Interest in the locomotive (railway engine)
From his childhood, Hazrat Babuji evinced special interest in the locomotive (railway engine). During that period, locomotive drivers used to be mostly Englishmen, who were greatly impressed by Babuji's innocent interest in this machine. They used often to take him along with them for some distance and even taught him how to drive the machine. Babuji's interest in the locomotive gradually developed so much that he some times spent whole nights at the Golra railway station to watch the trains come and leave at different hours of the night. Even at home, he indulged his interest during his leisure. He had a railway signal installed on the roof of his parlour, which was lowered whenever a train arrived at the Golra railway station (about two miles away) and raised again when the train departed. Seeing this keen interest, many devotees had pictures of locomotive prepared and presented the same to Hazrat Babuji. One of them (Shah Abdul Wali of Gwalior) even had a miniature locomotive prepared with sweets instead of coal stat in its furnace and the sherbet (sweetened cold drink) instead of plain water in its water compartment.
It was because of this interest in the locomotive that Hazrat nicknamed his beloved son as "Babuji"-an appellation which soon assumed wide popular currency, and which became a permanent part of his name for the rest of his life.
Hazrat Babuji once gave the following reasons for his keen interest in the locomotive:
1. Its courage and tenacity: The more is the fire put into it, the faster it runs;
2. Its faithfulness: It takes along with it all train bogies regardless of their class i.e., whether they are first or second class bogies or good train carts;
3. Its selflessness: It endures the heat of fire itself , but does good to others, and carries them to their destination;
4. Its uprightness: It runs meticulously on the rails, and does not transgress them.
Allegorically, the foregoing attributes of the locomotive can be interpreted as representing the qualities which an eminent spiritual guide (Murshid) should possess in order to be a true mentor for his disciples.
It was primarily because of his deep and abiding interest in the railway locomotive that Babuji traveled to distant places almost invariably by train. Besides gratifying his interest in the railways, this also enabled him to see the root to have a glimpse of him. As a further token of his interest, the letter heads that he used for correspondence with people carried the words "Railway Office, Golra" at the top as the originating address, accompanied by a photograph of the locomotive.