A synthesis made by Verona Bucu and Dan Bozaru
She governs the sixty-four arts and she is also the one that produces the Joy and endless Happiness of the Master of the whole Creation. KALI is Shakti (the Feminine Cosmic Force) in Her Purely Transcendental aspect. KALI is the Night of the Darkness from which the mysterious energy of Time springs."
"KALI is the great Cosmic Power of the Energy of Time and for the one who adores her, she is the one who grants Spiritual Liberation. KALI always protects and inspires those who know and love her. For the fearless, KALI is the Terrible, the Destroyer of Time. As the dark Shakti of Shiva, KALI is the space, air, fire, water and earth. KALI carries out all the physical desires of Shiva.
KALI is the cosmic Force of time The great Cosmic Power KALI, one of the most emotional personifications of the primary female energy in the cosmic drama, has gained great popularity and she is often the subject of a full of fervor devotion in Tantric worship. She is, not at all accidentally, the symbol of power representing the unity of the transcendent.
This Great Cosmic Power got to be worshipped in her many forms in many parts of the world. Thus, in Nepal, it is known as Guhyakali; the Greeks used the name Kalli, formerly there existed a city named Kallipolis (currently Gallipoli); in Finland, the name of Kalma (Kali Ma) is also attributed to goddess Kali; even the Gypsies who came from India adore her under the name Sara Kali; in prehistoric Ireland the priestesses were called Kelles, because they were the worshipers of goddess Kele. Many other examples can be found.
The worship of Kali is characterized by a steady abandonment of oneself in front of Mother. By expressing their love and faith, the worshipper obtains a more profound spiritual consciousness and a gets closer to their own inner truth.
We briefly present you the contents of this ample material on the Great Cosmic Power KALI:
1. The act of the universal creation. The whole universe is Kali's stage In Tantric cosmology, the whole universe (the macrocosm) is considered as being born and constantly supported by the dual forces of SHIVA-SHAKTI, the masculine and feminine principle; however, the Supreme Goddess says in Devibhagavata says: "At the time of the final dissolution (pralaya), I am no longer man or woman, or neutral." She becomes devoid of form and attributes in this last aspect of reality.
The whole universe is the scene of Kali
In Hindu iconography, Kali is considered the first and most important of the tantric Pantheon deities, but her various forms and aspects are also fervently revered in the other spiritual traditions of India. The famous Mahanirvana Tantra text describes Kali as the one who gives birth to all things and beings in the Manifestation, from the least to the most significant. Thus, the whole of the Macrocosm becomes the theatre of her terrible, beneficial and harmoniously integrated actions, which are characterized by a total causal knowledge and a profound discernment. The mysterious influence of the great Cosmic Power Kali within the Creation is so complex and occulted, that virtually no human being can perceive its real goals and meanings, with the exception of those souls that have already reached a high degree of spiritual accomplishment. According to Tantric spiritual tradition, the whole Manifestation springs from Infinite Consciousness of the endless beatific Union between Shiva and Shakti. The creation function is fulfilled by that divine energy (Shakti) which is called Brahman and the maintenance or continuance of this creation is carried out by Shakti Vaishnavi. Both the creation and maintenance aspects involve every time a "death" or a molecular "destruction" of any form of the Manifestation, and this function is fulfilled by Rudrani Shakti. In particular, Brahmani, Vaishnavi and Rudrani Shakti are nothing more than the female aspects of the great Hindu gods forming the Hindu trinity of the Creation: Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra (or Shiva).
The simultaneous existence of these three processes in the Manifestation clearly explain the statement of the tantric texts that proclaim that the act of Creation did not take place only once in a moment in the past, and its dissolution or destruction (of the Creation) is not going to happen only one time sometimes in the future either, but in every moment of time these aspects manifest as some sparks that are so fast that they create the impression of continuity and reality. Although the mind and the body of the human being are constantly assaulted by countless sensory experiences, the state of divine ecstasy (samadhi) which occurs due to an intense and perseverant spiritual practice involves the "dissolution" of the mental functions and of the consciousness of the body in the Supreme consciousness of Paramashiva (God the father) that transcends any duality.
The Great Cosmic Power Kali is considered to be the very nature and consciousness of the Supreme Divine (Brahman), this representing her transcendent aspect. On the other hand, she is at the same time the glory of the effulgent manifestation of countless worlds and entities in Creation. Therefore, Kali is worshipped in her two fundamental aspects: as the Great Goddess granting the favor of all enjoyments and happiness of this world, as well as the holy supreme divine energy (Shakti), that gives the spiritual liberation (Kaivalya).
In the Pantheon of the Tantric gods, Kali is referred to as the first of the ten Great Cosmic Powers because, in a certain way, she is the one who makes “the wheel of time" move, this being the primary impulse in the phenomenal existence and becoming. On the other hand, at the end of a cycle of manifestation, Time (or Kala, in Sanskrit) "devoured" all the worlds of the three plans (universes or spheres of consciousness) of Creation, which are the physical universe, the astral universe (or subtle) and the causal universe. The Great Cosmic Power Kali "devours" in the end even the aspect of temporality (i.e. the subtle energy of time, Kala), this being the reason she is considered the primary cause of creation and destruction of manifestation.
From another perspective, Kali is also the creator of the worlds, these worlds being born from the ashes of the purifying fire of the Divine Consciousness of this Great Cosmic Power, which has burned all the impurities, residues and imperfections of the forms of manifestation. Therefore, the action of Kali has a deeply evolutionary character, giving a sometimes dramatic or terrible impulse to the human beings’ existence on their way to spiritual accomplishment. However Kali always does this with a perfect divine discernment, and those who manage to overcome successfully these stages and tests they go though are true spiritual heroes, enjoying the ineffable favor of the Great Goddess Kali.
However, until the Omnipotent Will of God does not manifest the creator impulse, Shakti (or the Infinite Divine Energy) is located in potentiality and inseparably united with Shiva in his purely transcendental aspect. The texts of tantric spirituality name this perfect union, beyond any manifestation of duality, by the term Sat-Cit-Ananda (Pure Existence, Pure Consciousness - endless Bliss).
2. Aspects of the Great Cosmic Power KALI In his vision, Ramakrishna describes Kali as follows: "The world in its totality is the toy of the Divine mother, which, under various aspects, plays with it. Sometimes she is Mahakali, unconditioned, formless. Another time It is as the immortal Nitya-Kali, separate from her work. In another aspect, she is Smasana-Kali, the being who reigns over death, over the destruction of everything. She is on the other hand Rakshya-Kali, standing in front of us, always ready to protect and bless her children that love her (the worshippers). She also appears as Shyama, the intensely blue charming Mother, accompanied by the God of Eternity and Infinity."
The supreme Shakti (in her aspect of Kali) assumes the responsibility of creating the names, as well as their evolution in manifestation. Her sovereignty is often mentioned in the Tantric texts by the name Adimahavidya, which means the first of the Great Cosmic Powers, but this must not induce the idea of a hierarchy, but rather that of an order of becoming of the macrocosm. Thus, one of the many representations of the Great Goddess Kali is the one in which she is represented on a throne of gold, supported by five bodies (such as that of Shiva), a throne which is in the middle of a tree grove made of gems. A beach with golden sand lies at her feet, always washed by the peaceful waves of the Nectar Ocean of Immortality.
Kali is also called Adyashakti, in her aspect of terrible energy and power that impulses human beings into action and the world (Creation) to manifestation. For this reason she is often also called Mahamaya (the great Power of the Universal Illusion). The fact that she is represented naked without any garment that covers her, signifies Kali transcended any type of limitation, she being always identified with the endless Power of the Divine consciousness. Kali's action in Manifestation involves the destroying and at the same time purifying action of time (Kala).
This aspect is suggested by a decapitated head of a human being, that the Great Goddess holds in one of her hands, the significance being that the entire creation, is finally dissolved or revoked in the bosom of the Primordial Consciousness of God, because of the inexorable action of the subtle energy of time manifested by Kali, she herself being beyond time. This is the reason that the goddess is assigned also the name of Mahakali. However, as a yogi aims more and more firmly towards the goal of spiritual liberation, that transcends any duality and illusion, Kali will offer him her overwhelming grace (bhukti – the experience full of happiness and fulfillment in this world and mukti – the divine bliss of the Transcendent Divine Reality).
One of the most important aspects in which the Great Cosmic Power Kali is worshipped is that of the goddess Durga, the defeater of the demon Mahishashura. This demon represents in the tradition of the Hindu spirituality the incarnation of all the forces of Darkness. In the Vedanta philosophy there is the concept of the Divine Reincarnations (avatara) that come to Earth in order to achieve a profound spiritual transformation of humanity; in this direction, Rama, Krishna etc. were considered avatars of the Master of the Universe (Ishvara, adored in his male aspect as Vishnu). But for those who love God in his aspect of a caring omnipotent Divine Mother, the great Goddess is the only incarnation to destroy the evil that proliferates in the world under its various demonic and satanic aspects.
Thus, in the tradition of Hindu Mythology it is said that the invincible goddess, omnipotent in the three worlds (physical, subtle and causal), came out victorious in the battle with demons and their king, the great demon Mahishashura, saving thus the gods from captivity and restoring the order in Manifestation. The deep spiritual significance of this myth is that in every human being there are beneficial and malefic forces and energies, which are acknowledged in this way. Symbolically, the malefic forces are the demons, and the benefic ones are the gods, so there is a fierce internal battle for supremacy. The goddess Durga, personification of the Great Cosmic Power Kali, grants her grace and divine help to those who invoke and adore her powerfully so that their spiritual forces develop and suppress all the other negative influences of their psyche and mental. Durga, the Divine Light which eternally sparkles as a Lighthouse of Eternity, destroys and burns in the terrible fire of her pure consciousness any malevolent force and any residue of ignorance.
In Hindu iconography, Kali appears as well in multiple other forms, which are often similar to the form of Dakshina Kali, the differences involving the number of arms, of the face of the goddess or of the symbolic objects which she holds in her hands. Thus, Shmasana Kali, Siddha Kali, Mahakali, Guhya Kali are all aspects of the Great Goddess who are revered in various parts of India..
Among these forms of the Great Cosmic Power Kali it is worthy to note that of Bhadra Kali, which in the famous treatise Tantrasara is described as a hungry deity, ready to devour every illusory form or aspect of Manifestation, having three eyes (symbol of complete spiritual knowledge) and four hands in which she holds a skull, a drum, a trident and an axe. A variant of Bhadra Kali is Chamunda Kali described as having a pleasant and benevolent appearance, although her teeth are terrible at sight. She wears a long human bone, with a skull in the end, and a sword in her both right hands, and in her two left hands she hold a noose and a human head. Unlike other representative forms, Chamunda Kali wears a tiger fur on her body and sits on a corpse.
At certain times and circumstances, Kali interferes in a terrible way to destroy everything that is weak, useless or perverted. She often assumes symbolically four or more hands to hold and use various objects and weapons in order to maintain the order in Creation and the control over the malefic forces embodied by certain demonic and satanic entities (yaksha, rakshasa, naga, bhuta, etc.). In her highly elevated aspects, Kali is the very endless Divine Bliss which lies beyond any ability of common human perception.
3. The traditional symbolic representation of the Great Cosmic Powers, KALI Kali is often depicted, as the Divine Universal Mother, being surrounded by a lot of other gods and goddesses. She is at the same time the low and the unscrupulous in the Creation, but also she is the highest refinement and subtlety in the various spheres of the Manifestation. Devoid of any sizes and spatial-temporal objectivities, she however takes countless forms and names in order to meet the most hidden desires of her fervent worshipers. Kali is represented in most aspects as having a black body, holding in her many hands symbolic objects or making mudras (symbolic gestures), with garlands or necklaces with dead heads around the neck, having her tongue pulled out and dancing on the inert body of Shiva, in the midst of a burning pyre. She appears as the aspect of Death, transcending Illusion.
The description of the Great Cosmic Power Kali, as it is revealed in the Kalitantra text, describes the goddess as having her skin the color of a dark and purple cloud before the storm. She dances over the inert white body of Shiva, this representation signifying the two fundamental aspects of reality: on the one hand, the static and transcendent aspect of Consciousness (which is identified with Shiva), and on the other hand the dynamic and immanent aspect of consciousness (which is identified with Kali's dance). In this iconographical representation, Shiva is white because he signifies the infinite divine light without support (prakasha), he is inert and motionless as a corpse (Shava), because in the absence of action and movement, Consciousness is pure, homogenous and compact. On the contrary, the dance of the Great Goddess Kali most importantly signifies the dynamic and active aspect of the Divine Consciousness in Manifestation, and the dark color of her skin shows that in the processes taking place in Creation, Kali "dissolves" everything, which is associated with darkness and existential vacuum.
The various depictions of the goddess have in common some fundamental elements, which are: Shiva's corpse, a glorious attitude, black color, etc., but they may however differ in other details, that constitute as many shades of the role that Kali plays in Manifestation. Thus, in one of these images, the great Goddess is represented in a stately, profoundly meditative attitude, overwhelmed by the nectar of the endless spiritual bliss; she is on top of Shiva’s chest, who is lying on the ground in the corpse posture (shavasana).
Kali is represented in the well-known position of the archer, with her right leg bent forward, with the sole on Shiva’s chest, and her left leg bent backwards. Both images (both that of Kali and the one of Shiva) are illustrated in the midst of a place corpses are burnt, meaning that all illusory objects of the world are finally reduced to "ashes" due to their terrible consumption in the fire of the passage of time (time being the main way of manifestation of Kali in Creation), or that such ephemeral things (matter, objects, human beings. phenomena, actions) return to their primary stage of essence origin causal synthesis.
As usual, also in this representation Kali is black, being thus the source of any other color that springs from the unknown abyss of the fundamental quality of sustainment (tamas guna). Although, this suggests that she is associated with the occulting depths of the Supreme Consciousness of God in Creation under the densest forms of matter and action, still Kali is also surrounded by a bright white halo of light that does not cause blindness or eye pain to the eyes that look at it, but on the contrary it calms them down and relaxes them due to the deeply “cooling” nature of this energy (amrita), which is like the effulgent manifestation of the nectar released by millions of subtle and spiritual worlds.
In this picture, Shiva's corpse signifies that the power of divine consciousness is inherent even to inanimate matter. Kali has her mouth wide open and her tongue much pulled out, representing thus symbolically the gesture (mudra) of "devouring" or "consumption" of the entire Creation. At the same time, however, this awesome and scary aspect (for those who do not know the profound esoteric meanings of this image) is doubled by a smiling attitude of the Great Goddess, who looks with kindness and affection to all the beings in Manifestation and supports their life and evolution feeding them to the huge breasts of an all-loving Divine Mother.
On the other hand, Kali's laughter signify her ironic attitude towards all those who, ignoring the laws of macrocosmic harmony and balance, imagine that they can escape from their spiritual evolution as individuals and also as parts of a unique and perfect Whole. The great Goddess has three eyes "overseeing" all worlds which operate in the three aspects of time (trikala): past, present and future. In one of the hands she holds a skull which symbolizes, firstly, a receptacle of the mysteries of Creation, of the occult teachings and of the origin of the three main spheres of consciousness (physical, subtle and causal), and secondly, it represents figuratively what remains in the end after the destruction or the dissolution of the whole Macrocosm.
In the other hand Kali holds a sword (khadga) which is intended to symbolize the cutting of the links and attachments to the manifested world in order to prepare the believer for the moment of the supreme spiritual liberation. It is also interesting to note that the hair of the Great Goddess is represented as being long and waving in the wind, which signifies the power of the full grace of this Great Cosmic Power to confer the human being the liberation from the heavy "chains" of the karma in Manifestation. Kali's goodwill and compassion are also highlighted by the specific position of two of her hands that perform the gestures to remove fear (abhaya mudra) and to render spiritual gifts and paranormal powers (varada mudra).
The goddess wears around her neck a bead made of the decapitated heads of demons and some evil entities proving the complete and always present victory of the good and the fair action in Creation. Her naked body is sprinkled with blood that drips from the decapitated heads, and as earrings she wears the bodies of two human corpses. The whole terrible aspect of Kali is amplified by the blood that flows through the two sides of her wide open mouth, which as explained above, signifies the continuous "devouring" of any manifested aspect.
The nakedness of the goddess symbolically indicates that her power is not limited by any aspect of Creation and also that the goddess herself is the creator of the entire universe (Macrocosm), but also represents the constituents (i.e. things, beings, etc.) it consists of. Sometimes it is represented on top of Shiva in a reversed romantic act of making love (viparita rati), indicating that the mahavidya upasana (or, in other words, the adoration full of fervor and devotion of this Great Cosmic Power (Kali)) essentially symbolizes the principle of resorption of the entire universe (prapancha) into the consciousness now infinitely expanded of the believer, through the grace of the Great Goddesses Kali.
This is the complex in significances representation of the terrible shape of Kali, form known as Dakshina Kali or Shyamakali.
4. The Tantric Sadhana. Ways of adoring the Great Cosmic Power of Time, KALI The great Yogi and liberated Ramakrishna said: "What does the strength of a disciple consist of? Of his tears of longing for God. Just as a mother cannot resist to the desire of her crying child, so God grants His child who cries with longing for Him, His Supreme grace."
Sadhana, or the spiritual practice with regard to the Great Cosmic Power Kali, involves the spiritual effort to purify and energize the subtle centers of force of the aspirant to the highest degree and also to achieve at the same time the glorious awakening and ascension of Consciousness and Divine Energy, located at the level of Muladhara Chakra as Kundalini Shakti. The ascent of Kundalini Shakti is also one of the most important aspects of the sphere of influence and manifestation of the gigantic sphere of cosmic consciousness of Kali in the worshiper’s being, being directly linked to the practice of making love with transfiguration and continence, in full conformity with the principles and ideas of the tantric system doctrine.
Sadhana (the specific spiritual practice) of adoring the Great Cosmic Power Kali is undoubtedly one of the most novel ways of spiritual adoration, which is in particular specific to the typology of the spiritual hero. Full of courage and fearless in front of the terrible shapes that Kali takes in front of him (testing thus his audacity, determination, patience, perseverance and spiritual maturity), the adept that becomes stronger in this way in the purifying fire of the sublime spiritual experience, has within the shortest time (and sometimes even instantly) access to the transcendent condition of the Absolute Divine Consciousness, which is God the Father himself.
Because for most of the worshippers the subtle aspects of the goddess Kali (and, generally speaking, of any other deity) cannot be perceived directly by an inward vivid transfiguring emotion (bhavana), it is necessary for the deity image to be placed in front of the adorer in the form of a statue or even a drawing (photo) that is well realized. Although this method may seem like an extreme form of adoration (upasana), it can create, in the depths of the adorer’s heart, the resonance of state which is specific to the adoration of that deity. The lowest form of adoring is a three dimensional image (murti) of the goddess (the statue of Kali or of any other Mahavidya), then the so-called emblems (salagrama shila) of virtues, which are represented by some black stones with intricate designs, and, then, at a higher level there is the way of adoring the goddess through her specific yantra.
The special Yantra or, in other words, the sacred geometrical shape to evoke (resonance) with Kali is composed of a series of five equilateral triangles placed one inside the others and placed on the circle of a lotus with eight petals. The five triangles pointing downwards of Kali’s yantra actually symbolize both the transcendence of the five senses, and of the five elements (tattva-s). The lotus in the form of a circle with eight petals indicates that the goddess Kali can be correctly understood and perceived by focusing our elevated emotions in the secondary centre Hrid Chakra or at best in Anahata Chakra. In the centre of this yantra we should visualize a little point, symbolizing the full stability of our consciousness. The Yantra of Mother Kali is a powerful symbol for mental concentration and meditation and it can also be used as a protective talisman.
Finally, the most elevated form of adoration is the use of that goddess (in our case it is the bija mantra of the Great Cosmic Power Kali) mantra (or bija mantra) that can be integrated in the technique of japa (out loud, whispered or mental repetition of the mantra that corresponds to that deity) or the more complex technique and more nuanced as effects, the laya yoga meditation technique. We also have to mention the fact that when adoring the image (murti) of the goddess, the adorer’s mind gradually tends to identify with the shape of that Great Cosmic Power (Kali), at which point the perception of the material image is no longer related to a simple exterior object, but it is replaced with the actual perception of the divine power of the goddess which is evoked with fervor and which is in this way made to "descend" at the level of the statue or image. Other ritual elements of an adoring consist of the prostration full of love in front of the deity’s image, in offering flowers, fresh fruits or other products of a pure quality, in burning of incense, etc.
Nyasa is also an important aspect of adoration. This action (nyasa) involves placing the adorer’s hands, palms and fingers on different parts of his body, simultaneously with the mental repetition of the mantra-s specific for those areas, and using the creative imagination he realizes thus the identification of the various parts of the deity body with the parts of his own body. The ritual ends with a specific movement of the hand that "diffuses" the subtle energy of the goddess within the adorer’s whole body.
Kali is always ready to answer to those who evoke her through the worship of her perfect qualities, through mental repetition of her mantra-s, and by the visualization of her yantra and of her many sacred traditional forms. Kali conveys much love when the passionate impulse of sincere desire to unite with her gives birth to an effervescent vitality, through which, the one who adores her falls and then rises through the Great Axis, which is the central channel of the subtle body, Sushumna Nadi. She is also instantly thrilled at the ecstatic amorous experiences of a man and a woman in their endless sexual tantric union (with continence). Kali offers us her immense happiness whenever we remember of her. Kali is felt as an oceanic ecstasy when she frantically evoked as being together with Shiva.
She can be worshiped by offering (consecrating) her anything with love, but without hypocrisy. It is very easy to evoke her by means of her sensual smells of sandalwood, musk, patchouli and camphor. She also likes garlands of red flowers, the rhythmic love music and a profoundly transfiguring sensual dance. Kali responds with joy at spontaneous laughter, emotional songs of love, passionate love and to the mental attitude of "all or nothing".
A beautiful, sensual and vital woman can quickly become one with Kali identifying deeply and widely with her terrible power that is obtained through the mysterious initiation in her sphere of force. So, she will get in ineffable resonance with this Great Cosmic Power Kali. When the hypocrisy, self-doubt, selfishness and jealousy are almost completely removed from the soul of a woman, the deep intuitive wisdom of Kali, giving bliss and harmony, powerfully comes to light. Full of an effervescent amorous vitality and sexual energy, giving divine wisdom and discriminatory power, Kali then acts permanently as a very strong initiator in the ineffable nature of reality. For a woman who truly feels her, Kali is fearless and passionate; once you have obtained the grace of this Great Cosmic Power, she will never withdraw it. In her role as Kali, the woman acts as the destroyer of illusion and as the one who spontaneously fulfills the most intimate desires of the one who adores her.
Hymns of praise dedicated to the Great Cosmic Power KALI
“Great Goddess, who are You?"
She responds: "In my essence I am in Brahman (the Absolute or God).
Out of me the world was formed at the beginning..."
KALI the Mother a hymn by Swami Vivekananda
The stars are blotted out,
The clouds are covering clouds
It is darkness vibrant, sonant.
In the roaring, whirling wind
Are the souls of a million lunatics
Just loosed from the prison-house,
Wrenching trees by the roots,
Sweeping all from the path.
The sea has joined the fray,
And swirls up mountain-waves,
To reach the pitchy sky.
The flash of lurid light
Reveals on every side
A thousand, thousand shades
Of Death begrimed and black —
Scattering plagues and sorrows,
Dancing mad with joy,
Come, Mother, come!
For Terror is Thy name,
Death is in Thy breath.
And every shaking step
Destroys a world for e'er.
Thou 'Time', the All-destroyer!
Come, O Mother, come!
Who dares misery love,
And hug the form of Death,
Dance in Destruction's dance,
To him the Mother comes.
fragment from SHAKTISANGAMA TANTRA
“Shakti, the feminine principle, is the Creator of the Universe.
She is indeed the very body of the Universe.
Shakti is the foundation of all three worlds.
She is the essence of our body.
There is no jewel rarer than woman,
no condition superior to that of a woman.
There is not, nor has been, nor will be
any destiny equal to that of a woman;
there is no kingdom, no wealth, no happiness, no beauty
to be compared with a woman.
There is no prayer equal to a woman.
There is not, nor has been, nor will be
any yoga to compare with a woman,
no mystical formula nor asceticism
to match a woman.
There is not, nor has been, nor will be
Neither yesterday, nor today nor tomorrow
Any treasure superior to a Shakti.
Fragment from BHAIRAVA YAMALA
She is the Divine Light and Transcendent itself.
From Her body burst thousands of rays –
Two thousand, one hundred thousand
Tens of millions, a hundred million –
their number may not be counted.
Thanks to Her and through Her,
all beings and things are moving,
and through Her stillness shines.
Due to the divine light
of this all-encompassing divine Power,
all things and beings are manifested."