It was an 8-hour drive from Bodh Gaya to Munger to catch the R.V. Bengal Ganga. Along the way we visited Nalanda. Nalanda is an ever expanse of partially excavated and reconstructed brick structures. Once the most prestigious of the Buddhist sites it was founded in the 5th century and was reputed to have over 5000 international students and teachers, along with a library of over nine million manuscripts. It was built on a site Buddha was supposed to have stayed. The Turks destroyed Nalanda in 1199.
Munger is a fascinating town, not because of what we saw but because of its history. The East India Company came in and forced the area to plant indigo and opium in place of food crops, after many years the Indians began to uprise. These uprisings, along with millions of other insults by the British, eventually led to the independence movement.
We picked up another American scholar along the way, Dr. Debra Diamond, and the lessons that are being imparted are phenomenal. There are millions of texts, yet un-translated, in India showing scholars how little we actually know and understand about what occurred during the times of the Buddha and afterwards. The discussion of the practices of Buddhists monks, and their process to enlightenment may be so very different than what is out their in common lore.
Our evening cocktail hour was accompanied by a full lecture by Dr. Diamond on Yoga. This lecture was a detailed rundown on the history of Yoga and the enormous (and frankly that isn’t even a strong enough word,) gaps there are in the education of the subject of Yoga when it made it to the western world.
Our boat is a beautiful ship, built in Burma.