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
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
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.
With over 9 million views in less than 2 weeks, this ad from Vicks tells the story of a transgender mother in India and the daughter she adopted with whom she has a profound, indescribably loving bond.
Ten years have elapsed since the adoption that saved little Gayatri from being trafficked into the sex industry. She recalls those years as filled with support, love, and courage – but now the daughter wonders: if her civics class says all citizens are entitled to basic rights, why is her mother denied them?
That’s why she won’t be a doctor, as her mother wishes. She will be a lawyer.
Watch the video above. Storytelling is our glimpse into the lives of each other, where we come to learn understanding, feel compassion, and drive ourselves toward doing better.
“I don’t feel special,” said Gauri. “I became a mother because of Gayatri and she is my pillar of strength. I did what every mother does.”