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Who can comprehend the Divine paradox of Mother Kali? Fierce, black in color, la
rge, shimmering eyes, destructive, triumphantly smiling amidst the slaughter of
billions of demons, wearing a necklace of skulls and a skirt of severed arms, gl
owing effulgently like the full moon in the night sky, holding the head of a dem
on, a Trident that flashes like lightning and a knife etched with sacred mantras
and infused with Divine Shakti, Kali stands peaceful and content, suffused with
the fragrances of jasmine, rose and sandlewood!
Kali is the Guardian. The Protectress. The Mother. Kali is Dharma and Eternal Ti
me. Kali shines with the brilliance of a Million Black Fires of Dissolution and
Her body is bathed in vibuthi (sacred ash). Shiva is under Her Feet and the Grea
t Devotee, Ramprasad, envisioned Kali as stepping upon a demon that was transfor
med, by Kali's touch, into Lord Shiva Himself!
Just as the night sky appears black due to it's fathomless depth and as the ocea
n appears deep blue due to it's fathomless depth~ so too Kali appears dark due t
o Her Infinite depth. Kali assumes the form that reflects the attitude and bhava
(emotion) of the person who approaches Her. If Kali is appraoched with the bhav
a of Motherly Love, She assumes the form of Lakshmi. If Kali is approached as th
e Guru, embodying Wisdom, Art and Education, She assumes the form of Saraswati.
The demons approached Kalika with the bhava of destruction and evil. Consequentl
y, the Divine Mother assumed the form of their Destruction by reflecting, in for
m, their own Evil. In truth, Kali is all of these forms and beyond them. It is f
or this Ever-Loving, Evil-Dispelling, Supreme Manifestation of Dharma, Mother Ka
li, for whom this site is dedicated. Enjoy and much Peace to you!
Scriptural References to Kali
Kali is thought to have originated as a tribal goddess indigenous to one of Indi
a's inaccessible mountainous regions. The Matsyapurana gives her place of origin
as Mount Kalanjara in north central India, east of the Indus Valley floodplain.
But owing to the late date of the Puranas' composition, this evidence regarding
Kali's place of origin cannot be taken as particularly reliable.
At least thousand years before the Matsyapurana, the name of Kali first appears
in Sanskrit literature between the eighth and fifth centuries BCE. The reference
, in Mundakopanishad 1.2.4, names Kali as one of the seven quivering tongues of
the fire god Agni, whose flames devour sacrificial oblations and transmit them t
o the gods. The verse characterizes Agni's seven tongues as black, terrifying, s
wift as thought, intensely red, smoky colored, sparkling, and radiant. Significa
ntly, the first two adjectives -- kali and karali -- "black" and "terrifying," r
ecur in later texts to describe the horrific aspect of the goddess. Karali addit
ionally means "having a gaping mouth and protruding teeth." This verse scarcely
suffices to confirm that Kali was a personified goddess during the age of the Up
anishads, but it is noteworthy that the adjective that became her name was used
to characterize an aspect of the fire god's power.
Kali first appears unequivocally as a goddess in the Kathaka Grihyasutra, a ritu
alistic text that names her in a list of Vedic deities to be invoked with offeri
ngs of perfume during the marriage ceremony. Unfortunately, the text reveals not
hing more about her.
During the epic period, some time after the fifth century BCE, Kali emerges bett
er defined in an episode of the Mahabharata. When the camp of the heroic Pandava
brothers is attacked one night by the sword-wielding Asvatthaman, his deadly as
sault is seen as the work of "Kali of bloody mouth and eyes, smeared with blood

and adorned with garlands, her garment reddened, -- holding noose in hand -- bin
ding men and horses and elephants with her terrible snares of death" (Mahabharat
a 10.8.64-65). Although the passage goes on to describe the slaughter as an act
of human warfare, it makes clear that the fierce goddess is ultimately the agent
of death who carries off those who are slain.
Kali next appears in the sacred literature during the Puranic age, when new thei
stic devotional sects displaced the older Brahmanical form of Hinduism. In the f
ourth and fifth centuries CE the Puranas were written to glorify the great deiti
es Vishnu, Shiva and the Devi -- the Goddess -- as well as lesser gods. One such
Purana, the Markandeya, contains within it the foundational text of all subsequ
ent Hindu Goddess religion. This book within a book is known as the Devimahatmya
, the Shri Durga Saptashati, or the Chandi.
The Devimahatmya's seventh chapter describes Kali springing forth from the furro
wed brow of the goddess Durga in order to slay the demons Chanda and Munda. Here
, Kali's horrific form has black, loosely hanging, emaciated flesh that barely c
onceals her angular bones. Gleaming white fangs protrude from her gaping, bloodstained mouth, framing her lolling red tongue. Sunken, reddened eyes peer out fr
om her black face. She is clad in a tiger's skin and carries a khatvanga, a skul
l-topped staff traditionally associated with tribal shamans and magicians. The k
hatvanga is a clear reminder of Kali's origin among fierce, aboriginal peoples.
In the ensuing battle, much attention is placed on her gaping mouth and gnashing
teeth, which devour the demon hordes. At one point Munda hurls thousands of dis
cusses at her, but they enter her mouth "as so many solar orbs vanishing into th
e denseness of a cloud" (Devimahatmya 7.18). With its cosmic allusion, this pass
age reveals Kali as the abstraction of primal energy and suggests the underlying
connection between the black goddess and Kala ('time'), an epithet of Shiva. Ka
li is the inherent power of ever-turning time, the relentless devourer that brin
gs all created things to an end. Even the gods are said to have their origin and
dissolution in her.
The eighth chapter of the Devimahatmya paints an even more gruesome portrait. Ha
ving slain Chanda and Munda, Kali is now called Chamunda, and she faces an infin
itely more powerful adversary in the demon named Raktabija. Whenever a drop of h
is blood falls to earth, an identical demon springs up. When utter terror seizes
the gods, Durga merely laughs and instructs Kali to drink in the drops of blood
. While Durga assaults Raktabija so that his blood runs copiously, Kali avidly l
aps it up. The demons who spring into being from the flow perish between her gna
shing teeth until Raktabija topples drained and lifeless to the ground.
Different Forms of Mother Kali
Kali is a powerful and complex goddess with multiple forms. In times of natural
disaster she is invoked as the protective Rakshakali. At the magnificent Dakshin
eswar Temple in Calcutta, she is revered as the beautiful Bhavatarini, Redeemer
of the Universe. The Tantras mention over thirty forms of Kali. The Divine Mothe
r is also known as Kali-Ma, the Black Goddess, Maha Kali, Nitya Kali, Smashana K
ali, Raksha Kali, Shyama Kali, Kalikamata, Bhadra Kali, Ugra Chandi, Bhima Chand
i, Sidheshvari, Sheetla (the goddess of smallpox) and Kalaratri. Maha Kali and N
itya Kali are mentioned in the Tantra philosophy. When there were neither the cr
eation, 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 tend
er aspect and is worshipped in Hindu households. She is the dispenser of boons a
nd the dispeller of fear. People worship Raksha Kali, the Protectress, in times
of epidemic, famine, earthquake, drought, and flood. Shamshan Kali (Shmashanakal
i) is the embodiment of the power of destruction. 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 arms. She haunts the cremation grounds in the company of howlin

g jackals and terrifying female spirits. 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. She is also known as Kalikamata ("black earthmother") and Kalaratri ("black night"). Among the Tamils she is known as Kottave
i. Kali is worshipped particularly in Bengal. Her best known temples are in Daks
hineshwar and Kalighat in Kolkata (Calcutta) and Kamakhya in Assam.
Some early Buddhists identified Kalika with their Prajnaparamita, the "Perfectio
n of Wisdom", conceived of as a multi-armed goddess/female wisdom energy. Buddhi
st tantrics viewed Prajnaparamita as the original Buddha-consort, and over time,
developed this vision further. They viewed Her as the saviouress Tara, "the Com
passionate One", "She who helps the devotee overcome suffering". As the dark fou
r-armed Ugra Tara, with the dark blue Dhyani-Buddha Aksobhya on her crown, she b
ecame "the Wrathful Saviouress", externally fierce to ward-off enemies and unbel
ievers, but internally compassionate, the "Embodiment of Compassion". Buddhists
also knew the Dark Goddess as Shyam (the "Dark One") and Kali. According to the
noted Bengali authority on Indian Buddhist Tantra, Dr Benoytosh Bhattacharyya, "
Kali, according to Buddhist tradition, is Kadi or Kakaradi, or, in other words,
all the consonants of the alphabet....all the consonants of the (Sanskrit) alpha
bet are deified in her."
As Maha Kali (with form) the Great Goddess is most commonly visualised as twenty
-armed, ten-faced, with three eyes on each face, her complexion dark and shining
. In this form she destroys the egoistic demons Madhu and Kaitabha. This is a fo
rm which emanated out of the dark goddess Durga. As Kala Ratri, tawny-eyed, crue
l and fond of war, wearing tiger and elephant skins, holding axe, noose, other w
eapons and a skull-bowl from which she drinks blood, Kali is the "Night of Destr
uction" at the termination of this world, the Female Spiritual Power always read
y to defeat the last demons, so none can pollute the next world. Forms of Bhadra
Kali have sixteen arms, eighteen arms or one hundred arms, all giving protectio
n to her devotees. Bhadra Kali is always visualised as huge, wearing a three-poi
nted crown ornamented with the crescent moon, a snake about her neck, her body d
raped in red and her mood jolly. She pierces the body of a buffalo with her lanc
e, one of her many weapons. Hindu tantrics believe that in this form She pervade
s the whole universe.
Some of the more striking similarities between Kali and Goddesses of other parts
of the world are as follows:
We find Kali in Mexico as an ancient Aztec Goddess of enormous stature. Her name
is Coatlicue, and her resemblance to the Hindu Kali is striking. The colossal A
ztec statue of Coatlicue fuses in one image the dual functions of the earth, whi
ch both creates and destroys. In different aspects she represents Coatlicue, "La
dy Of the Skirt of Serpents" or Goddess of the Serpent Petticoat"; Cihuacoatl, "
the Serpent Woman"; Tlazolteotl, "Goddess of Filth"; and Tonantzin, "Our Mother,
" who was later sanctified by the Catholic Church as the Virgin of Guadalupe, th
e dark-faced Madonna, La Virgen Morena, la Virgen Guadalupana, the patroness and
protectress of New Spain; and who is still the patroness of all Indian Mexico.
In the statue her head is severed from her body, and from the neck flow two stre
ams of blood in the shape of two serpents. She wears a skirt of serpents girdled
by another serpent as a belt. On her breast hangs a necklace of human hearts an
d hands bearing a human skull as a pendant. Her hands and feet are shaped like c
laws. From the bicephalous mass which takes the place of the head and which repr
esents Omeyocan, the topmost heaven, to the world of the Dead extending below th
e feet, the statue embraces both life and death. Squat and massive, the monument
al twelve-ton sculpture embodies pyramidal, cruciform, and human forms. As the a
rt critic Justino Fernandez writes in his often-quoted description, it represent
s not a being but an idea, "the embodiment of the cosmic-dynamic power which bes
tows life and which thrives on death in the struggle of opposites."

We find Kali in ancient Crete as Rhea, the Aegean Universal Mother or Great Godd
ess, who was worshipped in a vast area by many peoples. Rhea was not restricted
to the Aegean area. Among ancient tribes of southern Russia she was Rha, the Red
One, another version of Kali as Mother Time clothed in her garment of blood whe
n she devoured all the gods, her offspring. The same Mother Time became the Celt
ic Goddess Rhiannon, who also devoured her own children one by one. This image o
f the cannibal mother was typical everywhere of the Goddess of Time, who consume
s what she brings forth; or as Earth, who does the same. When Rhea was given a c
onsort in Hellenic myth, he was called Kronus or Chronos, "Father Time," who dev
oured his own children in imitation of Rhea's earlier activity. He also castrate
d and killed his own father, the Heaven-God Uranus; and he in turn was threatene
d by his own son, Zeus. These myths reflect the primitive succession of sacred k
ings castrated and killed by their supplanters. It was originally Rhea Kronia, M
other Time, who wielded the castrating moon-sickle or scythe, a Scythian weapon,
the instrument with which the Heavenly Father was "reaped." Rhea herself was th
e Grim Reaper.
We find Kali in historic Europe. In Ireland, Kali appeared as Caillech or Caille
ach, an old Celtic name for the Great Goddess in her Destroyer aspect. Like Kali
, the Caillech was a black Mother who founded many races of people and outlived
many husbands. She was also a Creatress. She made the world, building mountain r
anges of stones that dropped from her apron.
Scotland was once called Caledonia: the land give by Kali, or Cale, or the Caill
each. "Scotland" came from Scotia, the same goddess, known to Romans as a "dark
Aphrodite"; to Celts as Scatha or Scyth; and to Scandinavians as Skadi. Like the
Hindus' destroying Kalika, the Caillech was known as a spirit of disease. One m
anifestation of her was a famous idol of carved and painted wood, kept by an old
family in Country Cork, and described as the Goddess of Smallpox. As diseased p
ersons in India sacrificed to the appropriate incarnation of the Kalika, so in I
reland those afflicted by smallpox sacrificed sheep to this image. It can hardly
be doubted that Kalika and Caillech were the same word. According to various in
terpretations, "caillech" meant either an old woman, or a hag, or a nun, or a "v
eiled one." This last apparently referred to the Goddess's most mysterious manif
estation as the future, Fate, and Death--ever veiled from the sight of men, sinc
e no man could know the manner of his own death. In medieval legend the Caillech
became the Black Queen who ruled a western paradise in the Indies, where men we
re used in Amazonian fashion for breeding purposes only, then slain.
Spaniards called her Califia, whose territory was rich in gold, silver, and gems
. Spanish explorers later gave her name to the newly discovered paradise on the
Pacific shore of North America, which is how the state of California came to be
named after Kali. In the present century, Irish and Scottish descendants of the
Celtic "creatress" still use the word "caillech" as a synonym for "old woman."
The Black Goddess was known in Finland as Kalma (Kali Ma), a haunter of tombs an
d an eater of the dead. The Black Goddess worshipped by the gypsies was named Sa
ra-Kali, "Queen Kali," and to this present day, Sara is worshipped in the South
of France at Ste-Marie-de-la-Mer during a yearly festival.
Some gypsies appeared in 10th-century Persia as tribes of itinerant dervishes ca
lling themselves Kalenderees, "People of the Goddess Kali." A common gypsy clan
name is still Kaldera or Calderash, descended from past Kali-worshippers, like t
he Kele-De of Ireland. European gypsies relocated their Goddess in the ancient "
Druid Grotto" underneath Chartres Cathedral, once the interior of a sacred mount
known as the Womb of Gaul, when the area was occupied by the Carnutes, "Childre
n of the Goddess Car." Carnac, Kermario, Kerlescan, Kercado, Carmona in Spain, a
nd Chartres itself were named after this Goddess, probably a Celtic version of K
ore or Q're traceable through eastern nations to Kauri, another name for Kali. T

he Druid Grotto used to be occupied by the image of a black Goddess giving birth
, similar to certain images of Kali. Christians adopted this ancient idol and ca
lled her Virgo Paritura, "Virgin Giving Birth." Gypsies called her Sara-Kali, "t
he mother, the woman, the sister, the queen, the Phuri Dai, the source of all Ro
many blood." They said the black Virgin wore the dress of a gypsy dancer, and ev
ery gypsy should make a pilgrimage to her grotto at least once in his life. The
grotto was described as "your mother's womb." A gypsy pilgrim was told: "Shut yo
ur eyes in front of Sara the Kali, and you will know the source of the spring of
life which flows over the gypsy race. We find variations of Kali's name through
out the ancient world.
The Greeks had a word Kalli, meaning "beautiful," but applied to things that wer
e not particularly beautiful such as the demonic centaurs called "kallikantzari,
" relatives of Kali's Asvins. Their city of Kallipolis, the modern Gallipoli, wa
s lefted in Amazon country formerly ruled by Artemis Kalliste. The annual birth
festival at Eleusis was Kalligeneia, translatable as "coming forth from the Beau
tiful One," or "coming forth from Kali."
Lunar priests of Sinai, formerly priestesses of the Moon-Goddess, called themsel
ves "kalu." Similar priestesses of prehistoric Ireland were "kelles," origin of
the name Kelly, which meant a hierophantic clan devoted to "the Goddess Kele." T
his was cognate with the Saxon Kale, or Cale, whose lunar calendar or kalends in
cluded the spring month of Sproutkale, when Mother Earth (Kale) put forth new sh
oots. In antiquity the Phoenicians referred to the strait of Gibraltar as Calpe,
because it was considered the passage to the western paradise of the Mother.
The Black Goddess was even carried into Christianity as a mother figure, and one
can find all over the world images of Mother Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ,
depicted as a black Madonna.
Kali's Name
'Kal' also translates as Time and 'i' means the Cause; Kali, the Cause of Time o
r She Who is Beyond Time, activates Consciousness to perception, allows Consciou
sness to perceive. The mystery of Kali's name, which begins with the first conso
nant of the Sanskrit alphabet, attached to the first vowel, is deep indeed. From
tantric tradition we learn that the whole material universe is but an expressio
n of certain primordial sounds or vibrations.
These are expressed by the consonants and vowels of the Sanskrit alphabet, combi
ned together in different ways. "Seed-syllables" (Bija Mantras), short combinati
ons and "Spells" (Dharanis), long combinations of differing measures, are the ve
ry "fabric" from which this universe is formed. From tantric tradition we learn
that the garland of heads about Kali's neck symbolize the letters or vibrations
of the Sanskrit alphabet. We learn Kali's seed-syllables, names and potent Mantr
as, the tools by which we can transform ourselves and become one with Her.
Origins of Kali
There are two stories on the origin Kali Maa, and the one from the Durga Saptash
ati (a poem in praise of Durga Maa), which is part of the Markandeya Puran is mo
re popular.
Long long ago there existed two powerful demons called Shumbhu and Nishumbhu. As
they grew in strength, they usurped the vast empire of the King of Gods, Indra
and dispossessed all the gods like Surya, Chandra, Yam, Varuna, Pawan and Agni.
Both of them also managed to throw the god-host away from heaven. Sorely distres
sed the gods went to the mortal realm (Earth) and began to brood on how to get r
id of these demons permanently. The solution was to pray to Durga Maa in her for
m of Parvati, the wife of Shiva. They reached the Himalayas and prayed to please

the kind hearted Goddess Parvati. Agreeing to help, the body of Mother Parvati
emerged a bright light in the form of a divine lady called Ambika. Her exit from
Devi Parvati's body caused the latter to turn dark and black. She was then know
n as Kaushiki who began to dwell over the mountain ranges.
When the sycophants of the demons, Chand and Munda saw the dazzling light in the
beautiful form of Ambika, they were enchanted by her superb beauty. They went t
o the demons Shumbhu and Nishumbhu and said, "Your Lordship! This woman is the m
ost beautiful female in the entire Universe." They described her beauty in such
superlative terms that Shumbhu and Nishumbhu could not resist sending their mess
enger Sugreeva to bring her to them.
Sugreeva reached Ambika and extolled the virtues of his masters Shumbhu and Nish
umbhu to influence the Goddess. But she smiled indulgently and replied: "You may
be right in the assessment of your masters but I cannot break my oath. I might
have done it rather unconsciously but the fact is that now I stand committed to
my oath, which is that whosoever can defeat me in battle and brow-beat me; whoso
ever can match my power, only he shall only be my master. So go and tell your ma
sters to show their strength and win me in the battle."
The messenger replied: "Listen, O Lady! You are very arrogant and adamant. Don't
challenge my masters, against whose might the universe shudders in fright. They
, who have browbeaten the gods and have thrown them out of Heaven, are very powe
rful. You are a mere woman, and you cannot match their might. Follow my advice a
nd come with me to accept their proposal. Or else you shall be pulled by your ha
ir and taken to their feet."
The Goddess replied: "Whatever you say may be true. Maybe your Shumbhu is so pow
erful and your Nishumbhu is so virile but I am committed to my pledge. But go no
w and explain the whole situation to the Demon-lords. Let them come and defeat m
Sugreeva then went to his masters Shumbhu and Nishumbhu and explained the whole
situation at length. Shumbhu and Nishumbhu became angry and they sent another de
mon Dhoomralochan to fetch her. But a mere loud cry and wrathful gaze of the God
dess was enough to incinerate the demon Dhoomralochan. The lion of the Goddess s
layed the accompanying demons. Then the Demon kings sent Chanda and Munda with a
large army to capture the Great Goddess. They encircled the Himalayas to nab th
e Goddess. The Goddess then produced a black figure of frightening form, called
Kaali-Devi or Kaalika Devi. She destroyed the demons easily, hacked off the head
s of Chanda and Munda and brought them to the Goddess Ambika. Since she had hack
ed off the heads of Chanda Munda, she became famous as Chamunda Devi.
Hearing the death of Chanda and Munda, the Demon Kings sent another huge army he
aded by seven commanders. To match their combined strength the seven gods: Brahm
a, Vishnu, Shiv, Indra, Mahavaraah, Nrisingh, Swami Kartikeya dispatched their f
orces. Seeing the temerity of the demons, another beam of power in the form of a
woman emerged from the Goddess's body, who sent Lord Shiv as her messenger to S
humbhu and Nishambhu with the message: "If you want your welfare, return the rea
lm of gods to gods along with their right to perform yagyas, and you must now go
down to Paataal Lok (Nether world)". Shumbhu and Nishumbhu refused to accept th
e Goddess's advice and leading a huge army of terrible demons, reached the battl
efield. Supported by the divine powers, the Goddess began to massacre the demons
. At that time the demon forces were led by a demon, Raktabeeja. He had the powe
r to reproduce as many demons of his form and dimension as the drops of his bloo
d which fell to the ground. After a fierce battle the Goddess ordered Chamunda (
Kali Maa) to spread her mouth far and wide and swallow Raktabeeja alongwith his
blood. Chamunda did exactly that and hacked off the head of demon.
Kali Maa then devoured the slain bodies of the asuras and danced a fierce dance

to celebrate the victory. This dance of destruction began by Kali and her attend
ants continued for long and none could stop her. To stop her, Shiva himself ming
led among the asuras whom she was annihilating. Shiva allowed himself to be tram
pled upon by her in this dance of victory because this was the only remedy left
to bring her to senses and to protect the world from total annihilation. When Ka
li Maa saw that she was dancing over the body of her husband, she put her tongue
out of her mouth in sorrow and surprise. She remained stunned in this posture a
nd this is how Kali is shown in images with the red tongue protruding from her m
Durga Maa then fought the demon Nishumbhu who was slain in no time. Now Shumbhu
decided to take on the Goddess (Durga Maa) himself. Reaching the battlefield, he
said to the Goddess: "You take pride on others' strength. Why don't you show yo
ur own power!"
The Goddess replied with a smile: "Fool! The whole world is just Me. All Creatio
n is my form in a variety of dimensions. I am the cause and effect of everything
: all things emerge from me only and ultimately' enter me only. The whole world
is in harmony with My Being."
Then after the nine celestial powers (Kali Maa being one of them) which had emer
ged from the Goddess (Durga Maa) went back into her and she single handedly kill
ed the demon Shumbhu.
The Dasa-Mahavidyas, or Ten Great or Transcendent Wisdoms, is a circle of Ten Go
ddesses associated with Tantric practice. There are several accounts on how this
dynamic circle was formed. In one version Shiva is living with the Goddess Kali
in the Satya Yuga, the first and most perfect of the four periods of the world
cycle. Eventually, Shiva grows restless and decides he is tired of living with K
ali. He gets up and when She asks him where He is going, He answers, "Wherever I
wish!" She does not reply and He begins to wander off. However, in no matter wh
at direction Shiva goes, a form of Kali appears as one of the Mahavidyas: first
Kali herself is constellated, then Tara, Tripurna-sundari, and Buvanesvari, then
Chinnamasta, Tripura-bairavi, Dhumavati, Bagalamukhi, Matangi, and finally Kama
la. Experiencing the all-pervasive essence of Kali in these Goddesses one by one
at every turn, Shiva sees through His yearning to leave Kali and wander about,
having gained the wisdom (vidya) that She "fills the four quarters in the ten di
rections" so that wherever he goes, She is there in one of Her energetic forms.
Shiva, at last, comes home to the reality that She in all her prismatic forms an
d He, are One.
Curtesy of:
Maa Kal In her 10 Slendid Forms: 1. Kali: This is the most famous form of the Go
ddess Kali; you could call it the core form. The myth goes that when Kali was in
toxicated by the blood of the demons, she stepped on Lord Shiva (who was lying w
ith the corpses) her husband and stuck out her tongue in shame. In this form, th
e dark mother can be facing south as Dakshina Kali . Maa Kali is also known as C
hamunda as she had slayed the two notorious demons, Chanda and Munda. This viole
nt form of the Goddess has a blood flowing from her mouth. Hindu God Shiva stand
s by her side in silent admiration as she slays the demonss. 2. Matangi Kali: Sh
e is the violent reincarnation of the Goddess of Knowledge, Saraswati. Being a t
antric Goddess she lives at the edges of organised Hindu religion. The sparkling
emerald green Goddess is offered half eater or stale food by the left hand (the
impure hand). She is popularly called Chandalini; 'Chandal' is an untouchable c
aste. Thus Matangi is never worshipped at home. 3. Chhinna Masta: This is by far
the weirdest form of the Goddess you will come across. Chinna Masta means behea

ded. This Kali avatar hold its own severed head and the head drinks the blood co
ming out of the stump of her throat. At her feet are a couple in the heat of pas
sion (either Radha and Krishna or Kamdev and Devi). It symbolizes Death and Crea
tion together. 4. Shamsana Kali: She is the divine Goddess who presides over the
affairs of the crematorium. This form of Goddess Kali can be worshiped only in
the Hindu Crematorium or Shamsana. She has no protruding tongue and strangely ha
s just two hands. A very human projection. 5. Bagala Kali: This is a violent ava
tar of Kaliand yet her beauty is arresting. She has a comparatively lighter comp
lexion and is shown pulling out the tongues of the demons. 6. Bhairavi Kali: She
is described as the harbinger of death in the scriptures and actually, she is o
nly a Mother defending her children from the evils. She is mostly worshiped in T
ripura. 7. Tara: The most distinct feature of this violent form of Kali is her l
ight blue colour. She is often shown naked to the waist and then clad in tiger s
kin. 8. Shodoshi: In this form, Goddess Kali has been portrayed as the seductres
s. She is just an adolescent girl rising from the navel of Lord Shiva and the Hi
ndu trinity of Bramha, Vishu and Maheshwar (Shiva) are paying their respects to
her. 9. Kamala Kali: She is a tantric form of the Goddess of wealth and prosperi
ty, Lakshmi. Down South, this form of Goddess Kali is worshiped as 'Gaja Lakshmi
' as she has two elephants by her side. 10. Dhumavati: This is an exceptional re
presentation of the Goddess as a widow. She is probably the only widowed Goddess
in the Hindu mythology. This exceptional goddess is considered the 'Smoke Godde
ss' or a spirit of smoke. She is represented as an antithesis of Lakshmi, who st
ands for all things- good and auspicious. When we pray to Dhumavati or Alakshmi,
we are praying her to go away from our homes.
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