The Primal Goddess

In general form Kali looks angry and killing demons in rage. She is naked and her tongue is outstretched. But why is she killing? Who are these demons? Why a Goddess is so dark? Why God Shiva is under her feet? What is the reason for her nakedness and outstretched tongue? And the most important question is why the goddess is worshiped as mother? In the following session we will find these answers.

There is no marked date of Kali’s origin. She is considered as the primal one. Everything was created from darkness. Creation takes place from darkness like the mother’s womb. Darkness signifies infinity. From infinity the stars and planets are created. If one mixes all colors then it would appear black.

Before creation there was only darkness and after creation life came into existence. Before creation there were no man made rules and civilization. And after creation civilization came into the scene. In the primitive age human worshiped nature to survive from the powers of nature, also they respected nature and believed it. This was the origin of concept of mother goddess or mother nature who protects and destroys. This is nature who gives us food and water. This is nature who accepts bodies after death. So for human being there was no other way but to respect nature for protection.

To understand Kali’s dark complexion we have to understand why nature is respected and worshiped from the primitive age. It is Sun who gives us light at day, it is Moon who gives light at night, we need Agni (fire) to survive and these aspects of nature was well understood by men. Well we can find signs of both Sun, Moon and Fire under the third eye of Kali. Now these stars and planets are floating in infinity that darkness of Kali symbolizes. So she is worshiped as Shakti (the power) from the earliest part of civilization. She is Adishakti, the primal one.

After creation when civilization came into the scene, rules and rituals were crated by human being. These rules could not sustain if it would not follow nature’s rule. There are no man made rules that conflict nature’s own rules. So from the past human being had to follow nature’s systems and find “Niti and Ritis” (rules and regulations) that can protect life and use nature’s resources in systematic way. We all know unnecessary usage of nature’s resources lead to destruction and at the same time these resources helps life to grow.

There is another symbol in Kali that proves that she is the primal one and it is her nakedness. In primitive age when civilization did not take place, there were no jungle of concrete and after civilization there is no man made way to cover nature. Nature is always naked so she is the naked one ( Digamvari ). Such nakedness is also an allegory of the Bhumi (Earth). The earth is cloth less and provides water and food.
In Indus Valley Civilization we found Kali like goddesses with dark completion and scimitar in hand. In Mahabharata we found the first appearance of Kali called Kaalratri who wonders in battlefield of Kurukshetra at night and takes away the spirits of dead warriors.

God Shiva is under Kali’s feet and Shiva’s eyes are closed. Shiva’s horizontal position indicates lack of effort. Kali wants him to open his eyes as the closed eyes of Shiva means stillness and destruction. When Shiva’s  eyes are opened creation takes place. The goddess is dancing on her chest to wake Shiva up for creation. Kali is naked, pure and unaffected by the gaze of civilization, she is determined to be seen. Here Kali’s vertical posture symbolizes movement who creates life and unless Shiva copulates with Kali no life will be created.


Alan Watts discusses Goddess Kali

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