Who is Kali Devi ?
Worldwide famous for her powers, appearance and festivals, grandly celebrated in West Bengal, Kali Devi has a significant status in Hinduism.
She is the Goddess of immense powers, bestowing them upon her sincere devotees.
She is the goddess of the Tantra tradition (or worship and Tamasic mode of worship)
Her worship involves physical sacrifices and offerings which might be disturbing for some people to even hear.
Kali Devi’s benevolence can be understood by this short prayer.
The translated version of the prayer goes like this-
“Oh Devi Kali Devi, on a Tuesday midnight, whoever chants this mantra and makes an offering to you with utmost devotion, even once, with a single strand of their bodily hair, in the Cremation ground, such a devotee will become a great poet.
Indeed, he becomes a Lord of the earth, ever traveling seated on an elephant.”Powerful Kali-Verse-Translation
Mother Kali is a Hindu Goddess, the Chief presiding deity of all Tantric Practices.
She grew popular after Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa (great sage and mystics of modern times) encouraged Her deity worship.
Ramakrishna considered Kali Devi as his divine mother, under whose care he attained great spiritual heights, unparalleled in history.
Regarded by many as the primordial deity and the tutelary deity of many families of Indian origin, Kali Devi is famous in rural villages of India.
Kali Devi Form and Significance
Her representations are usually fierce but beautiful.
Many pictures of her are shown standing on the body of Lord Shiva, Her eternal consort.
She is shown with 4 hands, adorned with a necklace of skulls.
A girdle of human arms beautifies her body.
Bearing in hands an axe, a trident (a.k.a Trishul), a severed human head and a bowl of blood, Devi Kali’s fierce form depicts a constant battle.
Our life on the material planet is a constant battle and Devi Kali represents this very material world.
Her Physical appearance has the color of a thundercloud and Her protruding long tongue constantly drips with the blood of Her enemies.
Western education and its incompleteness has intercepted and interfered with the complete and pristine depth of the Indian ethos.
A lot of emphasis has been placed on the externalities of deities.
She became popular as the Hindu deity possessing a fierce form.
Therefore, the immensity of Devi worship has been far unexplored by the greater mass of society.
In the western Indian state of Bengal, Dakshina Kalika (दक्षिण कालिका) is the most popular worshipable form Kali Devi.
Her images in various colors, shapes and sizes are very popular in this Indian province.
Her guises are innumerable.
Some popular forms of Devi Kali are Bhadra ( भद्रा auspicious form ), Smashana (स्मशान burial ground image of Devi) and a host of others.
Spiritual Significance of Kali
Deities are the perfect and ideal representations of our existing smaller selves.
Devi Kali is a symbolic representation of our own fierce form of female energy, embedded within the neutrality of our souls.
If there is calmness, there is also turbulence.
If there is quietude there is also pandemonium. Night follows day.
This means that there are opposites.
If Laxmi Devi is one end of the spectrum then Devi Kali represents the other end of the same spectrum.
In short, there cannot be calm without ruffles.
If there is peace and light, the reason for its existence is verily strife and darkness.
Kali Devi is a “deity” who reminds us of the grimness of earthly existence.
She displays the experiences to survive on this material planet.
The famous writer Sir John Woodroffe (Arthur Avalon) in his famous writings known as the Garland of Letters quotes “ Kali is time personified, when time withdraws into itself.”
This statement is extremely profound and depicts the position of Kali Devi within the scheme of the universe.
Kali Devi (a.k.a) the Mother of the Universe because She is Time personified.
Without Time, there could be no universe.
Kali Devi and Tantra
Only via the Tantric traditions can we truly realize the form and qualities of Devi Kali.
Tantric texts talk of only one wholesome representation of the female and that is Devi Kali’s form.
In the Tantric text, Kulachudamani Tantra (कुलचूड़ामणि), an agama of the Vedic Texts, Lord Shiva asks many questions to Devi Kali.
She answers all His questions for the sake of the mortal inhabitants of the material universe.
In eight short chapters of this Tantric text, Devi expounds the essence and importance of Her worship.
Yet a lot of mysticism and esotericism exists in Kali Devi Worship.
A great detail of the Shastra reveals astounding aspects of magical powers.
In ancient days Tantra worship was prevalent among the worshippers of Kali.
Kamakhya Devi and Tantra in Assam
The cult of Tantra was popular in the province of Assam since the time of the great Puranas.
The most popular temple in Assam, in those days, was the Devi’s Temple.
Devi Kamakhya Temple was famous for its great Tantra practices and rituals.
In the old days, Tantric Practices included offering human sacrifices at the Temple.
The Kalika Purana is full of descriptions of the great Kamakhya Temple of Assam.
In fact, the authenticity of this practice had become quite questionable as it had become the epicenter of the goriest sins.
After the Srimanta Sankardeva spread his Bhakti Movement, Tantra cult began to decline in Assam.
In the Kalika Purana, there is a description that only a person whose body was spotless, without any wounds or deficiencies can qualify as a satisfying gift for Mother Kali’s Tantra worship.
The person being sacrificed must be pure, and should not have any wound or injury.
There were gory descriptions of how to severe the head of such a Bali (goat, human-being, or any other animal) (बलि).
The prescribed methods in the Purana describes how to pull the heart out for the satisfaction of Devi.
The individuals of those days verily wallowed in gross misconception and took Adharma (अधर्म) to be Dharma (धर्म).
It also indicated the height of ignorance that passed for the “authentic Tantra” religion
As a result, they were not ready to forsake it at any cost, even if it meant total destruction of all other noble value systems.
The unfortunate thing is that even to this day, there are families who are steeped in these dark concepts.
Even today, some families of rural India hold on to this transgression, as if it were their very life.
Details of Kali Tantric Practices
A tantric adept in Tantra worship of Devi Kali, leaves his body to engage in sexual intercourse with the many aspects of Shakti or mystical energies.
This is an authentic or much needed norm for Kali worship in the real sense.
It is a verified practice in the Tantric traditions.
Similarly, animal sacrifice has a definite place in the Tantric practices of Kali worship.
There is mention of including the bone powder of a dead black cat in the preparation process of magical powder.
Tantric practices can be in short concluded by the 6 acts of
5) Driving away and
6) Facing death.
5 Interesting Tantra Siddhis
1. One main practice of the Kali Tantric rites, also known as Kali sadhana includes Parapurapraveshana (परपुरप्रवेषन).
This is a type of ritual that empowers the practitioner to revive a corpse!
2. There is a process of preparation of Anjan (अंजन), a type of salve for the eye, applying which the sadhaka or practitioner is bestowed with the power of seeing through rock solid walls with consummate ease.
3. There is a Khadaga Sadhana (खडग साधन), after completing which no sword, knife, dagger or any sharp objects can harm the sadhaka.
4. There is Khechari (खेचरी), on whose successful completion, the practitioner develops the power of getting his body lighter than a feather and being able to fly, thereafter.
5. Then there is Paduka Siddhi (पादुका सिद्धि)i, after the completion of which, the practitioner gets the ability to walk an infinite distance without ever getting tired.
His travel from one continent to another, is just a matter of stretching afoot.
He covers the entire distance in one step.
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