There is a custom in Nepal, in which a few, select prepubescent girls are regarded as living manifestations of the goddess, and worshiped by Hindus and Buddhists. These girls — kumari, or “living goddesses” — will live in temples until they retire at puberty. They will also wear special clothing, and will have a third eye or “fire eye” painted on their forehead, as a mark of their divine status. During religious festivals, they will be taken, inside special chariots, to the streets, where devotees will be able to worship them. Why?
While we in the modern West may be uncomfortable with such a tradition, we should suspend judgment.
Of course, we know that children naturally bring out paternal and maternal instincts — to protect or nurture. But, I believe the kumari acts as a reminder, not of the devotee’s role in life, but of his or her mortality itself. It makes him aware of his transience, his drawing closer to death, and of the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. Continue reading “The Female Image in the Initiation of The Higher Man”