Hindu Deities Kali Hinduism Goddess


The Hindu deity Kali could very well be considered a Hollywood celebrity. Her likeness was featured in such films as Indiana Jones The Temple of Doom and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. In these films, she is depicted as a bloodthirsty goddess that requires blood sacrifices to gratify her insatiable hunger. Hollywood portrays her as a deity who is feared and her devotees are mistrusted, she is a villainess of epic proportions. These perceptions of the Goddess Kali are unjustified and inaccurate.

The most misunderstood deities of Hinduism

Although she is the most powerful and ferocious of all the female deities, her story is a simple one. It explains her existence and appearance; she is an incarnation of Mother Durga. She was born from her brow during an epic battle when the power that Mother Durga possessed was inadequate to defeat the demons that were threatening.

She was created as a warrior to slay all those that opposed her and the goodness that she represented, and that is what she did. But as she slays demons she became intoxicated with the blood that flowed and continued to dismember the bodies even after they had died. She began collecting heads and her body became saturated with blood. The other deities recognized that she could not be stopped implored her partner, Lord Shiva, to bring to an end her rampage. Lord Shiva, who is covered in ash and is represented as a pale white figure, lay on the ground next to the bodies of the dead. As Kali walked by, she inadvertently stepped on his chest. Feeling the warmth, she looked down and recognized Lord Shiva. Realizing that she had momentarily lost control, she stuck out her tongue in embarrassment.

Kali Physical Characteristics

This is the depiction of Kali that is most commonly recognized; an all-black female covered in blood with a red tongue protruding out of her mouth, resting her right foot on the chest of an all-white male.

It is both a terrifying and empowering image, as it is a female deity that acted to protect the world from destruction.

Although her appearance acts to reiterate her fearsome nature, it also represents her dichotomy. Kali represents the eternal mother encompassing both the dark and the light. Her name means the force of time’ which can be interpreted as the bringer of death or the person who controls time and change. She has the ability to create and destroy worlds. Her dark color represents infinity. Since all colors, people and things eventually fade to black; she is the embodiment of all things. Her nudity is a sign of her purity.

Four arms of Kali

Her two left arms represent her dominant nature, in which she is holding a sword and severed head and two right arms represent her embracing nature, both are empty to enable her to hold close her devotee and remove their difficulties. She has three eyes that represent; the past, present, and future which allow her to be the knower and the seer of all things.

Quite simply put regardless of the negative portrayals in the popular media, Kali is a nurturing and protective mother who is the loyal consort to her Lord.

Leave a Comment

Related Posts

The Difference between Devotion and Emotion

“Of all Yogis, he who always abides in Me with great faith, worshiping Me in transcendental devotional service, is most intimately united with Me in Yoga and is the highest ... Read More

Durga Puja Festivals of India

The festival of Durga Puja is a ten-day festival held during the Hindu month of Ashwin (September-October) each year. The Goddess Durga and her four children Ganesh, Karthik, Laxmi, and ... Read More