On Platform No. 11 in the Central station stand five orange bogies with pictures of Swami Vivekananda's face covering the sides. The ‘Vivekananda Express' pulled in from Vijayawada early on Saturday morning, bringing with it anecdotes and important teachings from one of the most admired spiritual leaders of India.
“The train was launched on January 12, and crossed 35 stations before reaching Chennai,” said S. Anantharaman, Divisional Railway Manager. Rare photographs of Swami Vivekananda in Madras, Kashmir, Pasadena and Calcutta, his reception at the station upon his return from Chicago, and the headquarters of his Ramakrishna Mission at Belur are some of the prints on display.
“Vivekananda's life is a message to people. Good arrangement and thanks to Indian Railways,” said Karthik Shekhar, a final year engineering student, who dropped by to see the exhibition before catching his train to Arakkonam.
‘Vivekananda Express' attracted the young and the old, school students, passengers, devotees, disciples and even police constables, who dropped by out of curiosity. The texts on display were in English, Hindi and Bengali.
“They have displayed his teachings in detail. We may not have time to read books about what Vivekananda has said but through visual displays it is easier to understand and assimilate. Now, after seeing this, I can bring my children and explain to them the teachings of Vivekananda” said S. Rajeshwari, an LIC employee, who stopped by on her way home from work.
Detailed texts of Vivekananda's address at the parliament of religions in Chicago, select teachings, his conversations with his guru Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and the founding of his Ramakrishna Mission are few of the many things found onboard.
A few admirers travelled long distances to catch a glimpse of the train. “This is a fantastic display. There should be a revolution among the youth as Vivekananda's messages will open their eyes. The youth should follow in his footsteps and adopt at least 5 to 10 per cent of his teachings,” said David, from Bangalore who came to Chennai just for this occasion.
“This is an inspiration to children and the younger generation to adhere to the moral values and culture. Only through him, the younger generation can get stronger minds and stronger bodies” said N. Krishnamurthy, a TNEB superintendent from Sriperumbudur.
Students of the Ramakrishna Mission, Mylapore, helped to organise the event and guided people through the displays. Books and pictures were given away free of cost. The train will leave for Kancheepuram at 6 p.m. on Sunday.