Who is Kali anyway? (Mahavidya Series Pt. I)

The Story of the Four

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Her name is synonymous with death, and time.

She wears a necklace of severed heads, holds one in her hand, and with her long, extended tongue she thirsts for blood.

Headless corpses piled on the ground behind her, she, her mighty blade raised aloft, (often) stands atop Siva and Parvati engaged in copulation.

This, my friends, is Kali.

When I introduce my Introduction to World Religions class to Kali, I ask for their first impressions. The most common responses I receive are “evil” and “bad.”

A natural response if you come from a Western tradition and immediately associate death with evil. But when it comes to Kali, nothing is further from the truth.

So as part of my “Who are the Gods anyway?” series of posts, today I write about Kali.

Now in no way do I presume this to be an exhaustive account of this amazing goddess (for…

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Kali Ma, The Dark Creator and Destroyer by Nancy Vedder-Shults

nancymug_3In contrast to our dualistic thinking here in the West — thinking that separates light from dark, life from death, and chaos from order –there are a number of Eastern philosophies and religions that have retained a more holistic approach to reality. One religion that has done a good job of preserving the awesomeness of its deities by representing them through the full spectrum of life, death and rebirth is the Hindu culture in India. Remarkably, most of the major Hindu gods and goddesses represent divinity as forms of “coincidence of opposites.” In other words, the great deities like Shiva, Vishnu and Devi (the Goddess), simultaneously encompass life and death, good and evil, darkness and light, creation and destruction. For Westerners who live in a society which easily polarizes such distinctions, looking at the living mythology of one of these divine figures might offer us some ideas of how we…

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Kali and Yoga Of Knowledge.

Courtesy:         By David Frawley (Vamadeva Shastri)

 American Institute Of Vedic Studies.

Kali is the primary Goddess of Yoga, the background Yoga Shakti, the power of Yoga or Kriya Shakti. She is the power that takes our energy within, which causes us to seek the eternal and lose interest in the ordinary outer affairs of life. She is the electrical stirring of the soul to Divinity. She is the voice of God reverberating within us and the will of God as it works through us, when we let our little self or ego fade into the background. Kali is the power of the great current of awareness. She is also the power that allows the mind to concentrate.

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Yogic Secrets of the Dark Goddess: Lightning Dance of the Supreme Shakti,

by Shambhavi Chopra (Wisdom Tree Books 2007)

As the great power of time, Kali’s Shakti creates the different Yugas or world ages that humanity passes through during the long cycles of cosmic evolution. Kali is the Goddess of eternity watching over all our temporal changes and facilitating those which promote our inner growth. More specifically, Kali is theYuga Shakti or the power of time that takes humanity from one world age to another. She works to sustain the spiritual energy of the planet through both the ages of light and darkness.
The Dark Goddess is not simply a Hindu Goddess but the universal form of the Mother, who is the real ruler of the world. The awakening to the Goddess that is occurring today at a global level is, yogically speaking, an awakening to the energy of Kali. The Mother Goddess as the dark, mysterious and transcendent Devi holds the key to the real power and presence of the universe in all her manifestations. Kali is once more entering into humanity and into the sphere of the Earth to work her magic and her awe.

The Devi brings about all planetary transformations, arousing the planetary Shakti and stimulating not only individual awareness but the greater planetary consciousness. The current natural and human catastrophes that are happening throughout the world today are an indication of this transformative power of Kali pushing humanity to change, to break through our divisive beliefs and end our destructive behavior that has now come to threaten all life on the planet. Until we make the decisive inner change and give up our destructive attitudes and actions, we face the universal wrath of Kali at a global level, with the danger of global catastrophes gradually increasing over time, until we are faced with the choice of either radically changing how we live or perishing as a species. To meet the challenge of Ma Kali, we must turn within and let go of our efforts to control the outer world, seeking to understand ourselves first.
Today our civilization does not honor the Devatas, the cosmic forces of the Gods and Goddesses that embody the sacred powers of nature on which we depend for our well-being. Intellectuals and academics reduce the living Deities, by whose grace we function, to aberrations of psychology, politics or anthropology, mere reflections of ordinary human behavior that bears nothing sacred about it. Religions, in the name of God, practice politics and seek to dominate the world with their beliefs, rather than spreading a message of love, unity, the grace of the Mother, and Self-realization.
Meanwhile, even those who try to practice Tantra have generally reduced it to little more than black magic, using the spirit world to promote material gains for themselves and their paid clientele. The essence of the Yoga tradition seems to have been waylaid for commercial exploitation and personal self-aggrandizement on all fronts.
There is little real Dharma, or natural and universal principles, even among those trying to save the planet. We have many disgruntled ‘angry’ activists seeking to lay the blame for the world problems on someone else, shouting and cursing others, rather than becoming truly peace-loving helpers who aim to unite us for the greater benefit of all.
Sarvam santih santir eva santihMay All Things Be Peaceful, the Peace of Peace!
We continue to divide up humanity in the name of religion and politics, fighting among ourselves, while overall we continue to devastate the planet, plundering her resources and making toxic her lands, water and air.
To bring our planet into a new and spiritual era, a new world age of higher consciousness, we must first gain the Shakti or the capacity to do so. We must have the power, the competence, the sincerity and the grace of the higher forces. We cannot on our own take us beyond our human, social and psychological problems, because our behavior and mindset exists within their field. For this we must once more humbly seek the grace of the Mother, particularly as Kali, the Mother as the ruler of all time and transformation.
We need a new Shakti to bring this necessary global change about, a new descent of the spiritual power of the Mother Goddess. For this to occur, we must first bring the Shakti into ourselves, into our own minds and hearts, and learn to live according to its shocks, rhythms and transformative vibrations, letting it purify and remake our own psychological nature first.
The power of the Divine feminine is once more needed to facilitate a new birth of higher consciousness in the world, not simply at an individual but at a planetary level. We must recognize the Goddess in all of her forms, of which her transformative manifestation of Ma Kali is perhaps the most central. A feminine grace, gentleness and kindness is necessary to soothe the pain and anger that is burning us from within, stoked by the greed, ambition and ignorance of generations.
We must move beyond the vagaries of human passions and needs, opening up our hearts to the living Shakti force of Kali. Ma Kali yearns for her full expression to be felt and experienced in order to make our lives into something meaningful for the soul. We can sense her mystical force rising powerfully once again in this unsettled transitional era. She is searching passionately for sadhakas to carry forth her benign wishes.
For the truly new to come into being, the old must first pass away. This is the work of Kali’s Shakti or time-force. But it is not simply an external factor of the destruction of evil people by the good. Today, we largely live in a grey zone, where the purity of heart is practically non-existent. Meanwhile, no soul in essence is evil; all can be raised up if we reach them at the right time and circumstances. We must drive out all weakness, blame, pettiness and narrowness inside ourselves.
The negative or Asuric force does momentarily prevail, but often the darkness is greatest before the dawn, and the negativity must manifest outwardly before it can be totally swept away. There is no undivine force or power that Ma Kali cannot match, consume and dissolve into her higher peace.
The Devata or higher divine force needs to be honoured in our times of strife and chaos. We must look beyond our human and historical fixations to the cosmic powers. The inevitable ecological disturbances that are beginning to occur are meant to drive us into the shelter of these benevolent and powerful cosmic forms, to make us recognize our dependency on the greater universe and its divine essences. The Devata’s presence will once again manifest with a surge of benign energies to bring about a peaceful existence for humanity and for the Earth.
Ma Kali is the ultimate power behind all genuine spiritual and yogic movements and their unfoldment through the great process of time. Mahadevi Kali is the Yuga Shakti, heralding the new movement of Yoga awakening this Shakti power. Her role has already been manifested earlier in this era by great seers and teachers like Ramakrishna, Yogananda, Aurobindo, Anandamayi Ma and many others, who mainly worked through the power of the Mother Goddess.
Yet there remains an urgent need for new avatars and forms of Kali’s energy, a new resurgence of her worship and a greater descent of her grace. Kali holds the key to our future as a species and our destiny at a soul level. Ma Kali carries the power to uplift humanity, but to find that we must discover her as the Universal Mother resting in the flame of the spiritual heart within us.
We need to accept Kali’s purifying fire in order to raise us into the higher light in which alone our personal and global problems can be solved. Those who can endure and carry Kali’s fire can bring a new light to the world. They will discover a vision of the future that is in harmony with the eternal truth and universal harmony.

Yogic Secrets of the Dark Goddess: Lightning Dance of the Supreme Shakti,

by Shambhavi Chopra (Wisdom Tree Books 2007)

As the great power of time, Kali’s Shakti creates the different Yugas or world ages that humanity passes through during the long cycles of cosmic evolution. Kali is the Goddess of eternity watching over all our temporal changes and facilitating those which promote our inner growth. More specifically, Kali is theYuga Shakti or the power of time that takes humanity from one world age to another. She works to sustain the spiritual energy of the planet through both the ages of light and darkness.

The Dark Goddess is not simply a Hindu Goddess but the universal form of the Mother, who is the real ruler of the world. The awakening to the Goddess that is occurring today at a global level is, yogically speaking, an awakening to the energy of Kali. The Mother Goddess as the dark, mysterious and transcendent Devi holds the key to the real power and presence of the universe in all her manifestations. Kali is once more entering into humanity and into the sphere of the Earth to work her magic and her awe.

Continue reading