The goddess's worship in a little girl represents the adoration of divine awareness across the cosmos. Because the ultimate goddess is said to have manifested the entire cosmos from her womb, she can be found in both living and non-living things. Human worship is adoration and acknowledgment of the same superior in conscious individuals, whereas idol worship represents veneration and recognition of the supreme via inanimate objects.
It is more fitting that in some culture and traditions, females are regarded as the forms of goddess. In Nepal, this tradition has lasted from over centuries and continues to do so even today. Goddess is claimed to have declared that she exists in all female living beings in the universe in the Shakta scripture Devi Mahatmyam, or Chandi. Kumari's entire ceremony is built on this verse. However, because of their natural purity and virginity, only a young girl is selected over a mature woman while worshiping a goddess.
History of Kumari
There is evidence of virgin worship in Nepal dating back over 2,300 years. In Nepal, it appears to have gained hold in the sixth century. From the 13th century CE, there is written evidence outlining the Kumari's selection, decoration, and worship.
A young Newar girl with no flaws is chosen to portray Goddess Kumari as an incarnation of Goddess Taleju, the tutelary deity of the Malla dynasty and the Shah dynasty that inherited the practice, as a Living Goddess.The Living Goddess is revered, and even the Shah Kings took part in the custom of obtaining tika and blessings from her. The practice was established by a Malla king in the seventeenth century.
There are various legends about how the Kumari's current tradition began. The story of King Jayaprakash Malla, the final Nepalese king of the Malla Dynasty (12th–17th century CE), is told in the majority of stories.
Whats the story behind worshipping young virgin girl as Kumari?
A king and his friend, the goddess Taleju, reached his rooms late one night as he was playing tripasa, a dice game, according to the most famous version. Every night, the goddess came along to play the game on the condition that the king not tell anybody about their encounters.
The king's wife accompanied him to his chamber one night, curious as to who the king was meeting so frequently. Taleju was enraged when she spotted the king's wife. She informed the king that if he wished to see her again or have her defend his kingdom, he should look for her among Ratnawali's Newari (Shakya) community, where she would incarnate as a small girl.
Similarly, there is another account of Taleju's disappearance. Some say the deity appeared to King Trailokya Malla in human form every night. The monarch and the goddess discussed the state of the kingdom while playing tripasa (dice), like in earlier legends. King Trailokya Malla, on the other hand, made sexual attempts toward the goddess Taleju one night. As a result, the enraged goddess ceased coming to the castle. In remorse, the king revered her and asked for her back. Finally, the goddess accepted to take on the body of the Shakya family's virgin daughter.
How is Kumari Selected?
Before one of the young candidates from the Shakya caste among the Newars, many as young as four years old, is chosen to represent the Goddess, they must go through an exceedingly stringent and arduous selection procedure. Even when put through terrifying testing, she must stay cool and show no indications of panic. She must remain within the Kumari Ghar (Kumari's House) after being chosen; her feet must never touch the ground, and she will only leave her home for specific festivals. She will be a Living Goddess until she bleeds, which generally happens when she enters puberty.
She must be in excellent health, never have shed blood or been afflicted by any diseases, be without blemish and must not have yet lost any teeth. Girls who pass these basic eligibility requirements are examined for the battis lakshanas, or thirty-two perfections of a goddess. Some of these are poetically listed as such:
- A neck like a conch shell
- A body like a banyan tree
- Eyelashes like a cow
- Thighs like a deer
- Chest like a lion
- Voice soft and clear as a duck's
In addition to this, her hair and eyes should be very black, and she should have dainty hands and feet, small and well-recessed sexual organs and a set of twenty teeth.
What kind of tests and procedures of selections should young Kumari go?
The girl's horoscope is analyzed to verify that it is compatible with the king's, and she is scrutinized for indications of calmness and fearlessness. There must be no disagreements since she must certify the king's legitimacy every year of her divinity. Her family's religiosity and allegiance to the king are also examined.
After the priests have picked a candidate, she must pass additional tests to verify that she possesses the characteristics required to be Durga's living vessel. During the Hindu holiday of Dashain, she will be put to the ultimate test. 108 buffaloes and goats are sacrificed to the goddess Kali on the Kalratri, or "black night."
The young candidate is led into the Taleju temple and released onto the courtyard, where candlelight illuminates the chopped heads of the animals as masked men dance about. If the applicant genuinely embodies Taleju's traits, she will not be afraid during this encounter. If she succeeds, a new applicant is brought in to repeat the process.
The living goddess must spend a night alone in a chamber surrounded by the heads of ritually slain goats and buffaloes without expressing fear as a last test. The courageous applicant has demonstrated that she possesses the calm and fearlessness that characterizes the goddess who will inhabit her. She must be able to identify out the personal items of the former Kumari from an assortment of objects placed out before her after completing all other exams. If she is capable of doing so, there is no question that she is the one who has been Chosen.
What Kumari stands for?
They're said to have precognitive abilities and the capacity to heal the sick (especially those with blood problems), grant specific requests, and bestow protection and prosperity blessings. Above all, they're supposed to create an instantaneous link between this world and the divine, as well as maitri bhavana—a attitude of loving-kindness toward all—in their believers.
The Kumari's influence is thought to be so great that merely catching a sight of her is thought to bring good fortune. Crowds of people gather below the
Kumari's window in her palace's Kumari Chowk, or courtyard, expecting that she may gaze down at the latticed windows on the third level. Even though she only appears for a few seconds at a time, the mood in the courtyard is filled with devotion and wonder when she does.
The Kumari receives the more fortunate or well-connected petitioners in her apartments, where she sits on a golden lion throne. Many of individuals who come to see her have blood or menstrual problems, since the Kumari is said to have particular powers over these ailments. Bureaucrats and other government officials also pay her visits. Traditionally, petitioners send presents and food offerings to the Kumari, who accepts them in silence. As a show of devotion, she offers them her feet to touch or kiss when they arrive. The Kumari is attentively observed during these audiences, and her acts are taken as a forecast of the petitioners' lives, as follows:
Crying or giggling hysterically: Death or serious sickness
Weeping or rubbing eyes indicates impending death.
Imprisonment if she trembles.
Clapping her hands: There's a reason to be afraid of the monarch.
Choosing from the culinary offerings: Financial setbacks
Her followers depart pleased if the Kumari remains silent and emotionless during the audience. This indicates that their wishes have been fulfilled.
Where and When Can I see Kumari?
You can get a glimpse of this Goddess if you go to the Kumari Ghar opposite Durbar Square in Basantapur, Kathmandu Nepal, where she dwells. If you visit in late August or early September, you may be able to see the spectacular Indra Jatra celebration, in which the Living Goddess Kumari is taken out of her home and dragged through the tiny streets of ancient Kathmandu in a huge chariot. Masked dancers take to the streets, as ecstatic worshippers pull Lord Ganesh and Bhairav's chariots, as well as the Kumari's, in a colorful parade.
How else can I feel the connection to Kumari?
If you cannot go to have blessing of Goddess Kumari in person, there is absolutely nothing to worry about. Even though nothing comes close to the fortune of getting to see Kumari in person, you can always have Kumari in your closet, cupboard or in your keychains.
We have Kumari T-shirts, canvas, mugs, stickers, mobile cases. You can find them here!