Log in

Blessed Ambubachi! 
01:30am 24/06/2009
  Jai MAA! And a blessed Ambubachi to all of you. Ambubachi is the festival of the menstruation of Mother Earth, and is celebrated at the Sri Sri Kamakhya Temple in Assam, where the Goddess Kamakhya is venerated as the yoni (which means source, vulva, or womb) of the Mother Goddess. Kamakhya is closely associated with Kali and Chandi (Durga), as well as the Mahavidyas, the ten fierce wisdom Goddesses of the Tantric tradition.

Ambubachi began on Monday, and continues through Thursday.

I've published a couple of articles on this festival, as well as ways to celebrate it in your own home here:

Ambubachi: Celebrating the Menstruation of Mother Earth

Ambubachi at Sri Sri Kamakhya Temple: Religious and Socio-Cultural Aspects

Blessings of the Divine Mother to all of you. Jai Kamakhya Devi!
     Read 1 - Post
Sri Kamakhya Mahavidya Mandir articles 
07:30pm 08/06/2009
  Jai Maa!

Blessings to all of you... Ambubachi is almost here, which is the festival of the menstruation of the Goddess at Kamakhya. We're having a celebration at our temple so if you are in the Northern California area and want to join us, please do!

It's been a while since anyone posted to this group... at any rate, I just wanted to let you all know (if you're interested) that the Sri Kamakhya Mahavidya Mandir (a small temple to Kamakhya and the Mahavidyas) is posting articles regularly about Devi and related items. Our mandir operates with blessing from the Sri Kamakhya Temple in Guwahati, Assam.

We glorify Sri Sri Kamakhya, who is closely identified with both Kali and Maha Tripurasundari, and also with Chandi (Durga) in much of the scriptures (Kalikapurana, Yoginitantra, Kulachudamani Tantra, Kamakhya Tantra, Devi Bhagavata, etc).

The LJ feed is here: kamakhyamandir

Or you can visit the website directly at Sri Kamakhya Mahavidya Mandir, and sign up for our newsletter, which has articles, mantras, event reminders, etc.

Thanks, and jai MAA!
Cremation Grounds 
04:16pm 17/10/2008
  I'm wondering if anyone else has thoughts on this. Ma's sacred place is supposed to be the cremation grounds. Now, if you are like me and live in the US, chances are there are no cremation grounds near you and, in fact, such things would likely be illegal. I'm wondering what a good replacement would be. Graveyard? A mortuary that performs cremations? I'd also suggest bonfires though depending where you live, those might be illegal too (the Southwestern part of the country tends to discourage outdoor fires due to the dry climate.)  
     Read 6 - Post
12:19pm 29/09/2008
  Hello everyone! I just found this group and joined up. I'm kind of a non-traditional child of Ma, but have followed her since I was a teen. I'm interested to join this group and hear other people's experiences and thoughts on her.

Jai Ma!
     Read 5 - Post
Blessings of Divali! 
03:08pm 09/11/2007

Blessed Divali to everyone! May the bright and cheerful lamps of Divali light the way for prosperity, positive transformation and the right kinds of abundance to your doorstep and into your life.

Blessings of Mother Kali to you on this wonderful Kali Puja*!


* lots of people worship Lakshmi on Divali, and in the West I find that most people seem to focus exclusively on her, but in my tradition - which is Bengali/Assamese - Lakshmi Puja is the previous full moon, and on this new moon of Divali we celebrate Kali Maa, our Great Mother!
     Read 1 - Post
02:16pm 21/05/2007
  Can you suggest a thorough reading list for books about Kali and Durga?

Thanks so much!
     Read 7 - Post
06:39pm 13/04/2007
  I hope I don't sound too ignorant with this inquiry, however I'd like to hear some information on the difference between Kali and Durga.  
     Read 2 - Post
01:56am 31/01/2007
  My boyfriend traveled to Rajasthan for winter break, and he brought back for me a beautiful, large, solid brass Kali murti. Mother is standing with both feet atop Lord Siva and her beautiful hair is spread wide, down to her feet. Her arms are spread in what I can only describe as an embrace, despite her grimace and otherwise aggressive stance. As soon as I can I'll post a picture of it!

I stumbled on this sound file whilst searching for some mantras to recite during a proper puja for my new murti. It plays on a loop, and because it is relatively simple it is a good mantra to learn as a first. The other mantras I've found have been lengthy and complicated, so I thought this would be a good one to share for someone who'd like to begin proper worship but doesn't know where to start. :)



"KRING" is Kali-Ma's bij-aksar, which is the "seed" syllable for mantras to her. I've found other mantras involving the syllable "HRING," which I believe is Lady Durga's bij-aksar. [Edit: "AING" is apparently Saraswati's bij-aksar, so it seems most of these mantras are reflecting the unity of shakti.]

Here is the most popular mantra for Durga; from the same site, though a little more complicated:


     Read 8 - Post
06:30pm 15/11/2006
  Serving Her is sometimes painful.  
     Read 12 - Post
08:44am 13/10/2006

HER: The Memoirs of a Daughter

All information in this set of memoirs is accurate and true to the best
of my recollection.  Really.  I'm not that imaginative.

Chapter 1  


I have always wanted to die.  I cannot remember a time when I
wanted to live.  No matter how wonderful life ever became, the
spectre of death was always somewhere in the back of my head, stalking
my consciousness with  the comfort of its nothingness.  The
body that envelopes me has continually given the feeling of
constriction. Instead of skin, it felt more like a poorly made sundress
which was several sizes too small.  My desire for death was so
intense that I would have suicidal ideations.  There were a
handful of occasions that I got very close to pulling the metaphorical
trigger, but no matter how much I hated this life, no matter how
despondent I ever became and  matter how much pain I lived with on
a daily basis, I always knew each morning upon arising that I had
chosen to be here.

Read more...Collapse )
     Read 5 - Post
I am the fire that kisses the shackles away 
01:42pm 29/07/2006
  Hello there. I'm new to the community. In that past I thought it would be nice if there were a community for devotees. I'm glad to find that one already exists. I've been haunted by an image of Kali ever since she tapped me on the shoulder some time ago. (though I suppose that tap was more like a sledgehammer)

Anyway, I'm glad to be here and thought I'd say hello.
     Read 4 - Post
Essential reading suggestions for those interested in Kali and Durga 
08:59pm 10/07/2006
  Namaste - I've just put together a simple essential reading guide, and would welcome any suggestions/additions/comments/etc. from those of you who are familiar with these books, or others not on this list. I also offer it as a guide to those of you looking to learn more about Kali and Durga but not knowing where to begin.

Note: These are books that I'm familiar with, have read, can vouch for. This does not include the countless articles on the subject, though if you have access to journals it's a great place to get current material in more easily digestible chunks. There are many other books that are useful, but are not easy to come by; for instance, I have several books from India, but they are things like Tantras in the original Sanskrit, or out of print studies by Indian scholars. There are also other primary (original) and secondary (commentary) texts that are difficult to parse, or easily misread, if you don't have the scholarly background, etc., so I feel like it would not be practical to include them in a list like this, which is intended for a more general audience.

Questions: Are these categories helpful? Should I include short reviews? A section on Shakta Tantra? On an introduction to Hinduism (or a separate reading list for that)? etc. Any feedback would be helpful!

Kali: The Feminine Force, Ajit Mookerjee
Kali: The Black Goddess of Dakshineswar, Elizabeth Usha Harding

Scholarly Work (Historical/Foundational)
Encountering Kali: In the Margins, at the Center, in the West, Rachel Fell McDermott
The Sword and Flute, David Kinsley
Tantric Visions of the Divine Feminine, David Kinsley
Hindu Goddesses, David Kinsley
The Indian Mother Goddess, N.N. Bhattacharyya
Devi: Goddesses of India, John Stratton Hawley
Offering Flowers, Feeding Skulls: Popular Goddess Worship in West Bengal, June McDaniel
Victory to the Mother: The Hindu Goddess of Northwest India in Myth, Ritual and Symbol, Kathleen Erndl
Is the Goddess a Feminist?: The Politics of South Asian Goddesses, Alf Hiltelbeitel
The Triumph of the Goddess: The Canonical Models and Theological Issues of the Devi Bhagavata Purana, C. Mackenzie Brown
Seeking Mahadevi: Constructing the Identities of the Hindu Great Goddess, Tracy Pinchtman
The Rise of the Goddess in the Hindu Tradition, Tracy Pinchtman (this is very dry, intended for scholars, but with other foundational reading can be very informative)

Devotional/True Life
Kali's Odiyya: A Shaman's True Story of Initiation, Amarananda Bhairavan
Twenty-four Aspects of Mother Kali, Babaji Bob Kindler
Kali Puja, Swami Satyananda Saraswati
Durga Puja for Beginners, Swami Satyananda Saraswati
Cosmic Puja, Swami Satyananda Saraswati

Translated Original Texts
Singing to the Goddess: Poems to Kali and Uma from Bengal, Rachel Fell McDermott
Hymns to the Goddess and Hymns to Kali, Sir John Woodroffe
Encountering the Goddess: A Translation of the Devi Mahatmya and a Study of Its Interpretation, Thomas Coburn
In Praise of the Goddess: The Devi Mahatmya and its Meaning, Devadatta Kali
The Song of the Goddess: The Devi Gita; Spiritual Counsel of the Great Goddess, C. Mackenzie Brown
Srimad Devi Bhagavatam, Swami Vijnanananda*

* Note: This is a very difficult and incredibly voluminous (800+ pp of microscopic print) text, but perhaps one of the most important Shakta texts. The translation has very little commentary, so it tends to be obtuse. Start with other texts and work your way up to this one, after getting a grounding in the tradition.
Musings on Mahadevi... 
02:03pm 05/07/2006
mood: contemplative
For a long time, I've seen Kali and Durga as a Yin/Yang kind of thing - Durga transcends from the heavens, while Kali manifests from within the earth. Durga is Sattvic, while Kali is Tamasic, and they meet in Rajas, through the flesh and blood of their devotees.

But I think lately that I've missed the point, somewhat. Kali and Durga are not just two halves of the same whole - they are each the whole themselves. Each is a face of Mahadevi, but each IS Mahadevi. As are the other manifestations of Maa.

I do a lot of work with the Asta Matrkas and the Dasa Mahavidyas, and this is what has come to me. Of course, my view is influenced by the Upanisads and the idea of the Absolute, that all things are one thing. In that sense, a fully Tantric sense, I, too, am Mahadevi, as is each one of you. Not just an aspect, but fully Her, in all Her glory.

Any observations? How do you see Durga and/or Kali, in terms of universal oneness, or in pantheonic terms?
     Read 9 - Post
Sanatan Dharma 
04:47pm 02/06/2006
  Kali is generally considered one of the consorts of Shiva. Her name seems to be a female version of the word 'kala' (Sanskrit for 'dark', 'time'- time in this form being a euphemism for death - or 'devourer of time' ); it also means 'Black Female,' in contrast to her consort, Shiva, who is white. The goddesses that she is associated or identified with include Durga, Bhowani Devi, Sati, Rudrani, Parvati, Chinnamasta, Chamunda, Kamakshi, Uma, Meenakshi, Himavati, Kumari. These names, if repeated, are believed to give special power to the worshipper.  
     Read 9 - Post
Maa Kali prayer 
10:19pm 11/05/2006

Hear me child, and know Me for who I am.

I have been with you since you were born, and I will stay with you until you return to Me at the final dusk.

I am the passionate and seductive lover who inspires the poet to dream.

I am the One who calls to you at the end of your journey. After the day is done, My children find their blessed rest in my embrace.

I am the womb from which all things are born.

I am the shadowy, still tomb; all things must come to Me and bare their breasts to die and be reborn to the Whole.

I am the Sorceress that will not be ruled, the Weaver of Time, the Teacher of Mysteries. I snip the threads that bring my children home to me. I slit the throats of the cruel and drink the blood of the heartless.

Swallow your fear and come to me, and you will discover true beauty, strength, and courage.

I am the fury which rips the flesh from injustice.

I am the glowing forge that transforms your inner demons into tools of power. Open yourself to my embrace and overcome.

I am the glinting sword that protects you from harm.

I am the crucible in which all the aspects of yourself merge together in a rainbow of union.

I am the velvet depths of the night sky, the swirling mists of midnight, shrouded in mystery.

I am the chrysalis in which you will face that which terrifies you and from which you will blossom forth, vibrant and renewed. Seek me at the crossroads, and you shall be transformed, for once you look upon my face, there is no return.

I am the fire that kisses the shackles away. I am the cauldron in which all opposites grow to know each other in Truth. I am the web which connects all things.

I am the Healer of all wounds, the Warrior who rights all wrongs in their Time.

I make the weak strong. I make the arrogant humble. I raise up the oppressed and empower the disenfranchised. I am Justice tempered with Mercy.

Most importantly, child, I am you. I am part of you, and I am within you. Seek me within and without, and you will be strong. Know me. Venture into the dark so that you may awaken to Balance, Illumination, and Wholeness. Take my Love with you everywhere and find the Power within to be who you wish.

~source unknown
     Read 4 - Post
Kali in the Whedonverse 
11:48am 31/01/2006
mood: creative
Hi, I'm new. I just joined a few days ago. I saw the posts about Kali images in comics and other "low brow" entertainment or pop culture and I wanted to share my own thoughts since they were inspired by seeing the image below that is one of our fellow poster's flickr images.

originally uploaded by Blue Maiya.
Now this is my kind of Kali painting!

Has anyone else noticed how much the god-king Illyria in Angel resembles Kali? You can really see it in this painting.

That in turn reminds me of Willow at the end of season 6 (I think) when she goes on her dance of destruction after Tara is murdered. Her binge of destruction is finally brought to an end by her not having the heart to hurt Xander (Siva) any further because he loves her so steadfastly. To me Willow/Allison Hannigan was definately playing the part of Kali.

What I also find interesting is that I can find many overt references to classical ideas of psychoanalysis and Christian mythology in Joss Whedon's productions, so I have to wonder if he and his team created these two characters because they know something of the Kali myths or if it sprung of its own volition from archetypes in the group's unconscious. Did Kali herself impose her will upon the creators?
04:41am 02/01/2006
  Kali Mantra and Yantra

source: Kali, Black Goddess of Dakshineswar
by Elizabeth U. Harding

Kali in her seed mantra is KRIM. This mantra is a sound representation of the Mother. While the inner meaning of this mantra can only be understood in deep meditation, the word meaning is as follows: K stands for full knowledge, R means she is auspicious, I means she bestows booms, and M that she gives freedom. Through the repetition of her mantra, OM KRIM KALI, the aspirant's mind becomes divinely transformed and passes from the gross state of worldly affiars into Kali's subtle light of pure consciousness.

Kali in her yantra form is the Supreme Generative Energy in the central point, or bindu enclosed by three pentagons (actually five inverted concentric triangles), a circle and an eight-petalled lotus. While the triangle within the female deity's yantra points downward, it points upward within a male deity's yantra. But the bindu in the heart of the Kali yantra is in the same position as the one in the Shiva yantra. This symbolizes the oneness of the Supreme Female Principle with the Supreme Male Principle- Kali, as the energy aspect of material nature, is united with the Absolute (Shiva) for the sake of creation.

The Kali yantra above is both an object existing in the external world as well as a subject to be internalized within the human body. Kali is represented here as Prakriti, symbolized by the eight-petalled lotus, since she is the cause of material nature. The eight petals stand for the eight elements of Prakriti- earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intellect, and ego-sense- of which this phenomenal world is composed. The circle symbolizes the circle of life and death which we must pierce in order to reach the Absolute Reality. The fifteen corners of the five inverted concentric triangles represent the fifteen psychophysical states- five organs of knowledge (sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch), five organs of action (hands, feet, speech, organ of evacuation, and organ of procreation), five vital airs (prana-upward air; apana-downward air; vyana-air within the body; udana-air leaving the body; and samana-air at the naval which helps digest food).

     Read 7 - Post
03:56pm 15/11/2005
mood: contemplative
Oh mother Kali I sit at your feet
A child waiting for a glance of her mothers eyes
The path before me you have set
The hardships placed for me to grow
Though you mother I will release myself
No longer bound to the perceived reality of this world
Mother I wait for a glanced into the infinite
Where few come out unchanged
     Read 5 - Post
03:00pm 19/08/2005

Jai, jai jai Durge maata bhavaani
Saba jagata ko dukh harani
Ramadaasa sharana gaye
Bhavaani dayani shivani

(Hail O Mother Durga, O Bhavaani
 One who takes away all the grief in the universe
 The one at whose feet Ramadaas falls,
 O Bhavani, O Kind One, O Shivani)