//Nepal king seeks divine help: report

Nepal king seeks divine help: report

Thursday, May 4th, 2006

Kathmandu – Forced by the people to give up absolute power, Nepal’s King Gyanendra is now seeking divine aid to destroy his enemies, a report said.

The 58-year-old king, known for his obsession with making sacrifices to propitiate the gods and consulting astrologers before undertaking any new venture, will offer panchabali – five sacrifices – to Kali, the Hindu goddess of power, in Kathmandu Friday, the Jana Aastha weekly reported.

Devotees believe the ritual worship at the Dakshinkali temple increases the strength of the worshipper and saps the power of his foes.

The worship had originally been planned in the middle of April, when the Nepali new year began, but had to be postponed twice due to the nationwide anti-king protests and fears that the king’s security might be breached, the weekly said.

The latest publicised worship, ostensibly for peace and security, was offered at another Kali temple in Kathmandu – the Bhadrakali shrine – around February.

The palace’s blind faith in astrologers and soothsayers has given rise to many interpretations of King Gyanendra’s actions especially since he seized power with the help of the army last year.

Though the Maoist insurgents called a four-month ceasefire in September, the king rejected people’s demand to respond to it in a positive manner and instead went on a long tour abroad, visiting places with which Nepal has no diplomatic ties, like Burundi and South Africa.

Nepalis believe the king did that because his astrologers cautioned him the stars were unpropitious and he could win their favour only by taking a trip across the ocean.

Even after he came back, Gyanendra continued to stay away from Kathmandu, camping in Pokhara town for nearly two months and compelling his ministers, security chiefs and bureaucrats to make trips to Pokhara by helicopter every time he wanted to meet them.

This too was done, people say, on the advice of the astrologers who advised him to stay near water.

Ratna Mandir, the royal accommodation in Pokhara, is close to a lake, Fewa tal.

However, the man who vanquished him, opposition leader Girija Prasad Koirala, is not known to subscribe to astrologers or sacrifices.

Still, Koirala’s followers are not averse to a little white magic.

When the 84-year-old could not be sworn in as the new prime minister on the appointed day due to ill health, Brahmins in Biratnagar town in southern Nepal, Koirala’s ancestral home, held a puja praying for his speedy recovery.