There is a false notion in the world that Kali is a cruel goddess. To a great extent, our stories, movies and beliefs are the reason for this false notion. False propaganda by some people who are not very much familiar with the deeper truths of Hinduism is another reason. But, Kali is not a cruel goddess. It is not the truth.
One has to know from the Tantras about Kali, because she is their favorite goddess. All her secrets are embedded in the books of Tantra. In modern times, Sri Ramakrishna has revived Kali worship. All his teachings are in accordance with the Vedas, Vedanta, Tantras and Puranas.
One day, a person named Hajra criticized Kali saying that she is a goddess of darkness. Sri Ramakrishna felt very sad at his remark and broached the matter with Mother Kali directly. Then, Mother consoled him saying, “Ignore his words, my child! He is a fool. What does he know?” She showed Ramakrishna a vision confirming that she is the embodiment of Satva, Rajas and Tamas, all the three basic qualities of creation put together, and also the Supreme Brahman which is beyond qualities, formless and immovable.
Sri Ramakrishna says: Brahman is motionless and not affected by the three qualities. Sakti is movement and has the three qualities. However, both Brahman and Sakti are one and the same. The same Being is Brahman in one aspect and Sakti in another. He explains this idea in three examples.
First example: Fathomless ocean with no waves and the same ocean with tempestuous waves. First is Brahman and the second, Sakti.
Second example: Fire and its ability to burn. Fire is Brahman, it’s burning nature, Sakti.
Third example: Sleeping snake in coils and a fast moving snake. First is Brahman, the second, Sakti.
Whatever is called Brahman by Vedas, Parama Siva by Tantra, God by Puranas, the same was called by Ramakrishna as Kali. It is called Sakti because of its nature of creating, protecting and destroying through the medium of three qualities. If the same energy is in the state of non-performing the above three acts, quality-less, and immobile, it is called Para Brahman or Being beyond everything.
In another way, Tantra called this duo as Sakti and Siva. Therefore, the phenomenon was praised by poet Kalidasa as, jagataḥ pitarou vandē pārvatī paramēśvarau explaining that Parvati and Parameswara are the universal parents. In fact, Kali and Siva are not different. The only difference is in their state, not in fundamental nature.
All rights reserved. This article has been translated by Ranganath D, which was originally posted in teluguyogi.net on June 27, 2009. The content or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express permission of the publisher.