(Last Updated on : 21/01/2011)
Kali, which literary means the black one, is the Hindu mother goddess. She is associated with eternal energy. She is considered as the goddess of time and transformation. She is worshipped as the ultimate reality. She is represented as the wife of Lord Shiva
. She is also associated with goddesses like Goddess Durga
, Bhadrakali, Sati
, Rudrani, Parvati and Chamunda. Ignorance is destroyed by her thereby maintaining the world order. Those who strive for ultimate knowledge are endowed with her blessings. Goddess Kali is associated with violence, death, sexuality and ironically with maternal love.
Her appearance is fearsome: baleful eyes, a protruding tongue, and four arms. In her upper left hand she wields a bloody sword and in her lower left hand she holds the severed head of a demon. With her upper right hand she makes the gesture of fearlessness, while the lower right hand confers benefits. Draped around her is a chain of severed human heads and she wears a belt made of dismembered arms. As the Divine Mother she is often represented standing or dancing on Shiva. As Bhavatarini, the redeemer of the universe, she stands upon the supine form of her spouse.
She is also known as Kalikamata ("black earth-mother") and Kalaratri ("black night"). Among the Tamils she is known as Kottavei. Kali is worshipped particularly in Bengal. Her best-known temples are in Kalighat and Dakshineshvara. In the Upanishads
Kali is the name of one of the seven tongues of Agni, the God of Fire. She had appeared in the sixth century as Devi Mahatmyam as one of the Shaktis of Devi, and slays asura Raktabija. She is often regarded as Shiva`s Shakti and is associated with him in various Indian Puranas
. In the Kalika Purana she is depicted as the "Adi Shakti" and "Para Prakriti".
Kali is portrayed in four-armed form and in ten-armed Mahakali aspect also. In the ten-armed form of Mahakali she has ten faces and ten feet and three eyes. Her most common image shows her each hand carrying a sword, a trident, a severed head and a skull-cup catching the blood of the severed head.