“The mantras that form the girdle and necklace of the Goddess, the sacred garland of letters which form her secret names are known only to Initiates. It has been said that all mantras, originally, were words or sounds uttered by the entranced suvasini, hence great care was (and is) taken to note down exactly what escapes her lips during the critical stage of the rite. […] Not only were her most casual words revered as mantric, her gestures also were regarded as sacred mudras indicative of the power with her and of the state of tumescence she had attained.” Kenneth Grant, Cults of the Shadow
My trip to Mumbai last October coincided (intentionally) with the cities celebrations of Navratri, the nine nights of festivals dedicated to the Great Goddess Durga. The always dynamic and colorful city turns things up several notches, with the streets filled with celebrations day and night. You can not walk a block without encountering the many puja pandals, ranging from small niches in a corner to full blown temporary installations with room for dancing and singing. Many of the pandals are also mobile, carried by singing, dancing and drumming worshippers throughout the town. All the senses are engaged to the extreme during this time, and the revelry goes on nonstop throughout the night. During this time it is thought that Durga has returned home and is welcomed as both a triumphant Goddess conquering all that is evil, and a beloved daughter come back to her parents home. It is a time of great joy as well as sweet sorrow, for after the Nine Nights her image is taken the ocean and submerged, returning her to the celestial abodes until next year. I look forward to visiting again and experiencing Devi in Maharashta in Her many guises and playful modes.
O blissful Kali,
accept my congratulations.
You have enthralled the universe entirely
with your countless transformations.
Your ultimate magic feat is to throw every being
a sacred black stone, your very essence,
so that realization of mystic identity
will be its final destiny
You are so adept in magic, Ma Kali,
that you even draw the Father God,
who is all-transcending knowledge,
into your sweet madness,
your play of indivisible love.
As timeless awareness, you remain uninvolved,
producing the magic theater, divine creativity,
from the interplay of inertia, balance and activity.
This avid worshipper of Mother is shocked
that even supremely wise Lord Shiva
cannot realize Kali’s true nature.
O supremely foolish poet,
how can you hope to grasp her dancing feat
that elude even Shiva’s comprehension?
She has clearly driven you mad as well
with the magic of her Love.
– Ramprasad Sen (translated by Lex Hixon, from Mother of the Universe, Visions of the Goddess and Tantric Hymns of Enlightenment)
Who is this astonishing feminine presence
dancing in the universal field of battle?
Truly naked, eternally sixteen,
with magnificent dignity she stands
on the breast of Absolute Reality
that assumes the aspect of snow-white Shiva,
his body also naked truth
as he sleeps in supernal contemplation
All blood ever shed in sacrifice or conflict
streams down her brilliant black limbs
like crimson blossoms floating on dark waters.
Her face is diamond bright, clearer than the full moon.
Infinite wisdom energy pulsates
through her mysterious blackness.
Her powerful wisdom laughter
awakens and heals,
flowing in wave after wave of sweet nectar.
This poet is overwhelmed,
singing with tears of rapture:
“Those who long for conscious union with reality
should meditate with constancy
on the dark blue lotus feet of Kali,
enshrined in the secret heart of humanity,
ensuring the liberation of all finite beings
from the illusion of finitude.”
Her eyes are black
and infinity stares into me from them
Her red lips are parted in a smile,
showing her brilliant white teeth
and her red tongue hanging out with intoxication
of celestial love
I am drunk on you
before even first tasting the patra
I am drunk on your love
the blood from your lips
is honey in my mouth
warm and coruscating though every part of my body
my heart is a burning ground
where I love you
I give myself to you completely
your name is ecstasy to me
every syllable, every letter
drips nectar into my soul
in union with you
everything is Bliss
the doorway to that radiant Night
the mirror of that infinite kiss
releases lies of separation
take my head, Kali!
drink deep my blood that I may be with you
this bliss is an outer garment
a play a dance a song
of your radiant eternal night