Santoshi Mata in #Nepal March 2015

Santoshi Mata in alive and well in #Nepal On page 89 of “The Sacrament of the Goddess,” the heroine is lonely and wishing for a change in her life, so a friend recommends to her the ritual of “Santoshi Mata.”

I knew about this because a friend of mine was following the vrata (ritual fasting) every Friday. The narrative is particularly effective in retaining hope when a loved one is working abroad and you wish to be re-united, a common aspect of women’s lives in Nepal.

What I did not know was that there was a Santoshi Mata temple here in Kathmandu and that a devotee could augment the fasting by joining other devotees at the event. So imagine my surprise to be driving randomly through Nag Pokhari, seeing a cluster of beautifully dressed women in a procession, and having the taxi driver tell me it was Santoshi mata.

I took a photo of just a small part of the street procession

A weekly event in Kathmandu, Nag Pokhari neighborhood, involving a procession and devotion.

A weekly event in Kathmandu, Nag Pokhari neighborhood, involving a procession and devotion.

Santoshi Mata is relatively new in Nepal, and only gained widespread attention in India after she was featured in a Bollywood movie by that name, in 1975. That’s why I was surprised to see a temple for her.

There is also a song, and of course, there are hymns….

As in all the other deities of Hinduism, you can buy an inexpensive poster to use in daily home puja. The one that goes with her shows elements of the ritual.

The ritual to accompany the vrata needs to continue for 16 Fridays in a row in order to be effective. At the bottom are reminders of how to behave during that time, in pictorial form.

The ritual to accompany the vrata needs to continue for 16 Fridays in a row in order to be effective. At the bottom are reminders of how to behave during that time, in pictorial form.

It’s easy enough to do a Google search from here, but you might want to get a copy of my book, The Sacrament of the Goddess, to read an example of how it might fit into the life of a young woman in Nepal.

The book is available in Kathmandu at Vajra Books on Jyatha Marg in Thamel, or at Tibet Books on Tri Devi Marg.

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