Notes on Gayah Bajya – The Tantra Master of Lalitpur

Gayah Bajya is a nickname. Gayah is a corruption of the word gwajyah that meant a dunce, and bajya meaning grandfather is an honorific term for a Brahmin. In his early days, he was said to be rather dull but by great effort and devotion, the Brahmin became a master of tantra and a legend in his lifetime. All of the three names – Gayapati, Gajapati and Yogendrananda – mentioned in different documents and inscriptions dated 1451, 1452 and 1468 are believed to be his real name. His son Vishwanath Upadhyaya became the guru of King Siddhi Narsingh Malla (1618-1661).Gayah Bajya is best remembered for bringing to Lalitpur two goddessess – Harisiddhi from Phulchoki Mountain and Chandeshwari from Banepa. In the temple of Chandeshwari he built near his home at Sulimha in Lalitpur, he had left a niche to be filled in later by his image.The story goes that before retiring to an underground room in the house, he told his family not to disturb him for six months. If, after six months, he had attained the ultimate siddhi or perfection and turned into sotne, it was to be put into the niche in the temple.However, on the last day of the six-month period, one of his daughters went down and found that the lower part of the body had turned into stone but above the abdomen, he was still in flesh and alive. Gayah Bajya shouted at his daughter to cover him up at once. He also laid a curse on her and her descendants for sacrilege.In 1950 an excavation was undertaken by one of his descendants, Chandrakanta Rajopadhyaya. An underground passage to a room was discovered. But there was no Gayah Bajya either in skeleton or in stone. The room was soon filled up with water and the search came to an end.

Lall, Kesar, ‘Legends of Kathmandu Valley’ (Kathmandu: Nepal Bhasa Academy, 2007), pp. 174-75. Adapted from Sharma, Nutan Dhar, ‘The Legends of ‘Gayahbajya’ of Patan in the Kathmandu Valley’Contributions to Nepalese Studies, TU / CNAS Journal, Kathmandu : Vol. 26, No. 2 (July 1999). The Collection is also made in Sharma, Nutan Dhar, ‘Lalitpur Ka Ek Tantrik Ka Anek Kimwadanti’, (Kathmandu: Jeps Prakashan, 2058)

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