Author Topic: Goddess Kali  (Read 3429 times)

Offline Anisur Rahman

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Goddess Kali
« on: October 27, 2011, 01:42:08 PM »
Kali Puja (Bengali: কালীপূজা) or Shyama Puja (Bengali: শ্যামাপূজা) is a festival dedicated to the Hindu goddess Kali, celebrated on the new moon day of the Hindu month Ashwin in Bengal.It coincides with the pan-Indian Lakshmi Puja day of Diwali. While the Bengalis, Oriyas and Assamese adore goddess Kali on this day the rest of India worships goddess Lakshmi.

 HistoryThe festival of Kali Puja is not an ancient one. Kali Puja was practically unknown before the 18th century, however a late 17th century devotional text Kalika mangalkavya –by Balram mentions an annual festival dedicated to Kali.It was introduced in Bengal during the 18th century, by King (Raja) Krishnachandra of Navadvipa. Kali Puja gained popularity in the 19th century, with Krishanachandra’s grandson Ishvarchandra and the Bengali elite; wealthy landowners began patronizing the festival on a grand scale. Along with Durga Puja, now - Kali Puja is the biggest goddess festival in Bengal.

WorshipKali puja (like Durga Puja) worshipers honor goddess Kali in their homes in the form of clay idols and in pandals (temporary shrines or open pavilions). She is worshipped at night with Tantric rites and mantras. She is prescribed offerings of red hibiscus flowers, animal blood in a skull, sweets, rice and lentils, fish and meat. It is prescribed that a worshipper should meditate throughout the night until dawn. Homes may also practice rites in the Brahmanical (mainstream Hindu-style, non-Tantric) tradition with ritual dressing of Kali in her form as Adya Shakti Kali.Animals are ritually sacrificed on Kali Puja day and offered to the goddess. A celebration of Kali Puja in Kolkata is also held in a large cremation ground where she is believed to dwell.

 
Replica of the Kalighat Temple central image in a Kali Puja pandal.The pandals also house images of god Shiva - the consort of Kali, Ramakrishna and Bamakhepa- two famous Bengali Kali devotees along with scenes from mythology of Kali and her various forms along with Mahavidyas, sometimes considered as the "ten Kalis". The Mahavidyas is a group of ten Tantric goddesses headed by Kali.People visit these pandals throughout the night. Kali Puja is also the time for magic shows and theatre, fireworks.Recent custom involves drinking wine.

In the Kalighat Temple in Kolkata, Kali is worshipped as Lakshmi on this day so as to reflect an essence of Vaishnava Haldars on Kali worship. The temple is visited by thousands of devotees who offer animal sacrifices to the goddess.Another famous temple dedicated to Kali in Kolkata is Dakshineswar Kali Temple. The famous Kali devotee Ramakrishna was a priest at this temple. The celebrations have changed little from his time.

Other celebrationsAlthough the widely popular annual Kali Puja celebration, also known as the Dipanwita Kali Puja, is celebrated on the new moon day of Aswin, Kali is also worshipped in other new moon days too. Two other major Kali Puja observations are Ratanti Kali Puja and Phalaharini Kali Puja, respectively celebrated on the new moon days of the Hindu months of Margashirsha and Jyeshta. In many Bengali households, Kali is worshipped daily.
Anisur Rahman
Assistant Professor
Department of Computer Science and Engineering
Daffodil International University

Offline Anisur Rahman

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Re: Goddess Kali
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2011, 01:44:13 PM »
Kali: The Dark Mother
Fearful goddess with a heart of a mother
By Subhamoy Das, About.com Guide

The love between the Divine Mother and her human children is a unique relationship. Kali, the Dark Mother is one such deity with whom devotees have a very loving and intimate bond, in spite of her fearful appearance. In this relationship, the worshipper becomes a child and Kali assumes the form of the ever-caring mother.

"O Mother, even a dullard becomes a poet who meditates upon thee raimented with space, three-eyed, creatrix of the three worlds, whose waist is beautiful with a girdle made of numbers of dead men's arms..." (From a Karpuradistotra hymn, translated from Sanskrit by Sir John Woodroffe)


Who is Kali?
Kali is the fearful and ferocious form of the mother goddess. She assumed the form of a powerful goddess and became popular with the composition of the Devi Mahatmya, a text of the 5th - 6th century AD. Here she is depicted as having born from the brow of Goddess Durga during one of her battles with the evil forces. As the legend goes, in the battle, Kali was so much involved in the killing spree that she got carried away and began destroying everything in sight. To stop her, Lord Shiva threw himself under her feet. Shocked at this sight, Kali stuck out her tongue in astonishment, and put an end to her homicidal rampage. Hence the common image of Kali shows her in her mêlée mood, standing with one foot on Shiva's chest, with her enormous tongue stuck out.

The Fearful Symmetry
Kali is represented with perhaps the fiercest features amongst all the world's deities. She has four arms, with a sword in one hand and the head of a demon in another. The other two hands bless her worshippers, and say, "fear not"! She has two dead heads for her earrings, a string of skulls as necklace, and a girdle made of human hands as her clothing. Her tongue protrudes from her mouth, her eyes are red, and her face and breasts are sullied with blood. She stands with one foot on the thigh, and another on the chest of her husband, Shiva.

Awesome Symbols!
Kali's fierce form is strewed with awesome symbols. Her black complexion symbolizes her all-embracing and transcendental nature. Says the Mahanirvana Tantra: "Just as all colors disappear in black, so all names and forms disappear in her". Her nudity is primeval, fundamental, and transparent like Nature — the earth, sea, and sky. Kali is free from the illusory covering, for she is beyond the all maya or "false consciousness." Kali's garland of fifty human heads that stands for the fifty letters in the Sanskrit alphabet, symbolizes infinite knowledge.
Her girdle of severed human hands signifies work and liberation from the cycle of karma. Her white teeth show her inner purity, and her red lolling tongue indicates her omnivorous nature — "her indiscriminate enjoyment of all the world's 'flavors'." Her sword is the destroyer of false consciousness and the eight bonds that bind us.

Her three eyes represent past, present, and future, — the three modes of time — an attribute that lies in the very name Kali ('Kala' in Sanskrit means time). The eminent translator of Tantrik texts, Sir John Woodroffe in Garland of Letters, writes, "Kali is so called because She devours Kala (Time) and then resumes Her own dark formlessness."

Kali's proximity to cremation grounds where the five elements or "Pancha Mahabhuta" come together, and all worldly attachments are absolved, again point to the cycle of birth and death. The reclined Shiva lying prostrate under the feet of Kali suggests that without the power of Kali (Shakti), Shiva is inert.


Forms, Temples and Devotees
Kali's guises and names are diverse. Shyama, Adya Ma, Tara Ma and Dakshina Kalika, Chamundi are popular forms. Then there is Bhadra Kali, who is gentle, Shyamashana Kali, who lives only in the cremation ground, and so on. The most notable Kali temples are in Eastern India — Dakshineshwar and Kalighat in Kolkata (Calcutta) and Kamakhya in Assam, a seat of tantrik practices. Ramakrishna Paramhamsa, Swami Vivekananda, Vamakhyapa, and Ramprasad are some of the legendary devotees of Kali. One thing was common to these saints — all of them loved the goddess as intimately as they loved their own mother.
"My child, you need not know much in order to please Me.
Only Love Me dearly.
Speak to me, as you would talk to your mother,
if she had taken you in her arms."
Anisur Rahman
Assistant Professor
Department of Computer Science and Engineering
Daffodil International University

Offline Anisur Rahman

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Re: Goddess Kali
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2011, 01:45:37 PM »
Kali Puja coincides with Diwali, the North Indian New Year, the festivals of lights .The national festival of the Bengalis, The Durga Puja ends with a somber tone. But soon after that people again rejoices at the festive mood of Diwali. Every households clean their houses and light up candles all over their houses. Children and adults set off firecrackers all night. No one sleeps on that night.

History of Kali Puja
The Kali Puja is held on the night of the New Moon in the Bengali month of Kartik. It is said that Maharaja Krishnan Chandra of Nawadweep gave an order that everyone, in his domain should worship Kali. According to history the present form of the image of Kali, is due to a dream

The Mythology of Kali Puja
Goddess Kali appears in various forms as an embodiment of Shakti, the eternal energy and cosmic power. She is also the Goddess of Tantrism or the Indian Black Magic. . Using the powerful imagery of paintings, sculptures, and writings, the celebration of Kali Puja explores and illumines the rich meanings of feminine divinity. Legend has it that Ma Kali was the Goddess of dacoits. But Ma Kali is the Goddess of common man the middle-class people, or the daily wage earner too.

The Image
The image of Kali usually shows her foot on Lord Shiva's chest, a severed head in one hand, her sword in the other, and wearing a garland of skulls. The actual puja takes place at midnight on the day of the new moon.

The main purpose of the kali puja is to seek the help of the goddess in destroying evil - both in the outside world and within us. Kali Puja is done to diminish the ego and all negative tendencies that hinder spiritual progress and material prosperity.

The rituals
The rituals of Kali puja are very plain and simple. Elaborate cooking or preparation is not needed to satisfy Ma Kali. Even 'soma ras' or pure wine is offered as a 'bhog' to Ma Kali.

The main puja starts at midnight and stretches till dawn. Ma Kali is worshipped amidst the bursting of crackers and display of fireworks.



Anisur Rahman
Assistant Professor
Department of Computer Science and Engineering
Daffodil International University