The following is mostly from Wikipedia:

Kali is the Hindu Goddess associated with empowerment, shakti. She is an incarnation of the Goddess Parvati. The name Kali comes from kala, which means black, time, death, lord of death, Shiva. Since Shiva is called Kala - the eternal time - Kali, his consort, also means "Time" or "Death" (as in time has come). Hence, Kali is the Goddess of Time and Change. Although sometimes presented as dark and violent, her earliest incarnation as a figure of annihilator of evil forces still has some influence.

As an incarnation of Parvati, she is the consort of Lord Shiva, on whose body she is often seen standing. Shiva laid in path of Kali, whose foot on Shiva subdues her anger.

In Kali's most famous legend, Durga and her assistants, the Matrikas, wound the demon Raktabija, in various ways and with a variety of weapons in an attempt to destroy him. They soon find that they have worsened the situation for with every drop of blood that is dripped from Raktabija he reproduces a clone of himself. The battlefield becomes increasingly filled with his duplicates. Durga, in need of help, summons Kali to combat the demons. It is said, in some versions, that Goddess Durga actually assumes the form of Goddess Kali at this time. The Devi Mahatmyam describes:

Out of the surface of her (Durga's) forehead, fierce with frown, issued suddenly Kali of terrible countenance, armed with a sword and noose. Bearing the strange khatvanga (skull-topped staff ), decorated with a garland of skulls, clad in a tiger's skin, very appalling owing to her emaciated flesh, with gaping mouth, fearful with her tongue lolling out, having deep reddish eyes, filling the regions of the sky with her roars, falling upon impetuously and slaughtering the great asuras in that army, she devoured those hordes of the foes of the Devas.

Kali destroys Raktabija by sucking the blood from his body and putting the many Raktabija duplicates in her gaping mouth. Pleased with her victory, Kali then dances on the field of battle, stepping on the corpses of the slain.She was very furious that time none in trilok could calm down after slayer of Raktabija. So, her consort Shiva lies among the dead beneath her feet,and when her foot touches Shiva then she calms down. This is a representation of Kali commonly seen in her iconography as Daksinakali.

In spite of her seemingly terrible form, Kali is often considered the kindest and most loving of all the Hindu Goddesses, as she is regarded by her devotees as the Mother of the whole Universe. And, because of her terrible form she is also often seen as a great protector.

Kali is usually depicted with four arms. She is naked, with a skirt of human arms and a garland of human heads around her neck, carrying a bloodied cleaver and various other weapons. She holds a severed human head, bleeding into a bowl in another hand. She is usually standing on Shiva with her right foot. Her tongue is usually hanging out, sometimes she shows some small fangs. She has usually black or blue skin.

You can find more information on the Kali page on Wikipedia.

All pictures are © Dr. Günther Eichhorn, unless otherwise noted.

Images of Kali

Close-up Lu Dhowka Golden
Close-up of the Lu Dhowka (Golden Gate) in the palace in Bhaktapur Durbar Square, Nepal, with the Goddess Kali in the center, flanked by two nymphs. (1046k)
Goddess Kali House Dhulikhel
Goddess Kali on a house in Dhulikhel, Nepal. (783k)
Goddess Kali
Goddess Kali. (867k)
Kali Statue
Bronze statue of Kali. (511k)
Khajuraho Kali
Stone figure of Hindu Goddess Kali on a temple in Khajuraho, India. (1010k)
02997
Painting of the Godess Kali, with the necklace of human skulls and the skirt of human arms, sticking out her tongue, standing on the God Shiva. (662k)
03013
Statue of the Godess Kali, with the necklace of human skulls and the skirt of human arms, sticking out her tongue, standing on the God Shiva. (578k)

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Page last updated on Mon May 25 14:15:37 2020 (Mountain Standard Time)


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