Editorial

1989: When Vivekananda Perfomed Kumari Puja On Muslim Girl

As the Ramakrishna Mission and various Organizers performed Kumari Puja — part of the Durga Puja ritual —on mahastamee this Wednesday , it brings back to memory the story of Swami Vivekananda performing such a ritual by worshipping a Muslim boatman’s daughter in Kashmir. Swamiji’s example would hit hard the fundamentalists both in Hindu and Muslim camps.

Then Vivekananda not only worshipped the girl but also bowed down to touch her feet, as part of the ritual. Defenders of Hindutva and fundamentalist Muslim groups may get enraged to learn that Swami Vivekananda chose a four-year-old Muslim girl in Kashmir for the Kumari Puja on mahastamee during the Durga Puja in 1898.

He was on an all-India travel from Kanyakumari to Kashmir then. He stopped at the shrine of Kshir Bhabani in Kashmir and decided to perform Kumari Puja there.

Radical Hindu monk who was more socially-committed than being obsessed with religiosities, Vivekananda spotted the poverty-stricken girl and saw the Divine Mother in her.Incidentally, Swamiji was with Sister Nivedita and Miss McLaud  (both his foreign disciples who embraced Hinduism) and others, including some disciples of Ramakrishna. He requested the boatman to allow him to worship his little daughter so that he could perform the Kumari Puja on that auspicious day.

The boatman was overwhelmed. He thought as if the God was asking him through Swamiji and readily agreed.

In the late 19th century, Ramakrishna used to perform the ritual at Bhabatarini temple of Dakineshswar in Hooghly district on mahastamee. Vivekananda carried forward his guru’s Mission and performed Kumari Puja, a tradition to be followed by the Mission.

Definitely it’s also givs a very important message for all the communities that nothing but humanity is above all.

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