Kali: The Mother Goddess

Indian concept of Devis and Devatas is much different from the western world. It is, therefore, tough for most to understand not just in the West but here as well. Often modern interpretations of ancient concepts fall way below the mark. In similar manner western ideas of Indian Gods and Goddesses is often out of context. Their minds cannot fathom the seeming paradoxes. The most misunderstood of all has to be Mother Goddess Maa Kali. It was Shri Ramakrishna Paramahansa who awakened the modern world to the ancient spiritual heritage of India. He was said to be blessed by Maa Kali herself.

Understanding the Universal Mother

Shri Ramakrishna introduced her as the Supreme Mother of the universe at a time when the concept of a Universal Mother was scoffed at. For the colonial powers that ruled across continents, it was difficult to accept a dark skinned and one who had a fierce demeanour Goddess as a Mother.

It is difficult to understand the paradoxes that she represents. It is only through meditation and other yogic practices that seers of the yore have been able to see and fathom here both in physical as well as spiritual sense. All Indian deities seem to be outwardly dramatic and paradoxical but the aim is to make people look beyond the physical form. Ours is an inward looking philosophy. We believe that this body is a temporary tool to work our way up the spiritual ladder.

Her nature

There are two aspects of Maa Kali- one is the external form and the other her Yogic nature. She represents ‘time’ and by wearing garland of skull she shows that nothing is permanent. Her cosmic dance is indicative of all existence while her dark blue colour stands for endlessness of time. Impermanence of things talks of limited time and immortality means endless time. Here we can reconcile the two in her form. By liberating her Bhakts (devotees) she takes them from mortality to Moksha.

As Yoga Shakti she shows devotees how to get back to the source of all existence that is merging with the ultimate Brahman. She awakens the Kundalini Shakti which holds the power of transformation within us. It is only with her grace that the chakras are awakened. In fact without Shakti, Shiva is nothing.

In today’s materialistic world, Maa Kali holds the secret to happiness. When we imbibe her teaching of looking beyond momentary and temporary pleasure and seek out the transformation that will lead us to eternity or immortality, then life will become easier and happier.

Latha Iyer