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Paintings > Batik > Kali and the Savagery of Existence
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Kali and the Savagery of Existence

Kali and the Savagery of Existence

Kali and the Savagery of Existence

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Batik Painting On Silk

2.8 ft X 3.1 ft
Item Code:
BD48
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$65.00   Shipping Free - 4 to 6 days
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Viewed 2120 times since 2nd Oct, 2008
There are certain forms of the goddess like that of Kali that rouse fear, even disgust. Hair unbound, she dances amongst corpses, bedecking her body with entrails and blood. Her girdle itself is of severed hands and likewise her garland is made up of severed heads. Why does the goddess often appear (for want of a better term) as 'demonic'?

Demonic? Let us re-examine this word, in light of the fact that there is no Hindu equivalent of satan and that the word 'evil' cannot be translated in any Indian vernacular. Nothing is 'evil' in the world. Everything has its place in the scheme of things. So even the demons of Hinduism - asura, danava, daitya, rakshasa, bhuta, pisacha all play a vital role in the cosmos.

When we use the word 'demonic', we are actually saying that some manifestations of the goddess are unpalatable to our taste. We find them undesirable, inappropriate, unwholesome. We would rather not look at them. But no matter how hard we try, our world is filled with images that we cannot look at or come to terms with - hyenas killing pregnant deer, goats chewing on flowers, tornadoes wiping out entire villages. All this is a part of nature. And nature is a manifestation of Devi. Hence, the goddess is at the same time beautiful and ugly, alluring and repulsive.

Imagine a rotting corpse. The sight is ghastly. But for the maggot breeding within the corpse, that 'ghastly' object would be 'home'. What is horrible from our point of view is wonderful from the maggot's point of view. Thus, the world is beautiful and ugly, depending on where we view it from. When a scorpion stings, it stings not because it is 'bad' 'wicked' or 'evil'. It stings because that is its personality. The goddess does not consider the scorpion any better or worse than the cow who gives milk. Just different. To drive home this point, both the scorpion and the cow are linked to goddess worship.

In goddess worship the unsavory aspects of life and nature are not repressed. They are expressed in art. Hence Devi is depicted as both alluring and horrifying. She is Lakshmi, the goddess of fortune, as well as ALakshmi, the goddess of misfortune. She is the radiant Gauri and the sullen Kali. As the goddess transforms herself, the devotee comes to term with the many aspects of the world and learns to be less judgmental.

The ability to accept and appreciate every manifestation of Devi is a sign of enlightenment. Hence, to Devi does everyone offers the salute:

"O goddess of the universe, visualizing you the embodiment of motherhood, power and peace, I salute you, salute you, salute you."

Of Related Interest:

Mother Goddess as Kali - The Feminine Force in Indian Art (Article)

Kali The Mother (Book)

Kali (Silver Pendant)

Kali in the Birth-Giving Posture (Miniature Painting on Paper)

Goddess Kali (Folk Painting from Orissa)

Kali the Terrible (Folk Painting from Bihar)

The Goddess Kali (Batik Painting On Cotton)

Shyama-Kali Yantra (Tantra Painting)

Jai Mata Di (Prayer Shawl)

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