Bo Bo Aung


Bo Bo Aung
   The most prominent weikza, or occult master, who was said to have acquired supernatural powers through the use of magic letters (Burmese "runes"). According to popular belief, his boyhood companion, who became King Bodawpaya (r. 1782-1819), feared Bo Bo Aung's powers and tried to have him executed. In captivity, the weikza challenged the king to a test: Drawing the o-shaped Burmese letter wa on a wall of the palace, he asked him to erase it. The king failed to do so, and the letter multiplied magically until thousands of was covered the wall. Bo Bo Aung's occult prowess allegedly caused the king to retire and become a recluse. He is also believed to have rescued Setkya Min, son of King Bagyidaw (r. 1819-1838), from a royal purge, taking him to a safe place where he could prepare to become a future king and drive the British from Lower Burma. Dr. Ba Maw used the Bo Bo Aung legend to gain popular support for his Freedom Bloc between 1939 and 1941, a time when the movement for independence from colonial rule was gaining strength, and a song about the occult master was popular. Ba Maw writes in his autobiography, Breakthrough in Burma, that worshippers at the Maha Muni Image in Mandalay claimed to have seen Bo Bo Aung's wa letter reflected on the gilded body of the Buddha image, a sign that the weikza would deliver Burma from her travails.

Historical Dictionary of Burma (Myanmar). . 2014.

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