A Goddess Retires

Posted: March 3, 2008 in All and Sundry, Musings
Tags: ,

sajani.jpg“It’s so tiring to be a goddess.“– Indira Gandhi, from Bruce Chatwin’s creative nonfiction piece entitled “Indira”

I don’t mean to be mean but sometimes what Indira said may be true. Who wants to be a Goddess? Even real-life appointed divinities like Sajani Shakya who’s referred to as the “living godddess” in Nepal has retired! This coming from a report by Yahoo News.

It’s amusing that some women want to be Goddesses when in fact it is such a tall order. You either have to be dead, (most of the time to be divine is to be located in a netherworld oustide reality) or living yet forced to do the duties your divine position enforces upon you. But if it’s a matter of choice, then you have to be aware of the weight of that choice. Once you proclaim you are a God-dess, you are therefore defining your position in the power politics of language, which is wrought with historical pains (as in Gilbert and Gubar’s  Madowoman in the Attic) and locating yourself in iconic double-bind of the Angel and Demon. To essentialize one’s womanhood within the confines of the divine is such a tall order.

For 11-year old Sajani, it is a different case altogether. It was not a matter of choice, really. Kumaris like her are chosen carefully and they traditionally retire when “they reach the age of menstruation.” But since her family wanted to do separate rituals, they requested Sajani to retire.

Shadmia’s World writes:

The Kumari or living goddesses are chosen very carefully from a special Buddhist sect to represent a Hindu goddess, demonstrating the harmony of both religions in Nepal. They are chosen very young, around 2yrs old, and must meet the 32 perfections which include the gait of a swan, a body like a banyan tree, even teeth and golden tender skin that has never been scratched.

I wonder how Sajani lived her life in the 9 years she was revered and worshipped as a goddess. I even wonder what she felt during those times; to be responsible for other people’s souls and spiritual journeys. I even wonder if she really wanted to retire at all. I mean, who knows she might have enjoyed her position.

Mark Hawker, the producer of the documentary filma about Sajani writes:

People go to the goddesses to touch their feet as they are carried through the streets. They give them money as offerings. They visit the goddess’s house, where she sits on a small ornate throne, to ask for a better job, better health, a measure of happiness. The girls are not expected to impart wisdom, just blessings.

“It’s not about dogma or rules… People relate to her as a divine being but also as a child: they pray to her, but afterwards they sit and joke with her. There is something very comforting about worshiping a child, something about the cycle of life, about renewal.”

But then again, my point is situated in the matter of choice or better yet, an array of choices. Illusory or not, at least, the choices are there–whether you choose to live in the phantasy world of Goddessdom or be contented in the unobtrusive realm of mortality.

Most of the time, goddesses are chosen. *wink*

  1. johnnypanic says:

    Kali is both creator and destroyer. How does that figure with women proclaiming themselves goddesses?

  2. freshroses says:

    HMMM…..some subtext are here…hehe

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