If God Sat Next to You in 1st Grade

Sambeg Shakya studies amongst his classmates at his school in Kathmandu September 16, 2011. Photo by Navesh Chitrakar (Reuters)

That’s the experience for some kids in Kathmandu, where a five-year-old boy has been proclaimed a living god:

A five-year-old Nepali boy, worshipped by many as a god, sits cross-legged with a stuffed teddy bear in his brick-and-cement home in Kathmandu. Sambeg Shakya was hailed last year by Buddhist priests as Ganesh, or the god of good fortune, since when he has led several processions of Nepal’s better-known ‘living goddesses’, also known as Kumari.

On Wednesday, skinny Sambeg, his eyes rimmed in black kohl and wearing a gold brocade dress, walked at the head of a line of nine tiny girls to another girl believed to be the bodily incarnation of Taleju, the goddess of power. The centuries-old ritual, once used by now-toppled kings who thought it would make them stronger, was the climax of the annual Hindu festival of Dasain, which lasts for two weeks and has become a major tourist attraction in Nepal. Sambeg will continue in his supporting role until he is big enough to fit in a chariot pulled by men, after which he must return to real life.

via Nepal’s boy ‘god’ wants to become a doctor; photographer reflects on divine subject | FaithWorld.  Read the rest for some interesting thoughts from the photographer who shot the divine boy.

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