Goddess Kali is one of the most popular Goddesses in Hinduism. Her sensational and extraordinary appearance is watched with awe and fear by devotees. Birth of Kali is a subject of constant debate for scholars and people who want Goddess Kali to fit into their logics. But what they forget is the freedom that each individual has to define the Supreme Truth. For many people Brahman the Supreme Truth appears in the form of female energy – Goddess Kali. And she means many different things to her worshipers.
There are few common factors in the origin of Goddess Kali – she is associated with Shiva or Durga and she is born to annihilate evil that is of unimaginably terrible nature. She is also a human representation of extreme fury that Nature can unleash.
In Devi Mahatmya, Goddess Kali is said to have emerged from an angry forehead of Goddess Durga. In this form she is believed to be the manifestation of Durga’s anger. She vanquishes Demons Chanda and Munda and later the demon Raktabija. It is said that Goddess Kali after killing the demon still continued her destruction and finally Lord Shiva had to lie on Kali’s path. Goddess Kali stepped upon him and soon she realized her mistake and this cooled her down.
It is widely believed especially in South Indian state of Kerala that Goddess Kali appeared to vanquish demon Darika – who ruled the three worlds and started eliminating all that was good. Sage Narada informs about Darika’s activities to Shiva. An enraged Shiva opens his third eye and from it emerged Goddess Kali. This origin of Goddess Kali is popular in Kerala where is worshipped as Bhadrakali. The fight between Darika and Kali shook the entire universe and after a prolonged fight she kills Darika.
Another legend suggests that Goddess Kali is an incarnation of Goddess Parvati and in this form she is the wife of Lord Shiva. Kali is the terrible and violent form of Parvati, who is otherwise ‘Shanta swarupini’ – in compassionate form.
It must be noted here that all the demons that Kali fights are of terrible nature. One demon was able to produce thousands of demons from a singe drop of blood and therefore She had to drink the blood to vanquish him.
Symbolically, Goddess Kali represents the harsh realities of life – the violent Nature and the violence in living beings. She shows the need for discrimination and dispassion and that good and evil arise from the same source and to spiritually progress we must overcome the terrible and violent side of life.