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Kumari (The Living Goddess)

September 20, 2009

Virgin girls are often regarded as the incarnation of Goddess in Hindu society. In Nepal, a virgin girl from Shakya community is chosen as the Goddess Kumari which is believed to be the reincarnation of the Goddess Taleju (the other name of Goddess Durga). There are alltogether 11 different Kumari in Kathmandu Valley. The prominent ones are the Kumari from Bhaktapur, Patan and Kathmandu. The Kumari of Kathmandu city is also known as "Nepal Kumari" who resides in a richly decorated house on Durbar Square. It is a general belief that Goddess Taleju resides in the body of the virgin and protects the country from the bad events or evil. If Kumari is restless then it can be predicted that very bad thing is going to happen. Kumari will no longer remain Kumari if she loses her puberty, or she loses her teeth or if there is serious blood-loss from her body and the search for New Kumari begins.

History of Kumari
The history of Nepal Kumari in Nepal is believed to have started in the Malla Dynasty. There are several myths regarding the beginning of the Tradition Kumari. One popular one goes like this. JayaPrakash Malla, the King of Malla Dynasty used to play Tripasa ( a kind of dice game) with the Goddess Taleju every night in the Royal palace. The Goddess used to come everyday and stay for hours and talk about the welfare of the country with the King. The Queen was suspicious about the activity of the King and one day she decided to go to check what the King was doing. To her surprise she saw the Goddess and the King. The Goddess disappeared when the Queen saw her. The King started to cry and prayed her to come back and take care his country and the people. Then the Goddess reappeared and told to the King that she would reappear as the virgin girl in the Shakya community. The King then started the quest for the virgin girl in Shakya community and after the proper rituals the Kumari was chosen and since then the tradition of Kumari is still going on.
Requirements for the girl to be chosen as Kumari
  • A neck like a conch shell
  • A body like a banyan tree
  • Eyelashes like a cow
  • Thighs like deer
  • Soft voice
  • Daring as lion
She needs to undergo several tests before being appointed as Kumari. One of the major tests is on the Dashain festival. On "Kalratri" she is taken to Taleju temple where there are several slaughtered goats, buffalo, chicken and the masked men are dancing around. If the candidate is fearless during this experience, then she would be selected as the Kumari and only simple process remains but if she fails this test, then the another candidate is taken for the same experience. Finally the horoscope of the Kumari is matched with the President and she will be the next Kumari.
Kumari is believed to have supreme power. That is why the King of the Nepal used to bow and take blessing from him as well. Now when there is no monarch the President of Nepal takes the blessing from her.

Life Style of Kumari
The people can always go to the Kumari house in Kathmandu Durbar Square and take the blessing from her. The biggest festival when Kumari is put into chariot and taken to the whole city is the Macchindranath Jatra. Macchindranath is the festival celebrated after the name of God Indra who is the symbol of rain according to Nepali culture. This festival is celebrated for 8 days. On the third day of this festival, Ganesh, Kumari, and Bhairab are taken out in a procession in a chriot and this will last for three days. Macchindranath Jatra is celebrated in the September month.
Kumari lives in Kumari Ghar which a store-house of magnificient intricate carvings where she performs her daily rituals. The Guthi sansthan, the government trust bears her entire expenses during her tenure. A Kumari will no longer remain a kumari once she loses her puberty or loses her teeth or there is serious blood loss from her body.

Text copied from ezinearticles


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