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Kanya Worship

Hinduism
believesintheuniversalcreativeforcestobefemininegender.TheveryoriginalforceisMahamayawhoseinspiration
createdthegodsandtherestofthecosmos.Theinspirationisthelifeforceoftheentirecreation.Allthemajorandminor
energiesandforcesarerepresentedbyvariousgoddesses.NavaratradeityDurgaandallherdimensionsarebelievedtobethe
manifestationsofthesamebasicinspirationMahamaya.

Religiouslyspeaking,Deviisessentiallyaworshipofthegreatfeminine.Inakanyathegreatfemininepotentialisatitspeak.
havingdevelopedintoagirlofacertainageandbeforeattainingpuberty,afemalechildisconsideredthemostauspicious,most
jagrat,andthemostclearmindedandclearsouledindividual.Whileinvokingtheparashaktiinsuchaformthepurityofmindbody
andspiritsisrequiredandisfulfilledbyagirlchildofthesaidageof8+beforereachingpuberty.Suchafemalechildisindeed
Devi,whoinherlaterlifetakestherolesofParvatiasawifeandmother,Lakshmiasahousewife,Saraswatiasthefirstguruof
herchildren,Durgaasthedestroyerofallobstaclesforherfamily,Annapurnaasthefoodproviderthroughhercooking,Kalias
thepunishertobringthemembersofthefamilyontherighttrack,etc.

In
Nepal
,Kumari,orKumariDevi,orLivingGoddessNepalisthetraditionofworshipingyoungprepubescentgirlsas
manifestationsofthedivinefemaleenergyordeviinHindureligioustraditions.ThewordKumari,derivedfromSanskritKaumarya
meaning"virgin",meansyoungunmarriedgirlsinNepaliandsomeIndianlanguagesandisanameofthegoddessDurgaasa
child.

InNepalaKumariisaprepubescentgirlselectedfromtheShakyaorBajracharyaclanoftheNepaleseNewaricommunity.The
Kumariisreveredandworshipedbysomeofthecountry'sHindusaswellastheNepaliBuddhists,thoughnottheTibetan
Buddhists.WhilethereareseveralKumaristhroughoutNepal,withsomecitieshavingseveral,thebestknownistheRoyal
KumariofKathmandu,andshelivesintheKumariGhar,apalaceinthecenterofthecity.Theselectionprocessforheris
especiallyrigorous.ThecurrentRoyalKumari,MatinaShakya,agedfour,wasinstalledinOctober2008bytheMaoist
governmentthatreplacedthemonarchy.SamitaBajracharya,astheKumariofPatanisthesecondmostimportantliving
goddess.

InNepalaKumariisgenerallychosenforonedayandworshippedaccordinglyoncertainfestivalslikeNavaratriorDurgaPuja.In
KathmanduValleythisisaparticularlyprevalentpractice.

InNepal,aKumariisbelievedtobetheincarnationofTalejuBhavani(aNepalesenameforDurga)untilshemenstruates,after
whichitisbelievedthatthegoddessvacatesherbody.Seriousillnessoramajorlossofbloodfromaninjuryarealsocausesfor
lossofdeity.

ManypeopleattendtotheKumari'sneeds.ThesepeopleareknownastheKumarimiandareheadedbythe(patron).Theirjobis
verydifficult.TheymustattendtotheKumari'severyneedanddesirewhilstgivingherinstructioninherceremonialduties.Whilst
theycannotdirectlyorderhertodoanything,theymustguideherthroughherlife.Theyareresponsibleforbathingher,dressing
herandattendingtohermakeupaswellaspreparingherforhervisitorsandforceremonialoccasions.

Traditionally,theKumarireceivednoeducationasshewaswidelyconsideredtobeomniscient.However,modernizationhas
madeitnecessaryforhertohaveaneducationonceshereentersmortallife.Kumarisarenowallowedtoattendpublicschools,
andhavealifeinsidetheclassroomthatisnodifferentfromthatofotherstudents.Whilemanykumaris,suchastheKumariof
Bhaktapur,attendschool,others,suchasthemainkumariinKathmandu,receivetheireducationthroughprivatetutors.

Similarly,herlimitedplaymatesmustlearntorespecther.Sincehereverywishmustbegranted,theymustlearntosurrenderto
herwhatevertheyhavethatshemaywantandtodefertoherwishesinwhatgamestoplayoractivitiestoengagein.

In
India
,KanyapujaisaHinduholydaycelebratedontheeighthandninthdayofNavaratrifestival.Nineyounggirls
representingthenineformsofGoddessDurga(Navadurga)areworshiped.Thus,
avirgingirlisthesymbolofthepurebasiccreativeforceaccordingtothisphilosophy.

ItisacustomtowashthefeetofthesenineyounggirlsasamarkofrespectfortheGoddessandthenoffernewclothesasgifts
bythedevotee.KanyapujaasapartofDeviworshipistorecognisethefemininepowervestedinthegirlchildandtogivethem
asmuchimportanceinthesocialfabricasthesocalledheirapparents(boys)whoareotherwiseknowntobepamperedinan
averagehousehold.

IftheworshiperisdesirousofacquiringknowledgethenheshouldworshipaBrahmingirlchild.Ifheisdesirousofacquiring
power,thenheshouldworshipaKshatriyagirlchild.Similarlyifheisdesirousofacquiringwealthandprosperity,thenagirlchild
belongingtoaVaishyafamilyshouldbeworshippedbyhim.IfapersonisdesirousofattainingTantrikpower,Sammohan
(hypnotizing),Uchchatan(causinghurdleinthepathofothersuccess),thenheshouldworshipashudragirlchild.

Thereisalsoaritualpurificationandchantingofmantras.Sheismadetositonaspecialpedestal.Sheisworshipedbyoffering
akshat(ricegrains)andbyburningincensesticks.Sheisworshippedbecause,accordingtothephilosophyofStriyah
SamastastavaDeviBhedah,womensymbolizeMahamaya(ThegoddessDurga).Evenamongtheseagirlchildisconsideredto
bethepurest,becauseofherinnocence.

ThisdocumentdepictspicturesoftheyoungGoddessesbeinggroomedandworshippedbythedevotees.

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