2.02.2010

Feminine potency at the shrine of Kalimath


Buried deep within the mountains, cut away from all the noise and secluded in this quaint valley laced by the river Mandakini is the sacred and potent shrine of the Goddess.

What initially catches the eye is a rather modern shrine for Kali Ma in which one would expect to find the fiery red eyed Goddess enraged and ready to kill the savage demons and destroy all evil. It is pleasantly surprising to note that this [as far as I know] is probably the only shrine that displays an enormous Kali yantra that has been placed on the ground in the very same spot where demonic blood once fell as the Goddess massacred evil.

Red and yellow flags still flutter in the air to celebrate the victory of the Goddess who once graced this earth. And then they say, she vanished, into the very same earth where she killed him. 


This Kali Ma shrine is just the trailer to what actually lies behind these walls. A local priest ushered us to follow him to a world that hid silently behind the shops that sold offerings to Goddess kali. What lay ahead was not just the most potent shrines attributed to the Goddess's many forms but the ambiance that left us feeling a deep sense of peace and happiness. A sense of discovery enveloped us as we headed towards the inner sanctum.

Old rocky stone had been meticulously put together to shelter great power on this earth. In the silence of the morning with hardly any crowd at this temple, there seems to be enough life within this temple premises. It is energy of a different kind that stems from the soil, glows in the sun and exhibits power that shines through the vermilion. It was as picturesque as it could be, with the Mandakini flowing on one side, a small village precariously balancing itself along the sharp ridge and the sun penetrating through the hills, Kalimath has its own unique beauty.

This would have been a great seat of worship and learning in the ancient days. It just didnt echo the presence of a Shakti sthal here, but also a great seat of Tantricism and occult sciences not to miss the strong presence of the Goddess who also rendered it a Siddha Peeth.

In all its ancient charm, still untouched by modern renovation, stands the roofless Nandi shrine with small Shiva lingas excavated and placed around it. Ganesha adorns the entrance of the Saraswati temple, not by an iconographic measure but more as being unearthed and placed there. Shiva takes on center stage in the next temple with Parvati seated on his lap while a Linga is enshrined in a smaller temple closer to the river. The most eye catching aspect of this temple is the main shrine attributed to Goddess Lakshmi who resides deep within the Garbha griha with the matrikas on vigil outside her sanctum. Goddess Lakshmi is worshiped here in various "swarups" each divine version of her face is inscribed on the sacred rock and is silver plated. Opposite her sacred shrine is the yagnakund whose flames never die.

When the color of vermilion breathes life into the richness of the divine complexion of the Goddess, when her grace and beauty envelopes the air inside this chamber, when the smell of fire and sacred incense covers our soul, awaken to the world of the Mother, to her presence echoing in these rocks. This is life, this is bliss, this is beauty and this is power. 


***
Kalimath is a small town enroute to Kedarnath and 14 kms from Guptkashi.
Photo courtesy: Agastya, Picasa

9 comments:

JC said...

Hi Kavitha! Nice description and picture!

Maybe, as mentioned by you regarding the fluttering flags, one could recall how Red and Yellow colours convey the 'Hindu' realisation of energy or 'shakti': Red depicted as the painted tongue of "Ma Kali" the fearful dark bodied mother ('Krishna'?!). And Yellow is called Guru, the superior, and is related with the most evolved form of Goddess of Knowledge Saraswati (worshipped on Basant Panchami Day), the consort of Brahma who, however, is generally shown wearing a white garment ('sari') while holding a stringed musical instrument, Veena, in Her hand...which relates her with Sun, (for the sound emanating from it is recently also learnt to sound like a 'harp'), the believable source of light and all direct and indirect energy on earth...And, the mysterious character, 'Krishna' (in The Gita) says He illuminates both Sun and the Moon, and also these two characters are indicated responsible for cutting away of Rahu the Rakshasha (demon) by 'mohini' or attractive form of Vishnu (while it is also learnt relatively recently that there exists a powerful Black Hole at the centre of our 'Milky Way Galaxy'...one of the infinite galaxies that exist within the Dark void or space, called 'Brahmand', literally creator's egg, by 'Hindus' and Universe in the present day 'west' :)

JC said...

Sorry! As per the popular story, Rahu the demon posed as devta and had almost received amrit, had it not been for Sun & Moon to point out the mistake in time for Vishnu to cut away his head such that Rahu's head and the torso continued to exist as independent forms of energy, Rahu and Ketu, which perhaps eludes to Ultraviolet & Infrared rays that manage to enter partially into earth's atmosphere...

The Yellow colour is obviously related with Moon (Mohini form of Vishnu, who distributed 'amrit' to 'devtas', ie, rendered them immortal (with moonlight, and is believably also responsible for presence of life-giving water on earth that in the beginning was only a ball of fire, called Rudra or angry Shiva)...

Moon is independently considered as Parvati, the daughter of (rocky) Himalaya and the 'ardhangini' or better-half of Shiva (green or neutral) Earth...And the original Ardhnarishwar, that is, Earth-Moon together as 'Jagadamba' the mother of Earth (and we now also know that Moon has evolved from original Earth-Moon)!

The above thus indicates how knowledge also starts from zero, evolves with time to finally return to zero, in cyclic order, to reappear in unending such cycles with time, such that we the forgetful men, 'Apsmara Purush', continue to remain ignorant of the 'Truth', until the secret is released therough some Guru at the proper time (Satyuga)...

Vidya said...

I wish I could be there but reading your posts transports me into a magic world which is more peaceful and pristine Thank you Kavitha...

JC said...

Kavitha, When 'we' were young, if the teacher made some mistake; such as, for example, 'I' mechanically wrote 'eludes' when 'I' meant "alludes", someone would surely happily point it out to the teacher...:)

Tamil Home Recipes said...

Great post.

JC said...

Talking of potency, 'I' would like to recall how when the highest peak in the Himalayas, Mount Everest, was conquered for the first time by man in the year 1953, on the 29th May, 'I' was a student of a school that was located adjacent to Laxmi-Narayan Temple on the Mandir Marg, literaly the 'Temple Road', in New Delhi...and at that time we also resided at a walking distance in a government colony....

'We', all the boys in our colony, were filled with excitement when we learnt from Bengali friends about the scheduled visit to Kalibari, Goddess Kali's Temple, sometimes after the expedition team had returned, and were on visit to the city...

Although, some years ago before that 'I' had virtually been crushed, sandwiched between the crowd, on Shri Krishna Janmashtami Day (Krishna's Birthday), 'I' hadn't expected Kali's Temple also would similarly get crowded and happily joined the boys!

'We' had reached much before the scheduled time and had been happily seated on the ground a distance away from the dias within the temple premises. 'I' virtually wept as the crowd grew bigger and bigger. And, due to limited space, once again 'I' felt being sandwiched, and 'I' was separated from 'my' friends but thankfully remained safe to watch the members of the team being felicitated...But, thereafter 'I' avoided all crowded places :)

At that time 'I' hadn't realised that 'Krishna' and 'Kali' both mean 'Black', the mysterious energy form, (as it could be realised in the 'present' also after the discovery of the 'Black Hole'), soul/ Supreme Soul, who had made 'me' taste a symbolic sample of its potency :)

YOSEE said...

Kalimath sounds like a wonderful place.
Any or all places which were somewhat forbidding and inaccessible, exhibiting the overpowering immanence of raw Nature were chosen by our ancients as sites for meditation and worship. Such places are full of Energy ( also called Chi or Qi)potent( or pregnant) with possibilities of Higher Consciousness.Hence considered life-giving Feminine Energy.All such places automatically become Abodes of The Mother, whatever gods are installed in shrines down the ages.
Interestingly, the Sherpas and Tibetans consider Mount Everest to be a Divine Mother named Chomolungma . Before climbing ( as guides to other mountaineers)they perform various rituals to seek Her permission and forgiveness. Climbing the summit for them is a pilgrimage to reach the comforting bosom of a Mother.

JC : so you experienced the potency of the Black Hole in the suffocating crush of a crowd ! :-) Brilliant analogy . Just goes to show, that for a seeker, anything can become a lesson or guidance !

JC said...

Hi Yossee, In the Eighties, when after certain 'spiritual experiences' in the northeast region occurred, as if demanding specific attention, 'my' atitude towards life was changed>>>It was at that stage that 'I' came across a news item in a newspaper regarding the research work on stars in the 'red stage' carried out by one S Chandrashekhar, an American Indian. He reportedly found how a star in its last stage first swells and becomes a Red Giant due to radiation pressure becoming greater than the gravitationla force. And, it eventually bursts resulting in scattering of debris into space around it. However, as soon as the pressure gets released, gravitation becomes effective and results in implosion. Perhaps most of the matter gets converted into energy, or super gravity. The star, depending on its relative mass compared to the mass of our Sun, then gets transformed into a 'White Dwarf', or a Neutron Star (or pulsar), or a Black Hole (if its original mass was greater than 5 times(?)...

And also 'I' had come across how man was realised by Yogis as a model of the universe (or image of God, as per Christians)...

And the Hindu Mythology, read with the background that 'ancient Indians', say in the Vedic Era, were highly advanced astronomers, and 'Siddhas' or all rounders, conveys through interesting stories how 'Krishna' was born inside a prison in Mathura, ie, under physical constraint...It was at that stage 'I' realised the significance of the unforgetable experience 'I' had had as a boy on Krishna's Happy Birthday, having escorted 'my' mother (who like Devki had also delivered 8 children :) to the temple as her friends had already left without waiting for her :)

JC said...

Yossee, Having said that although 'I' have narrated it many times, 'I' thought 'I' should mention in brief how on the 8th December '81, prior to leaving with a friend for the airport, to fly to Imphal from Guwahati, because 'I' had ample time although 'I' was ready, 'my' the then around 10 year old daughter came, at around 10, (which happened to be the STD of the flight from Delhi), and asked me if my flight was cancelled?!...'I' was surprised and said no!

'My' wife had delayed offering me breakfast so that 'I' could skip lunch at Imphal. The friend dropped 'me' at the Borjhar Airport ('bor' in Assamese is the word for 'ber', in Hindi, the fruit that is offered to Shiva on Shivratri that is close on hand!)...

And, as the plane had started late due to some technical problem there, and due to expected dense fog during the return flight, the pilot decided to fly back to Delhi from Guwahati! 'My' flight was thus "cancelled"!

'I' thought hard and finally realised that it was on the 8th Dec, '78, exactly three years ago, that 'my' mother had expired at Delhi! And, it was my elder brother's duty to perform the annual rites etc, and thus 'I' had believed 'I' was free!

'I' wondered then why 'she' had conveyed the message through 'my' daughter?! And, how the delay in 'my' breakfast had to do with the cancellation of the flight?!

Of course, 'I' related the phenomenon with Ma Kamakhya and my initial delayed visit to Her Temple :) And, less than 2 years after that, 'I' directly heard the voice of the 'unseen' to remind 'me' to buy 'koni', (ordered by 'my' wife before 'I' left for office that day), that is egg, the item 'I' could not recall, howsoever hard 'I' had tried one evening while returning home from office!

Ma Kali's/ Kamakhya's ways of communication with a soul (in human form) are quite interesting once you/ She develop(s) a direct contact with Her (thanks to Ganesha/ Usha)!