Saturday, 20 August 2016

Why does Goddess Kali stand on Lord Shiva's chest?

Kali with other Mahavidyas (Tara, Tripurasundari, Bhairavi, Bhuvaneshvari,
Chhinnamasta, Dhumavati, Bagalamukhi, Matangi
and Kamala)
Kali is first and foremost among all Mahavidyas. According to Yogini Tantra, Devi Parvati assumed this form to slay a demon called Ghorasura. Seeing this fierce form, Lord Shiva requested Devi to enlighten Him by placing Her foot on His chest. Devi uttered a loud laughter (during which Her tongue stuck out) and placed Her foot on Mahadeva’s chest. 


Kali enlightens Mahadeva

In this form of Devi, Mahadeva witnessed millions of universes, fifty alphabets of Sanskrit (that represent Shabda Brahaman) and the essence of all Vedic & Agamic Shastras. To His amazement, Lord Shiva also witnessed millions of Brahmas, Vishnus and Rudras like Himself. At last, Devi Herself proclaimed “There is no form of Supreme Brahman greater than Kali, for Kali Herself is Parabrahman.”

In reality, the “form” of Kali is not a form at all; it is transcendental to all forms and the three Gunas of Prakriti (Satva, Rajas and Tamas); for Kali is embodiment of Absolute Truth. Kali is Nirguna Parabrahman even in Her embodied form.


Kali standing atop Shavarupa Mahadeva

Kali is formidable, has flowing hair and four arms; She holds a sword & a severed head with Her left hands and displays Varada & Abhaya Mudras with Her right hands. She transcends Maya, and thus She is nude. She Avyakta, Nirguna and incomprehensible; thus She is of pitch black complexion. The She wears fifty alphabets of Sanskrit / fifty Shaktipithas in the form of a garland of severed heads and at Her feet lies Mahadeva in the form of a corpse.

General masses falsely assume that the visage of Shiva lying under Devi’s foot is Her husband. 
The basis of this assumption is a misogynist/patriarchal folklore, according to which after having drunk Raktabija’s blood in a battlefield, Devi decided to destroy the universe in Her rage. To calm Her down, Mahadeva lied down under Her feet, and realising that She had stepped upon Her husband, Devi stuck Her tongue out in shame/regret. However, no such story has been ever documented in any Purana or Tantra. It is purely a work of fiction, engineered by patriarchal cults to cow down the Goddess and Her feminine cult. Misogyny is evident and an attempt has been made to deny the Divinity present in the Divine Feminine. This story is contradictory to the essence of Shastras for the following reasons:


  1. The Puranas that narrate the killing of Raktabija suggest that Raktabija was killed by Devi Durga, not Kali. It were Matrikas (Brahmi, Vaishnavi, Maheshvari, Chamunda, Aparajita, Kaumari, Varahi, Narasimhi, Aindri and Shivaduti) who drank his blood while Durga attacked the Danava with Her weapons. Post war, Durga and Matrikas celebrated Raktabija’s death by singing and dancing. (Devi Bhagavatam, Shiva Purana, Kalika Purana and Markandeya Purana)
  2. The Tantras that discuss about the image of Shiva lying under Devi’s feet opines that the image is in fact Shava (corpse) and not Shiva. At the time of Mahapralaya, when Devi withdraws Her Shakti (energy) from Shiva, He becomes Shava. Without “I”- Kaara of Shakti, Shiva is Shava and cannot even move His fingers. In short, this Shavarupa Mahadeva or Shava-Shiva is Vahana (vehicle) of Kali. It is by Her grace that Shava (corpse) attains Shivatva. (Yogini Tantra, Todala Tantra, Sarvollasa Tantra, Tara Rahasya and Brihat Tantrasara).

Now the question arises, if Shiva is not Kali’s Bhairava (consort), then who is? The answer is, the Bhairava of Kalika is Mahakala. He is sometimes worshiped at the right side of Kali, while at other times, He is invoked lying over Shiva’s corpse, engaged in Viparita Rati (reversed sexual intercourse) with Devi. Another explanation from Mahakala Samhita is that Mahakala and Kali sit atop a throne called Panchapretasana, which has Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra, Maheshvara and Sadashiva as its five legs and Paramashiva (Shava) as its plank.
Kali's Bhairava Mahakala invoked in a Shivalinga at Devi's right


Mahakala Bhairava lying atop Shava-Shiva while Kali engages in Viparrita Rati


Mahakala Bhairva and Dakshina Kali seated atop Panchapretasana

Kali is Purna Parabrahman

She who creates Kala is “Kali”. At the beginning of creation, Kali produced Mahakala from Her right half, and by engaging in Viparita Rati, She empowered Him. At the time of destruction, it is Kali who swallows Mahakala and She alone remains. At that time, Mahakala merges in Kali and becomes one with Her. At that time Kali alone remains in the form of Dhumavati. Thus Kalika Herself is Purna Parabrahman

The way a Bengal Gram (Chana) has two cotyledons in it, likewise both Shiva and Shakti are ever present within Kali and are one and inseparable. When Nirguna, Shivashaktirupa Kali is of the essence and source of Divine light; She is Parabrahman. When Saguna, Kali is androgynous Ardhanarishvara and manifests into the dual forms of Shiva (Purusha) & Shakti (Prakriti). Kali is neither Purusha, nor Prakriti when Nirguna; but She is both Purusha as well as Prakriti when Saguna

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