Ramakrishna Devotion to Kali-Ma (Part 2 of 3) by Nancy Vedder-Shults

nancymug_3Ramakrishna was one of the major poets who popularized Kali’s worship in Bengal, the northeasternmost province of India. Born in the early part of the 19th century, he was a Hindu saint in a tradition known as bhakti, where devotees lovingly surrender their hearts, minds and spirits to their chosen deity in a practice which leads to ecstatic union with the divine. Such devotion is easier for us in the West to imagine when the beloved is the playful Krishna with his sublime flute-playing and sacred lovemaking. But in Ramakrishna’s case, the object of his devotion was the fierce Kali, the wild and uncontrollable aspects of the sacred, to whom he devoted himself as a child would to its mother.

Kali with baby Kali as the mother of Shiva

In his best-known evocation of the Goddess, Ramakrishna observes her as a graceful young woman sinuously emerging from the waters of the Ganges. As…

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