I am currently & safely holed up in RAK Hotel, New Delhi, with a tad over 36 hours to go before my plane lifts me high into the air on my epic mission home. It’s my third time here this time round – me & Victor Pope were here at the very start, after our trip to the Himalayas & now of course I’m back, having gone full circle all the way round the subcontinent.
My journey here began a few days back, when I jumped in a bus north from Omkerashwar, in the pleasant company of a Swedish woman called Fidili. A few hours later we hit Ujjain, & after eventually finding ourselves a room each, I dragged her on one of my Jesus missions. En route,we stopped off for a bite to eat, a ‘superdeluxe thali’ for 80 rupees. It was tasty as hell, actually, a multi-dished taste sensation, & the only ‘superdeluxe‘ thing I’ve ever had for less than a quid!
So… Ujjain has this temple, right, famous for being the place where Krishna (ie Jesus) was taught the Vedas. Now Krishna is a god, & is supposed to know all that stuff. However, the Hindus are adamant about this, & the temple is administered to this day by the descendents of Krishna’a teacher, a certain guru called Samdipani. I even met one of them, a lovely large lad who gave me a wee lecture on the mythology.
Thing is, he doesn’t know what I know, & the legend of Krishna’s being here obviously means that Jesus was also here a couple of millenia back. Support for this comes from an ancient Kashmiri document, the 12th century Rajatarangini of Kalhana, which states that Issana (i.e Jesus) was the teacher of a sage known as Samdhimati. The latter name is almost identical to Samdipani, & although reversed, the teacher-pupil relationship suggests that Issana & Krishna were the same person. Indeed, the Ratarangini gives us what seems to be nothing but a garbled account of the crucifixion;
Samhdimati’s guru, Isana, came to perform funeral rites, found Sam’s skeleton still attached to the stake, and noticed an inscription on the skull which predicted: “He will have a life of poverty, ten years’ imprisonment, death on the stake, and still thereafter a throne.” Isana wondered about this, but later, in the middle of the night, smelled incense, heard bells ringing and drums beating, and saw witches outside on the burial ground.
Isana pulled out his sword and went outside, and saw the witches rebuilding the body with their own limbs and flesh, then calling Samhdmati’s spirit back to the body. Thereafter, they covered him with ointments and “enjoyed themselves with him…to their full desire.
I left Ujjain the next morning, catching a nine hour train north into Rajashtan & onto the cerebral pink city itself, Jaipur. Not being in an adventurous mode anymore, I basically stuck to my rather comfy hotel for three nights, venturing out only for street food & a wee walk yesterday morning, in which I composed the following sonnet, a sort of parting poem to India – I set it in Mumbai, by the way, to fit into a larger sonnet-scheme.
I rule one final walk about Mumbai
From tranquil Dawn to Middle Morning’s heat
Where as I breach the bustle of the street
Twyx measured steps my senses amplify
For flashing colours decorate the eye
& finger’d foods both savoury & sweet
Dance off the tongue, as Vedic songs compete
To treat our ears each side of vendor’s cry.
Ghosting amidst these citizens unseen
I see three six-year olds rake rubbish heap
For plastic bottles drain’d by richer lives…
This is the sweetest place I’ve ever been,
Whose happiness I shall forever keep
While Saraswathi in my soul survives.
The highlight of my stay in Jaipur was watching a live stream of Burnley-Derby on my hotel wi-fi, a 2-0 win for the Clarets which means when I return to England, mi team will be 5 points clear of third place 7 heading for the premiership – happy days indeed.
This morning I jumped on my last bus – a seven hour & 270 k ride north to Delhi. As we approached the capital – from about 50 k out – skyscrapers were rising all around, in various stages of building, testament to the growing economic strength of modern India. Still, last time I checkt there were 103 rupees to the pound, which is more or less what it was when I got here, & meant I’ve been rather rich this time out.
Waking up tomorrow will see me with one last day in India, then a 9AM flight on Tuesday morning heading west. Back in January, when I changed my flight, I was told the only option was to wait 15 hours in Doha for a connection, This I will be doing on Tuesday, where to pass the time I will do the final edit of my epic poem Axis & Allies. It was one of the things I’d set myself to do in India, but I never really got round to it. The others were successful, however; finish my Jesus Book & DJ disco in Arambol, so it’d be a shame if it didn’t get the epic edit done…. so what the hell, I’m gonna do it.