Kali Kali Mahakali ~ Kalike Papanasini
Khadgahaste Mundahaste ~ Kali Kali Namostute
Kali Yantra by William Clark
Jai Maa and Happy Day/Night One of Navaratri. This year I am propitiating the Devi in a different order than usual, invoking the Dasa Mahavidya instead of the nine forms of Durga used in an alternate scheme, as the One Truth is expressed in many different personalities.
This night is devoted to the goddess Kali Maa, one of the fiercest of deities, who conquers death, darkness, and time. Her name in Sanskrit comes from the word “kala,” which means time, death, darkness, or lord of death. I always find it interesting that in Hawaiian language, “kala” is associated with true freedom, trans. as “to loosen, untie, release, remove, unburden, absolve, let go, acquit, take off, and undo.”
This Hawaiian meaning of Kala synchronistically expresses the essence of Kali Maa as well, as She frees us from the unreal world of Maya. Interestingly, kala also means black in Sanskrit, whereas in Hawaiian it can also mean “sunshine.” I think her name clearly shows that She takes us from the illusionary external world of darkness into the brightest truest light within.
Wearing a garland of 52 skulls and a skirt of dismembered arms, she slays the ignorant ego that is identified with the temporal reality, which is separated from the true knowledge of Self and Oneness. Kali is often depicted with one foot on Lord Shiva lying like a corpse, which signifies the union of Purusha—Shiva, the absolute unmanifest, and Prakriti—Shakti, the creative power of manifestation. Allegorically, Shiva is the riverbed, while his Shakti flows through as the river.
Kali is associated with Lord Shani (Saturn) in Vedic astrology. She is worshiped to protect us from Saturn problems, including fear and worry; health and relationship issues; and material concerns. But one must never undertake Kali sadhana lightly (believe me, I know this firsthand). Kali Maa teaches us about the root chakra, the muladhara, which correlates with Saturn and unresolved issues related to our familial roots or societal conditioning as well as safety and security concerns. As the awareness of our deepest strength and inner knowing, Kali can help us when faced with uncertainty, at those times when we have no other choice but to “let go and let Goddess” run the show for us. Jai Maa Kali Maa!
Dive deep, O mind
Into the heart’s fathomless depths,
Where many a gem lies hid.
Dive deep and make your way
To Mother Kali’s realm. (Ramprasad Sen)