Good morning and welcome to day two of the sunrise/sunset siege that will finish off December. Today we will go back to the afternoon of November 12th, with some outstanding cloud action on the cliff. We followed these clouds from Cowell’s Beach to Lighthouse Point and then on to my favorite arch at Its Beach. If you look closely in the third shot you can see my favorite four-legged companion Summer taking a dip in the kiddie pool under the arch. The fourth shot features a gaggle of sea anemones getting ready for the holidays and the rest is just arch madness. As I said before, when this arch collapses, all that will be left is a sea stack and a lot of memories. And these photos.
Do you ever feel like you’ve been fired unfairly from a job? Well, I haven’t but I’m pretty sure there’s something reading this who has. Well, let’s look at the life of Sajani Shakaya, age 10, who until recently, was a living goddess, one of a dozen such goddesses in Nepal who are considered earthly manifestations of the Hindu deity Kali. A few months ago, Sajani visited Washington to help promote a documentary about the living goddesses of the Katmandu Valley. Often dressed in a red and gold gown, she visited an elementary school, went on a private tour of the White House, was feted by the Nepalese embassy and pitched an inning of relief for the Baltimore Orioles.
All that, however, was apparently too much for a group of Hindu and Buddhist priests in her hometown of Baktapur, which I believe is right next to Backtofirst. They stripped Sanaji of her title, saying that leaving Nepal to visit the United States had rendered her impure, according to Ishbel Whitaker, the director of the documentary, “Living Goddess.”
“Everyone was shocked and saddened,” says Whitaker, who spoke to Sajani on her iPhone. “The whole purpose of the trip to America was to share Nepal and its traditions with the world.” That and to visit Dollywood, take in a few Broadway shows and see what had become of the Olsen twins.
The goddesses of the Katmandu Valley are chosen when they are between 4-7 years old from a Buddhist caste, though they represent a Hindu deity. This is an example of the harmony that exists between the two religions in Nepal. Devotees believe the goddess Kali inhabits the girls, though they do not exhibit any unusual behavior besides a craving for dark chocolate Milky Ways.
This custom of worshiping a pre-pubescent girl, who is not born a goddess is much like a reoccurring dream I had back in nursery school. According to Fodor’s “Guide to Goddesses,” these girls are screened on their 32 attributes of perfection. Her body has to be as sturdy as a Banyan tree, she must have thighs like a deer, a neck like a conch-shell and a small and moist tongue. Her skin must be blemish free, her hair and eyes very black, she must have dainty hands and feet and her sexual organs must be small and recessed. She must also have a set of 40 teeth, have never been hurt or shed blood and have a crystal clear voice so as to be able to belt out show tunes like “Oklahoma” or “Annie Get Your Gun” on command.
To reach this goddess status, the young contestants are taken to meet the deities in a dark room where they try to scare the crap out of them through terrifying tantrik rituals, much like my junior high graduation party. The real goddess is the one who stays calm, cool and collected throughout the trials. After the ceremony, the spirit of the goddess is said to enter her body. She takes on the clothing and jewelry of her predecessor and is given the title Kumari Devi, who is worshiped on all occasions, much like New England Patriot’s quarterback Tom Brady.
The Kumari godhood comes to an end at the first menstruation, because it is believed on reaching puberty that Kumari turns human. However, if she turns out to be unlucky, even a minor cut or bleeding can render her invalid for worship and a search for a new goddess begins. That’s why her best friend is a Band-Aid.
One final note on these royal youngsters. There is a belief that a man who marries an ex-goddess may die within six months. If that’s the case, gentlemen, here’s a word of advice. Enjoy the honeymoon.
So that’s our look at some traditions from high up in the Himalayas. And here’s a blog update for those of you who haven’t scaled Mount Everest. If you want to leave a comment I’ve made it a lot simpler. You don’t have to belong to any group like Google, the Elks or the Raccoons. Just leave your comment and then go on with the rest of your day. It’s very easy, like Sunday morning. So enjoy the cloud action, the arch and go to the glass hard. We’ll catch you on the rebound.