On Thursday, 24 December 2009, I accepted an invitation from Mr Jagbinder for a day-trip to Gaya to fly a kite from the roof of his home. He came to Bodhgaya around 9:30AM to pick me up on a motorcycle. I sat pillion passenger without a helmet or glasses. It was still cool at that time in the morning but my jacket and two shirts under that were enough to keep me warm.
First we went to Gayasisa (Brahmayoni) once more. This was the first time Mr Jagbinder had been to Gayasisa despite Gaya being his home town. Unfortunately my camera batteries were flat so I was unable to take photos.
We climbed to the summit in about 20 minutes and had an excellent view. The fog that normally prevails at this time of year in northern India was mostly absent. I avoided the Hindu shrines and Brahmin priests/caretakers and sat on a wall outside the tallest and main Brahma shrine (maybe it was Vishnu?) to reflect on the significance of the site. I imagined that without the Hindu temple buildings, there was enough space to seat 1000 fire ascetics, the followers of the Kassapa brothers who listened to Lord Buddha’s third discourse after enlightenment – the Adittapariyaya Sutta. I imagined the young Lord Buddha sitting on the tallest boulder surrounded by 1000 fire ascetics calmly and mindfully listening to the discourse.
I also looked over the western balcony at the small, narrow cave called Brahmayoni and after which the hill is now named. Brahma is the one of the Hindu Gods in the senior trilogy of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Yoni is Sanskrit for divine passage or vulva. I didn’t wish to venture down to the cave itself. I guessed that it may be full of Hindu things and had no significance for celibate Buddhists.
Then we rode to Mr Jagbinder’s house. I met his parents and sat for 30 minutes chatting, drinking tea and eating snacks. I was honoured to be invited to an Indian home (in India) for the first time. We chatted about Sikh religion, Buddhism, Hinduism, employment and so on. They had a plan to drive cars to Patna that evening to attend a festival to commemorate the 10th guru. They invited me and I declined saying I like to avoid crowds and they understood since this festival would be extremely crowded. They were not intending to sleep either. The festival would begin around 10PM and finish around 3AM, when they would drive back to Gaya.
Mr Jagbinder’s father impressed me as an honourable and sincere man. He inspired trust right away. He seemed relatively calm and peaceful by comparison with many other Indian men I had encountered so far. He spoke English reasonably well though he was modest about that.
Mr Jagbinder then took me to the top floor (3-4 floors) and he flew a small 20cm square kite. It was a gusty day so the kite was difficult to control. Even so it didn’t crash or get tangled. I declined to try it myself.
We talked more about employment and career options, Dhamma and travel etc. Then Mr Jagbinder offered me chapatis and dal for lunch and we rode back to Bodhgaya.
This visit to Gaya was quite different to my previous visits. The weather was bright and clear and I was more aclimitised than previously. I was relaxed and enjoyed it due to the warmth and hospitality of Mr Jagbinder and his family.
Yesterday, I spent another 7 hours straight in this Internet cafe, updating my blogs and uploading photographs. They are all up to date now. It is a relief.
I am considering where to go now. I am tired of travel and want to settle somewhere to meditate. This makes me think of trying to go to Sri Lanka soon instead of visiting other Buddhist sites in northern India. I shall probably go to Delhi for a couple of days and then Chennai for another day and then fly to Colombo, Sri Lanka. I just have to organise the means to do this. Maybe I will arrive in Colombo on 1 January 2010?