In conjunction with the first-ever International Day of Yoga on June 21, Paramahansa Yogananda was honoured by the renaming of an express train linking Ranchi, India—the city where he established his “How-to-Live” School and ashram in 1918—and Kolkata’s Howrah Station. As reported in an article appearing in the June 25 online edition of The Times of India, the train is now called “Kriya Yoga Express.”
The two highest officials in Jharkhand—the state in which Ranchi is situated—separately sent letters to Yogoda Satsanga Society of India (YSS), taking the opportunity to comment on the practical and profound changes wrought by Yoga and to applaud Paramahansa Yogananda’s work for its pioneering influence on Yoga’s application worldwide.
The Chief Minister of Jharkhand, Hon'ble Raghubar Das, sent the YSS Ranchi Ashram the following letter:
“It was a great joy to know that the Hatia-Howrah-Hatia Express has been renamed as ‘Kriya Yoga Express’ by the Ministry of Railways, Government of India. This has added a new facet to the recognition of Ranchi, the land of Paramahansa Yoganandaji’s sadhana. For this I express my heartfelt gratitude to our Honourable Prime Minister, Sri Narendra Modi, and to our Rail Minister, Sri Suresh Prabhu. The importance of Yoga for spiritual progress, self-discipline, and the vitality of body-mind is widely known. It is a matter of great pride for us that, starting from Ranchi, Paramahansa Yoganandaji extensively disseminated his teachings of Kriya Yoga in India and throughout the world, and also awakened an appreciation of Yoga in Western countries.
“It is due to the selfless efforts of Paramahansa Yoganandaji that millions of followers of Kriya Yoga throughout the world are experiencing the joy of God communion. Through the efforts of our Prime Minister, Sri Narendra Modi, the whole world enthusiastically celebrated the International Day of Yoga on June 21. His efforts will indeed propel the spread of Yoga.
“I offer my sincere gratitude to Yogoda Satsanga Society of India, Ranchi, for its work of disseminating the teachings of Yoga in India and in the rest of the world, and convey my best wishes for the successful publication of their quarterly magazine on this occasion.”
Another letter of commendation was received from the Governor of Jharkhand, Her Excellency Droupadi Murmu:
“I am glad to know that on the initiative of Yogoda Satsanga Society of India, the Howrah-Hatia-Howrah Express is named as ‘Kriya Yoga Express’ by the Ministry of Railways, Govt. of India, to help spread the message of Yoga far and wide.
“Yoga is not only a powerful means of living a healthy life, but it also cures physical diseases. It plays an important role in the physical, mental, and spiritual development of a person. It fills the body with energy and gives peace of mind. By adopting Yoga on a large scale, the vision of a healthy people, a healthy society, and a healthy nation can be materialized. It is a matter of great pride that at the initiative taken by our country, the International Day of Yoga was celebrated around the world with full enthusiasm, and people have actively participated in camps organized on this occasion.
“I much appreciate the work being done by Yogoda Satsanga Society of India, the organization founded by Paramahansa Yoganandaji for spreading the message of Yoga nationally and internationally.”
The new name for the train is symbolically appropriate. In the years during which he was establishing the Ranchi school and ashram, Paramahansaji frequently made the trip between Ranchi and Kolkata by train. His most significant journey was perhaps in July 1920 when he entrained at Ranchi after a divine vision signifying that the appointed time had come for him to introduce Kriya Yoga to the West, and thereby the world.