Millions of Indians see Kali as both benevolent and malevolent. She is Mother to her
devotees and Death to their enemies. During the British Raj, Kali worshippers were
discredited as renegade Thuggies. Were these simply zealots the British could not control
by political means or were they freedom fighters united under a religious banner? Or, were
they really just very clever roughs as the British accused? British policy was very clear,
oppose their rule and you are a traitor to your own country!
Kali, the Dark One.
West associates black, dark, colours with evil. Hinduism sees
black as the colour which unifies all other colours.
Science sees black as the colour
which attracts energy.
Kali worshippers see the dark maiden as one who eclipse's the
powers of her enemy and raises hopes in the hearts of her devotees.
Bearing the standard
for the oppressed, She seeks to restore balance in a world that has gone too far.
Rama-Krishna Paramhansa described her as the most beautiful, kind, considerate, passionate
mother of mankind.
Like a diamond, Kali is both hard and beautiful. She too has many
facets, covering a myriad identities. It is for us to find the aspect of Kali that
appeals to us the most.
Good and evil, kind and cruel, severer and serine, none of these dualities are
There is no pure "black" or "white" in any of us,
there are always a thousand shades of grey in-between.
Goddess Kali embodies and amplifies
these characteristics so that we may see our-selves in her, and learn to balance our
precocious nature for good, rather than bad. A lioness is a merciless hunter to a
wildebeast and a doting, caring, parent to her cubs. Her teeth seek the jugular of her
prey and yet, when she picks up her child, the same teeth are so tender as to leave no
mark on their necks! Similarly, Kali is a frightful warrior for the forces of evil in the
universe, and she is a considerate mother to her devotees.
Kali has symbolised the overloaded creative energy. In her zeal to rid the world of
evil, she has taken on a frightful form. Her beautiful form is made fierce by being
covered in the blood and mire of battle. Devotees see this as an act of an overprotective
mother, butchering evil forces least they should harm her beloved children. Passion and
force of the female energy is seen in various forms in the Eastern religions. Kali is one
of the extreme forms of the feminine energy.
Yet, Western religions see this as a potential threat from the fairer sex.
religions do not try to contain/ restrain the female energy. They consider both male and
female to be equally essential in maintaining the overall balance of the universe.
Western theology has portrayed the female as an adversary. Since the time of Eve,
women have been attributed with such wily crafts as treachery, cunningness etc. They have
always been portrayed as a weaker vessel, object of men's desire and worthy of their
Eastern mythology sees the female as an equal partner, not just a spare rib. As
the active energy of the Universe, goddess reigns over such matters as knowledge, wealth,
health and war. Some of the most important positions of the Hindu, Buddhist and Jain
Pantheon are occupied by goddess. Some hold far greater powers and honours than many male
Potential energy of the Universe is defined as the "male" energy, and
kinetic energy is defined as the "female" energy.
Each is incomplete without the
Both are essential for the Universe to exist or survive.
Shiva, the potential of
the Universal Spirit, sits motionless.
Shakti, female - kinetic component of the Universal
Spirit, is the cause of "creation" as we know it.
Without the will and
determination of Shakti, also termed Maya (illusionary power of the Great Spirit), the
universe would not exist nor would it be constantly sustained.
Yet, it is not enough to
create and sustain any creation eternally. Dissolution is an equally important component
of this equation. Kali, in her various forms, prompts creation, assists sustenance and
helps in the general clear-up afterwards!
To most Eastern religions, death is not an end, it is merely a transitory period
between births. Hence, death holds none of the horrors described in the Sematic religions
( Judaism, Christianity and Islam ). As rebirth offers a fresh chance of making a good
life, death is often seen as a welcome chance to redo the things and make up for all the
short falls. As all life is seen to be illusionary, divine play set on a grand scale, life and
death are seen as a series of scenes, punctuated at intervals, to allow the actors to play
Kali is kind. She roams the funeral grounds, gathers the lost souls and reassigns
them their part in the universal play.
Her compassion is boundless.
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