Mother Kali and her devotees
“Why is Mother Kali so radiantly black?
Because she is so powerful,
that even mentioning her name destroys delusion.
Because she is so beautiful,
Lord Shiva, Conquerer of death,
lies blissfully vanquished,
beneath the red soled feet.”
– Ramprasad Sen
She is the goddess of Time and Nature. Her name is derived from Sanskrit word “Kalam”, that means time and Kali means “the one who is beyond time” , ”the force of time” and also “the one who is black”. Kali is the most powerful aspect of Goddess Durga and the benevolent mother, fierce warrior. In Hinduism she is the slayer of demons and evil forces. For devotees she is the great mother. As Hindu beliefs Kali is the goddess of birth, death, rebirth and power. Kali’s appearance is much different from other goddesses of Hinduism like Amba, Durga, Saraswatiand and Laxmi. In “Devi mahatmaya” we found her as the supreme form of Durga. She is the first one of “Dasha Mahavidyas”. She is one of the 64 yoginis and the supreme deity of power of Trinity goddesses (Durga, Saraswatiand and Laxmi). In kali iconography we found the tree gunas (qualities) of human being : sattva (goodness, constructive, harmonious), rajas (passion, active, confused), and tamas (darkness, destructive, chaotic). She is identified as the primal goddess of power. Devotees see her as mother who is easily approachable.
We found temples of mother Kali worldwide. Though Kali’s abode is crematorium we also found her idols and images in temples and houses across India. Her worshipers and devotees use Hibiscus to worship which looks like a female womb that signifies her fertile aspect. Though she is worshiped in each new moon day throughout the year, the “Kali Puja” is performed as a festival during Diwali in Kolkata, Assam, Odisha and other places in India.
Goddess Kali is regarded to inhabit cremation grounds. It does not mean she is only worshiped in cremation grounds. Dakshina Kali idols are worshiped by householders and temples. Images of Tara and Kali can be found in houses across India. Devotees go to these places to meditate with the purpose of overcoming the ego and the attachments to inert world. In Shaktism cremation grounds focuses the concept that the body is temporary. The abode of Kali and Shiva are cremation grounds that signifies our body and mind are the causes of ego. It is the crematorium where body and mind dissolve. Kali and Shiva are the concepts of liberation from ego and attachments by dissolving the illusion of them. Until and unless one is free from ego and attachments the individual can not overcome hardships and fears.
For last 500 years devotees in India worshiping her as a great mother. Krishnananda Agamavagisha, Ramprasad Sen, Kamalakanta Bhattachariya, Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa, Bama Khepa were some of her greatest devotees.
Sri Ramakrishna said :
The Primordial Power is ever at play.
She is creating, preserving, and destroying in play, as it were.
This Power is called Kali. Kali is verily Brahman,
and Brahman is verily Kali. It is one and the same Reality.
One of her greatest devotees Kamalakanta has written :
“Is my Mother Really Black?
If She’s black,
how can She light up the world?
Sometimes my Mother is white,
sometimes yellow, blue, and red.
I cannot fathom Her.
My whole life has passed trying.”