Saptamī, the seventh day of Navaratri, is the day of Kumāri Pūjā. Kumāri literally means a young girl, and this pūjā, or worship, teaches us to see Divine Mother in a little girl – and ultimately in all of creation. Kumāri Pūjā is also an initiation to the young girl, for on that day She becomes a Goddess. Shree Maa and other ladies of the temple help to dress up the Kumāri as a little Goddess, and Swamiji performs the pūjā, sometimes with the help of devotees.
The Kumāri is offered many beautiful gifts, including cloth and ornaments, as well as scrumptious delicacies to eat. It is such a joy to watch Swamiji perform the pūjā; he worships with incredible enthusiasm, devotion, and expression. The Kumāri smiles and giggles at his expressions and jokes, and one can watch Her transform into the Goddess Herself over the course of the pūjā.
After the pūjā, all the devotees present line up to receive darshan from the young Goddess, and often present her with gifts of money (dakshina) that are then saved for the young girl’s education.
Photo of Kumari Puja on October 20, 2007, Ashwin (Fall) Navaratri