Hindu Goddess Kali

 

 

The word Kali is the feminine form of the Sanskrit word Kala , which means time. It also means black. The Hindu Goddess Kali has therefore been understood as the goddess of time. She is also been understood as ‘she who is black', ‘she who is the mother of time', ‘she who devours time' and ‘she who is black time'.

Kali is depicted as having four arms and hands. The left arms hold a sword and a severed head, and the right are held in a blessing pose. She wears a garland of 51 heads, and is shown as being very dark. She is accompanied by serpents and a jackal, and is portrayed as standing over a prostrating Lord Shiva , with her tongue protruding.

Hindu mythology says that there was a battle between the demons and gods. The gods were losing, so they appealed to Lord Shiva. However, he was lost in meditation, and so the gods turned to his consort Parvati, who is also known as the Goddess Durga. Durga took the form of the Hindu goddess Kali to fight the demons. Hindu mythology holds that after Kali destroyed all the demons in battle, she set out on a fearsome rampage, killing anyone who crossed her path, and adorning herself with her victims' heads and limbs, as she danced a terrific dance of vistory. Lord Shiva requested her to desist, but she did not pay any heed. He then lay down like a corpse, to absorb the shock of her dance into himself. When the Hindu Goddess Kali, in dance, stepped on her husband, she realized her mistake. And she stuck out her tongue in shame.

 

This interpretation, however, is not accepted by all, and there is an alternative Tantric interpretation as well.

The Hindu goddess Kali's appearance is considered fearsome and terrible. However, she is believed to be the kindest of all the Hindu goddesses. Her terrible form is interpreted as her power to protect. It is only in the ignorant, that she creates fear.


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