RATANPUR: The teenage boy revered as a reincarnation of Buddha sat silently in the jungle as he blessed his devotees on Wednesday with a light tap on the head, which they consider the touch of the divine.

His face was still, his long hair spilled over his white robe, and he never said a word.

The followers of Ram Bahadur Bamjan, 18, believe he has been meditating without food and water since he was first spotted in the jungles of southern Nepal in 2005, when believers say he spent months without moving, sitting with his eyes closed beneath a tree.

Bamjan re-emerged this week to meet his followers, who have come by the thousands to see him in the jungles of Ratanpur, about 160 km south of Kathmandu.

“I got a chance to see god today,” Bishnu Maya Khadka, a housewife, said after receiving Bamjan’s blessing on Wednesday.Bamjan was expected to address his followers on November 18 and then retreat again into the jungle for meditation, said Kamal Tamang, a Buddhist priest.

Bamjan received the pilgrims from atop a podium covered in yellow cloth and placed before a massive tree. He looked healthy and strong and showed no signs of starvation or dehydration.

The devotees who have flocked to visit him have fewer doubts. Colourful prayer flags fluttered and incense filled the air Wednesday as the pilgrims silently approached Bamjan, who was surrounded by a line of Buddhist monks.

“I have no doubt in my mind he is a god,” said Meg Bahadur Lama, a local farmer. “He has been meditating without food and water and no human can achieve such a feat. I used to hear about such miracles in the past but now I got to see one.” — AP

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