Archive | October 27, 2013

The mystery of the unscheduled train halt

The last post has information on how Rayaru has stopped a train on its tracks near the Mantralaya Railway Station. This was sometime in 1945-46 and the train was Madras Mail which was proceeding from  Madras to Bombay.

The train had come to an abrupt stop though the Railway authorities had decided against stopping it either at Adoni or Mantralaya Road stations.

This is the reason for the strange phenomenon. Please read on…..

It was August and the Mantralaya Matha was making all preparations for the Aradhana celebrations of Rayaru. The Aradhana at Mantralaya is a well-known affair and even way back in 1945-46, people thronged to Mantralaya to participate in it.

The then Seer of the Mantralaya Matha, Suyamindra Theertha, (1933-1967), was busy in getting the celebrations ready.

However, that year, Andhra Pradesh had seen an outbreak of cholera. The British administration had decided to ensure that pilgrims and visitors would not be allowed to disembark at Railway stations of Adoni and Mantralaya.

They felt that if they prevented a large congregation of people, the outbreak could be controlled. They had also decided to impose quarantine.    

The health officer of Yemmiganur had recommended to the Collector of Bellary to impose quarantine and thus isolate pilgrims coming to Mantralaya. He had also recommended that people wanting to come to Mantralaya be prevented from reaching the temple town as a precautionary measure.

Since Mantralaya and its surroundings came under the jurisdiction of the health officer, the Collector had accepted the recommendations and he had instructed that no person be allowed to alight by train or bus to and at Mantralaya.

The Collector had also made arrangements to send back pilgrims who alighted at Adwani or Adoni, Mantralaya and other places back to their native.

When news of this arrangement reached Suyamindra Theertha, he felt sad. He realised that the Aradhane would not be what it was without the participation of devotees. He sent a temple official, Venloba Rao, to meet the district officials and persuade them to lift the quarantine and also allow pilgrims into Mantralaya.

Mr. Rao first met the health officer at Yemmiganur who, however, said since cholera was widespread in and around Mantralaya, he could not do anything. He then suggested to Mr. Rao that he meet the Collector at Bellary.

Mr, Rao then came to Bellary and met the Collector.

He then spoke to the Collector. He pointed out that the Aradhane is a religious event that is attended by thousands of people. He also pointed out that till date there had not been any disturbing event or incident during and after the Aradhana.

He sought to know how the administration could justify its action in preventing people from attending a religious function. He said Rayaru would safeguard the lives of the people and also ensure their safety.

Mr. Rao said Rayaru himself had performed several miracle and many of them were unheard of even in medical science. “When such is the case, how can Rayaru harm his devotees”, Mr. Rao asked the Collector.

He said the quarantine was unfair as it barred people from visiting and staying at Mantralaya. If cholera was widespread in the area, the quarantine should be imposed in Adoni, Yemmiganur and surrounding areas as residents from these areas too could spread cholera. Therefore, the quarantine should be imposed all over and not only at Mantralaya, he said.

Mr. Rao then appealed to the Collector to be fair and see reason but when the Collector made no answer, he left in a huff, telling him that Rayaru would have his way, come what may.     

The Collector thought out the whole issue and the next day. He rescinded the quarantine order and called Mr Rao to his home at 10 p.m., and informed him of the issue. When Mr. Rao realised  the import of the order, he decided to rush back to Mantralaya and gave the seer and the matha officials the good news.

He reached Mantralaya at 6 a.m., the next day and conveyed the good news to them. However, the news was yet to be conveyed to the Railways, Roadways and other authorities.

The Madras Mail had on that day not stopped at Mantralaya Road Railway Station as the Railways were unaware that the quarantine had been withdrawn and that trains could now stop at Adoni and Mantralaya Road.

When the train had not stopped at Mantralaya Road, Rayaru had ensured that it had stopped to ensure that people who had come to see him and participate in the Aradhane did not go back disappointed.

When the Railway authorities realised that the quarantine had been withdrawn, they unlocked the doors of the locked compartments and permitted the passengers to disembark. As far as the train was concerned, it chugged its way to Mumbai without experiencing any hitch.

\When the locomotive and the coaches were examined, no defect was found. The Railways closed the inquiry into the abrupt stopping of the train. However, the devotees on the train and others knew the reason. It was Rayaru who had stopped the train for the benefit of his devotees.