The Dashamahavidya- Ten (Dasha) Great (Maha)
Wisdom (Vidya), in Hindu-Tantric tradition is a cluster of powerful warring
mother goddesses who emanated from the body of Maha Shakti Durga, and went
roaring in the battle with the forces of evil. The first one among this potent
mother-goddess cluster, Mahavidya Kali, is the representation of Devi’s
ultimate sway over Kaal- time and death.
on paper, this goddess Kali painting shows the great mother standing in the
wilderness, with lush green hills and multiple rows of trees in the background.
The aura of the four-armed dark mother Kali is intensified four-fold by her
flowing locks that act as a cape and the otherworldly ornaments fashioned out
of the heads and hands of those who stand against the potent Mahavidya. Goddess
Kali wears a crown with emeralds and rubies studded in it, bejeweled ornaments,
and a fine floral garland. On her forehead, one can see the Tripunda- an
auspicious mark, a third eye, and a crescent moon- all symbols reminder of the
divine wisdom embodied by Maa Kali. In two of her hands, the goddess carries a
sickle and a severed head, while her other two hands are painted red, turning
the blood of the demons slain by the mother goddess, into her ethereal
adornment. Below her majestic figure lies Lord Shiva, wearing his
characteristic garland of a serpent, Rudraksha bead rosary, and a tiger hide
garment, gazing at the fierce beauty of Mahakali. Right next to Shiva, sits a
jackal, an animal associated with the cremation grounds, a place where goddess
Kali is believed to reside.
painting, Devi Kali is presented as a youthful female, her hands and legs given
a discernible grace and her cheeks tinted with a pleasing red, despite the
viciousness of this roopa of the divine mother. In the foreground of the
painting, a river flows, its waters mirroring the smoky form of Mahakali.
Framed with a network of floral vines, this watercolor goddess Kali painting is
a powerful visualization of the great mother as the culmination of the three
qualities- Satvika (pure and spiritual), Rajasika (active and passionate), and
Tamasika (dark and destructive), forces that ceaselessly create, sustain and
destroy life as we know it.
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