For long, a few lucky(?) pre-pubescent girls in Nepal, the last Officially Hindu Country on the planet, have been put on a pedestal and worshipped.
The girls hail from the Newar community of Kathmandu Valley. These Buddhist girls are chosen after their first milk tooth falls to represent the Hindu Goddess Taleju till they begin to menstruate. Legend has it that this practice started during the 17th-century reign of Kathmandu’s King Pratap Malla. Legend has it that the king used to play dice in secret with the goddess Taleju. One night, when lustful thoughts entered the king’s mind, Taleju vanished. Later, she appeared to the king in a dream and told him to select a young Buddhist girl who would bless the king with the strength to rule. Ever since, every year, during the Indra Jatra festival, the reigning monarch receives the auspicious tika on his forehead from the principal Kumari and takes her sword in a ritual that is believed to give the king the power to rule for another year.
So why would somebody not want to be a goddess? Well, the salary is low, the education received is meagre, and the worst part is that the girls have a tough time adjusting to normal life once their Goddess days are over. The practice that has been a symbolic bond between the Hindus and Buddhists of Nepal is now facing a legal challenge. With the end of the Hindu Monarchy and the advent of democracy in Nepal, the very question of Nepal continuing to be an official Hindu nation is in question, and it won’t be surprising if this practice gets banned.
What intrigued me most was that I have never heard of a Goddess named “Taleju” – have you? A quick google search revealed a temple, but the page was in German.
Though this site is primarily about Hinduism, some articles will have to do with other Eastern Religions and practices. I will write occassionaly about Buddhism, Taoism, and practices like yoga, feng-shui, meditation etc. Sometimes I just cannot resist the temptation to write about little gems I come across while browsing. So please don’t blame me!
A little bit of background, a koan is a story, puzzle, or dialogue that contains wisdom that can be gleaned by intuition. Kaons may not always make logical or rational sense, but the intent os to appeal to your intuition and make you look within for answers.
I hope the email service lets you start your day in the right frame of mind. Resist the temptation to read all 101 stories together – don’t visit the website!