Meditations On Maa Maha Kaali
“OṀ. I revere Maa Maha Kaali, Who Holds In Her Hands The Sword, Discus, Mace, Arrow, Bow, Iron Club, Spear, Sling, Human Head, And Conch; Who Is Three-Eyed, Adorned On All Her Limbs, And Sparkling like a sapphire; Who Has Ten Faces And Ten Feet; And Whom lord brahma extolled while lord vishnu slept, in order To Slay madhu and kaiṭabha.”
– From The Meditation On Maa Maha Kaali, The First Carita Of The Devi Mahatmya
The Sanskrit translation of creation is “srishti”, which literally means “emission” or “letting loose” from a latent to a manifest state. According to The Sacred Text Of The Devi Mahatmya, Creation took place When The Divine Mother Maa Aadi ParaShakti’s Eternal Formlessness Manifested As Many Forms. The Three Primary Divine Forms Of The Divine Mother, Symbolising Her Immensely Powerful, Cosmic Aspects (Vyaṣṭi) Or Gunas Known As “Tamas” (inertia), “Rajas” (dynamism), And “Sattva” (luminosity) Are Maa Maha Kaali, Maa Maha Lakshmi, And Maa Maha Saraswati.
The Ten-Armed Maa Maha Kaali Symbolises The Tamas Guna Of The Divine Mother. The Physical Manifestation And Depiction Of The Unmanifest Divine Mother As Maa Maha Kaali visualised in meditation allows the devotees to approach the Infinite through Finite Symbols and to interact With Divinity. This Article sheds light on the Symbols Maa Maha Kaali Is Depicted With And Their Meanings.
Maa Maha Kaali Is The Divine Mother Herself In Another Form
As The Tamasic Aspect Of The Divine Mother Of the universe, Maa Maha Kaali Is Ever-Turning Time, The Relentless Devourer Who Brings all things to an end. Maa Maha Kaali, Remaining Above And Beyond the human’s limitedness of time, Symbolises The Revolving Wheel Of Time (Kalachakra), Which metaphorically grinds all things to dust.
However, it is also important to understand that Maa Maha Kaali Is Not Different From The Formless Maa Aadi ParaShakti, The Absolute. Maa Maha Kaali Is The Supreme Divine Mother Herself, With Multiple Aspects Or Depicted Forms. In many household Shrines, Maa Maha Kaali Is worshipped As Maa Shyama, The Tender Dispeller Of fear And Granter Of boons. In times of natural disasters, Maa Maha Kaali Is invoked As The Protective Maa RakshaKali. As Maa SmashanaKali, The Embodiment Of Destructive Power, Maa Maha Kaali Haunts the cremation grounds. Maa Maha Kaali Is Also revered As The Beautiful Maa Bhavatarini, The Redeemer Of the universe. As Maa Chamunda Who Severs the knot of ignorance, Maa Maha Kaali Cuts Through the illusion of duality, And Reveals The Absolute. Maa Maha Kaali Also Manifests As The Ten Maa MahaVidyas, Each Imparting A Great Cosmic Wisdom. Furthermore, The Maa Maha Kaali Sahasranama Stotram, Which Provides 1008 “Names” Of Maa Maha Kaali, Helps in worshipping Maa Maha Kaali’s Innumerable Powers, And Seeking Blessings From Maa Maha Kaali’s Innumerable Forms.
Iconography Of Maa Maha Kaali
Maa Maha Kaali Is Depicted With An Intimidating Face. One should meditate On Maa Maha Kaali As Having Disheveled Hair and a garland of freshly cut human heads. Maa Maha Kaali’s Skin Is Bluish And Completely Uncovered. Maa Maha Kaali’s Divine Body Gleams with blood that is smeared all over from the garland of bleeding severed heads Around The Neck. Maa Maha Kaali Wears a girdle made of human hands. Maa Maha Kaali’s Ear Ornaments are the corpses of children. Maa Maha Kaali’s Fangs Are Dreadful And Face Is Fierce. Blood trickles from The Corners Of Maa Maha Kaali’s Mouth Making Her Face Gleam. Maa Maha Kaali’s Sound Is Terrible. Maa Maha Kaali Lives in the cremation ground, surrounded by howling jackals. Maa Maha Kaali Stands On the chest of lord shiva, Eager For Union. Maa Maha Kaali Has A Satisfied And Smiling Expression.
Maa Maha Kaali Symbolised As The Divine Mother Of the universe, Is The Creator, Destroyer, And Shakti Of The Manifested universe, And The Possessor Of all which is Unmanifested. Maa Maha Kaali Is Depicted Through Many Finite Symbols. Such Symbols correspond to psychological or spiritual truths, And Every Gesture, Posture, Colour, Or Object Associated With Maa Maha Kaali Stands For A Particular Attribute Or Power. A Few Symbols Have universal significance, But Others Are Esoteric, with meanings not readily obvious or easily understood.
The Meaning Behind The Depiction Of Maa Maha Kaali
According to The Sacred Text Of The Devi Mahatmya, Maa Maha Kaali Is Depicted With Ten Hands That Symbolise the ten directions (the four cardinal points, the intermediate points, and the points above and below) And Convey the idea of The Divine Omnipresence. Her Sword Represents the knowledge that destroys ignorance by severing what is apparent and transitory from what is real and abiding. The Discus Is the constantly turning wheel of time, which inexorably destroys all that has name and form. According to The Varāhapurāṇa, The Mace Destroys unrighteousness (adharma). The Divine Mother’s Spear Is a metaphor for the penetrating insight of spiritual awareness. The Severed Human Head Symbolises the vanquished ego and thus the triumph over the limitation of personality that obscures the infinite Self (Atman). The Conch Destroys ignorance; Its Auspicious Sound Symbolises the power of awakening to Divine Awareness. Maa Maha Kaali’s Three Eyes, Witnessing past, present and future, Symbolises Omniscience. Maa Maha Kaali’s Blue-Black Complexion, more than a mere reminder of Her Obscuring Tamasic Power, Resembles the vast night sky and speaks Of Maa Maha Kaali’s Infinitude.
To understand why Maa Maha Kaali Is Depicted With Her Tongue Out, The Following Allegory from The Sacred Text Of The Devi Mahatmya has to be focused on. Maa Maha Kaali Killed the demon raktabija, whose each drop of blood produced another demon. Raktabija symbolises chronic desires in human beings, with his drops of blood symbolising incessant desires. Maa Maha Kaali Devoured all the drops of blood and thereafter Killed raktabija. Maa Maha Kaali Is Depicted With Her Tongue Out Symbolising She Can Make whom She Wills free from chronic incessant desires.
Maa Maha Kaali Is Also Depicted Standing Or Dancing On lord shiva. That Is Because Maa Maha Kaali Is All Of Existence. She Dances Upon lord shiva, who symbolises the stage of consciousness. Maa Maha Kaali Is “All” Which Is Perceptible To him, as his gaze remains fixed upon Maa Maha Kaali. Lord shiva remains still only as a silent observer, As Maa Maha Kaali Remains The Only Performer, Who Is Beyond Time And Above Perception.
Maa Maha Kaali’s Name In Sanskrit Means ‘She Who Is Black’ Or ‘She Who Is Death’. Her Name Also Means ‘Force Of Time’. As The Divine Mother Of Time And Death, Maa Maha Kaali Devours all things, Yet Stands Outside of the constraints of the constructs of space-time. Maa Maha Kaali Is The Birther And The Destroyer Of all of creation. However, This Destruction must not be understood in the human terms of the word destruction. As one watches a movie and it finishes, one does not say that the movie is destroyed. Similarly, Maa Maha Kaali The Supreme Divine Mother Existed Before the universe Was Created And Will Continue To Exist After the universe ends.
Maa Maha Kaali Exists Strong and Unbound from any of culture’s constrictions. Maa Maha Kaali Is Beyond the limitations of the physical world such as colour, light, good and bad. Maa Maha Kaali Symbolises Mother Nature As Primordial, Creative, Nurturing Yet Devouring, But Ultimately Loving. Maa Maha Kaali Is The Benevolent Divine Mother Who Guides Her children to simultaneously face the beauty of life and the reality of death, with the understanding that one cannot exist without the other.