A Train Ride with Gandhiji

Written by Khurshed Batliwala

December 6, 2020

A little known fact about Gandhiji is that he used to meditate daily for about an hour. He was once known to have said, “I am so busy today that I can’t meditate for an hour. I will have to meditate for two hours!”. He knew the power of meditation and personally, I feel that’s how he managed to be who he was and do what he did.

Here is a story from Gandhiji’s life you may not find in any history text book.

During a train ride to a hill station, Gandhiji was dictating a letter to his secretary. The train was labouriously climbing up the mountain, when there was a sudden noise and their railway carriage stopped and slowly started moving in the opposite direction… Something had happened and the carriage had separated from the main train and was now moving downwards, slowly at first, but rapidly gaining speed.

There was panic and pandemonium in the compartment as it hurtled down the tracks. Gandhiji calmly continued to dictate the letter to his secretary.

The secretary was aghast. He said we may all die in a few minutes and you want me to continue writing this letter?!

Gandhiji replied – You are right, we may die in a few minutes, and if that happens, it really doesn’t matter what we do right now… but if we don’t (die) then we are wasting all this time! And he continued dictating the letter…

This is really Living in the Present Moment! – Something that can happen only after years and years of meditation.

Btw, if you are wondering how I got to hear about this story, it’s from the secretary himself – Pt. Sudhakar Chaturvedi. He died at the age of 123 on February 27, 2020. He used to live in Jayanagar in Bangalore and right up to his death was hale and hearty, living a full life.

Jai Gurudeva!




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