Gopal Sharma in Kathmandu
December 27, 2006
A MYSTERIOUS teenaged boy believed by some to be a reincarnation of Buddha has reappeared in eastern Nepal after vanishing for nine months.
Ram Bahadur Bomjon, 16, was spotted on Sunday by villagers in a dense forest near Piluwa village, in Bara district, 150 kilometres east of Kathmandu, a television channel said.
Ram disappeared in March from forests in nearby Ratanpuri village, where he had reportedly been meditating without food or water for almost 10 months.
“I have been wandering in the forests since then,” a local journalist, Raji Shrestha, quoted Ram as telling him. “I am engaged in devotion which will continue for six years.”
Hundreds of curious onlookers, including many Buddhists, thronged the site to see the boy, who was said to be sitting in a meditating position.
A local TV station showed people pressing their palms together and bowing their heads in devotion in front of him.
“I don’t think he is a Buddha. But he has some sort of extra strength to meditate. He eats herbs,” Shrestha said.
Before his disappearance, an estimated 100,000 people from India and Nepal, which has a Hindu majority, flocked to see him meditate. They were not allowed to get closer than about 50 metres.
Shrestha said the boy had shoulder-length hair and sat cross-legged under a small tree.
“He has an ash-coloured shawl wrapped across his chest,” he said, adding the boy had a “flat-ended scimitar” next to him.
The boy told pilgrims he was forced to abandon his earlier site because of the constant stream of visitors. He asked his former assistants to resume their positions and instructed them that visitors keep a distance of about 10 metres from him.
Buddha was born a prince in Lumbini, a dusty village in Nepal’s rice-growing plains west of Kathmandu, 2600 years ago.
He is believed to have attained enlightenment at Bodh Gaya in the eastern Indian state of Bihar, which borders Nepal.