by gauri

ORIGIN OF KALI

There are myriad traditions of how Kali came into existence. One version relates when the warrior goddess Durga, having ten arms, each equipped with a weapon and who rode a lion or a tiger in battle, fought with Mahishasura (or Mahisa), the buffalo demon. Durga became so enraged that her anger burst from her forehead in the form of Kali.

Once born, the black goddess went wild and consumed all the demons she came across, stringing their heads on a chain which she wore around her neck. It seemed impossible to calm Kali’s bloody thrashings, which now extended to any wrongdoers, and both people and gods were at a loss what to do. Fortunately, supreme Shiva stopped Kali’s destructive rampage by lying down in her path, and when the goddess realized just who she was standing on, she finally calmed down. From this story is explained Kali’s association with battlegrounds and areas where cremations are performed.

In another version of the goddess’ birth, Kali appeared when Parvati shed her dark skin which then became Kali, hence one of her names is Kaushika (the Sheath), whilst Parvati is left as Gauri (the Fair One). This story emphasizes Kali’s black aura which is symbolic of eternal darkness and which has the potential to both destroy and to create.

In a third rendition, men and gods were being terrorized by Daruka who could only be killed by a woman, and Parvati was asked by the gods to deal with the troublesome demon. She responded by jumping down Shiva’s throat. This was because many years previously Shiva had swallowed halahala, the poison which had risen from the churning of the ocean during the creation and which had threatened to pollute the world. By combining with the poison still held in Shiva’s throat, Parvati was transformed into Kali. Leaping from Shiva’s throat in her new guise, Kali swiftly defeated Daruka and all was well with the world once more.

By K.Nagori

* phone rings*
  • Marvel Studios: Marvel Studios, Becky speaking!
  • Me: Ah yes, I'm gonna need a Yondu prequel movie, with him and young Star Lord.
  • Becky: um mam I can't do tha..
  • Me: Disney owns you don't they?! They make dreams come true! I WANNA SPEAK TO YOUR MANAGER!
  • Becky: ......
  • Me: .........
  • Me: (sobbing) I just have a lot of emotions about my blue space dad okay!
humans are weird...

…because we express multiple emotions with the same ‘signal’. ‘i’m screaming’ can indicate happiness or outrage or pretend-outrage; crying can mean any emotion that’s overwhelming enough. Aliens, who usually have something much closer to a 1:1 signal/particular emotion ratio, or think of emotions in a completely different way entirely, are baffled.

Alien zZ’zZZziko: Human Mirjam? According to my Human Studies class, a proposal is a happy human occasion, and according to my observations of you and Human Gauri, you enjoy each others’ company. You said yes to her proposal! But you also cried. I do not understand.

Human Mirjam: I was crying from happiness, zZ’zZZziko! 

Alien zZ’zZZziko: I thought crying was a sadness-signal.

Human Mirjam: It is, but it can also indicate other extreme emotions, like happiness or rage. It’s like… humans sometimes smile when we’re nervous? To sorta… diffuse the tension. Things like that can all mean different things. 

Alien zZ’zZZziko: …How do you *ever* know how each other feel???

Human Mirjam: Context, mainly!