Kali ‘the dark Mother’ is the Hindu goddess who represents destruction. The belt of skulls around her waist symbolised savagery and the cannibalism practised by her cult. Kali is a goddess with a long and complex history in Hinduism. Her earliest history as a creature of indiscriminate violence and wrath still has some influence, while more complex Tantric beliefs sometimes extend her role so far as to be the Ultimate Reality and Source of Being. Finally, the comparatively recent devotional movement largely conceives of Kali as a straightforwardly benevolent mother-goddess. Kali is associated with many devis (goddesses) as well as the deva (god) Shiva.
Kali is generally considered one of the consorts of Shiva. Her name seems to be a female version of the word 'kala' (Sanskrit for 'dark' or 'time'- time in this form being a euphemism for death); it also means Black Female, in contrast to her consort, Shiva, who is white. The goddesses that she is associated or identified with include Durga, Sati, Rudrani, Parvati, Chinnamastika, Chamunda, Kamakshi, Uma, Menakshi, Himavati, Kumari. These names, if repeated, are believed to give special power to the worshipper.
Labels: amman, durga, kali, rajarajeswari