TRAINS IN MANGALORE
Nityananda loved trains. He traveled frequently by rail and even established his Kahangad ashram beside the tracks in 1925. When he was in Mangalore he would settle into one of the empty boxcars shunted aside at the station, and here devotees could find him.
One afternoon Mrs. Krishnabai, learning of his arrival, hurried off to receive darshan. She quickly returned home to greet a relative who had come for a visit. A sannyasi, he asked her to take him to see Nityananda the next day. Later, as they stepped down from the boxcar, Mrs. Krishnabai turned to the Master and said, “I came yesterday in such a hurry, never dreaming that I would also be able to return today.” But Nityananda replied, “Who are you to decide?”
He often rode the trains between Mangalore and Kanhangad. Once a railroad official who was new to the route ordered him to disembark for not having a ticket. As he made no sign to obey, the official forcibly removed him at Manjeshwar. Submitting to the rough handling, Nityananda proceeded to make himself comfortable on a station bench. But when
its departure time came, the train didn’t move. Minutes ticked by and people waited expectantly. Finally, some passengers told the official that it was unwise to treat this particular sadhu so harshly. Devotees then took Nityananda on board and the train began moving. When it reached Kanhangad, however, it went past the station and stopped where his ashram currently stands. The Master descended wearing around his neck a garland made of hundreds of tickets. He handed the garland to the same official, asking him to take as many as he wanted. Shamefaced, the man said it would not happen again. Nityananda then jumped the small ditch and strode off toward the jungle. Again the train would not move, and devotees ran after him for help. He retraced his steps, slapped the engine, and told it to get going. And the train did, going in reverse back to the station it had bypassed earlier.
Probably due to such incidents, Nityananda had free run of the trains. Engineers welcomed him into their engine cars and even blew a saluting whistle when passing his ashram, a custom still followed today. It is said that throughout the late 1920s the Master always had a punched ticket attached to the string of his loincloth.