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Kali Tatvam - 3

Why is Goddess Kali depicted as a ferocious goddess? People often ask, “Why can’t she be of a gentle form?”. This question sounds very reasonable and there are some fundamental psychological aspects hidden behind this question. We always like to have everything run in a smooth manner. Every human being, animal, bird, insect and every other organism in nature wishes to have a comfortable life without facing any destruction.

But, as per the rules of Nature, nothing can go on happily forever. Creation cannot happen unless some parts of it are destroyed. Hence, Nature encompasses all three functions viz,. creation, preservation and destruction. Only in our religion, we accept that destruction too is the work of God. Unable to grasp this, other religions thought that destruction is the work of Satan, and created an imaginary person called Satan and also fabricated stories to support this idea.

If creation is God’s work, then who destroys it? Destruction too is God’s work. He/She alone can be responsible, not anyone else. In reality, there is no one called Satan. If he does exist, then it becomes a challenge to the existence of God and his supremacy. The answer to the following question cannot be found – ‘Why does God let Satan exist in his creation?’ Other religions are in ignorance regarding this matter. So, they believe that death is the work of Satan and hence they fear death

But in our religion, we understand that birth, growth and death are natural processes. Our people also understood the truth that death leads to rebirth. Therefore, not only creation, but destruction too is done by God himself. Therefore, the benign and terrible forces are merged in the form of Mother Kali. Many hymns filled with the idea that ‘You are the One who is creating, nurturing and destroying’ can be found in Devi Mahatyam.

The form of Mother Kali is a true reflection of the actual state of all that is in Nature and what is happening in it. Sri Ramakrishna had once wished to see the power of Maya. Immediately, he had a vision in which he saw a pregnant lady slowly walking out of the river Ganges. She soon delivered a beautiful baby and is seen cuddling and kissing the baby. Quickly, her form became dark and frightening. She is then seen biting the baby into pieces and eating it away. Then she returned into the river and disappeared. Through this vision, the true nature of creation, existence and destruction became known to him.

Destruction exists as an underlying current in nature. We cannot change it. Nature does not change as per our likes and dislikes. God does not run the universe according to our wishes. Even though this is hard to digest, it is a truth we have to accept. This is a law of nature. Divinity does not mean benign nature alone, but also the terrible aspect of it. We cannot alter this arrangement. Since ancient people understood this, the form of Kali is depicted as a union of both benign and terrible forms.

All rights reserved. This article has been translated by Ranganath D, which was originally posted in on June 29, 2009. The content or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express permission of the publisher.

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