It has been for long that I wanted to write on Kali Ma a bit more extensively that I have done in some other post, but I did not feel myself with enough knowledge to do it, so I left it for some other moment. The complexity of the multilayered understanding in Sanathan Dharma makes one humble, and whatever approach one may do to any question, would always be incomplete, moreover when one is neither a guru, nor an scholar. Like that group of blind people who are asked to describe an elephant by touching it: the one who touches one leg affirms that the elephant is like a column, rough and firm, while the one who touches the tail argues that it is clearly like a thin rope, imagine the description of the one who touched the ear, that at the end of the story, all argue among them with full assertivity about how an elephant looks like, when all they could get were only partial truths.
But still, the pull and enthusiasm for Dharma is strong enough to talk about different matters in this blog. The Sanathan Dharma is a path to lead us to see the complete elephant as a whole to finally discover one fine day that the elephant did not exist by itself but because we created it….that would be entering into the Vedantic perspective…..
As a devotee of Shiva, it is quite natural to me to be attracted by her counterpart Durga and also for Durga´s form named Kali. Durga´s beauty generally is represented in forms that are easy to appreciate for all. Durga is the fairness. But the mystery of Kali makes her attractive as She may not always be so appealing for the physical eye. But She is powerful and good looking for the inner eye open to devotion. She helps us to embrace the darkness as part of the whole to go beyond dualities. She destroys what needs to be destroyed to construct all anew. As Lord Shiva does.
One may say that the SatChitAnanda, the Ultimate Conciousness that pervades the whole Universe, manifests itself in different degrees, appearing obvious in an enlightened being or in a Devi or Devata, and more hidden in a stone, but PRESENT everywhere. So devotion to Devis and Devatas is an easier way to reach the final goal of Moksha or liberation from the cycle of births and deaths that keeps us as wanderers in this world. The Divine couple Shiva and Shakti/Durga/Kali are the manifestation of the fullness that represents the masculine principle plus the femenine principle. They are as much the parents of the Universe, as they are the pure Conciousness (Shiva) and His Active Force (Shakti/Durga/Kali), as well as each of them can be worshipped as the Ultimate, considered as masculine or femenine respectively as well as going beyond genders and considering them as the sustratum of the Universe and the Conciousness. Then we may address to them either in an dvaitic way (I, devotee, worship You, Bhagavan) or in an advaitic way ( I AM that Ultimate Conciousness). An both approaches, dvaitic and advaitic can happen alternately in the path of a shadaka (spiritual seeker) while s/he is evolving spiritually. With this explanation, we see only a tiny example of the intermingled reality in a Dharmic perspective. If this is just a tiny part, I wonder how so many indologists and lay people in the West dare to give a frozen vision of what it is infinite, from their limited outlook mostly lacking the adhikara to do it. From this outsider´s look on the things, comes the bad name given to my mother Kali. They cannot SEE, why do they judge then?. My Mother does not need to be defended. Who can defend the Infinite? It is we who need to side Dharma and oppose the ones who from their adharmic or at least ignorant perspective, do not respect what has to be respected.
Kali Ma is dark. She is the slayer of Time, the One who destroys our attachments and the illusion of taking life as we take it, by taking us beyond the parameters of time and space. She is the Mother who will always gives us the best for our spiritual progress, be it something sweet or something terrible from a material perspective. She kills the demons inside who destroy our inner evolution. And sometimes, to correct a child who is going ashtray, one has to use harsh means. She rescues us from the senseless lives and fills our lives of spiritual significance. Shri Ramakrishna Paramhansa was a clear example of what devotion for Kali Ma means: his full understanding of this material world conveyed in two of his famous sentences: টাকা মাটি, মাটি টাকা “taka mati, mati taka”, loosely translated as “money is immaterial in nature”; and “beware of gold and women”: so misunderstood, he generally addressed to male devotees, to whom he was only advicing against too much attachment to money and to pleasures.
Being artha and kama two of the purushartas or goals of life, when the money is earned (artha) or the pleasures enjoyed (kama) in licit ways, it is just a necessary step in the path of a seeker, that sooner or later, in this life or many lives after, has to be trascended. So for a mumukshu, that one in which the fire of desire for liberation is already burning inside, attachments tend to and have to be left behind. Kali Ma helps in these final steps to cross the ocean of Samsara.
Kali Ma is revered by all Hindus as the Divine Mother, and specifically worshipped by the Shaktas as well as by the Tantrics, among other sanatani denominations. The devotion for Kali Ma is extensively and enhanced especially in West Bengal, though it is worshipped all over India. There are many explanations of the way She is depicted in paintings and Murtis. They are full of symbolism as the depictions of all the Devis and Devatas. She is alive and present here and now, and murtis in which She is clearly alive (I have been a witness of it) are only the means to contact Her in us and in all more easily. Mother is full of Compassion for whoever wants to see. She is not to be feared but to be revered as the Greatest Force in the Universe. If we take rest in Her lap, she will carry us throughout our lives till we finally reach to the other shore. We need to learn surrender to Bhagavan in whichever form or formless and see the miracles that this surrender cause in our lives, when we learn that we are not the doers or the enjoyers that we thought to be, that She is the One….that, in fact, ONLY SHE IS.
Jai Kali Ma!!
PS: Who says that Bhagavan doesn´t talk to us? While writing this post and like out of the blue, my friend/sister Isa who did not know that I was writing this, has sent me this wonderful bhajan to Kali Maheshwari. Thanks Mother for talking to me through her!! I am moved…please, listen to this beauty: