KALI THE MOTHER

Swami Vivekananda

Dancing mad with joy, Come , Mother , Come !”

The Glorious Sun

Namaskar , Good wishes to all my readers of Bijaya Dashomi . This is the first post after Sharodia Durga Puja. I have discussed about the origin and development of Durgapuja in Hindu society in my last post . Hope my readers appreciated it during puja festival. This year our enjoyment has been restricted to some extent as the High Court of Calcutta ruled out not to hopping in the Puja Mandap more than 40 Spectators. Because we have been going through a pandemic situation. Excess gathering might have been fatal to it . Thanks to all . All most all the people have maintained the precautions accordingly. Dr. Sushil Rudra 29.10.2020

This post is about a poem which is written by Swami Vivekananda. Generally we know Swami Vivekananda as a great Hindu Monk whose lectures made spell bound to the Western intellectuals , ladies and gentlemen in the nineteenth century . He also established Hindu religion, specially Vedanta in the West. But he had also a great quality which is not exposed seriously to the followers of Him . I have previously discussed about His poetic talent in one of my post . Today I will elaborate the famous poem ” Kali The Mother ” of Swami Vivekananda . This poem was written in English in the year 1898 when he was staying there in Srinagar Dal lake, Kashmir with his disciples. Sister Nivedita was amongst them.

Swamiji at that time was famous not only in India, but throughout the World too. Returning India he made a plan to tour his motherland by walking. He started from Kannyakumari along with some disciples . Visiting Amarnath he spent some days in Dal Lake of Srinagar. His mind was then full of emotions. His whole thought was about his mother land and its people. However, he noticed the morose condition of the people. India then was under British rule. He was deeply shocked and pained to see the miserable conditions of the poor country men . Moreover he became highly contemplted finding the challenges of woman in our society. To Him , India , His motherland was regarded as the soul of Mother . To Him , India is not only a demography , but a form of Mother too . Hope he must read the book “Anandamath” of Rishi Bankim Chandra Chattapaddhay where Bankim wrote the poem ” Bande Matarom “. The writer addressed his motherland as “Ma. Swami Vivekananda being observed the measurable conditions of the people of his motherland, He dipicted a furious picture of His mother in this poem .

” Kali ,The Mother ” is undoubtedly a beautiful poem in the world literature. In this poem He worshipped Goddess Kali , the another deity of Hindu mythology after Durga . Visiting Kheer Bhawani Temple which is near to Srinagar Swami Vivekananda composed this poem . Sister Nivedita , who was accompanying Vivekananda in Kashmir, noted that he was in a ‘ fever of inspiration’ prior to writing the poem, and became impatient until he could write down his thought . The poem ” Kali The Mother” commemorates his passing of the night in a houseboat on Dal lake together with his disciples and Sister Nivedita and the spur of the moments in which he visualised the Divine . The terrible form of the devine he invokes and adores here in this poem . The ordaining deity is Bhawani, Kali The Supernatural, Nocturnal Divine, the terrible form of Shakti .

In this poem the goddess Kali , whom Hindus associate with empowerment, has been glorified by the poet. The Saint poet Swami Vivekananda is worshipping the terrible form of the goddess Kali . Kali , in Hindu phylosophy, is portrayed in two forms – The popular four- armed form and the ten – armed Mahakali form , the terrible form. In the poem , He shows how the whole universe is a stage for the goddess’s terrible and frenzied dance . Like Bankim Chandra and Swami Vivekananda , Sri Aurobindo , the another great son and freedom fighter of India also used it as a basis for his Bhawani Mandir manifesto.

Aurobindo said about this poem which is most significant to understand this poem . He wrote: The Shakti we call India. Bhawani Bharati is the living unity of the Shaktis of the three hundred million people; but she is inactive, imprisoned in the magic circle of Tamas , the self – indulgent inertia and ignorance of her Sons. Strength can only be created by drawing it from the eternal and inexhaustible reservoirs of the spirit , from the Adyashakti of the Eternal which is the fountain of all new existence

Let’s see the poem how it’s woven its settings. It’s very important for understanding the theme of the poem . It’s a poem of heroic sentiment mixed with sentiment of horror and dismal . I will quote here some lines of this poem to get a distinct meaning .

” In the roaring, whirling wind / Are souls of a million Lunatics / Just loose from the prison- house , / Wrenching trees by the roots , / Sweeping all from the path. / The sea has joined the fray , / And Swirls up mountains- waves, /To reach the Pitchy Sky ,/ The flush of lurid light/ Reveals on every side / A thousand, thousand Shades/ of Death begrimed end black – / Scattering plagues and sorrows , / Dancing mad with joy , / Come, Mother, Come ! “

Mother , in the form of Death is described here with the violence of Nature and also pandemic ” Plagues ” . Rather we can say that Mother is portrayed here as a horrible Death .

With the stars blotted out, clouds covering clouds , in the darkness vibrant, Sonant , the Saint poet invokes Her , the dark goddess, Kali The creatix . With the winds roaring and whirling which reminding him of the spirits of the lunatics loosened from the prison house he thinks of his approach of the Devine which none but a Sadhaka can imagine it . The worshipers of Kali too hold in such a view . The trees seem to be wrenched by the roots , sweeping all from the path . The sea too seems to have joined the fray and swirls up the mountain – waves to reach the pitchy Skies . The flash of the lured light reveals on every side a thousand , thousand Shades of Death begrimed and black scattering plagues and sorrows, dancing mad with joy . Against the backdrop of all that , the saint poet invokes the Mother Divine , Bhawani goddess of the Kheer Bhawani Temple of Kashmir . Terror in her name , death in her breath and every shaking step destroys world for to be created afresh. Kali , the Mother is the famine power , the motherly consciousness. When this earth is filled with vices and sins , then Mother comes to remove it by her destructive power . When this earth is filled with the laugh of Satans , She comes to kill them with her divine power . She’s the dark side of creation , the Awe bizarre and grotesque . Actually Kali incarnates to annihilate and destroy the sins to create a new one again. The poet writes: A Thusand , Thousand Shades of Death begrimed end black – from this line it is clear that he has worshipped the horror, praying for Death. But this is not the prayer of a coward , not the love for Death of a feable , even not the suicide. The hero who has walked in every corner of life and felt very deeply the truth of life , he only can welcome Death easily. Sister Nivedita wrote in the chapter ‘Kheer Bhawani’ of her book ” The Master As I Saw Him ” about this calling of Swamiji that it’s the summons of a hero which to be found in Swamiji . She also wrote : ” Worship the terrible ! Worship Death ! All else is Vain. All Struggle is vain . Yet this is not coward’s love of Death , of the strong man , who has sounded everything to his depths and knows that there’s no alternative…. How few have dared to worship Death, or Kali ! Let us worship Death ! Let us embrace the terrible, because it is terrible, not asking that it be toned down . Let us take Misery’s own sake. ( CW of Sister Nivedita, vol. 1 P. 128) It’s not the struggle against the sorrows – pain or Death , it’s entirety sacrifice to Mother who is in the form of Death. We again try to make out the mental state of Swami Vivekananda . Nivedita is our source who insightfully noticed the mental condition of Swami . She portrayed a vivid picture of him , – His brain was teeming with thoughts. He said one day and his fingers would not rest till they were written down. It was that same evening that we came back to our house boat from some expedition and found waiting for us , where he had called and left them, his manuscript lines on ” Kali The Mother.” Writing in a fever of inspiration, he had fallen on the floor, when he had finished – as we learnt afterwards – exhausted with own intensity. ( CW of Sister Nivedita, vol. 1 P. 94)

The Saint poet invokes the dark goddess to come and save Earth from destruction. The dark night indicates the horrorness of Death . It’s full of nocturnal experience. The beauty and mystery of the nocturnal night, none but a sadhaka can say it. Kali, the night of Kali is really matter of Reckoning. Kali – who is Kaal – Rupa is not only dreadful, but blissful too.

The poet believes that if She is the creator, She is also the Destroyer. As She is the goddess of darkness and death , she must come with weapons to annihilate and destroy sin . She’s the time , the destroyer of the old decadent order and creator of new one. Everything is but into Her hands . She must come to our rescue and She’s but the last ray of hope in darkness. However , the poem glorifies the goddess Kali whom Hindus associate with empowerment and the enlightenment though it looks black or blue and horrible. Swamiji that moment visualised the Divine in this terrible form which he invokes and adores here in this poem. The ordaining deity is Bhawani, Kali- the super natural, nocturnal divine, the horrible form of Shakti.

Dal lake of Srinagar, Kashmir
Kali, The destroyer of Sin

Ramprosad Sen Chakravorty both the poet and the worshipers of Shakti (1770 – ) composed so many devotional songs which is called ” Shaktapada ” . Mother Kali was depicted there as Purusha o Prakriti , And also Her colour is Blue and Lohita ( red or blood ). Here in this picture mother’s lolling tongue is found. Shakti Ma is terrible here.

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