WEEK #12 – KATHMANDU’S ROYAL KUMARI, THE LIVING GODDESS
Peeking out the airplane window at the summit of Everest while flying out of Nepal, my mind is filled with thoughts of Kathmandu’s Kumari. I had seen flashes of her on television as she was carried through the streets of the city in her throne like carriage. Later I learned that her feet never touch the ground outside of her palace, for the duration of her supposed incarnation. Yes, incarnation, as it is tragically believed; for the majority of residents of the capital city hail her as the living embodiment of the Hindu goddess Teleju. She is chosen as a young child following a rigorous selection process. She must be unblemished, have jet black hair and eyes, long eyelashes like a cow, and the “soft voice of a duck”! She is about 5 or 6 years of age at selection, and passes the most severe of tests and examinations, including the necessity of spending a night alone in a room filled with the severed heads of 100 sacrificed goats and cows, without showing any trace of fear. Yikes! Pity the poor girl, who once approved is then presented to the spirit for inhabitation.
And thus her reign begins, continuing until the time where she passes into puberty. For those 10 years or so, her word is absolute. Other carefully selected children are allowed to play with her in her palace, but only after understanding fully that whatever the Kumari commands is their sacred duty and obligation. She may seize their toys, demand her own rules in games, and in general have whatever she wants. Adults come to her for blessings, and her every expression is interpreted for good or evil. If she laughs or cries, you are likely doomed in the near future.
If she shivers, get ready for a trip to prison! If she is perfectly still, only then is your petition assured of success.
How tragic is the fate of this sad child. Poisoned from the earliest age with thoughts of her own divinity; spoiled hopelessly with the scepter of absolute authority, believing that it is her divine right to have her want and way in every situation of life; sending adults into a trembling panic if her disapproval is aroused. Hmmm…..I’ve seen such a child a few places before: in the aisles of grocery stores screaming for the treats to which they believe they are entitled; holding their parents hostage in restaurants by running amok and daring them to risk public discipline; or incapable when playing with other kids of handling loss, disadvantage, or domination. These have been, like the Kumari, deceived into believing that they are the center of the universe and the rightful focus of every adult’s admiration.
And herein lies the challenge for the married couple, for such children, unrestrained or untrained, will inevitably seek to conquer and divide their parents. The brat unbridled leads to blame and embarrassment – – who is responsible for the emotional mayhem of this maniacal miniaturization of domestic authority? Which of us failed to steer and direct their path? Who pampered them in private, or placated them with privilege, while the other alone wielded the rod and thus became unwillingly the object of their infantile resentment?
No, dear parents to be, you dare not bring another Kumari upon an innocent and unsuspecting world. A few points of advance agreement will work wondrously toward reigning in your blessing’s baser instincts. Wisdom and knowledge, provided by the Scriptures, will save a world of frustration and conflict both in the home, and out in society. Here are a few tips for vanquishing any Kumari who would attempt to turn your peaceful home into his or her own personal palace:
- Be honest with yourself, and agree with God that your kids have not been born perfect. They have in fact inherited Adam’s nature, as have mom and dad, and will inevitably push the boundaries as far as possible if not restrained, trained, and programmed in their brain!
- Children can be lavished with love and blessings, yet still learn early the meaning of the word “NO”. Many adults cannot manage both sides of the formula. They either are too heavy handed, fearing to be overly gracious, or they are too pampering, fearing to damage their child through denial. God’s wisdom balances both.
- Let your darling learn early on that they will never come between mom and dad. The two of you together form an impenetrable wall of agreement. Once they’ve faced this wall repeatedly and discovered that it has no cracks, they will ultimately tire of attempting to breach it.
- Teach them early the joy and empowerment of honoring and exalting others. Let them see humility working in the home as their parents refuse entitlement, and use their earthly position and resource for the uplifting of people. The sooner their little feet touch ground in a place of commonality and service among their own peers, the more whole they will become as adults.
- Never find your own fulfillment through the visibility of your child. Many a mom or dad has sat basking in the limelight as their little one proceeded to hijack the public atmosphere of a church service or restaurant. Find your identity in God – – not through the attention your child can command through unbridled commotion.
Little darlings indeed, but not goddesses or gods. Glorious gifts from God, but not granted immunity to parade with impunity. The greatest natural joys you can have in this life…..but be sure that others are not secretly denouncing your treasure as their torment. And in so doing, your children will be jewels in your crown….and in the eyes of all around you.
Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Him with her sons, kneeling down and asking something from Him. And He said to her, “What do you wish?” She said to Him, “Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom.”…..; But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to be great among you, let him be your servant……; Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve…… Matthew 20:20, 25, 27