Ma Kali - Consciousness of Time and Change

The sad story of Indian faith is largely influenced by the mimicing of the great acts of devotion by some superior soul mechanically and not emoting the same intensity of Bhakti that goes with the action. 

Many lambs, tender and young and scared, meet their peril at the foot of the Goddess at numerous shrines across Bengal and other states. It is the thoughtless murder of innocent animals that have nothing to do with the deep meaning of the embodiment of Kali Ma. Mythology says the Mother wants blood and in our world we know no better as to how to offer it. 

The Mother asks for our blood, now this doesn't mean we literally need to offer it. Ma Kali is an integral part of Brahma Vidya and she signifies the deep realization that life and death are just transition points. Her nature and terrific outlook defines the jolting presence of time, of change, and that to reincarnate into another form to progress in our spiritual journey, we need to discard this body. She brings the realization that death is nothing to be feared and that we as mortals need to get over that ignorance and realize the beauty of it. 

To attain higher spiritual realization we need to discard our fears. We need to get over our bias and perception. The shamshan ghat should look no different from a glamorous resort simply because it is so temporary. It doesn't take too long to convert a gorgeous resort into a burning ghat. Where is its permanence and why are we so enamoured by the apparent beauty of the location or why do we consider the cremation ground as forbidden land?

Ma Kali's presence is to teach us to get over our fear of death, not to drag an unwilling innocent lamb to its end. Now the fact that this is so not clear to anyone, uneducated or scholars alike, shows how ignorant we are capable of being. Are we waiting for someone to come and drag us to the book to learn it, or are we just happy living in some fool's paradise assuming we are doing a great job by cutting off the neck of an innocent lamb. 

Well if Bhakti would have it, its really not the lamb that would be out there. The true love for Ma Kali denotes that we want to get over the fear of death, we want to merge with her and that being a hanging skull on her garland is possibly a way of attaining salvation. Offering our own head to the goddess, is a greater and more daring offering to make, one out of love, one out of bhakti, one out of fearlessness. Now isnt that the true sign of getting over the fear of death by facing it head on? 

Unfortunately our outlook and our laws consider that suicide, but it just saddens me that killing a lesser being simply because its helpless is an act of spiritualism. How pathetic is it to draw a knife across a lambs neck when the texts actually describe the act of selflessness and high devotion to be the ultimate end of cutting off one's own neck. I am not propagating the act of cutting off one's own neck though historically that has really been the case and we have sculptural evidences all over the country to deliver that message.

Is it right or wrong, I dont know, but certainly killing an innocent lamb is not right. Ma Kali can be attained without killing, without the shedding of blood, Ramakrishna did it, Ramprasad Sen also did it. Why can't we take their examples and stop this slaughter, I mean somewhere we also need to do some thinking instead of just following the crowd. 

Kali is the significance of time and change and the reality of death marks that change. All we need to do is accept it and get over our fear of dying one day. I can't understand how it is related to killing a lamb in big numbers on a Saturday at the Ma Kali temple? The idea of Kali is spiritual and intellectual and is not related to the ghastly act of bloodshed. 

Buddha taught Ahimsa, so did Shankara. How can we see love when there is so much pain and horror in the eyes of the lamb? 


Aswin Kini said...

The human habit of sacrificing hens, lambs, and sometimes, even humans, has been known from time immemorial.... When I was young, I often asked my dad why people do obnoxious things, such as piercing their tongue, body, or walking on hot coal, or sacrifice hens and lambs... Dad used to say that this was a part of the ancient custom. Man is so insecure that he feels that god will be happy and fulfill his/her wishes only if man gives god something.... In a way, man tries to bribe god into fulfilling his/her wishes by providing something in return. Man equates god to a fellow human without realizing that god expects nothing. The same is applicable to Kali worshippers. They slaughter lambs thinking Kali will be happy with it and grant them their wishes....
If only they knew that Maa Kali desires only their devotion and not their sacrifices :(

Anonymous said...

I look at it differently. Whether She desires sacrifice or not is a matter of perspective. In one world-view, every death, smooth or violent, is a sacrifice that She is taking. While it is true that Ramakrishna or Ramprasad Sen did not encourage sacrifice, there are other siddhas too who used to do it, some of whom happen to be the authors of various Tantric texts on ritualistic worship that specifically mention about sacrifice of animals.

The tantric path is like a circuit completion for a specific kind of result. Self-transformation, if that is the aim, is a different matter. Not only sacrifice, but no ritual no text no Deity is sufficient for it. Few among seeker reach that height.

The problem with sacrifices are that they have a karmic payment back. Unless one knows how to deal with the karma, or someone higher up is ready to take the karma, such things are best avoided.

However in Tantra there are other ways of sacrificing too, if blood and gore seems too obscene. An animal or for that matter any living entity can be sacrificed to the Goddess without shedding a drop of blood, without even approaching within a mile of the entity. A ritual is done to give that soul over to the Goddess, and She eventually keeps drawing out prana from that being until it dies. The kind/maner of death determines what kind/form of the Goddess has been the recipient of the sacrifice. And in turn, the Goddess out of Her Divine Intoxication will send that soul back into a higher and more fulfilling rebirth. ETC.

Tantra is vast science, but if we are mental uncomfortable with something, then better to stay away from that part. For until the mind is clear and in favor, it has the potential to cause untold miseries.

As one siddha once said, the wise sacrifice only to redeem.