Showing posts with label Hindu Mother Goddess. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hindu Mother Goddess. Show all posts

Hinduism - Who Is The Mother Goddess Kali?


 ("black") The Mother Goddess in an incomprehensibly ferocious and mighty heavenly aspect.

In its most frightening forms, Kali is the divine's horrible, uncontrollable power.

Her home is a cremation site, and she is often connected with imagery of blood, death, and devastation.

Her iconography depicts her as having several heads and limbs, as well as a thin, gaunt, and haggard figure with a lolling tongue and blood-smeared lips.

Surprisingly, millions of Kali's bhakta (devotees) refer to her as "mother." Kali's origins are unknown, however she is thought to be an autochthonous ("of the soil") goddess.

Her dark skin, which is linked with low social status, her affinity for living in remote locations, and her worship by Indian aboriginal tribes and individuals on the fringes of society all appear to indicate to her roots as a local deity, maybe of tribal people.

Some early Sanskrit operas, such as Bhavabhuti's Malatimadhava, mention violent deities who accepted blood gifts from their worshippers.

The Thugs were featured prominently in nineteenth-century fiction using the same idea.

The Devimahatmya, the oldest known source for the belief that God is feminine, has one of Kali's earliest descriptions.

The birth of Kali (in her Mahakali form) is described in one of the Devimahatmya events as the Goddess incarnate's fury.

Kali begins the myth by stuffing the demon armies into her mouth and devouring them whole, signifying her all-consuming ability to destroy.

In this book, she also defeats Raktabija, a demon who is granted the blessing that each drop of his blood that falls on the ground would instantaneously change into a clone of himself, making him almost unconquerable.

Kali defeats him by consuming his blood as it is shed till it runs out.

Both of these instances bolster her reputation as a terrifying and powerful goddess, as well as her proclivity for destruction and her links with drugs and acts that are generally deemed defiling.

As Kinsley points out, Kali may also be seen as a symbol for the inevitability of human existence, and that catastrophe and misfortune can strike without warning, despite the best-laid preparations.

Kali worship has taken two courses, one in accord with these gruesome visions and the other in opposition to them.

On the one hand, Kali has long been revered by practitioners of tantra, a hidden, ritual-based religious practice.

Reality, according to the tantras, is created by the interplay of polar opposites, personified by the deities Shiva (awareness) and Shakti ("power").

Shiva is the Ultimate Reality and provides the organizing principle, while Shakti is the energy and dynamism that makes things happen.

As a result, goddesses play a significant part in tantric practice.

Kali stands out among these goddesses, maybe because she is the most extreme expression of feminine power and hence can be perceived as wielding the most power on behalf of her adherents.

The representations of Kali standing over the prostrate Shiva, plainly in a dominating position, indicate her power over all things and Shiva's helplessness without it.

The tantric specialist is seen as a heroic character who obtains strength from the goddess in this faith.

The tantras also emphasize the reconciliation of opposites as a means of eradicating all mental dualism and affirming the ultimate oneness of the world.

Tantric rituals may involve acts utilizing generally banned substances, such as the Panchamakara, or "Five Forbidden Things," in order to underline the provisional nature of all purity and impurity judgements (ashaucha).

Kali is the ultimate tantric goddess since her iconography and story include activities that are generally considered unclean, such as consuming blood and accepting animal sacrifices, residing in a crematory, and dressing herself in severed limbs.

The adoration of Kali as a mother is another popular picture.

This image is dominant in the Bengal area, where it has grown well-established over the last several centuries.

Kali's image is based on Indian maternal imagery, which are highly idealized in terms of a mother's dedication to her offspring.

The basic concept is that if a devotee approaches Kali as a meek child willing to bear whatever blows she delivers, she would eventually direct her mighty energies to defend her follower.

The nineteenth-century Bengali celebrities Ramprasad and Ramakrishna are Kali's most renowned worshippers; the former is famed for a poem in which he claims that there are terrible children but never a bad mother.

This conflict between Kali's horrible demeanor and her image as a mother has been maintained by religious adepts such as Ramprasad and Ramakrishna, but it has mostly been lost in common devotion.

Kali is often shown as youthful, lovely, and even benevolent in modern depictions, which seek to sweeten or overlook her horrible qualities.

See David R. Kinsley's The Sword and the Flute (1975) and Hindu Goddesses (1986) for further information about Kali.

 


You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.