View Full Version : Sajani Shakya, Child Goddess of Nepal

June 16th, 2007, 08:56 AM
I thought this was interesting.

In a City of Power Brokers, a Young Visitor Who Is Truly Worshipped (http://rds.yahoo.com/_ylt=A9j8eu8F3nNGoBMBUxrQtDMD;_ylu=X3oDMTBjMHZkMjZyBHBvcwMxBHNlYwNzcg--/SIG=127h0trmq/EXP=1182084997/**http%3a//www.nytimes.com/2007/06/14/us/14goddess.html)
Washington's latest luminary: a child goddess from Nepal (http://rds.yahoo.com/_ylt=A9j8eu8F3nNGoBMBVhrQtDMD;_ylu=X3oDMTBjdmNoOTVjBHBvcwMyBHNlYwNzcg--/SIG=12bcajqgo/EXP=1182084997/**http%3a//www.iht.com/articles/2007/06/14/news/goddess.php)
NPR : She's Small, Sometimes Shy — and Totally Divine (http://rds.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0oGkjYC33NG_AEBOG5XNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTE5MG00ZjlnBHNlYwNzcgRwb3MDNARjb2xvA3cEdnRpZANNQVAwMDRfMTE3B GwDV1Mx/SIG=12j4cq44f/EXP=1182085250/**http%3a//www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php%3fstoryId=11077610)

In Nepal, Sajani is a living goddess, one of about a dozen such goddesses in her homeland who are considered earthly manifestations of the Hindu goddess Kali.
“There’s nothing I don’t like about being a goddess,” Sajani said through an interpreter. Then, thinking about her typical day, when she has to rise early for her family and others to pray to her, she added, “It was difficult when I was younger to get up at 4 to bathe for the morning prayers.”
The goddesses of Katmandu are chosen when they are about 2 years old from a Buddhist caste, though they represent a Hindu deity, an example, Ms. Whitaker said, of the harmony between the two religions in Nepal.
The king of Nepal has traditionally sought the blessings of the three main goddesses, who live in Katmandu, Patan and, in Sajani’s case, the city of Baktapur. Hindu and Buddhist priests pick the living goddesses after consulting a horoscope and then finding a girl who meets “the 32 perfections,” Ms. Whitaker said, from skin “of golden color” to a body “like a banyan tree.”
Devotees believe that the goddess Kali inhabits the girls, though they do not exhibit unusual behavior, and then the goddess leaves them when they reach puberty. After that, the girls retire with a small pension. They are free to work and marry.
People go to the goddesses to touch their feet as they are carried through the streets. They give them money as offerings, which in Sajani’s case goes to support her family. They visit Sajani in the goddess house, where she sits on a small ornate throne, to ask for a better job, better health, a measure of happiness. The girls are not expected to impart wisdom, said Marc Hawker, the film’s cinematographer and producer, just blessings.

(There's more, too...see the two links above)

A pic of her:

And a video of her: Goddess draws crowds (http://www.yahoo.com/s/605815)

June 16th, 2007, 10:02 AM
What an interesting report! What I would’ve liked to see is maybe an interview with the girls who were Goddesses as children, but have now grown up. See what that transition was like.
Thank you for sharing.

June 16th, 2007, 04:39 PM
Mhm definitly an interesting report!

To answer your question Moondust...I believe there was a small book written or atleasta documentary on the lives of ex-avatars. When the children reacha certain age they are looked upon as having the essence of the Goddess leave their body. They become normal Humans again and are returned to their original families and homes.

I believe one of the issues is that these women grow up, sometimes not even marrying which is a major thing in south Asian cultures. Ill try to find out where that report is and post it here again. I believe the previous Balakumari is now 17 and lives in the outskirts of Kathmandu...and has not married yet. Another from 20 years ago who is now 30 or so has opened up an organization talking about the treatment of such children.

June 16th, 2007, 05:51 PM
Thank you for that.
Now another question: Do you have any titles you might recomend on the subject?

November 12th, 2007, 06:54 AM
This is old news, but I just remembered it :lol:

On July 3, 2007, Sajani Shakya was removed from her position as a Kumari after visiting the US to attend the release of the movie Living Goddess (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Living_Goddess_%28movie%29) at Silverdocs (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silverdocs) the AFI/Discovery Channel Documentary Festival in Downtown Silver Spring, MD. The visit, according to the elders, had tainted her purity.[2] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kumari#_note-1) A couple weeks later, temple authorities at Sajani Shakya's home town recanted their previous statement and said that she will not be stripped of her title because she is willing to undergo a "cleansing" ceremony. [3] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kumari#_note-2)
I thought that was sort of weird, that they'd just strip her title like that... I guess it's back now, but still.

More about her:

Also, I was curious what people thought about this stance:

But human rights activists say the tradition constitutes child abuse.

March 3rd, 2008, 10:14 AM
Just saw this on Yahoo News:

Nepal's controversial "living goddess" retires

KATHMANDU (Reuters) - A controversial young Nepali girl worshipped by many Buddhists and Hindus as a Kumari, or "living goddess", has given up her divine position following a request from her family, an official said on Sunday.

The 11-year-old Sajani Shakya was revered for nine years as the Kumari of the ancient temple-town of Bhaktapur, near Kathmandu, in a centuries-old tradition.

"She is no more a Kumari," said Dipak Pandey, a senior official of the state-run Trust Corporation that oversees the cultural affairs in the deeply religious nation.

For the rest: http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080303/od_uk_nm/oukoe_uk_nepal_goddess