, including Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.