The living goddess
“An extraordinary story, beautifully told. Isabella Tree combines the observational and literary gifts of a Diana Eck or an Andrew Harvey with Roberto Calasso’s ability to retell mythology and Wendy Doniger’s ability to interpret it. The resulting search to understand the meaning of the Living Goddess is nothing short of a revelation’
To Nepalis the Living Goddess is the embodiment of Devi; legends swirl about her. But even today the facts remain shrouded in secrecy and are closely guarded by the Living Goddess’s priests and caretakers. Why are Buddhist girls worshipped by Hindu monarchs? Are the initiation rituals as macabre as they are rumoured to be? And what happens to Living Goddesses once they attain puberty?
Using myth, religion, history and her unprecedented access to the priests, caretakers and former Living Goddesses, Isabella Tree takes us deep into this hidden world. Through it she draws a vivid portrait of the girl-goddess, the beliefs and practices of traditional Nepal, and the uneasy journey it now makes towards modernity. Deeply felt and written over many years of travel and research, The Living Goddess is a profound, compelling and extremely moving book.
“A fantastic and illuminating read-as much book about the history of Nepal as it is about the Living Goddess’