Kali worship is not so prevalent in the state of Andhra Pradesh. But, in the state of Bengal, She is worshipped as the family deity in every house. Kali is their little charming darling. The state of Bengal takes a festive atmosphere during the time of Navaratri.
In every household, the festival is celebrated, considering Kali as their own daughter, who has arrived from her husband’s house to her parents’ house. After Dasara festival, when she returns to her husband’s house, the pain of every householder in Bengal is indescribable. There are many who cry, unable to tolerate the pain of separation from their beloved daughter. It is because of such deep devotion, we can find, even to this day, so many adepts in Kali worship in Bengal.
If one wants to know about Kali it ought to be only through the words of Sri Ramakrishna. There cannot be any other explanation which is more authentic than the one given by the incarnation himself. The one name that immediately comes to my mind when we think of Kali is Sri Ramakrishna. The idol of Kali in the temple of Dakshineswar had responded to his words, she ate the food offered by him, she cleared his doubts like a loving mother. She consoled him when he was depressed. She gave him many divine experiences. She brought great masters to him, she herself revealed to him various esoteric practices of Tantra and made him perform them. She has become the bestower of grace and perfection and made him to taste countless inner experiences.
When Swami Vivekananda was in a state of depression and confusion, Sri Ramakrishna asked him to go to the temple and directly ask Mother Kali what he desired for. As soon as Narendra entered the temple and stood in front of the idol, Mother appeared as a living entity standing on the pedestal. As soon as he saw the love filled effulgent form of Mother, he forgot all about his mundane problems and asked only for ‘pure devotion and dispassion’ and returned.
One day, Rakhal was sent by Sri Ramakrishna to meditate alone in the dance hall opposite to Ma Kali temple. Once he sat to meditate, Rakhal was astonished by the divine experience he had. A great mass of effulgence emerged from the sanctum sanctorum, engulfing the entire world and rushed towards Rakhal and drowned him too. In this experience, he lost his individual identity and experienced the state of Samadhi. He, as the time passed by, became the venerable saint Swami Brahmananda. Swami Vivekananda himself used to say that Rakhal is the king of their entire group.
Rakhal and Narendra used to oppose idol worship in their youth, when they were influenced by the ideas of Brahmo Samaj. The same Vivekananda, when he visited America, explained the secrets of idol worship to westerners and astonished them. He believed that all the worldly fame and success he had achieved were due to Mother Kali, and that he was merely an instrument in her hands.
Once when I went to Kolkata, unable to bear the sight of animal sacrifices happening in Kalighat, I quickly left the place without offering the coconut that I carried to the temple. From there, en route to Dakshineswar Kali temple, it went unnoticed when and how the coconut in my hand broke on its own and the coconut water started trickling down from my hands. Me and my friends were speechless and stunned to see this wonder. Being a student of science, I did not know how to understand this and remained silent.
This incident took place on 31st December 1998.
Mother Kali idols in both Kolkata Kalighat and Dakshineswar are living forms. People with some experience in meditation can see this clearly.
Paramahamsa Yogananda, in his book ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’, wonderfully described his vision of mother Kali in Dakshineswar, in the chapter ‘The heart of a stone image’.
There was a cousin of Sri Ramakrishna whose name was Haladhari. He once said that Kali is a tamasic deity and hence should not be worshipped. Sri Ramakrishna on hearing this, at once crashes to his knees in front of Mother and weepingly asks her, “Mother, what is this? Is this true? Are you a tamasik deity? ”.
Then mother appears in her dazzling divine form and says, “He is an ignorant fool, how can he know my real nature, my son? Why alone the tamasik, I am rajasik and satvik too. In me, are all three qualities. I am the three qualities and I am also what is beyond them. Behold!” saying so, she gave him those visions.
Then, Sri Ramakrishna happily returned from the Kali temple and scolded Haladhari saying, “You fool! Mother told me that you are a stupid simpleton, never ever say that Kali is a tamasik deity”.
For people who are unfamiliar with truth, Kali is a demonic goddess. For people who know, she is full of love. She is the mother of all worlds, the divine mother who protects us in dangers, the goddess who smilingly sanctions boons. If one can get the grace of Kali, all the tantric secrets come on their own and dwell in his hands.
All rights reserved. This article has been translated by Ranganath D, which was originally posted in teluguyogi.net on June 24, 2009. The content or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express permission of the publisher.