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Maa Kali

The outstretched tongue of Maa Kali distinguishes her from all other gods and goddesses of the Hindu pantheon. There are many goddesses who, like Kali, are naked and associated with blood and death, including Chandi, Chamunda, Bhairavi and Bhagavati, but none stick out their tongue like Maa Kali. Sometimes Kali does not have the characteristic outstretched tongue. She has fangs protruding from the corners of the mouth. This is especially popular in south Indian imagery. A Kali without the tongue is called Bhadra-Kali or the decent-Kali who does not reject feminine grace totally. She resides in household shrines and serves as the guardian of the family.

In Devi Mahatmya, Kali unfurls her tongue in her role as the ultimate deliverer called upon to salvage a situation that seems hopelessly out of control. She is summoned by Maa Durga herself to destroy the demon Rakta-bija, whose name means ‘blood-seed’. The demon Rakta-bija had the magical ability to produce a double of himself instantly every time a drop of his blood fell to the ground.

Having wounded Rakta-bija with a variety of weapons, Durga and her assistants, a fierce band of warriors known as the Matrikas, find they have worsened the situation: as Rakta-bija bleeds more profusely from his wounds, the battlefield gets filled with Rakta-bija duplicates. Desperate, Durga summons Kali, who spreads her tongue across the battlefield, and swallows in one gulp, the swarm of blood-born demons and sucks the blood from the original Rakta-bija until he falls lifeless. Kali’s tongue here is a weapon, to be feared, a reminder that nature ultimately consumes all life. After killing the demon Daruka, Kali drank his blood. The blood drove her mad with bloodlust. She went around the world killing at random. The gods begged Shiva to stop her. So he took the form of a handsome man and lay in Kali’s path. As soon as Kali stepped on him, she bit her tongue out of embarrassment. She was ashamed to learn that her bloodlust had prevented her from seeing and recognising her own husband, Shiva! 💀👅💀

Jai Maa Kali ~ Jai Shiva Shankar ❤️💀👅💀❤️


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