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Why is Kali Dancing on Shiva?


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Why is Kali Dancing on Shiva?

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Navratri is a festival dedicated to the Goddess – the feminine personification of the divine. Various forms of Goddess can be seen at the shrines in the centre of Navratri celebrations, such as Durga, Sarasvati and Kali. The image of Kali is seen at virtually all Navratri celebrations and is one of the best known, but poorly understood forms of the Goddess. She is dark destructive and terrible in image. She is allied to the forces of death and destruction. The most common image of Kali shows her dancing on Shiva. This article aims to give an insight into Hinduism’s use of such mystic imagery.

Shiva and Shakti

Within each of the major sects within Hinduism, the divine is not considered solely as masculine or feminine, which is a unique feature compared with other religions of today. The divine is not referred to only as 'He'. In the Shaivite tradition, the supreme divine reality is represented as Shiva-Shakti. Shiva is the masculine force, the power of peace, while Shakti translates to power, and is considered as the feminine force. In the Vaishnava tradition, these realities are portrayed as Vishnu and Laxmi, or Radha and Krishna. These are differences in formulation rather than a fundamental difference in the principles. To render Shakti as power may cause some misconceptions. Shakti is the power of Shiva. It is not a power born of aggression or domination, but a power born from the strength of the silent consciousness, the energy which comes forth from the void, the life and creation that stems forth from the still eternal consciousness. Shakti is not a power which is asserted against something, but a power which enlivens everything from within. Shiva is the still consciousness, the spirit which pervades everything, who accomplishes everything through Shakti alone.

Both Shiva and Shakti have various forms. Shiva has forms like Yogi Raj (the common image of Himself meditating in the Himalayas), Rudra (a wrathful form) and Nataraj (performing the dance of destruction).

About Kali

The Sanskrit word Kali literally means time. Kali is the feminine word for time, for which the masculine is kala. Time as we are forced to understand it, is the foremost power that we experience. Kali is the personification of time. It is not surprising that the deity of time has a terrifying image. After all, time is the slayer of all. Time is the very stuff that our lives are made of. To waste time is to waste life. The reason as to why time is represented in a feminine form is that time is the great womb – the great mother – from which we are all created – therefore it has a feminine quality. Time is also the force which causes all living beings to perish. Therefore Kali is like the mother who destroys the children which she has created – which is one of her frightful features. Yet, through the action of time, Her action, occurs our salvation. Through time, over repeated births, we experience all that we have to and learn all that we must learn in order to merge back into our eternal existence, from which we fell into limited time and space.

Why is She dancing on Shiva?

That’s the million dollar question – I don’t know! Just kidding. Shiva, in the Shaivite tradition, is the all pervading eternal primeval consciousness of the universe and beyond, who is beyond motivation. Hence, He is commonly shown as meditating in tranquil. His action and motivation occur only prior to the final destruction and dissolution of this cycle of creation. Hence, when Shiva dances, it is considered to be the terrible awesome dance of destruction. It is on the passive, ultimate reality of Shiva, that Kali (time) does her dance, causing the constant cycles of creation, life and death of all things in the universe. Shiva is the substratum upon which Kali acts. Hence, in this part of the Hindu spiritual traditions, the entire divine action and existence is represented by the dance of Kali (time) upon the changeless all pervading consciousness, Shiva.

Does Kali actually have a separate consciousness or is she just a representation of time as an unthinking scientific principle?

Hinduism personifies what to us are abstract spiritual truths as Gods and Goddesses. Spiritual ideas are clothed in concrete imagery, and approached as living beings. This does not reflect a lack of reasoned thinking, or attachment to form, but rather an experiential contact with the higher truths, as living forces. Hinduism creates a personal relationship between ourselves and the forces of the cosmos, and eventually leads us to realise that these forces are within us rather than separate. All forces of the universe are pervaded by consciousness, hence the reason as to why they are approached as living beings is because in reality, they are. The purpose of vivid imagery is that whilst meditating upon the image, our mind is shocked into thinking into the depths of the concept we are trying to understand and know, beyond our usual conditioned ideas. In that way we can really experience the truth of time as an awesome conscious force and understand how our existence relates to it. Kali is a particularly important deity, because by understanding Her we stop identifying ourselves as only our body - we come to terms with the utter impermanence of our body and begin to perceive the true existence of ours which lies beyond - which most people believe but wish to experience directly. Hence she is said to kill the ego - the attachment to pettiness, which is represented in Her image by the severed head she hold in Her hand.

A Mantra for Kali

One important Mantra for Kali is:

om aim hrim klim camundayai vicche svaha!

Each syllable of this mantra conveys a distinct vibrational energy, and whoever chants this mantra, after a short while will feel that they are tapping in to a deep spiritual energy. Om is the sound corresponding to the absolute reality in its entirety. Aim is the syllable of knowledge (Sarasvati). Hrim is the syllable of purification (Parvathy). Klim is a syllable corresponding to transformation (closely related to Kali). Camundayai is a name of Kali. Vicche means cut (as in to cut of the head of the demon, demon referring to the ego) and svaha ends the mantra.

--- Jai Kali ---

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Why is She dancing on Shiva?

That’s the million dollar question – I don’t know! Just kidding. Shiva, in the Shaivite tradition, is the all pervading eternal primeval consciousness of the universe and beyond, who is beyond motivation. Hence, He is commonly shown as meditating in tranquil. His action and motivation occur only prior to the final destruction and dissolution of this cycle of creation. Hence, when Shiva dances, it is considered to be the terrible awesome dance of destruction. It is on the passive, ultimate reality of Shiva, that Kali (time) does her dance, causing the constant cycles of creation, life and death of all things in the universe. Shiva is the substratum upon which Kali acts. Hence, in this part of the Hindu spiritual traditions, the entire divine action and existence is represented by the dance of Kali (time) upon the changeless all pervading consciousness, Shiva.

eh? :?:

could anyone explain that in english?

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Intresting article, however adding to the points raised as to why kali is dancing upon shiv,

There are those who believe Kali is the first shakti the mahashakti from which the trinity bhrama, vishnu, shiv emerged.... so it is actually her dance which is so destructive that it would shake the universe and bring an end to time as we know it. To avoid this from happening Shiv Ji provides his own body as a platform on which she may dance, but when the time comes he too will get up and begin dancing and upon that union of shiv and shakti will be the end of this creation as we know it.

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Why is Kali Dancing on Shiva?

%7Boption%7Dhttp://www.mc.maricopa.edu/~.........rvathy). Klim is a syllable corresponding to transformation (closely related to Kali). Camundayai is a name of Kali. Vicche means cut (as in to cut of the head of the demon, demon referring to the ego) and svaha ends the mantra.

--- Jai Kali ---

Creation is compared to Female and Creator is compared to Male

The creation is compared to female and the creator is compared to male. The creation is controlled by the creator. Generally the female is controlled by the male. Following this convention, the concept is represented accordingly. Goddess Lakshmi is pressing the feet of the Lord Narayana as a servant. Here some misunderstand this as the male domination. Since the male domination existed in nature, the concept is represented like that. This does not mean that the concept supports the male domination. Even in the ancient tradition, there used to be some cases of female domination over the males. According to that tradition God is represented by the female or Parashakti whose throne is carried by Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva on their shoulders.

Sankara praises God in female form in Soundaryalahari in which it is stated that Brahma creates the universe from the dust of Her lotus feet, Vishnu carries it on His head and Shiva powders it and applies on His body as ash. (Taniyamsam Pamsum….). Here God is in the female-medium and the souls are in the mediums of males. Here Vishnu represents the soul and Adiparashakti represents God. Therefore the domination of male or female is not the point here, which may vary from case to case. But the domination of God over souls is the reality that is to be represented.

Rama is God and Sita is the soul. Suppose two females or two males act as Rama and Sita on the stage, the domination of Rama over Sita on the stage should not be disturbed. The domination of anyone over the other behind the screen is not at all considered on the stage. Even if the dominating male acts as Sita and the submissive female acts as Rama, the domination of Rama over Sita on the stage is inevitable. Therefore the human incarnation whether male or female is the master and the human beings whether males or females are the servants.

When the human incarnation of Durga appeared to kill Mahishasura, Durga is female and Mahishasura is male. You cannot give victory to Mahishasura since he is male and defeat to Durga since She is female. Let the dominations and suppressions of males and females be restricted to the human beings only as social problems and let them not enter and pollute the spiritual concepts.

Similarly, the caste system. Krishna, the human incarnation is a non-brahmin. The sages who were Brahmins prostrated to Krishna. Even today, the Brahmin priests are washing the feet of the statue of Krishna and drinking the washings as pious water (Teertham). Rama was non-brahmin but Ravana was a brahmin. Rama is the hero who is the God. Ravana is the villain who is a demon. Because of their caste, the hero and villain cannot be interchanged. Datta, Vamana, Parasurama and Kalki are brahmins. Rama, Krishna and Buddha are non-brahmins. Therefore the human incarnation is the master, the other human beings are servants, and the caste system has no relevance in the spiritual field.

Ravana was a male and a Brahmin. Gopikas were women and belonged to the backward caste. Gopikas were given Goloka which is the top most place. Ravana was thrown into hell. Even if you consider Jaya as the real actor in the role of Ravana, he became only the gatekeeper of the Lord. Therefore in the devotees also, the concept of male or female and the concept of caste system does not exist except the devotion proved by sacrifice. Gopikas proved their devotion by sacrificing butter (wealth), Dharma, children and finally they sacrificed even their lives by jumping into fire when Krishna left the human body, even though their husbands were alive! See the quality of devotion of Gopikas who were women of backward caste.

See the state of Ravana who is male and brahmin. He desired for the wife of the Lord! He could not recognize Rama who was the human incarnation at that time and neglected Him as an ordinary human being. Ravana was a great scholar of Vedas and Shastras. The four vedas and the six shastras represent the ten heads of Ravana. He did unimaginable penance. He believed only in the energetic forms of the upper worlds. He never considered the human race. He thought himself as God due to the super powers attained by Him. Sudama was a male and a brahmin but stole the part of parched rice to be given to the Lord while both were students. Sudama was punished with severe poverty for that sin. Therefore the Lord Krishna proved that there is no caste or gender for Him except the proved devotion which is the sacrifice.

Veda says that all the souls are females (daughters) only and the God is the only male or Purusha (Atha Purusho ha vai Narayanah, Striyah Satih Taume Pumsa ahuh –Veda). However if you call the soul as Purusha based on the root meaning that the soul or awareness is lying in the body (Puri sete iti), then God is called as Purushottama meaning that He is the best soul due to the extra presence of God. In fact the word Purushottama means the human incarnation. The best soul is also a soul. The human incarnation is also a human being. The best soul is also different from all the souls by some extraordinary point i.e. the extra existence of God. In the human incarnation, God exists beyond perishable external gross body and also beyond the internal permanent Jeevatma (Causal body with the subtle body which means the awareness with its waves). This is clearly stated in Gita while explaining the word Purushottama (Prathitah Purushottamah).

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