Who is the goddess Kali? Legend of the goddess Kali. Indian mythology
The Indian myths about the gods, in contrast to the ancient, still remain little known, and most Europeans have no idea about them. Interestingly, they are not ordinary stories, but real epics, in the veracity of which the true Hindus firmly believe.
The appearance of the gods
The history of the Ancient world is full of various legends and myths, and each nation has its own. As is known, the appearance of numerous gods was facilitated by the fact that people in the distant past could not explain why certain phenomena of nature occur. The man was well aware that there are a lot of things that he cannot do himself, for example, throwing lightning, raising huge waves at the sea or raising winds. Therefore, he began to attribute such abilities to more powerful beings who could cause such grandiose phenomena. They usually had the appearance of a person or animal.Indian gods and goddesses were often endowed with the appearance and qualities of those and others. A striking example of this can be Ganesh or Hanuman - both with a human figure, but one with the head of an elephant, and the other a monkey.
It is no secret that Indian mythology is the most diverse and richest of all pagan beliefs. The gods and goddesses, which will be discussed in this article, were also endowed with several forms.
I must say that Hindu legends began to take shape around the first century AD. er in the Vedic culture of the Indo-Aryans. And all this thanks to Brahminism, which has been influenced by Buddhism. In addition, many of the ideas of Vedism were included in Hinduism. This formed religion became a new stage in the development of the ancient Indian society.
Hinduism put the creator god in the forefront and established a more strict hierarchy in the pantheon. The names of Indian gods, such as Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu, belong to the triad (trimurti) of supreme beings, perceived as a manifestation of a single deity. The first of them was revered as the creator and ruler of the world, who establishes social laws (dharma) on earth and divides society into castes.
Over time, two other roles were assigned to the other: the god Shiva became the destroyer, and Vishnu the guardian. As a result of this separation, two main directions in Hinduism arose - Shaivism and Vishnuism. Even now there are quite a few followers of these trends. The Hindu religious system, consisting of various cults, in relation to the image of Vishnu developed the concept of avatars, which is a teaching about God, which from time to time descends into the world of people. Moreover, each time he changes his appearance.
As is known, Hindus worship hundreds of gods and goddesses. Some of them are white, like swan's feathers, others are red, as if working hard, under the rays of the scorching sun, while others are completely black, like coal. But one thing unites them all - they keep the peace and the fate of the peoples in harmony. The pantheon is built in such a way that all the ancient deities in it occupy their niche.
Brahma - the lord of all things, which has four red faces, looking in different directions. He is usually depicted sitting in a resting position on a white or pink lotus. He lives on the majestic Mount Meru. His wife Saraswati is the patroness of arts and sciences.
Indian god with the head of an elephant - Ganesh. He is considered one of the most popular mythical characters. His father was the god Shiva, and his mother the goddess Parvati. Associated with it is an interesting legend, according to which he was originally a beautiful child. Soon the gods came to congratulate their parents on the birth of their son and brought with them gifts. Seeing the baby, they all admired its beauty. The only one who did not look at him was the god Shani, who possessed the destructive power of gaze. Despite this, Parvati insisted that he see her son. As Shani glanced at him, the child’s head rolled and fell to the ground. Shiva tried to save the boy by putting her back, but she never grew. Then Brahma advised his parents to change it to the head of the first animal that would fall in their way. It turned out to be an elephant. In addition, the Indian god of wisdom Ganesh is the patron saint of travelers and merchants.
The whole pantheon is impossible to list. Here are just a few of the most famous and revered deities:
● Indra is the keeper of the East. He is the god of war and the ruler of Amaravati - one of the so-called lower heavens.
● Varuna is the all-seeing and punishing judge. He is the embodiment of truth and world order. It is he who searches for the guilty, punishes them, and also absolves sins.
● Agni is the Indian god of fire. He is the embodiment of the sacred flame, which with its tongues offers sacrifice straight to heaven.
● Surya - illuminates the world with light, destroys darkness, disease and enemies. He personifies the all-seeing Eye of the gods of Varuna, Mithra and Agni.
● Kama - always depicted as a handsome young man with a bow and arrows. He is the patron saint of lovers and is similar to his European counterpart.
● Vayu - the lord of the wind, personifying the world breath (prana).
● The Pit is a rather ferocious deity. He is the lord of the kingdom of the dead and the ruler of Purgatory.
All these deities are powerful and powerful, but they all bow down before the great and awesome Kali.
Ramayana and Mahabharata
The history of the ancient world is inextricably linked with many myths and legends. But perhaps the most famous are the Indian epos Ramayana and Mahabharata, which were written in Sanskrit about 2 thousand years ago.Both poems belong to a genre called the heroic epic. This means that the actions described in them are nothing but historical traditions, i.e., their content is based on events that have actually occurred. And this primarily refers to the epos "Mahabharta." According to historians, it deals with an internecine war that erupted between two branches of the royal family of the Bharat tribe somewhere around the turn of the II-I centuries BC. er
The events on which Ramayana is based are less clear to specialists. But still it is believed that here there is a historical core. Scientists believe that this poem tells about the struggle of the conquerors of India, the Aryan tribes, with the indigenous people of the Indian south. These events may relate to the XIV-XII centuries BC. er
This epic tells about the campaign of Rama, one of the most beloved heroes not only of India, but also of neighboring countries, to the island of Lanka (most likely, this is modern Ceylon) and about the search for his wife, who was kidnapped by the leader of the Raksasas demons. Ramayana consists of 24 thousand slok (couplet), collected in seven books. In mythology, the Indian god Rama is the seventh incarnation of Vishnu. In this image, he saves both people and gods from the power of the evil leader of the Raksasas, Ravan.
In both monuments of ancient Indian poetry, an allegory intertwined in an incomprehensible way, truth and fiction. It is believed that "Ramayana" came from the pen of Valmiki, and "Mahabharata" - sage Vyasa. It is worth noting that in the form in which these works have come down to us, they cannot belong to any particular author or relate only to one century. These great epics are the result of numerous changes and additions.
Legend of the Goddess - Mothers of all worlds
In deep antiquity, asura Mahisha performed repentance for a long time and for this he was awarded a gift that enabled him to become invisible. Then this demon decided to become the lord of the world and overthrew Indra from the heavenly throne. The gods, who did not want to obey the fierce demon, went to the rulers of the world Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva and begged to save them from such humiliation.
From the mouth of an angry triad burst of anger, united in a cloud of fire. Having illumined the whole universe with a menacing brilliance, a woman emerged from it. Her face was the flame of Shiva, her hands personified the power of Vishnu, and her belt the power of Indra. Her eyebrows created Asivina's divine twin brothers, her eyes were Agni's master of fire, her ears were Vayu’s windy, Brahma's teeth, her hair was Yama's lord of the realm of the dead, and her thighs were Prthivi, the goddess of earth.Celestials gave her a weapon: an ax and a trident, a bow and arrows, a loop and a club. This is how the goddess Kali appeared.
A warlike and terrible cry escaped from the mouth of the Mother, and she, saddled a lion, rushed at the enemy. Thousands of warriors, obeying Mahishi, attacked her, but she easily reflected their attacks. Her breath created more and more new warriors who rushed into battle with fury. The terrible goddess stabbed the demons with a spear, chopped with a sword, killed them with arrows, put stitches on their necks and dragged them along behind them.
From this great battle the sky darkened, mountains began to shake and rivers of blood poured. Several times the goddess Kali overtook Mahishu, but he changed his appearance all the time and left her. But, finally, she overwhelmed the demon with a huge jump and with unprecedented force fell upon him. She stepped on her head with her foot and with a spear she nailed him to the ground. Mahisha again tried to take on a different look and again slip away from the angry goddess. This time she beat him and cut off his head with a sword.
Rejoicing over the victory, Kali began to dance. She was moving faster and faster. Everything around was shaking, causing the world was in danger of total annihilation.The gods were frightened and begged Shiva to stop Mother’s frantic dance, but even he could not stop her. Then he lay down on the ground in front of her, but that did not help either. She continued her fierce dance, trampling his body with her feet until she realized all that was happening. Only then did she stop.
The gods bowed to the Mother of all worlds. And she, tired of the battle, bloodied and good-natured now promised to help them every time she needed her support. After that, the goddess hid in her impregnable temples to rest and enjoy her victory. The eternal Mother of all things, she is responsible for everything, so she always remains on alert.
First of all, Kali is the goddess of death, so it is only natural that she looks threatening. She is usually portrayed as a dark-skinned, thin and four-handed woman with disheveled long hair.
On the left side in the upper arm, she squeezes the sword covered with the blood of enemies, destroying duality and all doubts, in the lower one - the severed head of the demon, which symbolizes the truncation of the ego. Right at the top of her right hand makes a gesture that drives away fear.From below, he blesses the fulfillment of all desires. The hands of the goddess - a symbol of the four main chakras and cardinal points.
The eyes of Kali govern the three main forces: creation, saving and destruction. The belt, which she wears, consists entirely of human hands, which means the inevitable effect of karma. The blue or black color of her skin is a symbol of death, as well as eternal cosmic time.
The garland of skulls with which the goddess is decorated symbolizes a whole chain of human incarnations. Her necklace consists of exactly fifty details, the same number of letters in Sanskrit - a storehouse of knowledge and power. Kali’s disheveled hair serves as a mysterious death curtain that envelops all human life, and the bright red language is a symbol of the rajas runes, as well as the energy of the universe.
This goddess has two sides: one is destructive, the other is creative. Under the face of Bhovani, she personifies the first of the beginnings. Therefore, she needs to sacrifice animals, as she draws her power from living beings. Under the face of Durga, she destroys evil. If someone decides to ask her for help in fighting the demons, he must sacrifice a buffalo.
The Goddess Kali is one of the incarnations of Durga or Devi, the wife of Shiva. She personifies the awesome side of the divine energy of her husband. Kali has unprecedented destructive power, and many of her names speak eloquently about this, for example, Sri Krodhini (Ecumenical wrath), Sri Ugrapbha (Drenched rage), Sri Naramandali (Wearing a garland of human skulls).
Surprisingly, it’s a fact that such a ferocious goddess is considered a symbol of maternal love and care, and also revered as a protector of the whole human race from evil. At the same time it is called Sri Manorama (the highest divine favor and charm), Sri Vilasini (Ocean of delight) and other similar flattering names.
Kali worship was once common almost everywhere. This is evidenced by various scientific studies, as well as documentary evidence, which are sacred texts belonging to different religions. The cult of the so-called Black Goddess in ancient times had its counterparts in all corners of the world. For example, the ancient Finns in the pre-Christian era prayed to the Black Goddess, who was called Kalma.The Semitic tribes that once lived in Sinai, the priestesses of the moon goddess called Kalu. It is believed that this is not just a coincidence, as the mythical character we are considering is the Mother of all worlds, who is worshiped under different names and forms almost everywhere.
Now the Indian goddess Kali enjoys special recognition in Bengal as a demolisher of demons. The fact is that the main temple of Kalighat (the English pronounce its name as Calcutta), dedicated to her, is located in the territory of this state. Hence the name of the capital of Bengal. The second largest temple, erected in honor of this goddess, is located in Dakshineshwar.
The celebration of Cali is celebrated in early September. During the ritual service, its admirers should drink the consecrated water in three sips, and then apply a special mark between the eyebrows with red powder. At the image or at the foot of the statue of the goddess lit candles and brought her red flowers. After that, they read a prayer, and then, inhaling the fragrance of flowers, the believers sat down to taste the sacrificial offerings.
In the period from the XII to the XIX century in India there was a kind of secret organization. She was called the sect of thrusts. It consisted of real fanatics who devoted their whole lives only to serving the goddess of death, Kali. Mostly gangs of tugs operated in central India. They were engaged in robbing caravans and killing travelers. Usually, their victims were stifled by throwing a scarf or a rope around her neck, and the corpse was thrown into a well or immediately buried with a ritual pick or hoe.
Until now, the exact number of their victims has not been established, but according to the Guinness Book of Records, there were about 2 million. In the 30s of the 19th century, the then Governor-General of India, whose duties were performed by Lord William Bentink, managed to do away with the sect of thugs by numerous arrests and subsequent executions. Since then, the word thugs, meaning “thug”, “robber”, “killer”, has appeared in English.
In the West, there are cults of satanic and mystical trends. They not only mistakenly perceive, but also describe the Black Goddess, comparing her with the Egyptian deity Seth. She is portrayed as a merciless murderer and cruel bloodsucker, who eats the flesh of her many victims.
The Goddess Kali has countless hypostases, images and incarnations. It is always mysterious and can be both frightening and attractive. It disturbs the soul, and its faces leave no one indifferent. Kali has absorbed all conceivable manifestations and forms of the divine principle - from the wrathful and frankly terrifying to the most attractive and merciful.