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+  Africa Speaks Reasoning Forum
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| | |-+  Mother Goddess as KALI - The Feminine Force
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Author Topic: Mother Goddess as KALI - The Feminine Force  (Read 21295 times)
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Posts: 2063

« on: February 26, 2004, 03:52:24 AM »

Mother Goddess as KALI - The Feminine Force [/b]

The fearful goddess with a heart of a mother

The love between the Divine Mother and her human children is a unique relationship. Kali, the Dark Mother is one such deity with whom devotees have a very loving and intimate bond, in spite of her fearful appearance. In this relationship, the worshipper becomes a child and Kali assumes the form of the ever-caring mother.

"O Mother, even a dullard becomes a poet who meditates upon thee raimented with space, three-eyed, creatrix of the three worlds, whose waist is beautiful with a girdle made of numbers of dead men's arms..." (From a Karpuradistotra hymn, translated from Sanskrit by Sir John Woodroffe)

Who is Kali?

Kali is the fearful and ferocious form of the mother goddess Durga. She assumed the form of a powerful goddess and became popular with the composition of the Devi Mahatmya, a text of the 5th - 6th century AD. Here she is depicted as having born from the brow of Goddess Durga during one of her battles with the evil forces. As the legend goes, in the battle, Kali was so much involved in the killing spree that she got carried away and began destroying everything in sight. To stop her, Lord Shiva threw himself under her feet. Shocked at this sight, Kali stuck out her tongue in astonishment, and put an end to her homicidal rampage. Hence the common image of Kali shows her in her mêlée mood, standing with one foot on Shiva's chest, with her enormous tongue stuck out.

The Fearful Symmetry

Kali is represented with perhaps the fiercest features amongst all the world's deities. She has four arms, with a sword in one hand and the head of a demon in another. The other two hands bless her worshippers, and say, "fear not"! She has two dead heads for her earrings, a string of skulls as necklace, and a girdle made of human hands as her clothing. Her tongue protrudes from her mouth, her eyes are red, and her face and breasts are sullied with blood. She stands with one foot on the thigh, and another on the chest of her husband, Shiva.

Awesome Symbols!

Kali's fierce form is strewed with awesome symbols. Her black complexion symbolizes her all-embracing and transcendental nature. Says the Mahanirvana Tantra: "Just as all colors disappear in black, so all names and forms disappear in her". Her nudity is primeval, fundamental, and transparent like Nature - the earth, sea, and sky. Kali is free from the illusory covering, for she is beyond the all maya or "false consciousness." Kali's garland of fifty human heads that stands for the fifty letters in the Sanskrit alphabet, symbolizes infinite knowledge.

Her girdle of severed human hands signifies work and liberation from the cycle of karma. Her white teeth show her inner purity, and her red lolling tongue indicates her omnivorous nature - "her indiscriminate enjoyment of all the world's 'flavors'." Her sword is the destroyer of false consciousness and the eight bonds that bind us.

Her three eyes represent past, present, and future, - the three modes of time - an attribute that lies in the very name Kali ('Kala' in Sanskrit means time). The eminent translator of Tantrik texts, Sir John Woodroffe in Garland of Letters, writes, "Kali is so called because She devours Kala (Time) and then resumes Her own dark formlessness."

Kali's proximity to cremation grounds where the five elements or "Pancha Mahabhuta" come together, and all worldly attachments are absolved, again point to the cycle of birth and death. The reclined Shiva lying prostrate under the feet of Kali suggests that without the power of Kali (Shakti), Shiva is inert.

Forms, Temples, and Devotees

Kali's guises and names are diverse. Shyama, Adya Ma, Tara Ma and Dakshina Kalika, Chamundi are popular forms. Then there is Bhadra Kali, who is gentle, Shyamashana Kali, who lives only in the cremation ground, and so on. The most notable Kali temples are in Eastern India — Dakshineshwar and Kalighat in Kolkata (Calcutta) and Kamakhya in Assam, a seat of tantrik practices. Ramakrishna Paramhamsa, Swami Vivekananda, Vamakhyapa, and Ramprasad are some of the legendary devotees of Kali. One thing was common to these saints — all of them loved the goddess as intimately as they loved their own mother.

"My child, you need not know much in order to please Me.
Only Love Me dearly.
Speak to me, as you would talk to your mother,
if she had taken you in her arms."



We should first show solidarity with each other. We are Africans. We are black. Our first priority is ourselves.
Service Member
Posts: 2063

« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2004, 03:55:35 AM »

Black women seem to embody the KALI spirit. Many Black women have been forced by history and social conditions to be both mother and father to their children, as often they have to give birth and take care of children outside of the bonds of matrimony. Our ancestresses and mothers primitive power, resistance, blood, fight, sacrifices and heroism has gained us freedom, familial and cultural continuity. It is their warrior principles and assertion that has taught our Black warriors and great men to fight for our right at any cost. KALI thus is the forceful aspect of Black women!

Bantu Kelani.

We should first show solidarity with each other. We are Africans. We are black. Our first priority is ourselves.
Senior Member
Posts: 610


« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2004, 10:51:59 AM »

Here's how I get with Kali.

     The Goddess of Love
Every woman knows Kali.
Every woman knows the rage
of being cut from the root.
Every woman has strung her skulls
in the bloody dark,
pleased by how this necklace suits.
Kali smiles and dances
on the rotted headless corpses,
her sword dripping.

No multifoliate Rose is she,
this counterforce to war's tyranny.
Men did not wear her emblem on their armor
as they crusaded east,
or call her the Queen of Peace.

Men wage war, you see,
rather than submit to her authority,
and that, alas,
is all our history.

A little carnage on the downlow with her,
or rivers of it up above.
Service Member
Posts: 2063

« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2004, 07:36:22 AM »

First, let me say the poem is well written and it is a beautiful poem Rootsie. Is this yours or someone else's work? I strongly believe White women have to identify with the Kali archetype as well. Western societies subjugate and suppress the Goddess within White women and make them timid, weak and dependant. Their power, authority, creativity and purest form of beauty became known as "Lucifer or Satan". It's a great lie whereas the female energy is holy and capable of great transformation! The fact that Europeans and Euro-American women are the greatest customers of mood altering or calming drugs and patients therapy is the testimony of the plight of White women. They bury in the unconscious a great excess of sorrow caused by the patriarchy standards of western civilization. Therefore, like the majority of Black women, White women need to take charge, repels and stop being castrated by taking the personality of Kali warrior goddess of Naga India.  

I like very much the Kali archetype. Inspired by your poem, these are my own feelings during the rituals working with Kali:

Kali Ma, Dark Mother, Creatress of all there is.
You are a Snake woman, a Bird woman
a Star woman, a Moon woman.
You are a lotus woman opening wide her genitalia
whom is the gateway of cosmic energy.
You give us life, you give us death.
Your power reflects perfect death and transformation.
You are roots of all bliss, you take us far back in time
when you were everything.
In this present day - oh Blacked eyed soul
exemplify our warrior side so we can touch the power of our feminity
hold it and dance with it.
In the North, I call you lunar spirit to bring us passion and love.
In the South, I call you Dark Serpent of wisdom whom we find in caves.
In the East, I call you beautiful traditions of the Naga, your music and dance.
In the West, I call you Kali, Cosmic Mother, Creatress of all there is.

For you are the source of life, pain, death and insight.
Set me free...oh Dark sister...set me free.

Bantu Kelani.

We should first show solidarity with each other. We are Africans. We are black. Our first priority is ourselves.
Senior Member
Posts: 610


« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2004, 02:22:20 PM »

Here is a beautiful poem as well:

"Invocation to Kali"

Kali, be with us.
Violence, destruction, receive our homage.
Help us to bring darkness into light,
To lift out the pain, the anger,
Where it can be seen for what it is --
The balance-wheel for our vulnerable, aching love.
Put the wild hunger where it belongs.
Within the act of creation,
Crude power that forges a balance
Between hate and love.
Help us to be the always hopeful
Gardeners of the spirit
Who know that without darkness
Nothing comes to birth
As without light
Nothing flowers.
Bear the roots in mind.
You, the dark one, Kali
Awesome power.

-- May Sarton

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