A 10-years old boy was killed as human sacrifice to heal an illness in Parasi, Nawalparasi District, in July 2015.
When I first heard about such stories from an educated Christian pastor, I was convinced that these stories about sacrificing children in contemporary Nepal are made up by Christians as propaganda against Hindus. I wish I could still believe it is so. But when I read the recent article about a 10-year old innocent boy killed as a form of human sacrifice, an offering to some demon which allegedly caused the illness of the son of the murderer… I recalled the conversations with the Nepali Christian priest…
Photos: 1, the 10-years old victim, Jeevan Kohar, 2, the murderers, the shaman and his culprits. Source: Google Images
ARE CHILDREN YEARLY SACRIFICED IN A SECRET NEWARI TEMPLE IN BHAKTAPUR?
Those times, years ago, in Makwanpur, he showed me a Nepali book hit (among Christians), written by some famous writer or journalist, describing in detail the (alleged) secret Newari tradition, according to which once in every year the special Newari Buddhist-Hindu religion’s priests kill one child as a sacrifice to a God or Goddess, in the most ancient Newari temple-towns, Bhaktapur (now ruined by the earthquake) or Patan. Myself being mostly affiliated to Hinduism and Buddhism, and being very critical of Christianity, I argued with my hosts that this is surely just made up by Nepali Christians as a means to convert Hindus. But it was difficult to argue, as the wife of the pastor was actually an ex-Hindu of Newari caste herself…
The book they showed me (it was in Nepali Devanagari with photos), described that the tradition of child-sacrifice was a “normal thing” in Nepal for centuries, and it was only abolished a few tens of years ago, by the ruling Government (and if I remember well, probably already by the last kings). Because it is now illegal, they do it more secretly, but still do it, it says. The name of that temple and the priest are scrupulously hidden from the public (and police) the book claimed. So how can the child-sacrifice provided for the cruel goddess?
There is a belief that the “goddess” sends to those priests the child every year herself… When such and such a child (probably of given age, look and gender) appears around, they simply kidnap it, and kill for her. Knowing how streets looked like in overcrowded Kathmandu before, with many orphans and abandoned poor children roaming the streets, I can imagine that it was never a big deal to have a child wondered to that terrible temple… (of course, if this all was ever true)… Yet the book was written and issued in Nepal, written by a Nepali. I just wonder, what about the parents, after they find out that their child became the “chosen one” for the year? Are they also conspiratively silent?
(I forgot the title of the above mentioned book, and in my feeling it was not published in a legal way, it was an “underground” style of self-published black-and-white book.Yet the author claimed to have been a Hindu Pandit, before converting to Christianity).
DID THE SUCCESSFUL CONSTRUCTION OF NARAYANI BRIDGE NEED HUMAN SACRIFICE?
When I heard about the story of child sacrifice in Newari Temple in Kathmandu, I wished it was not true. I personally still prefer to dismiss it as Christian propaganda, knowing a few Newari people myself, and not being able to imagine that they would agree with such dark “religious” practices. But later I met another Nepali Christian couple, and they again confronted me with this topic, in their story it was a claim that the big bridge above the Narayani River had been “ensured” to function well by sacrificing a few people to some gods by “the Hindus”. They said that “everyone knows it in Nepal” that humans are often sacrificed for the success of bridge-constructions. Again, such claims are obviously impossible to prove, but I also cannot prove the opposite. Obviously even if “all Nepalis knew”, they would hardly share it with most foreigners… It would harm the image of the country as a holy land of Buddha birthplace, they are afraid.
THE AUTHORITY OF VILLAGE SHAMANS
But now we are reading about a similar belief in practice in Parasi. And it all sounds as if the murderer was convinced that he did not do anything wrong, because he also burnt some incense and recited mantras, after killing the boy… After all, he just believed the Shaman, what is usually the highest authority in villages to announce the source of the illnesses and bad fortune that befalls them. Yes, even in the age when practically all villagers have smartphones and TVs!
In my experience when uneducated Nepalis use the word “Bhagawan”, God, this can as well be understood as Devatas, but sometimes can mean some darker entities like “demons”, or even human beings whom they rever as their Gurus, or even a powerful “living Buddha”… “God” – for people of low intelligence – is simply any entity that has power and authority above the others, and whom they are supposed to worship and satisfy, often no matter if that “god” is actually a negative being. The important thing is that he or she is powerful. In the superstitious minds of some primitive people, illnesses, misfortune, tragedies are often a result of the anger of such a “god”, who, as they believe, would to be satisfied and calmed down only by offering blood… Needless to say, no such “god” ever existed in Hinduism or Buddhism, although certain sects had created traditions which they consider authentic and ancient.
BLOOD-HUNGRY DEVIS, MEAT-HUNGRY DEVAS?
For example in Kathmandu’s Pashupatinath Temple there is a temple of Bhairav, to whom his priests must regularly cook buffalo meat, they believe. Obviously this is again not something that purist vegetarian Brahmin families like. But the ancient attitude of tolerance towards other philosophies caused, that simply even these “wild” types of devotions are tolerated by the rest of the Hindus who do not follow them. A family which is near to me and had their shop near Pashupatinath, told me that the smell of meat-cooking is felt in their street, just opposite the gate to the temple, on a daily basis… Bhairav, a Hindu version of the Buddhist “wrathful gods”, is supposed to desire not only meat but also alcohol.
On the other hand, Durga Devi, actually the highest form of Divine Shakti, is believed by some lower class Hindus to be indulging in blood. To satisfy her (and ensure her blessings), devotees kill goats, chicken and at Gadhi Mai even buffaloes. Practically all educated Hindu Pandits who had been working as Pujaris (temple priests) I spoke to, ensured me that this habit is not real Hinduism, and many Pujaris actually are against it. I had written many articles and commentaries i discussion groups about this misconception. One of them recently, here.
Gods are not physical beings, thus they really do not feel hunger or thirst. They do not require from us pseudo-sarifices which cause suffering or death of other beings: instead they wish that a real, sincere “self-sacrificing” attitude is awaken in our hearts, when we offer our own comfort, own selfish interests etc. in the virtual “fire” of devotion! To live a moral, kind and gentle, caring life, in self-control of the senses and desires, compassionate and generous is the biggest sacrifice that Gods require from us: and this is much more difficult a task than to sacrifice other living beings. People had not been given the right to harm or take the life of other creations, not even in the name of “religion” or “devotion” to a “god or “guru”!
The tradition of Shamans, as sole authorities to define the reason of troubles, is strong among Nepali Buddhists as well as Hindus. Yet usually those who turn to Shamans, are not really the religious ones, their “religion” is a set of superstitions, magic, voodoo intermixed with Hindu and/or Buddhist elements comprising of some formal rituals to ensure this or that benefit. In most cases it is also a Shaman who encourages people to torture or kill the “witch”, nearly always an unfortunate, lonely, poor and elder woman, usually one who is widowed or unmarried, as a cause for the illness or misfortune (rich women with many influential male family members interestigly are never stigmatized as witches!). Some Maatas, religious Sadhvis or holy women, are also misconsidered to be witches by the primitive people around them, because they live a lonely lifestyle in prayers, and are believed to have “powers”. Villagers are ready to pursue the task of capturing, torturing or even killing such targets, in a total belief that the Shaman can see invisible sources of illness…
But recently a peculiar case happened, when a Shaman who claimed he can heal a villager’s wife from infertility had actually raped her... When he was discovered by the husband, they handed him over to police, and obviously never again did they believe in Shamans…
Yet not all Shamans are such dangeorus black magicians or fake liars, and some use devoted prayers to help the sufferers, a “Hom” (or Yagya, a simple fire-sacrifice of incense, resins, flowers and fruits) and herbal medicine too. About these “nice-guy” Shamans I would write in a different article.
BLACK SHAMANS, WHITE SHAMANS
Shamans are called Jhakrees in Nepal, and once I was told in Bongjor, Ram Bomjon’s birth village, that in a single village there are often more than 5 of them. A bad dream, crying children, too much rain or no rain, illnesses allegedly “uncurable” by medicine, accidents, I was even told that my acne! – just anything bad can be caused by a “witch”, the “evil eye”, they say.
The paranoia of parents that their child could be “stared down” by a witch is so big that they paint a “make-up” around the eyes of small babies and toddlers with home-made eye-color called Kajal, and even put a black point somewhere on the side of the face of the child… This tradition, together with metal bracelets on the wrists and ankles of babies, are all believed to fade away the “evil eye” of “witches”… For some reason, in the patriarchal Nepali society, somehow always women are considered to be so evil that they would harm a child by magic..!
But then again, there are black Jhakrees and white Jhakrees, who often despise each-other, and sometimes they try to harm each-other with their magic as well…I have seen a teenager after such “black Shaman’s” curse, whose father was allegedly a white Shaman. He simply had a bacterial or viral illness which in the West we would call flu with diarrhea. He needed antibiotics or diarrhea medicine, rest, rehydratation and hospital care simply. I asked if they have tried any hospital, and I was told that it would be useless as it is a curse!
Yet interestingly, my presence and persuasion probably influenced them, because after I left and the boy’s condition further deteriorated, finally they brought him to hospital, and of course he was soon healthy again! So what is needed to stop hunting “witches” and doing human sacrifices in Nepal, is a very simple and cheap method: to educate people that this is not a civilized tradition, and is shameful for them “in the eyes of the West”. Yet, until today, I did not read or hear about any educational program organized by any of the hundreds of women right’s groups or NGOs and INGOs in Nepal, with such an activity. The only thing they do after the tragedy happens, is to let the media know that they are “condemning” the act. Then again, everyone forgets it, and continue with a life in the same tracks of superstitions…
In the Nepali folk reality there is often not much difference between a ‘god’ or a ‘demon’, when it comes to heal an illness or curse. Devas or Asuras (in practice actually different types of Bhuts, ghosts), they often don’t care. I also met with an approach of desperate parents (yet refusing to visit a hospital!), when they did not mind their baby daughter healed actually by a black magician (I would describe the healing ritual in detail in a separate article). A very widespread habit in Nepal, even among many Bahuns, is to sacrifice a chicken or a goat, when one wishes to heal an illness or fulfil an aim. As usually spirtual shamans (Yogis, Lamas, Maatas) refuse to harm animals and don’t eat meat, the families often choose a black magician (said to do “ulto-sulto”, meaning “upside-down” rituals) to carry out the curing. So in fact black magicians are considered more powerful with quick and strong results…Yet, as we could see, often at a very high price!
THE WRONG SIGNAL
Though nowadays many Nepalis roam around on motorbikes and spend their days browsing and typing to Facebook on iPods and smartphones, modernity is rather just an outside cover of the still very backward life in many remote villages and even some city communities. Witch-hunting of women had been reinforced as a legitimate way of Buddhism by Ram Bahadur Bomjon, who is supported by high-level politicians, Nepali Buddhists, media, police and rich international followers. The alleged witches, according to his secret teaching and public practice, are to be kidnapped, forced on chains, beaten, tortured and raped…
If witches and ghosts are being taken as reality by Nepalis, because they consider anything their “new buddha” is telling them and showing as an example as true, then harming and torturing people becomes legitimate, as well as to rape “the witches”, or as we see, sacrificing children to “Bhuts” (ghosts). As I had shown in my previos articles using publically available statistical data, after Ram Bomjon’s unleashing of witch-huntings, kidnappings, tortures and rape in Bara District’s Halkhoria in 2012, with the claim that this all is for “protecting dharma”, rapes of women and children had rapidly grown in Nepal, as well as murders in general, especially in Bomjon’s native Bara District and area. Not that these dark traditions like witch-accusations of women, were not existing in Nepal before. But only after Bomjon’s own witch-huntings did they get a “green light” and a label of “legitimate dharma practice”. Rape cases had also started to grow after 2012, possibly triggered by the rape order given by Bomjon to his follower Darshan Subba Limbu, to use it as a torture method of the two kidnapped “witches” the “Buddha Boy” was keeping on chains in 2012.
Unscrupulous and sexually deviated Nepali males rightfully could think that if Bomjon, ordering the rapes, becomes supported by Nepali politicians and foreigners, that rape is a normal and legitimate behavior, and it does not get punished. Many Nepalis in Bara did know about the rapes that Bomjon ordered to Darshan to carried out on European Marici, and eye-witnesses spread the news not only to Avenues TV, but also in surrounding villages. This gave out a wrong signal to the lowest and most primitive men, that in Nepal even spiritual groups like the one of Bomjon’s, can freely use sexual violence against some kidnapped women, and through many witnesses, do not get into any problems with the law. Sexually and mentally unhealthy males could have felt encouraged by Bomjon and his torture-assistants to get twisted sexual satisfaction from similarly combining sexuality with causing suffering to their victims!
If the government ever cared about the course of Nepali society, they should react to the news of child sacrifice with vehemence, ensuring that never again happens such a shameful crime. The same should be the reaction when any time there is a woman tortured or killed because of witch-allegations. There should be educational programs organized by respected religious authorities of all Nepali mainstream religions (Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim and Christian), explaining in remote backward villages and towns that magic, witch-accusations, child sacrifice, animal sacrifice are not Dharma, these are caused by ignorance, are shameful, against the law and are diabolic superstitions not leading to God, fortune, healing from illness or enlightenment. That in a modern society and modern religion nothing like these have any place.
But for such an educational program the Government has to have the guts to reject the “witch-hunting dharma” of Ram Bahadur Bomjon, together with his promotion of violent attacks with sword and sticks, with his favor of kidnapping European women and Nepali male villagers, with his hobby to break bones, orders rapes, beat people to blood and bruises… Until high level politicians of Nepal do not give the right signal, the darkest of the darkest superstitions will just continue to flourish on the much suffering land.
The Indian Government, on the other hand, had made a big step towards civilization by issuing a specific law to curb such dark practices in the name of “tradition”or “religion”:
The Maharashtra Prevention and Eradication of Human Sacrifice and Other Inhuman, Evil and Aghori Practices and Black Magic Act, 2013 was promulgated by the Maharashtra government to curb superstitious practices, claiming magical or miraculous remedies or powers.
If the Nepali Government cares about the future of its citizens, it should follow the exampleof Indiai!
NO REAL BENEFIT
It would be good to know if finally the sick son of the sacrificer of the poor 10-years old Jeewan was really healed or not… With his father in prison for murder he probably will get sick again. Similarly, we never learn of any evidence that torturing or killing alleged witches ever actually helped those whose illnesses or misfortune they were allegedly causing… And going a step further, if killing the hunderds of goats during Gadhi Mai would attract such a great blessing from the gods, then why we do not hear or see any story of miraculous healing of illness, miraculous becoming a milionaire? Instead, all those who have the habit to attend the killing-spree-festival, stay similarly poor the next five year, and the next one…
When will people in Nepal learn that that “great benefit” from harming other beings by sacrifice, witch-hunting, torture or killing, let it be women, children or animals, is just not existing? Instead of any benefit, Nepal rather looks like a country of tragedies, violence, disasters. It is time that Nepalis sit down and make a simple assessment: we have tortured so many witches, raped so many women and even babies, sacrificed even children, sacrificed thousands of animals, all in the name of gods, or demons or when fulfilling the orders of the respected Buddha Boy.
So where is that much expected effect of benefit? After so many lives of alleged witches, childern and animals had been destroyed in the name of a benefit, Nepal should look by now as a heaven with all people wealthy and healthy! But let’s look around in Nepal now, to see the real effects of these dark traditions..!
SOMETHING MUST BE CHANGED!
Instead of hunting witches, sacrificing childern and animals, Nepalis should make a big step forward towards real civilization from the village level up to city society. Civilization does not mean buying fashion clothes for their children or browsing Facebook all-day-long, or staring all day long at Bollywood movies and karaoke shows on TV. It even does not even mean to afford motorbikes, expensive land-rovers, 5-floor villas and super-expensive boarding schools for the children. Civilization means to reject barbaric traditions which are magic and have nothing in common with real religion. Religions, eventually an ethical and scientific secularism with respecting human rights, is what should have authority above so called Shamans and fake gurus. After all, in the Vedas, Puranas, Bhagavadgita or Buddhist Sutras is no such advice or teaching, which would justify hunting witches, sacrificing humans or animals, for gods, or even dark entities – for one’s alleged benefit! As soon as Nepalis get acquinted with their own religions from the scriptures and real, by morally stainless gurus, Pandits and lamas, the country will start really benefit and the bad Karma from torturing and killing innocent people and animals for one’s own illusionary benefit, would start to dissolve.
While India has a law to stop witch-hunting, human sacrifice and all magical practices harming human beings, Nepali followers of – the violent witch-hunter- Ram Bomjon had even pushed his brief biography to be printed in school-books for small children, as a national curriculum! What can be the signal for Nepalis, when their children have to recite the facts about the “Buddha Boy” from their textbooks, while they hear at home from their parents, that the very same “Buddha Boy” had beaten their neighbor to blood in September 2014, attacked the boy from the next village with sword in 2007, kidnapped two women and tortured them in 2012…? Nepalis are getting the wrong signals, even from childhood, that witch-hunting, brutal violence, kidnapping and rape-orders pays off, and can bring a guru and his complices to become widely respected in society, and even get to school text-book curriculums!