Last month the Gazette had a light feature on the Silverdocs film festival that reported on the attendance of a Nepalese living goddess at the fest. The article includes this passage:
‘‘I didn’t have any idea that the Living Goddess could travel this way,” said Prem Sangraula, president of the America-Nepal Society, which put together a cultural festival Saturday that featured traditional Nepalese foods and dances for Shakya.
Apparently she couldn’t. Via Boing Boing, Andy Carvin writes that Sajani Shakya, the Nepalese “living goddess” featured in a documentary that screened at Silverdocs last month, has had her holy status rescinded. (Mark Jenkins reviewed the film, Living Goddess, in our guide to Silverdocs.) Carvin explains:
Kumaris are young Buddhist girls from Nepal who are selected at a young age to serve as “living goddesses” until they reach puberty. They participate in Hindu rituals – there’s a lot of overlap between the two religions in Nepal – and are revered by the local population. Some Kumaris live very cloistered lives, but Sajani was allowed to live with her parents and go to school. So when she had the chance to visit the United States, she took it. And now she’s actually lost her job because of it.
“We have already begun looking for a new girl to replace the current Kumari,” said Jaya Prasad Regmi, head of the committee that selects the Bhaktapur Kumari. “Our tradition does not allow the living goddess to travel to other countries…. Her father has said that it was a mistake as they did not get permission from concerned authorities to take her abroad.”
Reuters followed up on the story.