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Gaya/Bodh Gaya: On the Minus

November 22, 2009
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“The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it. “

This quote by Albert Einstein holds true for a place like Gaya/Bodh Gaya (from now I will denote the word Gaya as a representative of both the places Gaya and Bodh Gaya).
So, “Gaya: on the minus” is all about being one of the the filthiest city in the world. I do wonder, if there wouldn’t have been the temples and statues would anyone even think of going there?
Definitely not!
Thinking again, would there be so much filth if the temples and statues wern’t there?
Why think of something which if changed would change about 3000 years of history!?

Hence, Gaya is filthy, as all holy places in India are filthy. Go to any of them and the sites you see are the same. Dirt, filth, garbage, urine and faecal stench everywhere. Wonder how tourists still visit these places! (I would really like an answer)

The next “minus” in Gaya are the potholes. These potholes might just make those huge ones in Mumbai look like smooth ones. In Gaya, if you are traveling in a vehicle, don’t expect to be sitting normally. You will be jumping on your seat, sliding down the seat, pushing back and forward on the seat; everything, but sitting on the seat. My Mom swears that all the extra food she had during breakfast was all digested in a mere 15 mins ride in a Gaya auto (for the record these autos have the word “Piaggio” written on the back).
When asked when would the problem of road “blocks” be solved? The only answer I get is – “It is much better than it used to be!”

What answer is that?!!!

Anyways, hoping Gaya becomes a beautiful city because if Lord Buddha would have lived to this day he would definitely have killed himself by now!

Next on the list are certain people, namely – beggars (in both Vishnupad and Bodh Gaya) and pandits (in Vishnupad). I experienced this sad site of a foreigner being pestered for money, ice cream or whatever they desire. Being somebody who just hates the idea of begging, I was outraged seeing the sight. Every morsel of energy at those times were spent in keeping myself from doing something bad to those 15 month old to 70 year old ages whose primary bread earning is from these tourists who innocently give hard earned money to these nincompoops who hate doing some worthwhile work.
The pandits are beggars, but of a different, ‘higher’, form. They will demand money because doing that, as they say, will make God happy and He will “bless” you with more money. Don’t get me wrong, I am religious (in my own way) and have a lot of faith in the Supreme Being. But I do not like the idea of “warming” the hands of these men of the highest order of society (Brahmins). Brahmins were supposed to be the most learned men in ancient times. Does learning mean asking for money in the name of God? What kind of learning do they do nowadays?
Giving money as per our wish is called donation or offering. But giving money when somebody asks you to give in their hand, is called begging in my dictionary.

Pandits waiting for some "hand warming" after my parents finish with their puja in Vishnupad Mandir

That is it about Gaya/Bodh Gaya: on the minus. Next would be the better things about this place.

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