Finally I left Varanasi and Sarnath and, an eternity later, arrived at Bodhigaya. But, unlike the Prince Gotama when he arrived to the same place twenty-five centuries ahead of me, instead of sitting in meditation under a tree, I collapsed in a rented room in one of the monasteries that survive with this source of revenue.
A pyramid temple built beside a descendant of the original fig tree under which the prince achieved enlightenment, forms the hub of Bodhigaya. The so-called Mahabodhi Temple sits in the middle of a plethora of other temples from all sort of Buddhist traditions, with the architectures and habits distinctive of each country.
After several days of swarming by the various temples, I felt I was ready to sit in meditation under the most sacred tree. Although I was used to meditate for at least an hour, in the place I thought I’d feel something special, I barely could sit for about ten minutes. There was no way to focus. I still don’t know why. I simply couldn’t. That was one of the most disappointing experiences of the whole pilgrimage in India.
But when I decided to resume my journey toward less crowded places, a curious chain of events tied me to Bodhigaya, as we shall see.