Not an amulet, this piece of ornament incorporating different forms of Kali – anthropomorphic and symbolic, attributing to it rare mystic powers, consists of three units, the umbrella-like shaped and protective main component with the mystic diagram – the Kali yantra, drawn on it, three pendant, one representing goddess Kali being larger in size, and two smaller, with figures of dancing peacocks embossed on them in bold relief, and the flexible cords on either end with a hook on one side, and a chain of rings on the other, for holding the ornament around the neck. Looking like two fine thinly cast solid rods, or thick wires, fabricated with intricate interwoven concealed loops the cords are wax-like flexible. Of the three pendants the smaller two, the coins-like perfect discs, represent the images of peacocks, symbolizing perhaps the goddess Kali’s Hansa-Kali form, one of her nine manifestations. The main pendant has been designed like a mini shrine with the shrine-like architecture : the arched apex and pillared sides. It enshrines the usual votive form of the image of the goddess : appropriately crowned, large-breasted and holding in her hands a trident and a severed human head. Towards the bottom flanking her figure there are two auspicious pots, one on either side, and on the top, around her face, the moon on the right, and a parrot, on the left.
The main unit has drawn on it one of the most potential yantras used in Tantric practices, the Kali-yantra complete with all its organs, the ‘mantra’ – mystic syllable and numerical figures inscribed on its various parts, its complete mystic diagram with ‘bhupura’ – outer periphery, the mutually interacting upward and downward triangles, representing the male and female principles and their union, the intermittent cosmic act of creation, and the sanctum sanctorum that Shiva enshrines. Inside the ‘bhupura’ and outside the two interacting triangles, symbolic of copulation, there is the eight-petalled lotus that Kali pervades in her eight forms : Dakshina Kali, Mahakali, Smashana-Kali, Guhya Kali, Bhadra Kali, Chamunda Kali, Siddha Kali and Kamakala Kali. Her ninth manifestation : Hamsa Kali, has been represented in the two pendants. The Kali yantra is the most potent tool of success and to defeat enemies, not merely the humane but also the infirmities, physical or mental, that obstruct one’s path to success and attainment of goals.
This description by Prof. P.C. Jain and Dr. Daljeet. Prof. Jain specializes on the aesthetics of literature and is the author of numerous books on Indian art and culture. Dr. Daljeet is the curator of the Miniature Painting Gallery, National Museum, New Delhi. They have both collaborated together on a number of books. .