This month I was given the opportunity to host satsang, where I got to choose the topic. I chose to explore goddesses, which I feel are the most important part of life and creation today. I planned these sessions by starting with Kali, followed by Saraswati, and this weekend i will indulge in the most auspicious one, Lakshami and finish off with Parvati. What I learned about Kali was phenomenal, you can just google her name and you will find endless material about her.
In summary, she appears in indian mythology as the intense, battle-infused demon slayer. Kali is the direct representation of time, and the inevitability of death. She is endless time, there is no start or finish. The way we can understand her is the representation of sky or space. There is no time just a density of darkness. She comes into the world when the dark forces (demons) dominate the world which is threatened, including civilisations and the feminine. In all the stories that I studied she appears from Durga’s third eye at one of the key moments when the Devi is threatened by demons. Durga’s face turns dark and with that tremor comes Kali, flying out fully equipped with weapons and ready for battle. The most important demon she slays is Raktabija, who has magical powers. Each time Raktabija’s blood falls on earth another demon will surface. The quick thinking Kali, licks the blood before it lands the earth. Kali’s tongue is usually pictured with blood dripping, looking fierce, ugly with fangs. The blood of the demon is a symbol of our uncontrollable desires that agitate our minds, and Kali’s tongue represents the power of yogic will eat up desires and thoughts so that our true essence will glow.
Kali has wild hair, bare breast, and the severed heads around her neck. She sticks her tongue out in most images. Kali represents our truth when we are not honouring our values. Kali Ma is all about liberation. Her nakedness is described as the representation of space and is a symbol of being real and raw and free from all governing illusion. Kali is liberated from any shame that is frowned upon her by some demon. Her wildness should be celebrated when we feel the need of expressing our discomfort. Don’t mistake it to anger, because that’s not Kali. For example she comes to us at the time of child birth. Her wild hair, her energy, no inhibitions in this moment, with legs wide open and this shakti (energy) to push and express creation through the womb, is a powerful force and then there is life. That in essence is Kali Ma. We need to embrace the qualities of Kali, in order to experience the fullness of life. Shiva destroys the world, Kali Ma is the energy or force in which Shiva acts. She is the bright light of truth that cannot be hidden in any clothes of illusion. She is real and she is within us all, at various stages in our lives.
Kali helps us to accept our imperfections, in a way that we understand that this world has created a ‘form of perfection’ which doesn’t align with how you feel. Embrace the thing that makes us feel uncomfortable so that we can move on and do the job at hand.
Kali allows us to say no. Saying no is to honouring what is right for us at this moment in time and not to be placed in a position where we have to keep up appearances because of some superficial reason. Saying no is difficult but it gives us the power to create space so we can cultivate the things that we need, like rest.
Kali gives us the energy to not conform, to not follow, but to embrace our truth and know that its okay to have an opinion that is different from others. Sometimes swimming up stream is the best lesson we have in our lifetime. The force required to go against the grain, to go against the norm is large and courageous, we need this energy from time to time only to discover or to be redirected on to our true path in life.
Finally, Kali teaches us to be open for love, even when we’ve been let down, we can get up and search to find the love that is waiting for us to notice. Kali teaches us to not dwell in the past but to reflect on the lessons learned and to move on so that we can be at our best. In a word Kali allows us to surrender to the moment and be liberated from all illusion so that we can truly express our emotions without guilt, shame or dishonour.