The Calinda was a voodoo dance brought to Louisiana from San Domingo and the Antilles by slaves.
Considered indecent by the respectable portion of the population, it was officially banned throughout the State in 1843, but continued to be performed for many years afterward. An early version of the Calinda was danced only by men, stripped to the waist and brandishing sticks in a mock fight while at the same time balancing upon their heads bottles of water. As soon as a dancer spilled a drop of his water he was banished from the field. Later the Calinda degenerated into a thoroughly lascivious performance.
Mo té ain négresse, Pli belle que Métresse. Mo té vole belle-belle Dans l'armoire Mamzelle.
I was a Negress, More beautiful than my mistress. I used to steal pretty things From Mamzelle's armoir.
"Dansé Calinda, Bou-doum Bou-doum, Dansé Calinda, Bou-doum Bou-doum, Dansé Calinda, Bou-doum Bou-doum! Dansé Calinda, Bou-doum Bou-doum!"
One of E.w. Kemble's 1885 conceptual drawings of what an earlier Congo Square Dance, "The Love Song" may have looked liked. Bou-doum Bou-doum was a sound meaning to fall down, when a Creole child took a tumble his mammy would say, 'He make bou-doum bou-doum on the floor.' They would amuse a child when bathing him by jumping him up and down in the water, saying, 'Ooh, the water is fine! You make bou-doum in the tub.' The child would shout with glee and Mammy would clap her hands and keep time with her feet, singing, 'Dansé Calinda! Bou-doum Bou-doum!' Belle-belle referred to any pretty article in a woman's wardrobe: dresses, ribbons or trinkets, any particularly feminine thing a slave girl might covet. Among the Dansé Calinda songs were those on the absurd side such as Jump, Bullfrog, Your Tail Will Burn.
Kalinda is a stick-fighting dance tradition practiced during Carnival in Trinidad and Tobago. It likely originated in the 19th century . Kalinda involves two fighters/dancers, each accompanied by a drummer and a chantwell singer. The chantwell singer's main purpose is to "trash-talk" the opponent fighter/dancer. The tradition helped to bring Carnival to the streets. Kalinda is probably related to Maculelê, an Afro-Brazilian stick-fighting dance. Unlike Kalinda, however, Maculelê used to be (and might sometimes still be) performed with machetes. Maculelê is historically related (although considerably different in execution) to Capoeira and Samba de roda. All three of these art forms evolved together in the Recôncavo Baiano
The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago is a nation in the southern Caribbean Sea, situated 11 km (7 miles) off the coast of Venezuela. It is an archipelagic state consisting of two main islands, Trinidad and Tobago, and 21 smaller islands. The larger and more populated island is Trinidad, while Tobago is smaller (303 square kilometres; about 6% of the total area) and less populous (50,000 people; 4% of the total population). Citizens are officially called Trinidadians or Tobagonians or Citizens of Trinidad and Tobago, but are informally referred to as Trinis or Trinbagonians. Unlike most of the English-speaking Caribbean, Trinidad and Tobago is a primarily industrialised country whose economy is based on petroleum and petrochemicals. People of Indian and African descent make up almost 80% of the population, while the remainder are mostly mixed race with small European, Chinese and Syrian-Lebanese minorities. Trinidad and Tobago is famous for its pre-Lenten Carnival and as the birthplace of steelpan and limbo. The capital city Port of Spain is currently a leading candidate to serve as the headquarters of the Permanent Secretariat of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA-ALCA).
Main article: History of Trinidad and Tobago Both Trinidad and Tobago were originally settled by Amerindians of South American origin. Trinidad was first settled by pre-agricultural Archaic people at least 7000 years ago, making it the earliest-settled part of the Caribbean. Ceramic-using agriculturalists settled Trinidad around 250 BCE and then moved up the Lesser Antillean chain. At the time of European contact Trinidad was occupied by various Arawakan- and Caribanspeaking tribes including the Nepoya, Suppoya and Yao, while Tobago was occupied by the Island Caribs and Galibi. The Amerindian name for Trinidad was Kairi or Iere which is usually translated as The Land of the Hummingbird, although others have reported that it simply meant island. Christopher Columbus encountered the island of Trinidad on July
31, 1498 and named it after the Holy Trinity. Columbus reported seeing Tobago, which he named Bella Forma, but did not land on the island. The name Tobago is probably derived from tobacco. The Spanish established a presence on Trinidad, but due to a lack of settlers, eventually allowed any Roman Catholic European to settle on the island, leading to substantial immigration from France and elsewhere. Meanwhile, Tobago changed hands between British, French, Dutch and Courlanders. Britain consolidated its hold on both islands during the Napoleonic Wars, and they were combined into the colony of Trinidad and Tobago in 1889. As a result of these colonial struggles Amerindian, Spanish, French and English place names are all common in the country. African slaves and Indian, Chinese, Portuguese and free African indentured labourers arrived to supply labour in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. Emigration from Barbados and the Lesser Antilles, Venezuela and Syria and Lebanon also impacted on the ethnic make-up of the country. Although originally a sugar colony, cacao dominated the economy in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. After the collapse of the cacao crop (due to disease and the Great Depression) petroleum increasingly came to dominate the economy. The Depression and the rise of the oil economy led to changes in the social structure. The presence of American military bases in Chaguaramas and Cumuto in Trinidad during World War II profoundly changed the character of society. In the post-war period, the wave of decolonisation that swept the British Empire led to the formation of the West Indies Federation in 1958 as a vehicle for independence. Chaguaramas was the proposed site for the federal capital. The Federation dissolved after the withdrawal of Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago elected for independence in 1962. In 1970, a number of students gathered in front of the Canadian Embassy to protest an application fee for students visas, in what at the time was a copycat of the 1960s civil rights movement in north america. The results are known today as the Black Riots of 1970. In 1976 the country severed its links with the British monarchy and became a republic within the Commonwealth. In 1990, 114 men of the Jamaat al Muslimeen, led by Yasin Abu Bakr, stormed the Trinidadian Parliament at the Red House, and the only TV Station in the country at the time, and held the country's government hostage for six days. The matter was sorted out, and the country has been largely at peace since. Petroleum, petrochemicals and natural gas continue to be the backbone of the economy. Tourism is the mainstay of the economy of Tobago, and the island remains a favorite destination for many European tourists. Trinidad and Tobago is one of the most prosperous nations in the Caribbean, although less so than it was during the "oil boom" between 1973 and 1983.
Trinidad and Tobago is famous for its pre-Lenten Carnival. It is also the birthplace of calypso music and the steelpan, which is widely claimed to be the only acoustic musical instrument invented during the 20th century. The diverse cultural and religious background allows for many festivities and ceremonies throughout the year. Other indigenous art forms include soca (a derivate of calypso), Parang (Venezuelan-influenced Christmas music), chutney, and pichakaree (musical forms which blend the music of the Caribbean and India) and the famous Limbo dance. The artistic scene is vibrant. Trinidad and Tobago claims two Nobel Prize-winning authors, V. S. Naipaul and St. Lucian-born Derek Walcott. Mas' designer Peter Minshall is renowned not only for his carnival costumes, but also for his role in opening ceremonies of the Barcelona Olympics, the 1994 Football World Cup, the 1996 Summer Olympics and the 2002 Winter Olympics, for which he won an Emmy Award.
Vodoun is the heritage of the ancient africans nations that were exiled in the new world. Its ways have been born throughout the darkest times by our forefathers in order to teach us how to live today and tomorrow. Vodoun is more than one thing, it is medecine, justice, police, it is art, dance, music as well as religious ritual. It is the common ground upon which we, the children of the african new world diaspora, stand together. It is perfectly ordinary to be Vodoun without being religious as one can be jewish and agnostic. So much so that in Haiti, the use of the word vodoun (or voodoo, vaudou, vodu etc.) is a sign of alienation. My ambition is to show the breadth and diversity of our vodoun soul. Not an easy task away from the cool shade of a mango tree in a warm caribbean afternoon. We will start with the obvious, the rituals. Be aware that in Haiti alone there are many ways to celebrate the invisible, and what I present doesn't pretend to universality. Let us start with the basics, with Bondjé, Lésen, Lézanj we will get through this. http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Delphi/5319/kalinda.htm
YAMUNA 1 (YAMUNĀṢṬAKAM)
1 MAY the daughter of Kalinda 2 ever cleanse my mind of its impurity, She whose waters, beauteous as the black body of the enemy 3 of Mura, 4 Cleanse the overgrowth of plants 5 and shrubs which line its pleasant banks. Indra's heaven compared with Thy waters is but a thing of straw. Destructress of the sorrow of the three worlds-Dhunotu me manomalam Kalindanandinī sadā. 6 2 May the daughter of Kalinda ever cleanse my mind of its impurity, She whose stream is highly adorned with over-flowing water Destructress of sin, dark as night, like unto nectar,
Greatly powerful for the destruction of all great sins, Beneficent One who is black of colour, Through company with the body of the good son of Nanda 1 Dhunotu me manomalam Kalindanandinī sadā. 3 May the daughter of Kalinda ever cleanse my mind of its impurity, The touch of whose shining waves washes away the sins of multitudes of beings. Devoted to Thee is the Cātaka bird, 2 receptacle that Thou art of freshness and sweetness. 3 Giver of desire, On the borders of whose banks swans ever dwell, Dhunotu me manomalam Kalindanandinī sadā. 4 May the daughter of Kalinda ever cleanse my mind of its impurity. The gentle breeze on Her banks dispels the lassitude Of those who have rambled and played 4 thereon. The beauty of Her waters is beyond the power of words; It is, indeed, the consortment with Her current,
Which purifies all rivers, male and female, 1 on the earth. Dhunotu me manomalam Kalindanandinī sadā, 5 May the daughter of Kalinda ever cleanse my mind of its impurity, Destroyed by (the whiteness of) Her sandy banks laved by Her waters; She who is ever white, 2 Adorned with blossoms beauteous as the rays of the autumn moon. 3 May She then purify me by Her waters, Most excellent that they are for the worship of Bhava, 4 (By her white splendour), 5 Destructress of the darkness of night 6 Dhunotu me manomalam Kalindanandinī sadā. 6 May the daughter of Kalinda ever cleanse my mind of its impurity. The paste and unguents of the beauteous Rādhikā 7 Colours Her waters in which Rādhikā plays.
Possessor is She of the body of the husband 1 of Rādhikā, Which by none other may be possessed. Skilled is She in making Her way through the seven sleeping oceans, And in filling them with waters 2-Dhunotu me manomalam Kalindanandinī sadā. 7 May the daughter of Kalinda ever cleanse my mind of its impurity! Her stream is beauteous with the women of the cowherds, 3 Made passionate 4 by the scent of the paste and unguent, Dropped therein from off the body of Acyuta, 5 Garlanded is She with clusters of Champak flowers,
Set in the flowing 1 hair of Rādhikā. Of all such as come to bathe in Her waters Neither is one the servant nor the other master. 2 Dhunotu me manomalam Kalindanandinī sadā. 8 May the daughter of Kalinda ever cleanse my mind of its impurity! Pleasant always is She with groves,
Where Nandanandi 3 ever played. 4 Bright is She with the ripened blossom Of the kadamba 5 and mallika 6 flowers upon Her banks. It is She who safely carries across the ocean of the world 7 All such men as bathe in Her stream. Dhunotu me manomalam Kalindanandinī sadā.
190:1 The river sacred in particular for its memories of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who on its banks sported with the cowherd women (Gopīs). 190:2 Yamunā. 190:3 Śrī Kṛṣṇa. 190:4 A Daitya slain by Śrī Kṛṣṇa. 190:5 Kunjapunja. 190:6 The refrain is translated in the first line. 191:1 The cowherd who brought up Śrīkṛṣṇa, when his life was threatened by Kamsa. 191:2 As to which see p. 184, note 7. 191:3 Literally, "who are slaves to Her by reason of their inhabitancy of Her banks" 191:4 After the rāsalīlā Śrīkṛṣṇa and the Gopīs are tired by their dance and play, and are refreshed by repose upon Her banks where gentle breezes blow. 192:1 Rivers are either male (nada) or female (nadī). Of the former class are the Sone, Sindu, etc., and of the latter Gangā, Narmadā, Gandakī, etc. 192:2 Her sandy banks are so. 192:3 Of a soft and silvery white. 192:4 For use in the ritual worship of Śiva. 192:5 Malam (manomalam). Impurity is a thing which is dark. The river by the white splendour of its white banks and blossoms is therewith contrasted. 192:6 For luminously white is She like the moon.
192:7 The beloved of Śrīkṛṣṇa. 193:1 Śrīkṛṣṇa; for He too bathes in her stream, which possesses also His dark colour. 193:2 Alluding to the destruction of the Asuras, called Kālakeya. These excluded the Devas from svarga. On their chiefs bring slain by Indra, they betook themselves to the depths of the ocean, whence they issued at night to destroy the Ṛṣis. The latter asked the aid of Viṣṇu, who told them to go to Agastya. He at one sip swallowed all the oceans, which thus disappeared (therefore "sleeping oceans" of text) until the River Ganges was brought down by Bhagīratha when they were again filled with Her waters. This incident is attributed to the Yamunā, both rivers being manifestations of the same Devī. 193:3 Literally, Ali, which, according to the Amarakośa = Sakhi; female friend, referring to the Gopīs who loved Krishna. 193:4 Lampata; Whose senses were roused by the scent of the pastes which had fallen from the scented body of Kṛṣṇa. 193:5 Kṛṣṇa ("imperishable one"). 194:1 Vilola. Her hair is dishevelled and moving in the movements of breeze and play. 194:2 Literally, "In the case of those who come down to bathe in Her waters She ever destroys all righteousness of master and servant"--that is, all are equal in Her waters which purify all without distinction. 194:3 The text has Nandinandana, but this has no meaning. Nandanandi is He who pleases Nanda or Kṛṣṇa, whose foster-father Nanda the cowherd was. 194:4 With the Gopī women. 194:5 A beautiful flowering tree with yellow blooms under, and on which (as when he stole the garments of the bathing Gopīs) Kṛṣṇa played (See p. 169, note 2). 194:6 A kind of Jasmine. 194:7 See p. 16, note 1. Kalinda, Stick Fighting
Name: Kalinda, Stick Fighting Country: All Islands Notes: Kalinda - This is a stick fight with two individuals competing against each other with chanting and Acrobatic movements. A stick fight takes place in a gayelle, or circular area of cleared ground. Video reference: Banyan archives on Cultural Practice FESTIVALS AND RITUALS Hosein - Shi-ite Muslim festival in Trinidad & Jamaica 1977, 1986 and 2000 (January). Phagwa - Hindu spring festival in Trinidad & Guyana 1978 & 1988. Interviews, re-enactment of the legend of Holika, celebration of Holika, Chowtal singing and performance. Johnkunnoo - masquerade in Jamaica and Bahamas, Belize and Guyana. Divali - Hindu festival of lights in honour of Mother Lakshmi traditional village celebrations in Dow Village, California - Trinidad. La Marguerite and La Rose - Rival Flower festivals of St. Lucia 1986 & 1988. Ramleela - The story of the Holy Ramayana as 10 day community reenactment by the villagers of Dow Village, California, Trinidad. This drama has been enacted annually for 112 years. Bèlé - folk tradition, St. Lucia 1991. Trinidad & Tobago (1979), Martinique Orisha - Traditional African religion in Trinidad: various feasts and festivals including the ceremony of the Bull, feast of Oshun (1988), feast of Elephon (1989)and a pilgrimage (1986). Also Pilgrimage to Gasparee Caves (2000) and much more. St. Peter's day festivities in Matelot, isolated fishing village on North Coast of Trinidad. Fire Walking ceremony in Kali worship, Trinidad 1987. Kali healing (1988) and sacrifice and healing (1999 - 2000) Limbo, history and practice Trinidad 1983
Kite making. Top carving, making and playing. Steelband History and new technology. Stick fighting (Trinidad martial art). Cock Fighting. Kali worship. Sports & Games in the Caribbean. Hindu wedding - including village announcement house to house, groom's home activities, bride's home activities, ceremony and celebrations. About 20 tapes Trinidad 1986. Storytelling in Tobago, Jamaica, Cayman Islands, Guyana and in Trinidad.
There is scarcely enough room on my entire web site to identify and explain the long history of presumed and disputed interlinkages between the Saktiite, Saivite, and Tibetan Buddhist goddesses Durga, Kali, Parvati, Umar, Sati, Tara, Kurukulla, Candi, Ambika, et al, so it must suffice to begin by saying that Durga is a very fierce multi-armed warrior-mother-protector goddess who rides on a tiger or a lion;
• • • • •
Umar is an ancient Mountain-goddess; Sati is an ancient loving-wife Goddess; Parvati is a loving wife-and-mother goddess allied to Umar and Sat; Kali is depicted as naked, blood-thirsty, and wild-haired; and Kurukulla is a fierce Nepalese and Tibetan goddess much like Kali.
Each of these goddess is seen by some of her devotees as the supreme god-head, by others as a mere battle-born "aspect" of another female supreme god-head (e.g. Durga), and by a third group as the "true form" (or, contrariwise, a "mere aspect") of Parvati or Durga in her/their role as the Saki or Shanti (energy) or consort of the supreme god-head Shiva. KALI Although records of Kali's worship date back less than 2,000 years, it is widely assumed by scholars that she represents a survival of a Dravidian (pre-Aryan) goddess. Kali is typically shown as a deranged or wrathful half naked woman, and is often depicted dancing upon the corpse of her consort, the god Siva. She is multi-armed; her tongue protrudes; she wears a garland of skulls, holds a severed head in one hand, and brandishes a hooked blade called a kartri, along with other weapons. Yet to most of her devotees, she is a loving Mother, despite her ferocity. As i understand Sanskrit, strictly via secondary sources, Kali means "black" and kala (a different word) means "time" (hence, calendar). One can make a pun between Kali and kala, but they are not the same word. The Kali-kala pun gave rise to the idea that black Kali, the fierce cremation-ground goddess, is also the Mistress or even the Progenetrix of Time. PARVATI Parvati is an ancient mountain goddess, assocated with the Himalayas. She is similar to, but not
identical with, the mountain goddess Uma. In terms of her personality and relationship to the god Siva, she also shares some aspects with the fathful-wife goddess Sati. She is the mother of Siva's childen. According to some synctretically-minded Parvati-centered puranas, Kali was not an "original" goddess but came into being when Siva teased his mate Parvati about her dark skin and called her "blackie" (Kali). In response, she shed the black skin and became effulgently light -- and was given the epithet Gauri ("shining"). Her black skin then took on life and became the goddess Kali. Obviously this is a Parvati-centered story and not acceptable to those for whom wrathful or fierce Kali is the primary goddess!) DURGA Durga is an ancient grain-and-battle goddess who, in latter times (post 400 C.E.), was identified as a member of the Kali- Sati- Parvati- Durga- Gauri- Ambika- Uma- Candi class of goddess, all of whom are formerly regional "great" goddesses later syncretized as aspects of "the bride of Siva." In recognition of her origin as a grain goddess, in many Indian villages her effigies are placed on mounds of clay into which five types of grain have been pressed and embedded. She is said to only visit the villages once a year, during her annual festival, when she takes a vacation from her husband Siva. She is also a patroness of soldiers, and in some places a special feast day is set aside during which her blessings are invoked upon military weapons. As with all the other Hindu goddesses, there are many contradictory popular accounts of Durga's origin and exploits. One of the most common modrn tales of Durga's origin centers around her most famed feat, the killing of the man-monster Mahisha, who took the form of a bull and attacked the gods. It is said that for this battle, she was armed with the weapons of all the gods, non of whom could defeat the
demon because he was immune to death at the hands of a male. The medal above is from Thailand and depicts her as a multi-armed warrior-protector, riding her lion (alternatively, her tiger) -- here reduced to house-cat size -- and carrying the weapons of all the gods (the discus, noose, arrows, goad, and so forth) eventually cut the head off the demon with her kartri and then stabbed him to death with a spear, sometimes, as here, shown to be identical with the trident or trisula of the god Siva, her husband and consort. This medal is about 1 1/2 inches high, cast in brass, with a hanging loop at the top. In some male-centered tales, Durga herself did not exist until the threat posed by Mahisha caused all the male gods to donate portions of their life-force in order to create her. In these stories, Durga is said to have been formed from "the emanations of all the gods." Thus, she is seen as a lesser or junior member of the pantheon of deities. In another variant, a Parvati-centered purana, Parvati's black skin did not take on life of its own as Kali but instead became filled with "the emanations of all the gods" and took on a life of its own as Katyayani, a kindly version of Kali, who rides upon a tiger or a lion, just like Durga, who arose from "the emanations of all the gods." Thus it appears that Katyayani -- like the Mahavidyas (the ten aspects of Parvati) -- was someone's theological attempt to synthesize Kali, Parvati, and Durga into one entity, while giving Parvati primacy. Finally, in regard to Durga there is also an odd little magic number triangle that is her characteristic icon. It appears on dozens of Hindu devotionary prints and posters, usually below Durga's feet when she is shown riding her tiger (or lion) in her "beatific" pose. This little Durga-sigil often contains the word "Sri" inside, which links its origins to the worship of an ancient goddess named Sri, who now primarily identified with the goddess Laksmi as Sri-Laksmi, the goddess of good fortune and
monetary luck. Despite these cosmological inconsistencies, most of the wrathful Indian and Himalayan goddesses have in common an identification with blood sacrifices. In addition, many of their devotees attest to a deeply held belief that these goddesses are motherly and protective to any worshipers who can humbly surrender to them despite their fearful visages. In Nepal, Kurukulla/Kali masks are hung at doors and windows to protect family members. They are also a featured decoration in the households of devotees who wish to worship Durga, Kali, Parvati, Kurukulla, et al in a wrathful or fierce form. Kali ("the black one") is the Hindu mother goddess, symbol of dissolution and destruction. She destroys ignorance, maintains the world order, and blesses and frees those who strive for the knowledge of God. In the Vedas the name is associated with Agni, the god of fire, who had seven flickering tongues of flame, of which Kali was the black, horrible tongue. This meaning of the word has meanwhile been replaced by the goddess Kali, the grim consort of Shiva. Her appearance is fearsome: baleful eyes, a protruding tongue, and four arms. In her upper left hand she wields a bloody sword and in her lower left hand she holds the severed head of a demon. With her upper right hand she makes the gesture of fearlessness, while the lower right hand confers benefits. Draped around her is a chain of severed human heads and she wears a belt made of dismembered arms. As the Divine Mother she is often represented dancing or in sexual union with Shiva. As Bhavatarini, the redeemer of the universe, she stands upon the supine form of her spouse. Kali is worshipped particularly in Bengal. Her best known temples are in Kalighat and Dakshineshvara. Worship of the Terrible Mother The scene for true Kali worship takes place in a cremation ground where the air is smoke laden and little specks of ash from burning funeral pyres fall on white, sun-dried bones scattered about and on fragments of flesh, gnawed and pecked at by carrion beasts and large black birds. It is a frightening place for most,
but a favorite one for the "heroic" Mother worshipper who has burnt away all wordly desires and seeks nothing but union with her. This kind devotee fears nothing and knows no aversion. However, the majority of people are terrified by the Divine Mother's awe-inspiring grandeur, back lit by the fires in the cremation ground. Most people would rather worship her in a less threatening place, where
reality is a symbol rather than the truth. Instead, they go to temples, worship at roadside shrines, or worship own homes. They pray to the Divine Mother to grant them the boon of a child, money to feed the mouths of a hungry family, to grant them devotion and liveration from existence in misery. The beauty of the Dakshineswar Kali Temple is far removed from the dreary sight of an active cremation ground. And, although the Goddess in this temple is the same Ma Kali as the feared one in the cremation ground, she is regarded as benign-a protrectress rather than a destroyer. While someone unfamiliar with the Shakti worship may perceive Kali's images as equally terrible without making the slightest distinction between them, the Hindu distinguishes a benign Kali (dakshina) from a fearful Kali (smashan) by the position of her feet. If Kali steps out with her right foot and holds the sword in her left hand, she is a Dakshina Kali. If she steps out with her left foot and holds the sword in her right hand, she is the terrible of the Mother, the Smashan Kali of the cremation ground. Why would anyone want to worship the terrible Mother of the cremation ground? According to Tantrics, one's spiritual disciplines practiced in a cremation ground bring success quickly. Sitting next to corpses and other images of death, one is able to transcend the "pair of opposites" (good-bad, love-hate, etc) much faster than another person who blocks out the unpleasant aspects of life. The cremation ground's ghastly images arouse instant renunciation in the mind and help the Tantric to get rid of the attachment for the body.
Kali is one of the most misunderstood forms of God. The ordinary Western mind perceives Kali as Hideous and absurd, forgetting that some of the symbols of Western faiths have the same effect on the Hindu. While Christians believe in a God that is all good and a devil that is all bad, Hindus believe in only one Universal Power which is beyond good and bad. Kali is the full picture of the Universal Power. She is Mother, the Benign, and Mother, the Terrible. She creates and nourishes and she kills and destroys. By Her magic we see good and bad, but in reality there is neither. The whole world and all we see is the play of Maya, the veiling power of the Divine Mother. God is neither good nor bad, nor both. God is beyond the pair of opposites which constitute this relative existence. The Tantras mention over thirty forms of Kali. Sri Ramakrishna often spoke about the different forms of Kali: The Divine Mother is known as Kali-Ma, the Black Goddess, Maha Kali, Nitya Kali, Smashana Kali, Raksha Kali, Shyama Kali, Kalikamata, and Kalaratri. Among the Tamils she is known as Kottavei. Maha Kali and Nitya Kali are mentioned in the Tantra philosophy. When there were niether the creation, nor the sun, the moon, the planets, and the earth, when the darkness was enveloped in darkness, then the Mother, the Formless One, Maha Kali, the Great Power, was one with the Maha Kala, the Absolute. Shyama Kali has a somewhat tender aspect and is worshipped in Hindu households. She is the dispenser of boons and the dispeller of fear. People worship Raksha Kali, the Protectress, in times of epidemic, famine, earthquake, drought, and flood. Shamshan Kali is the embodiment of th epower of destruction. She resides in the cremation ground, surrounded by corpses, jackals and terrible female spirits. From her mouth flows a stream of blood, from her neck hangs a garland of human heads, and around her waist is
a girdle made of human arms. Tantrics worship Siddha Kali to attain pefection. Phalaharini Kali to destroy the results of their actions; Nitya Kali, the eternal Kali, to take away their disease, grief, and suffering and to give them perfection and illumination. There are many forms of Kali. Each district, town, and village in Bengal seems to have its very own Kali famous for a particular miracle or incident. Robbers and thieves have their own Kali. Not so many years ago, robbers lived in Indian woods and had the habit of worshipping Dakait Kali before they went to rob people on highways and in villages. Some of these old Kali images have survived time and are still being wroshipped, though for other reason originally intended. Kali's Symbols: The name Kali comes from the word "kala," or time. She is the power of time which devours all. She has a power that destroys and should be depicted in awe-inspiring terror. Kali is found in the cremation ground amid dead bodies. She is standing in a challenging posture on the prostrate body of her husband Shiva. Kali cannot exist without him, and Shiva can't reveal himself without her. She is the manifestation of Shiva's power, energy. While Shiva's complexion is pure white, Kali is the color of the darkest night-a deep bluish black. As the limitless Void, Kali has swallowed up everything without a trace. Hence, she is black. Kali's luxuriant hair is dishevelled and, thereby, symbolizes Kali's boundless freedom. Another interpretation says that each hair is a jiva (individual soul), and all souls have their roots in Kali. Kali has three eyes; the third one stands for wisdom. Kali's tongue is protruding, a gesture of coyness-because she unwittingly stepped on the body of her husband Shiva. A more philosophical interpretation: Kali's tongue, symbolizing rajas (the color red, activity), is held by her teeth, symbolizing sattva (the color white, spirituality). Kali has four arms. The posture of her right arms promises fearlessness and boons while her left arms hold a bloody sword and a freshly severed human head. Looking at Kali's right, we see good, and looking at her left, we see bad. Kali is portrayed as naked (clad in space) except for a girdle of human arms cut off at the elbow and a garland of fifty skulls. The arms represent the capacity for work, and Kali wears all work (action), potential work, and the results thereof around her waist. The fifty skulls represent the fifty letters of the alphabet, the manifest state of sound from which all creation evolved. One shouldn't jump to the conclusion that Kali represents only the destructive aspect of God's power.
What exists when time is transcended, the eternal night of limitless peace and joy, is also called Kali (Maharatri). And it is she who prods Shiva Mahadeva into the next cycle of creation. In short, she is the power of God in all His aspects.
Sri Sarada Devi...She was very quiet and dignified. People didn't think of the quiet consort of Sri Ramakrishna as mad, God intoxicated saint. Outwardly, Sri Sarada Devi, or the Holy Mother as her devotees her call her, rarely showed any signs of the mad passionate love Sri Ramkrishna and other Kali saints exhibited in their lives. On the contrary, Holy Mother liked to hide herself and her sweet divinity. When spoke of, in her presence, as a divine being, she would stop the flattering words and say that she was what she was only because the Master had given her shelter at his feet. The veil with which she always hid her face in public seemed to be symbolic of the profound veil of modesty with which she loved to hide her own towering greatness. It was for this reason that Sri Ramakrishna, in fun, likened her to a cat that loved to hide its real color with ashes. The Holy Mother lived her early life simply and joyously in the small village of Jayrambati. Being a Child bride, she quietly prepared herself for the time when she was going to leave her parents' house and move in with her husband. When nasty gossip about Sri Ramakrishna's madness reached Jayrambati, the Holy Mother often overheard women at the well discussing her husband's state of mind. The Holy Mother, on her way to meet Sri Ramakrishna, was unused to walking such a great distance and fell ill after a couple of days and had to take shelter in a rest house. A divine vision came to her in her hour of dejection and cheered her up. As the Holy Mother lay on the bed, she saw a dark woman of peerless beauty sitting by her caressing the Mother's head and body with
her soft, cool hands. It seemed to remove all her pain. The Mother asked the vision where she was from and the stranger replied from Dakshineswar. The Holy Mother told the vision that she was going to meet her future husband but was afraid she wouldn't make it. The vision told her not to worry, that she would recover soon and that she had been keeping him there for her. The Holy Mother had visions of Kali throughout her life and it is safe to say that she was aware of her own divinity at all times. She lived like every other Indian woman-cooking, cleaning, and taking care of family of affairs-yet when anyone came in contact with her they felt something special. A few fortunate individuals in the form of Kali. Researcher: Akasha Source of information: Kali: the Black Goddess of Dakshineswar...Elizabeth U. Harding Kali Ma, called the "Dark Mother In Hinduism Kali's three functions are assigned to the gods: Brahma, the creator; Vishnu, the preserver; and Shiva, the destroyer. It is noted that Vishnu, who is thought to have brought the world out of the primal abyss, wrote the following about Kali: "Maternal cause of all change, manifestation, and d estruction…the whole Universe rests upon Her, rises out of Her and melts into Her. From Her crystallized the original elements and qualities which construct the apparent world. She is both mother and grave… The gods themselves are merely constructs out of Her maternal substance, which is both consciousness and potential joy." As a Mother, Kali was called Treasure-House of Compassion (karuna), Giver of Life to the World, the Life of all lives. Despite the popular western belief that she is just a Goddess of destruction, she is the fount of every kind of love, which flows into the world through women, her agents on earth. Thus, it is
said of a male worshipper of Kali, "bows down at the feet of women," regarding them as his rightful teachers. Some say the name Eve perhaps originated from Kali's leva or Jiva, the primordial female principle of manifestation; she gave birth to her "first manifested form" and called him Idam (Adam). She also bore the same title given to Eve in the Old Testament: Mother of All Living (Jaganmata). Although referred to as "the One," Kali was always a trinity Goddess: Virgin, Mother, and Crone. This triad formed perhaps nine or ten millennia ago has been manifested in many cultures: the Celts with their triple Morrigan, the Greeks with their triple Moerae, the Norsemen with their Norms, the Romans with their Fates and triadic Uni (Juno), the Egyptians with their triple Mut, and the Arabian Moon-goddess. Kali can be identified everywhere. Her trinity is recognized in the Christian triple Godhead; some conclude this Godhead is all male, not nothing that in the Hebrew Old Testament the word for Spirit, ruwach, was of feminine gender. Blood sacrifice was important in the worship of Kali as they were in the worship of the early Biblical God, the commanded that the blood must be poured on his alters (Exodus 29:16) for the remission of sins (Numbers 18:9), but there were differences. Jewish priests ate the sacrificial meat themselves whereas the devotees of Kali were permitted to eat their own offerings as in Calcutta. Kali demanded only male animals be sacrificed; a custom dating back to the primitive belief that the male had no part in the cycle of generation. The god Shiva, Kali's sacrificial spouse, commanded that female animals must not be slain on the altar. Kali was the Ocean of Blood at the beginning of the world; she might be said to be the primordial mass from which all life arouse; and her ultimate destruction of the universe is prefigured by the destruction of each individual, though her karmic wheel always brought reincarnation. After death came nothing-at-all, which Tantric sages called the third of three states of being; to experience it was like the experience of
Dreamless Sleep. This state was also called "the Generative Womb of All, the Beginning and End of Beings." Kali devoured Time, she resumed her "dark formlessness," which appeared in all myths of before-creation and after-doomsday as elemental Chaos. The Tantric worshippers of Kali readily acknowledged and accepted her Curse; they willing accepted her terror of death as well as they accepted her beautiful, nurturing, maternal aspect. They knew the coin of life has two sides, life and death; one cannot exist without the other. Kali's sages communed with her in the grisly atmosphere of the cremation ground, to become familiar with the images of death. Her devotee would say, "His Goddess, his loving Mother, in time who gives him birth and loves him in the flesh, she also destroys him in the flesh. His image of Her is incomplete if he does not know her as his tearer and devourer." The name Kali Ma comes from Kalma, a hunter of tombs and eater of the dead, as she was called in Finland, also called the Black Goddess. European "witches" worshipped her in funeral places, for the same reasons, that the Tantric yogis and dakinis worshipped her in cremation grounds, as Smashana-Kali, Lady of the Dead. Former pagans adored her in cemeteries as the Black Mother Earth, where the Roman tombstones invoked her with the phrase Mater genuit, Mother receipt-the Mother bore me, the Mother took me back. Sometimes Kali, the Destroyer, wore red symbolizing the blood of the life that that she gave and took back: "as She devours all existence, as She chews all things existing with Her fierce teeth, therefore a mass of blood is imagined to be the apparel of the Queen of the Gods at the final dissolution." The gypsies in their worship of Kali, the Goddess of disease, clothed her in red, the proper color of gypsy funerals. A.G.H.