The Making of A “Goddess”

(From the Buddhist World Prayer Guide) – The Newar people are the original inhabitants of the Kathmandu Valley in Nepal.  According to the national census, 87% of the Newar people identify as Hindu, and 11% are Buddhist.  In practice, however, both Hindu and Buddhist Newars worship the same deities and celebrate the same festivals.  But it is from within the Newari Buddhist  community, among a certain caste that a special tradition will find a young girl to become the “Royal Kumari”, a living manifestation of the goddess, Durga.

Every 13 years, a baby girl is selected through a rigorous process to be the new Kumari.  She will live in a temple where her feet are never allowed to touch the ground. She takes part in religious ceremonies and receives the devotion of privileged worshippers, who are blessed by her presence.  Both Hindus and Buddhists worship the Kumari, trying to catch a glimpse of her as she participates in ceremonies or moves around the temple, in hope of receiving good fortune.  When the Kumari reaches puberty, however, another girl becomes the new incarnation of the goddess.  Pray for young women in Newar to learn how they are daughters of God receive Him as their Father.  Pray for the Newari to see the image of God in Jesus, with dreams and visions that reveal Him to them.