11.28.2010

The dance of ecstasy in divine embrace

The average panditji performs puja as a part of their job, with offerings and mechanical movements that displays their years of practice into the ritualistic worship of the divine. Corruption has been seen far and wide and nothing gets done without a few notes into their plate of offerings. The lack of divine love is very visible at temples where priests do not allow devotees a closer view of the shrine until money does the talking. And hence faith tends to die its natural death because the keepers of the faith have now begun to sell the treasure they have preserved for so long.

All this changes when we visit the pandals of Kali puja. The thick air of corruption is pierced with the divine arrow of trance. This trance takes us back into the wild intriguing world of Ma Kali. The clay idols model her presence in her divine feminine form and the kalash with the coconut define her iconic presence. The curiosities that are offered along with it give a hint into a world beyond our imagination.


The crowd slowly gathered for the evening arti to the Goddess kali. There within the pandal she stood in her three forms, Kali Ma of kalighat, Kali Ma of Dakhineshwar and Kali Ma of Tarapith. I drifted into this beautiful world and took a seat at the feet of the Goddess, realizing suddenly that I had no plans to leave in a hurry.

The sun dipped behind the clouds to wake up the night sky and the stage where this celebration would soon commence. The priest lit up the divine light to the Goddess and started with the offerings. In the divine world, the smoke of chillum rose into the air and the sacred syllables of divine chant were slowly heard echo through the heavens. The Goddess is alive, her feet adorned with anklets gracefully descended to the floor as she stepped into this wild world to perform her dance. In rhythmic movement she moved herself, her disheveled hair dancing to her tunes as she raised the dust around herself. In the cremation ground she rules and the lights of the fires dot the floor where she dances and blesses the dead in their last journey home. Bhaktas give up their lives in divine love, sacred blood turns the bali peetha into red and fire forms the path to the world of eternal divinity. Ma Kali brings life to the night with her rhythm, her trance, her intoxicating presence.

Back in our world, the drum beats echoed through the floor as the priests alight their positions on the stage. The Dholak thundered through the pandaal and the drunken fervor raised the intensity of divine intoxication. The rhythm soared and with it the priests went into a trance. Ma Kali's arti began that evening with the joy of celebrating her presence and her victory over all evil. The rhythm thundered on and everyone present there danced to the beat, a wild dance of love and devotion as the priests proceeded with the arti. My feet tapped the floor as I clapped following the beats and my heart danced into the night with the three mothers.

It is the best Kali Ma arti ever! The beats grew stronger and faster and the priests held up the fire, dancing in divine trance as they showed the great mother the flame. Fire was followed by the fan, choury, shankha, mud pots with food offering, sindhur and divine beauty articles in a soop, sweets, bananas, and finally dhoop. The priest moved with the beat, in complete devotion making each offering with love. His steps followed that of the divine mother, his body turned into an expression of divine love and he could no longer contain himself. In divine trance he danced on with the mother culminating the arti into an art of love and divine intoxication.

The evening came to an end and the drumming subsided making us realizing how deafening this trance really was. Kali Ma worship came to a close as man and divinity slowly came out of their spiritual trance.

11 comments:

JC said...

Hindu Mythological stories, read between the lies, indicate the so-called "corruption" to appear to 'our eyes' because 'we' are unable to reach the truth,,, that 'we' are in an era called Kaliyuga, but our souls have the knowledge of the vision of Satyuga,,, because of natural forces and inefficient physical senses, as reflected in our observing, say as natural examples, logs of wood/ uprooted trees/ dead animals etc. (like humans not attached to God mentaly or spiritually!) carried uncontrollably in powerful water currents, say in big rivers, like Ganga, or Yamna, or Brahmaputra, particularrly when they are in spate ('hard times' in human life)...

Thus one needs to travel in mind, back in time, particularly when 'we' are aware that our abode, planet earth is in existence for over 4 billion years now,,, floating in the dark or Black space (the real 'Ma Kali' to a Hindu, and also called by thousands other names too!)...

JC said...

Hindu Mythological stories, read between the lies, indicate the so-called "corruption" to appear to 'our eyes' because 'we' are unable to reach the truth,,, that 'we' are in an era called Kaliyuga, but our souls have the knowledge of the vision of Satyuga,,, because of natural forces and inefficient physical senses, as reflected in our observing, say as natural examples, logs of wood/ uprooted trees/ dead animals etc. (like humans not attached to God mentaly or spiritually!) carried uncontrollably in powerful water currents, say in big rivers, like Ganga, or Yamna, or Brahmaputra, particularrly when they are in spate ('hard times' in human life)...

Thus one needs to travel in mind, back in time, particularly when 'we' are aware that our abode, planet earth is in existence for over 4 billion years now,,, floating in the dark or Black space (the real 'Ma Kali' to a Hindu, and also called by thousands other names too!)...

JC said...

As a background, Hindu mythological stories, primariy the 'churning of milky-ocean and eventual successful receipt of amrit by devtas (members of our solar system)', indicates that after attaining perfection, the Paramatma or Supremesoul (Bhootnath) eternally reviews His or Its past (relaxed in the middle of the universe, say on planet earth's centre), in reverse order in cycles, starting from reaching the state of perfection to the stage when Nadbindu was imperfect at the start of 'churning')...

JC said...

Personally, when 'I' was in the northeast, 'I' had the opportunity to witness for a few yeaars Arti dance competitions (and also act as one of the judges!) in which workers and staff in our project, belonging to Bengal, participated...The basic idea is to forget the self for a certain period (and attempt reaching zero thought), just as 'I' had earlier seen in a Kali Temple in Delhi a pujari who would come and attend to devotees and retire to his cottage located withi the temple premises - and smoke ganja there (?),,,and 'we' children who accompanied our parent(s)would feel scared of his red eyes! While the image of Ma Kalli itself, with Her red tongue, scared 'me' as a chid! And 'I' preferred to stay out and watch the shoes and slippers left out on the roadside (and thus we ran the risk of those being pilfered!)...

hari babu seo said...

good information with video, thanks for your information, wish to visit this temple in my tour

JC said...

In human form, 'I' exist on earth for under, say, 150 years in the 'present', whereas the planet is apparently in existence for over 4 bilion years and is continuing to live indefinitely.

And, compared to the infinitely large dark universal void (Krishna/ Kali), and the relatively small-sized earth even, in my behavior, comparatively speaking, 'I' am virtually like the tiny dust particle that rolls on earth's surface and, thanks to the agencies of 'air' and/or 'water', can even touch the 'sky' or trickle underground ('patal')...

And, on top of it all, as one of the members of the human race, even think of landing on some other member of the solar system, viz. Moon and Mars etc, maybe, perhaps to find some apparently 'inferior' life form(s) to have been existing there already! Although, maybe not in as large a variety as 'we' already know exists on rotating and revolving earth (ie 'Natraj' the dancing Shiva) as one of the most evolved images of Kali the grand void,,, planets and life thereon as its own family members, like 'vasudhaiv kutambakam' to ancient Hindus!)...

temples of india said...

I totally agree with you. Priests have really gone corrupted all across India, whether it be a small temple or a famous one but One day every one has to meet god and then they will have to give explanations.

JC said...

Maybe it is not fair to blame only the priests when one can observe how the whole human system itself appears to be under the influence of the believable poison (halahal) as it reportedly was when 'churning' was just started by both 'devtas' (selfless) as well as 'rakshashas' (selfish),,, even the river Ganga today appears polluted (due believably to Time, ie, present being Kaliyuga which apparently repeats over 1000 times in one day of Brahma of over 4 billion years)...

JC said...

Reading between lines one might conclude that the Hindu mythological stories basically convey Krishna/ Kali (responsibe for Sattvic actions) to be present within each material form whose behavioral characteristics however might appear different from one to another, believably because of each being composed of three basic components, stated as Rajasic (R), Tamasic (T) and Sattvic (S),,,and thus one is supposed to filter (or chisel) out the R & T components to reach S (Shiva) the essential truth ("Satyam, Shivam Sundersm") mentally, or / rather spiritually...

JC said...

The incident - widely reported related to the 'Great Swan', Ramakrishna Paramhansa - conveys how he apparently fainted while he watched swans flying over the field with an intense desire to also be able to join them!

Paramhansa Yogananda also revealed (in his autobiography) how 'we' in reality are souls (as indicated in the Gita also), with each soul getting to view 3-D projections within the darrk universal void,,, and each soul then identifies itself with some paticular form (just as one experiences different emotions while watching a film in a dark cinema hall and identifies oneself with some character in the story till the apparent end of the projection of a particular film)...

Bart said...

This time I even didn't receive your usual announcing mail for this new episode of your blog, dear Kavitha, but I suppose it won't be your fault, but probably one of this electronic blog-system.

The three forms of Kali - Kalighat, Dhakshineshwar & Tarapith, might have maybe to do with the mysterious title of the Lord of Trayambakam - the Three-Mothered One, a title which can be used as well - and is used indeed in the Vedas and some other hymns, for Durga too. Maybe we have to consider her then already as Tridevi, the female side of the Trimurti, is the embodiment of all the united Power of Creation, Preservation and Transformation.

Thinking about the money-eagerness of the pandits nowadays, which I have noticed indeed almost everywhere in India, with a few good exceptions fortunately, I remembered at once a text of Swami Sivananda. It is taken from his book 'Lives of Saints' and it is the first paragraph of his chapter 'Buddha'. Read or listen what he describes:

"In the sixth century before the Christian era, religion was forgotten in India. The lofty teachings of the Veda were thrown into the background. There was much priestcraft everywhere. The insincere priests traded on religion. The duped the people in a variety of ways and amassed wealth for themselves. They were quite irreligious. In the name of religion, people followed in the footsteps of the cruel priests and performed meaningless rituals. They killed innocent dumb animals and did various sacrifices. The country was in dire need of a reformer of Buddha's type. At such critical period, when there was cruelty, degeneration an unrighteousness everywhere, reformer Buddha was born to put down priestcraft and animal sacrifices, to save the people and disseminate the message of equality, unity and cosmic love everywhere."

When Sivananda has right about the time Buddha was born, then we are living nowadays in the very same kind of time, and then time is finally ripe again for the coming of the Maitreya Buddha, or Sri Kalki, or the second coming of Christ, or every other thinkable intervention of the Divine.