KALI is the Mother of Time. One of the meanings of the word “Kala,” the root of Kali’s name, is “time.”
Time is something we can’t conquer as humans. No matter how strong, wealthy, or clever we are, time devours us in the end. It comes for us relentlessly, devouring our lives as children, as adults in middle age, and finally devours life itself in our old age when we die. But Kali devours time itself – She is beyond time.
In the West, there is often a lack of understanding about the tradition of touching the Guru’s feet. Such an act can seem like groveling, or an act of inflating the Guru’s ego. But this shows a very limited understanding of what it means to pay respect to the Guru.
Kamakhya is one of the most important goddesses in the history and development of Tantra and Shaktism, but she remains obscure today, somewhat fitting for a goddess presiding over esoteric rites and rituals. Many people have never heard her name, nor do they understand what her name means. But even those who do understand the Sanskrit meaning of her name, and its explanations in various Tantras and Puranas, often do not know the pre-Vedic, hidden history of this truly ancient Mother Goddess.
The Devisukta, or Hymn to the Goddess, is found in the Rg Veda (RV 10.125), the earliest of the four Vedas or sacred wisdom texts that form the scriptural foundation for modern Hinduism. It is traditionally recited with the Devi Mahatmyam, one of the most important texts of the vast Shakta canon, and is a companion to the beautiful Ratrisukta.
The Mahishamardini Stotra, from the Kulachudamani Tantra, is a beautiful hymn meant to be recited by the sadhaka (Tantric practitioner) to glorify Devi. In this hymn, the violent struggle represents the struggle within, the necessary battle with ahamkara, literally the “I-maker,” and often referred to simply as the ego. It is that function of the mind which creates the illusion of separateness. The ego is a wily creature, constantly taking on different forms, as the buffalo demon Mahishasura does in the mythology. But step for step, Chandi (Durga, Mahamaya, Mahadevi) transforms along with him, chasing right behind him and outwitting the demon at every turn, until she finally defeats him with a stroke of Her sword.
The Ratrisukta is a beautiful poem in praise of the Vedic Goddess Ratri, the Goddess of the Night. The hymn itself is indicative of the culture of the Vedic people, reflecting some of the dangerous realities of village and agrarian life. It is a request for protection and peace, a very practical sort of prayer. In later philosophical development, Ratri is Maya, the power that creates the world and also plunges it into spiritual darkness. Ratri is also the symbol of our embodied human state. She may also be seen as an early whisper of the imagery of Kali, with her luminous darkness and protective ferocity.
Worship of the Mother Goddess and related Tantra-based rituals have their endless fount atop the Nilachal Hills: the sacred shrine of Sri Sri Kamakhya. Situated on the southern banks of the Louhitya, known as the mighty river Brahmaputra, these hills are part of the metropolis of Guwahati, the capital city of Assam. Situated within these hills are the temples of the Dasamahavidya, Anga Devata, and other temples dedicated to various deities. Mention of this Shakti temple of Kamakhya is found in Bhagavatas, Puranas, several of the Tantras, and many other ancient Scriptures.
This is sacred land of spiritual upliftment, a land yearning after what life is beyond. The rest of the world is agog with material pleasure, the life that is present seems to be the summumbonum of mankind, so there is a race for drinking the pleasure of life to the dregs.
The holy Nilachal Hills, where the famous temple of Mother Goddess Sri Sri Kamakhya has been shining with pride and glory, is now a part of the metropolis Guwahati, the gateway to Northeast India. The mighty Brahmaputra, mentioned as Louhitya in Sanskrit epics and Puranas, is flowing on the northern side of these sacred hills. Near the holy shrine of the Mother Goddess there are temples of the Dasamahavidya, Lord Shiva, other Deities and numerous Gupta Peethas scattered all around.