Nepal has fired a living goddess for the heinous, nigh unspeakable crime of visiting the United States.
You read that correctly.
Sajani Shakya is/was one of several kumari, a role held in high esteem by both Hindus and Buddhists. Kumari are chosen between the ages of two and four and stay in the role until they hit puberty. The main kumari is largely kept out of sight in a temple in Kathmandu, although Sajani was allowed to attend school and stay at home.
Although she wasn’t the top kumari, she was high enough in rank to mean she was barred from leaving the country. However, last month she went to several nations promoting a documentary about the living goddesses. Blogger and internet cool dude Andy Carvin met the gadget-loving Sajani during her trip — read about it here.
This AP report quotes officials as saying she was removed from her post for “breaking with tradition”. A task force is now seeking — yes, you also read THAT correctly — a new kumari.
How does one fire a goddess? Surely they are what they are, and no committee or government department can decide otherwise (although they do decide who the kumari is depending on tests and various criteria).
Nepalese teaching is that these girls are incarnations of the goddess Taleju, who supposedly leaves the child’s body when she has her first period or suffers serious injury/illness.
I claim no great understanding of Hindu or Buddhist teaching. But what has menstruation got to do with sanctity? Who decided the living goddesses are no longer goddesses after this point?by