Goddess Kali

Kali, is the fearful and ferocious form of the mother goddess Durga. She is depicted as having born from the brow of Goddess Durga during one of her battles with the evil forces. Kali is represented with perhaps the fiercest features amongst all the world’s deities. Her tongue protrudes from her mouth, her eyes are red, and her face and breasts are sullied with blood. She stands with one foot on the thigh, and another on the chest of her husband, Shiva. Read More>> The love between the Divine Mother and her human children is a unique relationship. Kali, the Dark Mother is one such deity with whom devotees have a very loving and intimate bond, in spite of her fearful appearance. In this relationship, the worshipper becomes a child and Kali assumes the form of the ever-caring mother. Kali is the fearful and ferocious form of the mother goddess. She assumed the form of a powerful goddess and became popular with the composition of the Devi Mahatmya, a text of the 5th – 6th century AD. Here she is depicted as having born from the brow of Goddess Durgaduring one of her battles with the evil forces. As the legend goes, in the battle, Kali was so much involved in the killing spree that she got carried away and began destroying everything in sight. To stop her, Lord Shiva threw himself under her feet. Shocked at this sight, Kali stuck out her tongue in astonishment, and put an end to her homicidal rampage. Hence the common image of Kali shows her in her mle mood, standing with one foot on Shiva’s chest, with her enormous tongue stuck out. Kali’s fierce form is strewed with awesome symbols. Her black complexion symbolizes her all-embracing and transcendental nature. Says the Mahanirvana Tantra: “Just as all colors disappear in black, so all names and forms disappear in her”. Her nudity is primeval, fundamental, and transparent like Nature the earth, sea, and sky. Kali is free from the illusory covering, for she is beyond the all maya or “false consciousness.” Kali’s garland of fifty human heads that stands for the fifty letters in the Sanskrit alphabet, symbolizes infinite knowledge. Her girdle of severed human hands signifies work and liberation from the cycle of karma. Her white teeth show her inner purity, and her red lolling tongue indicates her omnivorous nature “her indiscriminate enjoyment of all the world’s ‘flavors’.” Her sword is the destroyer of false consciousness and the eight bonds that bind us. Her three eyes represent past, present, and future, the three modes of time an attribute that lies in the very name Kali (‘Kala’ in Sanskrit means time). “Kali is so called because She devours Kala (Time) and then resumes Her own dark formlessness.” Kali’s proximity to cremation grounds where the five elements or “Pancha Mahabhuta” come together, and all worldly attachments are absolved, again point to the cycle of birth and death. The reclined Shiva lying prostrate under the feet of Kali suggests that without the power of Kali (Shakti), Shiva is inert.