Just Another Guy with Opinions

Sajani Shakya – Child Goddess

Posted by shadmia on June 15, 2007


Sajani Shakya is a very special 9 year old girl. She is a living goddess. In her country, Nepal, she is worshipped as the earthly manifestation of the Hindu goddess Kali. She is one of only about a dozen children selected for this honor and is in the US on a tour to promote a documentary film about the living goddesses of the Katmandu Valley.

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.

Marc Hawker, the film’s cinematographer and producer, describes the role the Kumari play in Nepalese society:

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,” Hawker said. “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.”

Devotees believe that the goddess Kali inhabits the girls, though they do not exhibit unusual behavior, and then the goddess leaves them when they reach puberty. After that, the girls retire with a small pension. They are free to work and marry. “The idea of virginal, pre-menstrual purity, it does seem like a contradiction with worshiping a feminine divine,” said Rachel McDermott, associate professor in the department of Asian and Middle Eastern cultures at Barnard College in New York, “but in all this, there is the devotion to purity.”

As part of her US tour Sajani Shakya visited Lafayette Elementary School in Washington DC. She answered questions from the kids like:

Question: What do you do for fun? Answer: She plays hide-and-seek, computer games, watches Hindi films

Question: “Are there boy gods?” Answer: There are, but they are not worshiped like the girls.

Question: What do you eat? Answer: She is vegetarian, no chicken, no eggs, no pork……..but salmon yes!

Question: What do you want to be? Answer: She wants to be a teacher.

Whitaker’s documentary Living Goddesses was filmed during a dramatic moment in Nepalese history. Against the backdrop of a civil war that has taken 13,000 lives, demonstrators stormed the streets, protesting the king and debating the Kumaris’ relevance.

The documentary follows Sajani as she blesses devoted passers-by and performs rituals at a yearly festival. Her perks include being worshipped by her parents and receiving offerings of chocolate. But life as a goddess isn’t always bliss, apparently. “Sometimes I don’t feel like going on my throne when mommy asks me,” Sajani said through an interpreter. “I’ve got to get up so early.”

Proving that even though she may be a goddess, there is still a child in there!

PS: Click here for an update on Sajani Shakya who was fired! 



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30 Responses to “Sajani Shakya – Child Goddess”

  1. simona said

    i dont know how a little girl can be godddes, with that fair skin crap she gonna get pimples as she gets older and 4 sure shes gonna lose her virginity one day nodoys perfect so why would hey worship her?

  2. […] More about her @ Shadmia’s World and Watch her visit to US video @ […]

  3. toastedcinnamon said

    very interesting. i’d love to meet her. =)

  4. Bernadette said

    Simona, ignorance is bliss. You need to do your research prior to making such misinformed statements. If you had done your reach, you would have found that the child was chosen to be a living goddess at the age of 2 years old. In addition, when she reachs puberty the goddess, which is in her will leave, because that goddess does not stay with these living goddess forever only until they reach womanhood. So when she loses her virginity if she does, because remember she lives in a society which is different than ours. She may not ever marry, maybe no one will want her you don’t know. In that case she would remain a virgin.Anyhow when the time for her to have sex comes she will not be a goddess anymore anyhow. Additionally, if you had paid attention during your formative years of learning, you would have heard and read about the various gods and goddess that had sex. Sex is not an evil thing. It is a natural thing. It is an important part of many cultures including Hindism and the Chinese cultures. We here in the states make it into something dirt. So please prior to making misinformed statements, do your reach.

  5. Kelly said

    Simona, your comments were foolish. Think before you speak.

  6. Nicky said

    Sajani as well as the other child goddesses will be worshiped until they reach puberty. Then they aren’t worshiped anymore, and they “retire”. I’ve never heard about that, so indeed, this is very interesting.

  7. skye said

    if the goddesses are chosen when they are very young there is a good chance that they have unscrachted skin and straight teeth, i had perfect straight teeth when i was 2 years old. but by the time your baby teeth start to fall out and your permanet teeth grow in your teeth arent straight anymore and nobody can go through ten years of life without being scratched at least once.

  8. […] Sajani Shakya: The Child Goddess From Nepal Posted in History, Events, Education, People, Entertainment, Religion, Places, Random by trendyme on the June 16th, 2007 Sajani Shakya is a very special 9 year old girl. She is a living goddess. In her country, Nepal, she is worshipped as the earthly manifestation of the Hindu goddess Kali. She is one of only about a dozen children selected for this honor and is in the US on a tour to promote a documentary film about the living goddesses of the Katmandu Valley. Read More […]

  9. Mental said

    I hacve heard of this. On TV somewhere. It is true that the girl lives a goddesses life now, but when she is too old she will be abandoned from this role. The job will then be given to another young girl. The girl who used to live a glamourous life with losts of riches will then be brought into a life of poverty like much of the country.

  10. Candy said

    It is foolish to worship a human being. Nobody is perfect . This girl is just like any other child. I would feel pretty stupid worshiping a child, esp since she was chosen because of her nice skin, teeth etc… God should be worshiped, people are not worthy of being worshiped.

  11. In October 2001, I was able to see first-hand Katmandu’s Child Goddess while I was studying abroad ( I live in the U.S. ). In Katmandu’s Durbar Square, there is a place where the public can wait for the Child Goddess to make a public appearance from a window several stories up. Our religions professor told us about some of the tests the young girl had to pass before it was known that she was the divine embodiment or manifestation. Our professor said something about the Child Goddess not being allowed to touch the floor with her feet, but apparently, after reading this article, I guess that’s not true.

    At this stage in my life, I was skeptical about the powers of this young girl, although I greatly respected Nepal’s culture and believed in (and still believe in) the power of thought. So as we waited several minutes for the Child Goddess to emerge briefly from the window, I decided to put my intention out there. In my mind, I asked for a sign that what was said about the Child Goddess and her divinity was true. My request was very serious and focused….

    When the window was finally opened, I could see the very little girl look out into the crowd below her. I was standing to the extreme far left of where she was, close to the building. After a brief appearance, she began to draw herself back indoors, when, at the last second before she disappeared, she turned her head sharply to left, and looked my straight in the eyes for just a moment.

    This special gesture was the answer to my request, and I was very shocked and grateful. Because she turned her head and looked directly at me, I was able to see the depth of her eyes, outlined in black liner, and feel, very briefly, the power and consciousness of this young girl. It was a very intense second or two, much more intense than the photos at the top of this post.

    That’s my story. In response to the other comments, I believe that if humanity were to worship a fellow human being, it makes so much sense that it would be a child or baby. All children are born pure, and in their heart, they desire only to love and be loved. We just wrote a post about children and healing trauma on our blog here:

    Thank you to the writer of this post. I always wondered about the Child Goddess from Nepal, but had never researched her name before. If anyone is interested, here is a link to my photography exhibit with photos from Nepal and Asia:


  12. I got to meet her in Silver Spring this afternoon. She is a very sweet girl, mature for her age. I’d seen the Kathmandu Kumari before, who is kept in isolation, so I was surprised to see here smiling, shaking hands, even hugging people. She also seemed to really enjoy playing with an enormous digital camera, taking pictures of some of the people coming to see here. Here’s a pic I took of her; I’ll try to upload some more later.

    The Bhaktapur Kumari

  13. […] Sajani Shakya – Child Goddess [image][image] […]

  14. Here’s a short video I shot on my mobile phone of her as local Nepalis paid their respects to her:

  15. Okay, last one, I promise. Photo gallery of the Kumari’s visit:

    The Bhaktapur Kumari
  16. rationalpsychic said

    I think some of the comments made here reflect the fact that we grow up thinking our own culture/society has got it right and everyone else is approaching life ignorantly. Who’s to say that a goddess does not choose to inhabit the body of a little girl to visit us and give us something to worship and believe in?

    “For God so loved the World, He gave his only begotten Son…” etc. If you can get past your own materialist philosophy and expectations there may be more beautiful parts of the world to witness. And greater responsibilities to observe.

  17. shadmia said

    Andy Carvin, Thanks for your input. I checked out the photos and your blog. The photos are great and the blog is very well written. I would encourage everyone to take a look


  18. shadmia said

    Rationalpsychic, I completely agree with you. There is so much in this world that so many of us are unaware of. It would be a much better world if we all took the time to explore and enjoy the richness of culture and diversity that is out there.

  19. shadmia said

    The Hot Potato, Thanks for sharing your experience with us. It is stories like yours that show us the power of faith. I envy you your experience and travels you are very fortunate. You have some wonderful pictures in your album……thanks


  20. zephyr3 said

    I think its okay for now but in the future this ritual will receive a facelift with more education on the move..

  21. Charles said

    Do I think that she is a goddess? No
    Do I respect that others do? Yes
    A very pretty and sweet sounding girl. It sounds like she hasn’t let the worship go to her head. I’m happy for her fortunate situation.
    Candy, you should keep your narrow-mindedness in check when making public statements.
    And Simona, did you read anything past the headline? You hardly said a thing that wasn’t clearly explained in the article.
    Mental, the article also says she will be given a pension when she ‘retires’, this is a lot more than she would have if she were a ‘normal’ kid.

  22. […] Posts Sajani Shakya – Child GoddessMore Sex, Sex, SexGeorgia Brown – Child GeniusBarack Attracts the MoneyBarack Obama the Magic […]

  23. MJ said

    Is the child losing her childhood? As great as the believe that reincarnation exists in Tibetan culture/belief, are they conforming to a traditional thinking and ritual?

  24. shadmia said

    MJ the Kumari are from Nepal but you raise a valid point. For the most part these kids don’t seem to have much of a childhood in fact the Supreme Court in Nepal has ordered an inquiry into whether the Kumari are being exploited. See my follow up article:

  25. chet said

    All women are goddesses in my book!

  26. chet said

    But, oddly enough, I believe that Iwould enjoy worshipping at her feet!

  27. Jennifer said

    To charlels

    candy and mental are right you are almost saying the same thing as them so why are you hating: because they put it better than you could in you life? I think that is a yes.

    And candy is right no human is worthy of being worshiped.
    And mental is right as well she will go in to poverty
    And simona no body is perfect i am sure if she had the choice between being a godesss or being a normal child in a better country she would choose being a normal child in a better country.

  28. Hello. I think you are eactly thinking like Sukrat. I really loved the post.

  29. Napolian said

    She’s made of hair and bone and little teeth,
    Things I cannot speak
    She comes on like a crippled plaything,
    Spine is just a string

    I wrapped our love in all this foil,
    Silver-tight like spider legs
    I never wanted it to ever spoil,
    But flies will lay their eggs

    Take your hatred out on me,
    Make your victim my head
    You never ever believed in me,
    I am your tourniquet

    Prosthetic synthesis with butterfly,
    Sealed up with virgin stitch
    If it hurts baby please tell me,
    Preserve the innocence

    I never wanted it to end like this,
    But flies will lay their eggs What I wanted,
    What I needed,
    What I got for me

    Take it out, take it out
    Your not fighting me,
    I don’t believe me!
    I never ever believed in me,
    I am your tourniquet

    I have my own respect for u god.
    Respect U

  30. MELANIE said


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