It was a calling from the mother of a patient of ours. We had lost this young, beautiful girl to breast cancer about 2 years ago,but our connections with the family were intact, as happens with many of our patients. This mother, was no ordinary woman. She had survived several storms in her life, and had lost not one, but two, out of her four daughters to breast cancer. Her eldest daughter had passed away many years before we started treating her youngest daughter. This angel too, finally passed on to the other side in 2019.
This mother who had gone through so much in life, had insisted that we must pay a visit to her house some day, and also take the opportunity to visit Surya Pahar which was very near her home. We were a team of doctors and we quickly started doing some research about the place. Without a doubt , my curiosity grew more and more, and on a particular Sunday, we finally made a trip to this hidden gem in Assam. With the season changing, and that little nip in the air, this was such a pleasant window of opportunity.
It took us about two and a half hours and with well connected roads, it was a lovely drive. As we approached the entrance to Surya Pahaar, we were fascinated to see the roads lined with Eucalyptus trees on both sides. A vast expanse of a sprawling well maintained campus welcomed us. At the entry point of this sacred hillock, we met some senior committee members who gave a gist about the place. We initially felt quite lost as we didn’t even know from which corner we should start exploring. The most intriguing part about the history of this land, as told by the silent sculptures and relics, is that it was once a melting pot of at least three thriving religions -Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism. However, the name of Surya Pahaar indicates that there was a cult of Sun Worship here, around which the other religions thrived. Surya pahar was taken over by Archeological Society of India in around 1993, and since then , some startling and amazing discoveries have occurred.
We initially started with the Vishnu Temple. The priest told us about the story of the fire which is burning from 7 feet below the ground and till date has never been extinguished. The vibrations and sheer energies of this place gave us the goosebumps. We were in a highly consecrated space and the energy was palpable. We went to the Dasha Bhuja Temple where rock carvings of Lord Vishnu and His various Avatars were evident on the rocks. As we started exploring the rock caves we approached the way to the Akashi Ganga Temple. It was a small, tiny entrance beteen rocks and as we entered , we were enthralled to see a priest sitting inside, beside a Kunda where apparently the water never ever dries or overflows but remains at a constant level. As we continued are exploration, we were mesmerized by the Shiva Lingas all over the place. There were several large rocks which were cut with windows through which we saw the Shiva Lingas. It is said that this hillock has 99,999 Shiva lingas sprawled all over, laid down by Veda Vyasa, just 1 short of Kashi.
Beyond this we walked towards the votive Buddha Stupas. Cut out of granite stones, there are about 25 of them .The peaceful ambience of the place, with only the sounds of chirping of a birds and the chattering of the Rhesus monkeys, the serenity of the space had a soothing effect, as we were one with nature in this paradise, so near and yet so far from the bustling city that we live in! Historical significance of these stupas, indicate the importance of a Buddhist presence in ancient Kamrupa.
Surya Pahar also is a reminder of the influence of Jainism in this region. Although not much footing is evident of Jainism in the NorthEast , Surya Pahar tells us a story through the Jain carvings in its Southern slopes, marking the cognizance of the first Tithankara. We were spell bound, mesmerized and in awe as we observed the silent tales of a bygone era frozen in the rock carvings of this hillock. As we were guided to the major excavation site as explored by the Archeological Survey of India, what was clearly evident was that once upon a time there existed a thriving civilization here. Most of the footprints date back to the 1st and 2nd BC era but with more discoveries happening , the story is still unfolding. Until then , we are left with our own observations and our own imaginations to interpret these frozen rocks in our own way.
This particular visit only goes on to make one realize how miniscule we are in the larger canvas of things. The quest to explore and understand the magic around us, leaves me totally in awe and wonder as I live in amazement and gratitude, and continue to be curious about our amazing planet. To be a part of this magical web, and to be connected in some way to everything around me, leaves me with a sense of deep and profound sense of intense involvement with life itself.
As we returned, it felt like we had almost visited another lifetime. The level of energy and vibrations was something so very experiential, that it just cannot be put into words. Our patient’s family members were waiting for our return, and as we stepped into their humble home, we were so overwhelmed by their hospitality. Most of the food preparations were by the third daughter, who was staying with her mother now. We couldn’t save their youngest daughter, but we knew she was an angel in the skies, floating amidst the stars and planning this whole reconnection, which had a purpose. It was only after we had a most delicious lunch, so lovingly prepared by the family, that the Universe revealed to us, what that purpose was. The mother announced to us that now her third daughter, our patient’s sister, who was serving us lunch so lovingly, was apparently also diagnosed with breast cancer, a year after she lost her younger sister. She completed her surgery in another hospital and was on chemotherapy now. Their financial resources were now beginning to dwindle. The way she was serving us, there was no way we could have ever said she too was a cancer patient. We were shocked and speechless beyond words. Such connections happen for a reason. I hope and pray that we can do everything possible within our capacities to see that this lady completes her full treatment without fail, and we can help in whatever possibly way to heal her disease completely.
The visit to Surya Pahar, had a reason far beyond my comprehension. As we returned to Guwahati, my mind had a myriad of thoughts and questions, whose answers I was seeking for. I hope I am able to fulfil that purpose, that this Universe so carefully crafted for me, by making this trip to Surya Pahar happen. There is so much to learn from everything around us. There is so much to learn from the seventy year old Mother, who still lives with a smile and gives hope to her third daughter suffering from the same disease that took away two of her daughters. Yes, the show must go on.