Kali: The Most Powerful Cosmic Female

Kali, the embodiment of three-aspected cosmic act, which reveals
in creation, preservation and annihilation, is the most
mysterious divinity of Indian religious order, Vaishnava, Shaiva,
Buddhist, Jain or any. She assures ‘abhaya’ – fearlessness, by
her one hand and ‘varada’ – benevolence, by the other, both
defining in perpetuity the ultimate disposition of her mind, but
in contrast, the feeling that the goddess inspires by her
appearance, plundering death with the naked sword carried in one
of her other hands and feeding on blood gushing from the bodies
of her kills, is of awe and terror. Instruments of destruction
are her means of preservation, and from across the cremation
ground, lit by burning pyres and echoing with shrieks of moaning
jackals and goblins, and from over dismembered dead bodies – her
chosen abode, routes her passage to life. The most sacred, Kali
shares her habitation with vile wicked flesh-eating ‘pishachas’ –
monsters, and rides a dead body. She is enamored with Shiva but
unites with Shiva’s ‘shava’ – the passive, enactive dead body,
herself being its active agent. She delights in destruction and
laughs but only to shake with terror all four directions, and the
earth and the sky. A woman, Kali seeks to adorn herself but her
ornaments are a garland or necklace of severed human heads,
girdle of severed human arms, ear-rings of infants’ corpses,
bracelets of snakes – all loathsome and horrible-looking. Such
fusion of contradictions is the essence of Kali’s being, a
mysticism which no other divinity is endowed with. Vashishtha
Ganapati Muni has rightly said of her:

“All here is a mystery of contraries,
Darkness, a magic of self-hidden light,
Suffering, some secret rapture’s tragic mask,
And death, an instrument of perpetual life.

kali_ht20

Fusion of contraries – not just as two co-existents but as two
essential aspects of the same, is what defines Kali, as also the
cosmos which she manifests. As from the womb – darker than the
ocean’s deepest recesses where even a ray of light does not
reach, emerges life, so from the darkness is born the luminous
light, and deeper the darkness, more lustrous the light. A
realization in contrast to suffering, delight is suffering’s
glowing face – her child born by contrast. The tree is born when
the seed explodes and its form is destroyed, that is, the life is
death’s re-birth, and form, all its beauty and vigour, the
deformation incarnate. This inter-related unity of contraries
defines both, cosmos and Kali. The dark-hued Kali, who represents
in her being darkness, suffering, death, deformation and ugly, is
the most potent source of life, light, happiness and beauty – the
positive aspect of the creation. She destroys to re-create,
inflicts suffering so that the delight better reveals, and in her
fearful form one has the means of overcoming all fears, not by
escaping but by befriending them.

Light’s invocation is common to all religious orders and all
divinities; in Kali’s invocation, the devotee stands face to face
with darkness which aggregates death, destruction, suffering,
fear and all negative aspects of the universe. Not its prey but a
valiant warrior, the devotee seeks to overcome darkness and
uncover all that it conceals – light, life, delight, even
liberation from the cycle of birth and death. Kali assists him in
his battle. She allows her devotee to win her grace and command
thereby the total cosmic darkness – accessible or inaccessible,
known or unknown, or unknowable, that she condenses into her
being. Otherwise than thus condensed, the devotee could not
apprehend and command its cosmic enormity. Kali is Tantrikas’
supreme deity, for in her they discover the instrument which
enables them command diverse cosmic forces in one stroke. Kali’s
ages-long popularity among ignorant primitive tribes is inspired,
perhaps, by her power to reveal light out of darkness, something
that they have within and without and in great abundance. Other
way also, Kali assures light in perpetuity. Cyclically, a journey
that takes off from the light terminates into darkness but that
which takes off from the darkness is bound to land into the
valleys of endless light.

mother_goddess_kali_or87

Invoking and befriending the awful – the negative aspect of the
creation, and warding off thereby evils and their influence, is a
primitive cult still prevalent in world’s several ethnic groups
and even classical traditions such as Buddhism that has a number
of Kali-like awe-inspiring deities,

wrathful_vajrapani_with_wisdomfire_aureole_tp64

or Athenian tradition of Nemeses, the wrathful maidens inflicting
retribution for a wrong and effecting purgation by way of
wreaking ill-fate. Not with such cosmic width as has Kali, or for
the attainment of such wide objectives as commanding cosmic
elements, motifs like the Chinese dragon, memento mori, a
skeleton form considered very auspicious by certain sections of
Russian society, Islamic world’s semurga, grotesque and dreaded
animal forms, ghost-masks. venerated world-over, all reveal man’s
endeavor to befriend, or mitigate the influence of some or the
other wrathful aspect of nature – the manifest cosmos.

Origin Of Kali

Not merely her form, mysticism enshrouds Kali’s origin also.
Among lines on which her origin has been traced three are more
significant, though she transcends even those. She is sometimes
seen as a transformation, or a form developed out of some of the
Vedic deities alluded to in Brahmins and Upanishads, mainly
Ratridevi, the goddess of dark night, also named Maha-ratri, the
Transcendental Night,and Nirtti, the cosmic dancer. Kali’s darker aspect is claimed to
have developed out of Ratridevi’s darkness, and her dance, which
she performed to destroy, to have its origin in the cosmic dance
of Nirtti who too trampled over whatever fell under her feet.
Mundaka Upanishad talks of seven tongues of Agni, the Fire-god,
one of them operating in cremation ground and devouring the dead.
Over-emphasizing the factum of association of Kali and this
tongue of Agni with cremation ground a few scholars have sought
in Agni’s tongue the origin of Kali’s form.

tantric_devi_series__kalaratri__the_cosmic_night_he15

Whatever variations in their versions, the Puranas perceive Kali
as an aspect of Devi – Goddess, a divinity now almost completely
merged with Durga. However, considering Kali’s status as a
goddess within her own right, as well as her wide-spread
worship-cult prevalent amongst various tribes and ethnic groups
scattered far and wide in remote rural areas Kali seems to be an
indigenous, and perhaps, pre-Vedic divinity. As suggests the term
Kali, she appears to be the feminine aspect of Kala – Time, that
being invincible, immeasurable and endless has been venerated as
Mahakala – the Transcendental Time, represented in Indian
metaphysical and religious tradition by Shiva. In Hindu religious
terminology Mahakala is Shiva’s just another name. Like Shiva,
some Indus terracotta icons seem to represent a ferocious female
divinity that might be Kali or a form preceding her, and in all
probabilities, Shiva’s feminine counterpart. Buddhism, a thought
that opposed Vedic perception in most matters, inducted into its
pantheon Mahakala and a ferocious female divinity in her various
manifest forms, as Mahakala’s feminine counterpart. Obviously,
Buddhism must have inducted her from a source other than the
Vedic, as the Vedic it vehemently opposed. Invoked with great
fervor on many occasions in the Mahabharata, more especially in
Bhishma-Parva, just before Lord Krishna delivers his Gita sermon,
Kali seems to be a well established divinity during the Epic
days, that is, centuries before the Puranic era began. Though
invoked as ‘Arya’, a term denotative of great reverence, Arjuna
lauds her as tenebrous maiden garlanded with skulls, tawny,
bronze-dark. and with epithets such as Mahakali, Bhadrakali,
Chandi, Kapali ., the features yet relevant in Kali’s imagery. A
number of literary texts : Kalidasa’s Kumarasambhava, Subandhu’s
Vasavadatta, Banabhatta’s Kadambari, Bhavabhuti’s Malitimadhava,
Somadeva’s Yashatilaka., of the period from 2nd to 9th century,
also allude to Kali, a fact denotative of her great popularity in
realms other than religion. This Kali essentially transcends
Vedic Ratridevi, Maharatri, Nritti or one of Agni’s seven tongues
or a divine form grown out of any of them.

mahakali maa

However, Kali cannot be attributed this or that mode of origin.
Even if a goddess of indigenous origin and one of primitive
tribes, she has far greater width and operativeness than the
non-operative boon-giving primitive deities usually had. Unless
her absolute ‘at homeness’ in the traditional Hindu line and her
status in it are sacrificed she can not be treated as a mere
tribal deity with indigenous origin. Alike, the tradition can not
owe her as absolutely her own creation unless her status of being
a goddess in her own right is compromised and she is reduced to
what she is not. Whatever her origin, perhaps indigenous, Kali
emerges in the tradition as its own with far greater thrust and
reverence than it attributed to others. Not a mere epithet or
aspect of another goddess, Kali has been conceived as the
Shakti – Power of Kala – Time.  Like Kala she pervades all
things, manifest or unmanifest. Puranas perceive Kali as Durga’s
personified wrath – her embodied fury, but in every case she is
her real Shakti. Even her own fury, Durga summons Kali to
accomplish what she herself fails to do. After Durga separates
Kali from her being and Kali emerges with a form of her own – an
independent being, she reigns supreme in entire Hindu pantheon as
regards the power to destroy and defeat enemies.

devis_victory_hd58

Not merely Durga’s Shakti, Kali has been conceived also as Lord
Shiva’s dynamic aspect. In a delightful equation, ‘a’, the main
component of ‘Shava’ and ‘Kala’, negates what ‘i’, the main
component of ‘Shiva’ and ‘Kali’, accomplishes. Shava is the
lifeless body, whatever is left of the manifest universe when the
Power of Time takes it under its control, and Kala is what
reveals only in the manifest aspect of the universe, and thus,
both are ‘timed’. When ‘i’, symbolic of the feminine energy which
manifests as Kali, unites into their beings transforming Shava
into Shiva and Kala into Kali, both emerge as ‘timeless’. In
Shiva this universe is contained, and hence, in him, the
transition from the ‘timed’ to the ‘timeless’ takes place. Kali,
being the Power of Time, does not undergo this transition.

Kali In Puranas

Allusions to Kali occur in some early Puranas too, it is,
however, the 5th-6th century Devi-Mahatmya, a part of the
Markandeya Purana, which comes out with her more elaborate vision
in regard to her origin, appearance, personality, power and exploits.

mahakali

The Devi-Mahatmya comprises independent ‘Dhyana’ on Mahakali and
uses Kali’s names, such as Bhadrakali, Kalika, Chandika. as
epithets of Devi in its different parts; these are, however, two
episodes that give to her fuller exposure in regard to her
origin, role and other things. One of them relates to Chanda and
Munda, the ferocious demons she kills, and other, to Rakta-bija.

Defeated and thrown out of Devaloka – their abode, by demons
Shumbha and Nishumbha, erstwhile generals of Mahisha, gods lauded
Devi and invoked her to come to their rescue and free their abode
from the notorious demons. Devi, bathing in river Ganga as
Parvati, heard gods’ laudation and asked herself who they were
lauding, and when she so questioned, from her own being sprang up
a female form – a bewitching beauty that had unique luster,
teemed in great youthfulness, and was richly bejeweled and
brilliantly costumed. She replied that it was her they lauded.
She then proceeded to the region which demons of Shumbha’s army
swarmed and sat under a tree all alone. Hearing of her from a
messenger Shumbha intensely desired to marry her and sent to her
his proposal. However, the divine maiden sent back his messenger
with words that she would marry only such one who defeated her in
a battle. Thinking that a young maiden with no arms in hands was
hardly a challenge, Shumbha sent a small contingent to fight and
capture her. The Goddess defeated and destroyed it and one after
the other all contingents that followed. Finally, with a huge
army of demons under the command of their generals Chanda and
Munda Shumbha and Nishumbha themselves came to fight the Goddess.
Seeing Chanda and Munda advancing towards her the Goddess blazed
with fury. As the Devi-Mahatmya has it:

“From the knitted brows of her forehead’s surface
immediately came forth Kali,
with her dreadful face, carrying sword and noose,
she carried a strange skull-topped staff,
and wore a garland of human heads,
she was shrouded in a tiger skin, and looked utterly gruesome
with her emaciated skin,
her widely gaping mouth, terrifying with its lolling tongue,
with sunken, reddened eyes
and a mouth that filled the directions with roars.”

annihilation_of_demons_shumbha_and_nishumbha_hh87

The Goddess asked Kali to destroy demons’ army, Chanda and Munda in particular, on which Kali inflicted great destruction all around, danced on the corpses, killed Chanda and Munda and as trophies of war brought to the Goddess their severed heads. The Goddess attributed to Kali the epithet of Chamunda – destroyer of Chanda and Munda. Deaths of Chanda and Munda greatly infuriated Shumbha and Nishumbha and with all demons at their command, which included the demon Rakta-bija and others of his clan, they attacked the Goddess and surrounded her along Kali from all sides. To face their massive number the Goddess summoned Sapta-Matrikas – Seven Mothers, Brahmani, Maheshwari, Kumari, Vaishnavi, Varahi, Narsimhi and Aindri, the powers of all major gods, Brahma, Shiva, Skanda, Vishnu and Indra.

 matrikas_and_mahavidyas_battling_against_demons_he74 (1)

A fierce battle ensued but what upset the Goddess most was the multiplication of Rakta-bija who had a boon to the effect that a new Rakta-bija demon would rise from wherever a drop of his blood fell. Finally, the Goddess called Kali to drink the blood of Rakta-bija before it fell on the earth. With a gaped mouth devouring hosts of demons and a tongue extended into all directions and moving faster than did the demon Kali consumed every drop of blood oozing from the wounds of Rakta-bija.

 annihilation_of_raktabija_by_goddess_durga_and_hh44

Not Devi-Mahatmya alone, almost all Puranas, Agni and Garuda in
particular, venerate Kali as the goddess who assures success in
war and eliminates enemies.

Skanda Purana links Kali’s origin to Parvati. Initially Parvati
had dark complexion for which Shiva used to tease her every now
and then. One day on being addressed twice as Kali –
black-complexioned, Parvati deserted Shiva. She said that she
would not return unless she got rid of her black complexion.
After Parvati left, Shiva felt very lonely. Taking advantage of
her absence and Shiva’s loneliness a demon named Adi, who was
looking for an opportunity to kill Shiva and avenge his father’s
death, disguised as Parvati and managed to enter into Shiva’s
chamber. It took some time but Shiva identified the demon, and
soon killed him. Meanwhile by rigorous penance and with Brahma’s
help Parvati was able to cast off her outer black sheath and from
inside emerged her golden form. Now Gauri – golden-hued, she came
back to Shiva. Gods, looking for a female form to kill Mahisha,
transformed with their luster this black sheath of Parvati into
Kali and after she had accomplished gods’ errand Parvati banished
her to the region beyond Vindhya Mountain. Here she became known as Katyayani

goddess_kali_suckling_lord_shiva_dg78

The Linga Purana contains yet another episode responsible for
Kali’s origin. A demon named Daruka had a boon that no other than
a woman would kill him. In view of reports of his atrocities
reaching him, Shiva one day asked Parvati to kill him. Thereupon
Parvati entered into the body of Shiva and from the poison
contained in his throat transformed herself and re-appeared as
Kali. She gathered an army of flesh-eating Pishachas and with
their help destroyed Daruka. The Skanda Purana further expands
the legend. Kali did not stop destruction even after killing
Daruka. Intoxicated by consuming poison and demon’s blood Kali,
uncontrollable as she was, went crazy and by her destructive
activities endangered cosmic equilibrium. Finally, Shiva
transformed himself as one of Kali’s own forms and sucked from
Kali’s breasts all poison after which she became quiet.

the_dance_of_shiva_and_kali_hc74

Though in a different context, an identical tradition prevails in
South India. After defeating Shumbha and Nishumbha Kali retired
to a forest with her retinue of fierce companions and began
terrorizing surroundings and its inhabitants. A Shiva’s devotee
went to him with petition to get the forest free of Kali’s
terror. When Kali refused to oblige Shiva claiming that it was
her domain, Shiva asked her to compete him in dance to which Kali
agreed, though unable, or perhaps unwilling, to reach Shiva’s
energy level she got defeated and left.

Though insignificantly, Kali’s origin has been linked also with Sati, Shiva’s first consort, and Sita, consort of Lord Rama. Insulted by her father Daksha the infuriated Sati rubbed her nose in anger and there appeared Kali. After conquering Ravana Rama was returning to Ayodhya. On his way, it is said, he confronted a monster that so much terrified Rama that in fear his blood froze. Thereupon Sita transformed herself as Kali and defeated it.

Kali : Appearance And Personality

Numerous are Kali’s manifestations; however, her external
appearance, both in texts as well as art, basic nature and
overall personality do not vary much. In her usual form the
black-hued Kali is a terrible awe-inspiring divinity frightening
all by her appearance. Except that some of her body parts are
covered by her ornaments, she is invariably naked. An emaciated
figure with long disheveled hair and gruesome face, Kali has been
conceived with any number of arms from two to eighteen, and
sometimes even twenty or more, though her more usual form being
four-armed. The four arms are interpreted as symbolizing her
ability to operate into and command all four directions, that is,
the cosmos in aggregate. She has long sharp fangs, alike long
ugly nails, a fire-emitting third eye on her forehead, a lolling
tongue and blood-smeared mouth, which, when expanded, not only
swallows hordes of demons but its lower part extends to ocean’s
depth and upper, beyond the sky. When required to lick blood
falling from a fleeing demon’s body she extends her tongue to any
length and turns it faster than the wind in whichever direction the blood falls.

the_annihilation_of_rakta_bija_df42

In her more usual iconography Kali carries in one of her four
hands an unsheathed sword – her instrument to overcome enemies
and command evils, in another, a severed demon head, and other
two are held in postures denotative of abhaya and varada –
fearlessness and benevolence. Sometimes, the severed head is
replaced with a skull-bowl filled with blood.

Abhaya is the essence of Kali’s entire being. One of the
permanent dispositions of her mind, ‘abhaya’ is her assurance
against all fears which, embodied in her, are rendered
inoperative or to operate only as commanded. Denotative of her
boundless power to destroy, Kali’s frightening aspect is her
power to dispel evil and wicked, and in this the freedom from
fear is re-assured. Kali’s usual place is a battlefield where all
around lay scattered pools of blood, headless torsos, severed
heads, arms and other body-parts. When not in battlefield, Kali
roams around cremation ground where reigns death’s silence except
when yelling winds, groans of wailing jackals or sound of
fluttering wings of vultures tearing corpses lying around break
it. Its abyssal darkness, which flames of pyres occasionally lit,
is what suits Kali most. In battlefield or otherwise, she walks
on foot. Except rarely when she borrows or forcibly takes Durga’s
lion or Shiva’s Nandi, Kali does not use a mount, an animal or
whatever, either to ride or to assist her in her battle. She
dances to destroy and under her dancing feet lay the corpse of
destruction. Standing or seated, she has under her a sprawling
ithyphallic corpse, not lotuses, the favorite seat of most other
deities. She stands upon nonexistence – the corpse of the ruined
universe, but which nonetheless contains the seed of new birth.

mahakali2

In her imagery while the corpse represents non-existence or
ruined universe, Kali’s figure engaged in union either with Shiva
or his Shava symbolize continuum of creative process. The
manifest universe is what veils Time but when Kali, the Power of
Time, has destroyed the manifest universe, that veil is lifted
and Time, and correspondingly Kali, the Power of Time, is
rendered naked, a phenomenon that Kali’s naked form denotes.

By nature, Kali is always hungry and never sated. She laughs so
loud that all three worlds shake with terror. She dances madly
not merely trampling upon corpses but also on the live cosmos
reducing it to non-existence. She crushes, breaks, tramples upon
and burns her enemies or those of her devotees. Kali is not only
a deity of independent nature but is also indomitable, or rather
all dominating. She is Shiva-like powerful, unconventional and
more at home when dwelling on society’s margins. Aspects of
nobility or elite life-mode are not her style of life. She is
Shiva’s consort or companion but not Parvati-like meek and
humble. Herself wild and destructive, she incites Shiva to resort
to wild, dangerous and destructive behavior threatening stability
of cosmos. Every moment a warrior, Kali does not miss any
opportunity of war; She is one of Shiva’s warriors in his battle against Tripura.

Kali’s Forms

Far more than in texts, a huge body of Kali’s mythology has
evolved in Kali-related tradition. Apart that a rough-cut crude
image of Kali painted in black, and the tongue, in blood-red,
occupies a corner in every hamlet, even with a dozen hutments, it
also abounds in tales of her mysterious powers, both inflicting
damage and protecting from harm. More significant is her presence
in Indian art where she underlines many important Hindu themes.
What sometimes occur in texts as mere epithets of Kali are in
Indian arts her well established forms. Mahakali, Bhadrakali,
Dakshina Kali, Guhyakali, Shmashana Kali, Bhairavi,
Tripura-Bhairavi, Chamunda. are some of her more popular forms in
texts as well as art.

goddess_shri_bhairavi_devi_hi68

In her Mahakali form, an equivalent to Mahakala, the all-powerful
aspect of Shiva, who devours time and effects dissolution, Kali
is Mahakala’s feminine transform. In her form as Mahakali she
presides over the Great Dissolution which Shiva in the form of
Shava symbolizes.

mahakali mataji

In art, Kali invariably enshrines it. Initially, as Mahakali her
role was confined to demon-slaying. In Puranas, while still
representing dissolution, destruction, death and decay, she more
emphatically personified in her being horror, awe and
loathsomeness. She still slew demons but mostly when summoned and
in subordination.

In her form as Chamunda – the slayer of Chanda and Munda, she was
most ferocious multi-armed demon-killer. She carried in her hands
most deadly weapons and in her eyes a luster that burnt her enemies.

As Shmashana Kali, a form more popular in Tantrism, Kali haunts
cremation ground amidst burning pyres – the interim domain in
between this and the next world and where death and dissolution reign.

kali_mahakali_or_shmashanakali_hu27

As Tripura-Bhairavi, consort of death, Kali is conceived with a
form wearing a large necklace of human bodies, a shorter one of
skulls, a girdle of severed hands, and ear-rings of the corpses
of infants. Around her lie a greater number of corpses and feed
on them wily jackals and vile vultures. Sometimes in loincloth,
Tripura-Bhairavi is more often covered in elephant skin and
carries other Shaivite attributes.

Elaborately jeweled Dakshina Kali also wears a long necklace of
severed heads, a girdle of unusually small severed arms and a
couple of corpses as ear-rings, but instead of being gruesome her
figure comprises smooth perfectly proportioned fully exposed
youthful limbs. She stands on the body of a supine ithyphallic
Shiva stretched out on an already burning pyre in cremation
ground where scavenging birds hover and jackals roam. Dakshina
Kali carries in one of her hands a sword, in another, a human
head, and other two are held in abhaya and varada. Bhadra Kali,
the auspicious one, Kali’s majestic, benign, benevolent and mild
form, has been conceived with arms varying in number usually two
to four. She often carries two bowls, one for wine and other for
blood. Kali’s form that gods, even Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma,
worship is invariably her Bhadra Kali form. The delightful one,
she joyously drinks, dances and sings.

guhyakali__the_secret_form_of_goddess_kali_tm37

Guhyakali, literally meaning ‘Secret Kali’, is Kali’s esoteric
aspect, which only those well versed in the Kali tradition know.

In the related ‘Dhyana’ – the form that reveals when meditating
on her, snakes constitute a significant part of her attire and
adornment. Her necklace, sacred thread, girdle, all are made of
serpents, and the thousand hooded serpent Ananta makes her
umbrella.  Apart, her form assimilates other Shaivite attributes
to include crescent on her forehead. In visual representation,
instead of snakes’ pre-eminence, Guhyakali is identified by the
Kali-yantra invariably represented along with.

Kali In Yoga And Tantra

Kali has quite significant place in Yoga and Tantra, though in
Yoga her status is not that high as in Tantra. Kundalini-sadhana,
kindling of Kundalini – dormant energy seen as black serpent that
lies coiled and asleep in the inner body, is the prevalent
practice in both but it is the very basis of Yoga. The Yoga
perceives Kali as Kundalini Shakti. Kali is thus the basis of
Yoga, though beyond such equation it does not involve Kali any
further. Tantra seeks its accomplishment in Ten Mahavidyas – the
Great Wisdoms, Kali, being the foremost among them, is the most
significant deity of Tantra.

the_ten_mahavidyas_with_yantras_dh50

Kali’s disruptive behavior, unkempt appearance, confronting
activities and involvement with death and defilement are what
better suit Tantra, especially the Vamachara Tantrism. Kali’s
form that contains in an unclean or even unholy body-frame the
highest spiritual sanctity helps Tantrika to overcome the
conventional notion of clean and unclean, sacred and profane and
other dualistic concepts that lead to incorrect nature of
reality.  Yogini-Tantra, Kamakhya Tantra and Nirvana-Tantra
venerate Kali as the supreme divinity and Nirvana-Tantra
perceives Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva as arising from Kali as arise
bubbles from the sea.

mahakali1

To the Tantrika, Kali’s black is symbolic of disintegration; as
all colors disappear in black, so merge into her all names and
forms. Density of blackness – massive, compact and unmixed,
represents Pure Consciousness. Kali as Digambari, garbed in
space – in her nakedness, free from all covering of illusion,
defines to the Tantrika the journey from the unreal to the real.
In full breasted Kali, symbolic of her ceaseless motherhood, the
Tantrika discovers her power to preserve. Her disheveled hair –
elokeshi, are symbolic of the curtain of death which surrounds
life with mystery. In her garland of fifty-two human heads, each
representing one of the fifty-two letters of Sanskrit alphabets,
the Tantrika perceives repository of power and knowledge. The
girdle of hands, the principal instrument to work, reveals her
power with which the cosmos operates and in her three eyes, its
three-aspected activity – creation, preservation and destruction.
Both Kali and Tantra are epitome of unity of apparent dualism. As
her terrifying image, the negative aspect of her being and thus
of the cosmos, is the creative life-force, the source of
creation, so in Tantra-sadhana, the journey takes off from the
‘material’ to the apex – the ultimate.


This article by Sri P. C. Jain and Dr. Daljeet


For Further Reading:

1.. Mahabharata, Gita Press Gorakhpur
2.. Shrimad Devi Bhagavata, Chaukhambha Sanskrit Pratishthan, Delhi
3.. Devimahatmyam, tr. By Devadatta Kali, Delhi
4.. Dahejia, Vidya : Devi, The Great Goddess, Washington D.C.
5.. Menzies, Jackie : Goddess, Divine Energy, Art Gallery, NSW
6.. Kinsley, David  : Hindu Goddesses, Delhi
7.. The Ten Mahavidyas : Tantric Vision of Divine Feminine, Delhi
8.. Hawley, J. S. & Wulff, Monna Marie (ed) : Devi, Goddesses of India, Delhi
9.. Hawley, John S. & Donna M. Wolfe (ed) : Devi : Goddesses of India, Delhi
10.. Rosen, Steven J. (ed) : Vaishnavi, Delhi
11.. Mitchell, A. G.: Hindu Gods and Goddesses, London
12.. Mookarjee, Ajit & Khanna, Madhu : The Tantrika Way, Boston
13.. Kanwar Lal : Kanya and the Yogi, Delhi
14.. Upadhyaya, Padma : Female Images in Museums of Uttar Pradesh and Their Social Background, Delhi


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Atma Jñani (Sarva Devata Svarupini)

Visionary, Seer, Yogini, Komyo Reiki Do Ocuden, Peaceful way-shower-lightworker, High Priestess, optimist oriental dancer and tribal fusion lover, Fashion designer-stylist, arts+crafts addict, a secret kitchen witch, always in love with him<3

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