A three-year-old girl named Trishna Shakya has been chosen as the new “living goddess” (Kumari) of Nepal. She will now be worshiped by Hindus and Buddhists alike for years until, on her 12th birthday, she is replaced by another child.
This bizarre tradition gets crazier:
A panel of Hindu priests took days to select her after checking her horoscope and searching for physical imperfections. As a goddess she should not have any physical flaws.
“It is our tradition that after the living goddess reaches age 12 we have to find a new one and the search begins. We have to make sure that the goddess is suitable to bring good fortune for the country,” said Gautam Shakya, a priest in the panel.
“We have found our new Kumari,” he said.
So not only do they choose a young kid (without the ability to consent) to live in a temple and be worshiped for years, depriving her of a childhood, they also check her horoscope and make sure her body is free of “physical flaws.” Whatever that means for a three-year-old.
Trishna’s divinity meant the departure of 12-year-old Matina Shakya, who left via the rear entrance of the palace as the new Kumari arrived. I wonder how Matina, never having to live in the real world, will deal with being ousted by the church and displaced from the only life she has ever known. That doesn’t seem to be a concern for the priests, however.
Trishna was one of four finalists from the Shakya clan to replace Matina and become the country’s new manifestation of divine female energy, according to reports.
This practice is horrifying to some, but we are outside of that culture. So what do the parents think? Well, for the family of Trishna, it’s a bittersweet feeling despite the fact that this has been a known part of their faith for as long as they’ve been alive (and even longer).
Her family said they were emotional that their daughter was leaving but also proud.
“She is going to be the living goddess. She is just not our daughter but the living goddess of the whole country,” said Bijaya Ratna Shakya, her father. “I am happy but at the same time I feel like crying.”
This is certainly a strange occurrence, especially considering the involvement of young pre-pubescent girls meant to symbolize womanhood, but in their society it is considered normal. I just hope it doesn’t do any lasting damage to these young girls who have no choice in the matter.
(Screenshot via YouTube)