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Kolkata Kali III

Updated on July 31, 2017

The Goddess Kali glared at the asura Raktabīja but the asura refused to concede and continued with his brutal onslaught, despite the fact that the other asuras in his division were decimated. The fighting continued but only this time, every time Raktabīja was cut, the Goddess would drain the blood that oozed from the cut, before it fell to the ground, and Raktabīja whose sole defense was his boon from Brahma was soon incapacitated and the debilitated asura sank to his knees. By then however the Goddess had gone into a frenzy and with one fluid stroke of her sword removed the head of the asura from his shoulders.

The killing however did not stop with the demise of Raktabīja and the Goddess intoxicated by the blood of the asura continued with her killing spree, hacking and cleaving her way through the ranks of the asuras, grabbing them with her mouth, gnawing away at them, chewing on their mangled bodies and spitting out the remains, until there were none left.

Her unprecedented actions sent the Devas into a panic and fearing that they would be next they once again extolled the Hindu Trinity for help. In the meantime, the Goddess continued to pound on the fallen carcasses with her feet and a distraught Shiva, having heard the pleas of the Devas and fearing the worst descended from his abode at the summit of Mt. Kailash and lay naked among the sprawling corpses.

As the Goddess continued to stomp her way through the dead asuras she stumbled across the sprawling body of Shiva and as she lifted her foot to stomp on his body, she realized that it was her a husband that was lying in front of her and she hung her tongue out in shame. That is the reason why Kali is often depicted with her tongue hanging out.

Every aspect of the story including the manner in which the asuras were decapitated by the Goddess has some meaning attached to it especially among the Shakta Sects (sects that worship the Goddesses) and I will try to put them into perspective and elaborate on the meaning.

According to the most learned sources in the field the Goddess Kali is best worshipped with humility and this means at the time of worship one must have minimal clothes on. This is also the reason why she is often depicted with only a skirt of human body parts. We must also keep in mind the fact that Shiva himself prostrated naked before her. To give a more contemporary example, Swami Ramakrishna, probably the most learned authority in the field, was often seen with only a piece of cloth tied around his waist.

When one approaches the Goddess Kali in earnest one does so by doing away with all material possessions and one worships her with minimal attire and without any bodily accessories. It signifies that one is worshipping the Goddess with deference and her worship means more to him or her than material wealth or possessions.

Worship of the Goddess Kali lifts the veil of ignore that we are often covered in and allows us to attain the higher truths. Kali in reality is worshipped for knowledge and those who worship her are normally very learned people.

Secondly, I am going to attempt to tackle the preoccupation with animal sacrifice that is often associated to the Goddess Kali. Kali is a Hindu Goddess and therefore she is a vegetarian and she should only be worshipped if one desires to do so, with vegetarian offerings.

The sacrifices are for the asuras that she defeated. Upon defeat the asuras that she felled are resurrected and they become her attendants. The asuras in reality do not die but are rather subjected to the will of the Goddess.

When one looks at the depictions of the Goddess Kali one realizes that she is often depicted with a garland of heads belonging to the asuras that the Goddess crushed, mangled, and maimed on the battlefield. These asuras after their crushing defeat were resurrected to become part of her entourage and when one worships the Goddess one has a choice or worshipping the Goddess herself or drawing on the powers of her entourage.

It is therefore possible to draw on the power of the asuras or their energies and while there isn’t any need to, the results are much quicker.

Hate, anger, fury, all of which are negative energies are also very potent energies. When one draws on the energies of the asuras, however, one must be exceptional pious because the energies though, fast, strong and rewarding can also consume the person who draws on it especially if he or she doesn’t have the discipline that is required or uses it for the wrong purposes.

© 2017 Kathiresan Ramachanderam and Dyarne Jessica Ward

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