Goddess Kaali – Goddess of Destruction


When nothing existed and only darkness prevailed she existed. She is beyond duality. Time and Tide waits for none. In Hinduism we worship the Divine Masculine (Shiva – Consciousness) and the Divine Feminine (Adi Shakti – Energy). They both exist inside every living creature and their ultimate union provides liberation to one. The Divine Feminine and the Divine Masculine are worshipped in several forms. However the most worshipped among them is the Hindu Trinity which comprises a Creator, a Preserver and a Destroyer. The Creator again is divided into its masculine (Brahma) and Feminine (Saraswati) form. The Preserver in its masculine form is Vishnu and in its feminine form is Lakshmi and the destroyer in its masculine form is Mahesh and feminine form is Kaali. Today’s post is dedicated to Goddess Kaali Goddess Kaali is believed to be an incarnation of Adi Shakti in her fiercest form. Some scriptures mention her as the Supreme Mother from which everything emerged even Brahma Vishnu and Mahesh. She is the embodiment of time, destruction and death. She is shown as a slayer of demons which symbolize that she eliminates the demon-like qualities within us and helps the soul attain liberation. She is the destroyer of our false ego and our view of a self-centered Universe. She and Shiva together show us the ultimate reality and shatters our attachment to our bodies. Goddess Kaali or Mother Kaali is depicted as a Divine Mother also, especially in East India where she is shown to be fiercely protective of her babies. Saint Ramakrishna was a very big devotee of Goddess Kaali. Goddess Kali would visit Ramakrishna often and pamper him like a mother. It is said that Ramakrishna was so attached to Mother Kaali that he would weep for hours when she left him and waited like a child for Mother Kaali to return. There are different stories about the origin of Goddess Kaali. In one story she erupts out of Goddess Durga’s Third Eye. While fighting the great demon Mahisasur (Buffalo Demon), Goddess Durga completely emerged in the emotion of rage and wrath. This is when Kaali erupts from her. She is the most fearful form of her. Kaali goes on to kill all the demons she finds on her way. She slays the great demons like Chanda and Munda along with many other demons and drinks their blood to quench her thirst. However soon her rage became uncontrollable. She was on the brink of destroying everything. This is when Lord Shiva prostrates and lies down beneath her foot. Seeing her consort under her feat she calms down. Out of shame she pulls her tongue out as a sign of embarrassment. In another version she is a form of Parvati who incarnates to kill a demon named Raktabeej. Raktabeej had become invisible and even the Gods had started fearing him. Raktabeej had a boon that only a female could kill him. This is when the Gods approach Parvati. Parvati merges with Shiva and comes out as Kaali after consuming the Halahala (poison) Shiva had consumed during Samudra Manthan. Then she strikes a battle with Raktabeej. Raktabeej was not dying as every drop of his blood that fell onto the ground made a carbon copy of his. Hence Kaali beheaded him and ensured all she drank all his blood so that nothing could fall on the ground. This is how she restored the balance in the Universe. Saint Ramakrishna was one of the biggest devotees of Mother Kaali. All he longed for was to see her someday. As he grew up he started working as a priest in a newly constructed Kaali temple in Kolkata. He worshipped with utter devotion and prayed for a vision of her. One day he decided to kill himself with a sword but before the sword could touch him he fell unconscious and went into a divine trance where Mother Kaali visited him. The beautiful encounter transformed Ramakrishna completely. He claimed that Goddess Kaali stayed within him and there were two souls inside his body, one of his and other of Goddess Kali. He would frequently get into a divine trance to accompany her. He saw everything as a manifestation of her. He developed great mystic powers and could change his form in front of others. The temple of Dakhineshwar is one of the most famous Kaali temples in Kolkata where Ramakrishna Paramhansa worked as a priest during his lifetime. Goddess Kaai is the principal deity for devotees practicing Tantra. People from the tantric sect meditate upon her in cremation grounds. She is known as Shamshan Kaali there which is the fiercest form of her. They believe that worshipping this form of her will expedite Moksha or Salvation. Goddess Kaali is also one of the ten forms of Goddess Parvati and worshipped during Navaratri. The main festival in her honor is Kaali Puja which is celebrated on a new moon day in the month of Kartik.


Art Credit: DeviantArt

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