A hollow emptiness descended on my mind and heart as I stared at the setting sun over the sacred Ganges in the holy land of Dakshineswar. Pigeons fluttered around the temple roof that was a sad but modern attempt on copying ancient Bengal temple architecture. I was a little more prepared this time not just to visit the Kali Ma shrine there and look at her up close but to also go around and see the Panchavati and if my luck would have it, the sacred tantrik sadhana spot.
Great men have walked this earth, Ramakrishna and Ram Prasad to name a few and they all felt the growing presence of Ma Kali in the air. Yet, as I closed my eyes and breathed in the air under the Panchavati and filled my lungs as best as I could, I still felt nothing. No Ramakrishna, no Kali Ma, no Tara Ma, no body. The place, the spot, the Divinity and the air is all the same and yet I don't even get a glimpse of the Goddess, not a shread of it, what am I really missing?
My immediate answer was potentially Bhakti, an emotion or a logical reasoning that I feel, a sense of familiarity with the Goddess and a budding relationship which I have not yet taken for granted. But is it Bhakti that I lacked or is it tantrik sadhana that I severely lacked that didn't allow me even near her door. I dont think Sadhana would have solved my problem entirely, end of the day just mechanical ritual doesn't get us spiritual bliss though when it is coupled with Bhakti, one can feel the rising spiritual heat in the body.
Their world and our world are so different and the only visible connect between the two worlds are the idols of the blue skinned Goddess that dot the Kolkata landscape in brick walls or tiled rooms, in bright electrically lit chambers or in the dark. Shivji and Ma, both live here as Shamshan Bhairava or Shamshan Kali but when I step into their world, I just step into a land with air and people lost in a peculiar belief but I want to feel a part of it, there hangs a deep feeling of hollow emptiness inside me that says, I just have to try a lot harder.
Frustration takes me to the doors of Kalighat, where the Mother rises violently in her spark of mad fury stepping over the pale body of Shivji, or at least I would like to believe that He is there under all those sarees that drape her. Bright orange hue lights up her forehead and her blood red ferocious eyes look up closely at me. Lets not mention the lousy priests or the noise or the sickeningly dirty floors, but here in all the bright light, soot covered silver parasols and candid groups of cockroaches that crawl over her hibiscous covered shouders, she lashes out with a bright orange dripping silver sickle, dancing in vigorous madness yet all frozen in stone, in time, in belief.
The fire burns on, the arti of the day culminates and I still stare blankly at her wondering, Mother, did I even try hard enough to connect with you? I can only stare, I can only wait and hope that Ma will reveal herself to me... some day... some time... some place.