Jayanti Mangalaa Kaali Bhadra-kaali Kapaalini,
Durgaa Kshamaa shivaa Dhaatri, Svaahaa Svadhaa
I bow to the victorious mother, the auspicious Kali, Bhadra Kali, Kapalini, Durga, the forgiving mother Khama, the consort of Lord Shiva, Lord Brahma, Lord Agni and the Ancestors.
In appearance, Mother Kali is one of the most fearsome deities in Hinduism, however what makes her more so is the fact that she is a mother. The ferocity she shows in an uncommon female characteristic. In the Mandir, we have a large ten-armed deity of the holy Mother.
Her story is told in the various Puranas such as the Devi Bhagavatam, the Agni Puran, Skanda Puran and in the Markandeya Puran. The most well known story however is that of the Markendeya Purana’s Durga Saptashati which is recalled by all devotees of the holy Mother every Navaraatri. Mother Kali is the most ferocious form of Mother Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva.
When Durga Devi was battling the Shumbh and Nishumbh demons, their army was led by ‘Raktabeej’ – a demon with a boon that allowed him to clone himself wherever a drop of his blood fell on the ground. Durga Devi’s fury rose to an inextinguishable level and from the middle of her eyebrows a terrible energy arose in the form of Kali Mata. Dark and with horrifying appearance, she battled the demon by killing all the clones. When she realised that it was due to his blood falling to the ground that there were clones of him all around, she began to drink the blood that fell from his clones before the blood touched the ground. This enabled her to kill all of the clones without another being created. Having killed all the demons, she was intoxicated and begin to chase the humans and gods. To stop this, Lord Shiva laid in her path and when she accidentally stood on him, she realised her folly. In shame, she bit her tongue.
This is why we find Kali Mata standing on the body of Lord Shiva with her tongue out. Durga Mata then subsequently went on to kill Shumbha and Nishumbha as a result of this victory.
Mother Kali represents a mother in the truest of all senses. It shows her true care for the children. Afraid for the fake of her children, she battled millions of demons. She represents the protective side of the feminine Shakti – spiritual energy. She wears the limbs of the slain demons to warn all that no one will harm her progeny(humankind) while she is there. Kali Mata’s name comes from the Sanskrit root ‘Kaal’ which means time.
She is the controller of time and is the feminine energy behind destruction. This is represented by her black colour. Just as all other colours are absorbed in black, so too every created thing is absorbed into time.
Hindus worship Mother Kali mainly in Kolkata at the famous Dakshineshwari and Kalighat temples. Shri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda are famous devotees of the Mother. The practice of animal sacrifices is wrong for Kali Yuga. We should never condone such action in this present day, as the scriptures advise us that the period for that has ended. In reality, the advice was to offer up our animalistic tendencies to the Mother, and those who were desirous of eating meat misinterpreted it. Instead of becoming purer, they become more sinful. Meat eating is a cardinal sin of Hinduism and we should all awaken to the advice of our Lord. Our body is supposed to be a temple. By eating meat, we turn it into a cremation ground and the evil spirits of lust, pride, greed, anger, gluttony, sin etc all live there.
Let us make our bodies temples, fit for the Lord.
By worshipping the Holy Mother, Hindus receive blessings of protecting from bad vibrations and the assurance of successful family life in unity and harmony.