|Estd. Year 2004
|Home Puja Service KALI PUJA
Of all the forms of the Hindu pantheon, that of Kali is perhaps the most enigmatic to the modern mind. Who will not recoil in horror and disgust from the form of a dark nude woman wearing an apron of human hands and a garland of human heads, especially if she is also holding a freshly severed human head and the chopper used in slaughter, dripping with blood? Throughout his history, mankind has been baffled by profound symbology. More so when it does not conform to its own ‘sweet and refined’ standards. Even when one particular group or cult successfully assimilates it and starts revering it, other groups or cults continue to abhor it. It is natural for one group to abhor the symbols of all others forgetting conveniently that the ‘other groups’ are doing the same! The picture of the ‘Slain Lamb’ or the cults of the ‘Sacred Heart’ are just two illustrations to show this. On the other hand, a closer look at such symbols will not only dispel our ignorance about them but can also produce positive admiration. Is not the water of the sea, which appears as dark blue or green from a distance, really colourless and transparent when examined at close quarters?
The word ‘Kali’ comes from the well known word ‘kala’, the time (era). She is the power of time. Time, as we are all well aware, is all-destroying, all-devouring. That is why the Lord says in the Gita that he is time which has grown to infinite proportions and is destroying the worlds. A power that destroys has got to be depicted in terms of awe-inspiring terror.
Let us now turn to ‘Kali’ imagery as normally found in the scriptures, pictures and icons. The background is a cremation ground or a burial ground or a Warfield, showing the dead bodies including the mutilated ones. She herself is standing in a challenging posture, in a ‘dead’ body, which is her own spouse, ‘Shiva’ himself. If ‘Shiva’ is pure white, she is deep blue in colour bordering on blackness. She is completely naked, except for an apron of human hands. She is wearing a garland of fifty human heads or skulls. Her luxuriant hair is completely disheveled. She has three eyes and four hands. In her upper hands she is holding a freshly severed and bleeding human head, as also the sword (or chopper) used in the carnage. The two lower hands are in the ‘abhaya’ and ‘varada’ mudras (form of forgiveness and blessings). Her face is red and tongue protruding.
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The background or the setting is in complete harmony with the theme. The severed head and the sword are graphic representations of destruction that has just taken place.
God is said to have created this universe and then entered into it. So the universe becomes a veil, a cloak for the divinity. When that is destroyed, the divinity remains unveiled. This is the meaning of ‘Kali’ being naked. She is hence termed ‘Digambara’ (‘clad in space’), having the vast limitless space itself as her only vesture.
Being the embodiment or ‘tamas’, the aspect of energy responsible for dispersion ad infinitum producing limitless void, a void that has swallowed up everything, she is black. She represents the state where time, space and causation have disappeared without any trace as it were. Hence she is black.
The hand represents the capacity for work. Hence the apron of severed hands can signify that she is so pleased with the offerings of our works and the fruits thereof that she wears them on her body.
The hand can also stand for kinetic energy. Therefore, severed hands can stand for potential energy, the energy that has stopped all outward manifestation, and yet is tremendously powerful, ready to manifest itself when desired.
The disheveled hair, for which she is called ‘Muktakesi’, bespeaks her untrammeled freedom.
And then, the garland of skulls or heads which number fifty. They represent the fifty letters of the alphabet, the manifest state of sound, or sound (‘sabda’) in general, from which the entire creation has proceeded. To show that the manifest creation has been withdrawn, she is wearing the garland on her body. The skulls or severed heads indicate the state of destruction.
Since she is the supreme energy responsible for the dissolution of the created universe, her form as depicted here naturally strikes awe and fear. But then she is the mother also. Hence she is reassuring her fear stricken children through the ‘abhya mudra’ (form of forgiveness) saying, ‘don’t be afraid! I am your own dear mother!’ Simultaneously she is also exhibiting her desire to grant boons through the ‘varda mudra’ (form of blessings).
So far, so good! But what about ‘Shiva Mahadeva’ being ‘trampled’ under her feet? According to one of the mythological accounts, ‘Kali’ once destroyed all the demons in a battle and the started a terrific dance out of the sheer joy of victory. All the worlds began to tremble and give way under its impact. At the request of all the gods, ‘Shiva’ himself asked her to desist from it. She was too intoxicated to listen. Hence ‘Shiva’ lay line a corpse among the corpses on which she was dancing in order to absorb its shock into himself. When she stepped upon him she suddenly realized her mistake and put out her tongue in shame!
‘Shiva Mahadeva’ is ‘Brahman’, the Absolute which is beyond all names, forms and activities. Hence he is shown lying prostrate like a ‘shava’, corpse. ‘Kali’ represents her ‘shakti’ (energy). The energy however can never exist apart from its source or act independently of it. It can manifest itself and act only when it is abased firmly on the source. It is exactly this that is meant while showing ‘Kali’ standing on the chest of ‘Shiva’.
From all this, one should not jump to the conclusion that ‘Kali’ represents only the destructive aspect of God’s power. What exists when time is transcended, the eternal night, of limitless peace and joy, is also ‘Kali’ (‘Maharatri’). Again it is she who prods ‘Shiva Mahadeva’ into the next cycle of creation. In short, she is the power of God in all his aspects.
As per Indian mythology, Kali is believed to the goddess of knowledge and learning. Kali is the consort of Lord Brahma and is the Goddess of Knowledge. She is the personification of knowledge - arts, science, crafts. She represents ‘Shakti’ (energy), creativity and inspiration and presents herself when the weather is pleasant and Nature is in its full grandeur. Saintly people and people inclined towards spiritual progress attach great importance to the worship of goddess ‘Kali’. As a practice anyone can worship goddess Kali for spiritual enlightenment.
It is said that there is no comparison between the king and the learned or the spiritually advanced. It is believed that the king is honoured within his kingdom, whereas the learned are respected or worshipped throughout the world.
‘Kali’ is the controller of learning and speech. She represents the union of power and intelligence from which organized creation arises. ‘Kali’ possesses all the learning of the Vedas, scriptures, dances, musical power and poetry. She revealed language and writing to man. She embodies wisdom, fortune, intelligence, nourishment, brilliance, contentment, splendor and devotion.
’Kali’ Puja is useful for gaining knowledge and mastery in studies, to sharpen the intellect and improve memory. ‘Kali’ is the goddess of knowledge. Puja of Maa Kali shall be conducted by every student whether in school, college of preparing for exams. If you are sitting in any competitive exam, then you must conduct this Puja for Maa Kali Blessings.
AstroMuni.com takes every care to perform following puja on behalf of its clients:
MahaGanapati Puja, Lakshmi Narayan Puja, MahaLakshmi Puja, MahaMrityunjaya puja, Maha Sudarshan Puja, Rudra Abhishkam, Kali Puja, Uma Maheshwara Puja, Vishnu Sahasrnam Puja, Surya Puja, Chandra Puja, Mangal Puja, Budh Puja, Guru Puja or Brihaspati Puja, Shukra Puja, Shani Puja, Rahu Puja, Ketu Puja and Navgrah Puja
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