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The Kumari, the living goddesses of Nepal

I was working on my computer and read the news of the afternoon, when I was astonished about this news between all that negative stock exchange news of this day:

Tuesday 7. October 2008 - 3:48 pm - AFP Breaking News: Three-year-old girl was declared a living goddess in Nepal.

When fast reading the messages, I only noticed the words "Three-year-old was declared". Some lines later I thought: "There is something wrong." When I turned back, I found the following text:

Preeti Shakya - Highslide JS
Preeti Shakya
more details: here
more details: here

Matina Shakya - Highslide JS
Matina Shakya
more details: here
more details: here

Three year old takes office as living goddess in Nepal

KATHMANDU, 7th Oktober (AFP) - Following a centuries-old tradition in Nepal a small girl was appointed the living goddess. In a set of religious ceremonies the three-year-old Matina Shakya was appointed the "Royal Kumari", a representative of the responsible government authority said. The appointment took place exactly on 11:39 local time, because star-mongers had determined this time as the most favorable for the ceremony.

Dozens of people lined the roads, when relatives carried the new living goddess via Kathmandus old town from the house of their family to the palace, in which she will live solitarily the next years. It was a very heavy decision to agree Matinas appointment as "Royal Kumari", her father Pratap Man Shrestha said. "I will miss her much, but it is a large privilege to have a Kumari as a daughter."

The tradition regulates that the "Royal Kumari" leaves her palace only a few times per year for religious ceremonies. Some months ago the highest court of Nepal decided that the living goddess has also the right of regular school attendance. According to Matinas father his daughter should get private education in her palace. Her family can visit her at any time.

Matina Shakya is the daughter of a clockmaker and was selected by a committee as a successor of the past "Royal Kumari" Preeti Shakya. Preeti is twelve years old and approaches puberty, a time from which on she will be flawed, the devotees believe. Preeti was reduced to tears, when she was led from the palace and returned to her family to make way for the new "Royal Kumari".

On Monday the new Nepalese president Ram Baran Yadav had agreed the choice of the living goddess. Because of changed political conditions in Nepal president Ram Baran Yadav assumed the task to confirm the Kumari, because he is the head of the state. For many centuries this had been the task of the king. The new Maoist Government of Nepal, which had abolished the centuries-old monarchy in the spring, decided to keep up the tradition of the "living Goddess".

To become a Kumari (virgin), a girl must fulfill 32 very strict criteria. She must have "Chest like a lion", "Legs like a deer". She also has to pass various examinations like a stay in a room with dead sacrificial buffalos, meanwhile she has not to weep. There are "living goddesses in three other cities of Nepal, but the "Royal Kumari" is the most powerful Kumari. Most of the nepalese people are Hindus or Buddhists. Priests of both religions were preparing the new "Kumari" to begin her service.

© AFP, 07.10.2008

After I had read the news message, I was impressed. Kumari did not release me and I began to investigate. In a time, where all around the financial chaos dominates and the media speak of, that the world stands at the edge of an abyss, I dive into a world, which for many people appears as from another time. We know stories of living gods only from times of the ancient Greeks and Romans.
It was not conscious to me this day, that years later I am still working on this topic and the following pages will arise from it.

Note: The content about the Kumari is now available directly via www.Dyo-Maiju.de.