Kali puja can be regarded as one of the most famous Hindu festival in India, after the Durga puja. Goddess Kali is worshipped on this day by the Hindu religion of our country. This festival is the most popular in the Eastern part of India.
Goddess Kali is the first of the ten incarnations of Goddess Durga. She is considered a more angry and violent form of Durga and is shown to have a fierce face. It is said that Kali was born from the forehead of Goddess Durga after the Gods lost a battle to the demons.
Kali puja is celebrated on the day of Amavasya or the new moon day of the Kartik month, as per the Hindu calendar. For this reason, it coincides with Diwali, the day Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped in other parts of the country. However, Bengalis, Assamese, Odias, and Maithili worship goddess Kali.
It is celebrated to seek help from Kali for destroying evil and receiving blessings such as health, wealth and peace.
How did it come into being?
Kali puja is not a ritual mentioned in many ancient scriptures. It was first started in West Bengal by two kings Krishnachandra and Navadivya in the 18th Century.
He was succeeded by his son Ishvarchandra who continued the ritual started by his ancestors with full enthusiasm. To this day, it has been continued and is celebrated as a grand festival.
What does the Does legend say?
As per the Hindu Mythology, there were two demons Shambhu and Nishambhu that were creating ruckus in heaven and went themselves to the Himalayas to capture Goddess Durga.
A battle took place between Lord Indra and the devils in which the gods were defeated. At that moment, Goddess Durga was extremely furious. Due to all the rage, she turned in to her first incarnation, Goddess Kali.
She killed all the demons and saved the Earth. After demolishing the devils, all the slaughtering increased her blood lust and she went reckless. She lost control over herself and started killing whoever came her way, including humans. There was chaos all around. To stop all this and save the innocent people, Lord Shiva intervened placed himself in front of the goddess.
As soon as she stepped on Lord Shiva’s chest her tongue came out as she realized her mistake and placated herself. It is in memory this moment that the picture of Goddess Kali is depicted with her foot on God Shiva.
Kali is considered the personification of Nari Shakti or female power. She is seen as the destroyer of evil and egoism and always fights for justice.
Goddess Kali is depicted as being black in color, which is a natural and mystic color. She is shown naked, to show that she has a transparent soul which is free from all illusions.
She wears a garland made of fifty human heads around her neck, which symbolizes truth and the scriptures. Also, she has white teeth and red tongue in every picture. The white teeth are a symbol of being pure from within and the red tinge on her tongue means that she has and undiscriminating nature.
The goddess also has a severed head in one hand and a sword in the other. This represents the victory of wisdom and truth and the eradication of ignorance.
The three eyes represent the time in the past, present and the future. It also depicts the sun, moon, and fire.
How to perform the Puja?
The Kali puja needs to be performed with utmost faith and devotion. Although she is a loving Goddess who accepts anything you offer to her with a pure heart, before proceeding the puja, there are some ingredients you particularly need:
Incense sticks, Earthen Lamp, Red Vermillion or Red Sandal, Coconut, Rice, Darba Grass, Red Hibiscus flower, Pen and Inkpot, and an image of Goddess Kali, Lord Ganesha, and Lord Vishnu.
The Vidhi for the Puja
The Kali puja is celebrated in a similar way as Durga Puja. It seeks grand attention with crafting huge idols, podiums and flower decorations. Just like the pandals for Durga Puja, grounds are decorated with huge idols of Goddess Kali. People offer prayers to her, sing her praises and receive Khichdi, Labra, and some vegetables, which is the prasad.
There are two ways of performing the Kali puja- The Brahmin way and the Tantrik way.
For the Tantrik way of performing the puja, all the rites are performed at midnight in order to please the Goddess. For this, the first use hibiscus flowers, red vermillion, a skull, blood, and animal sacrifice. This ritual is carried out from midnight till dawn in order to achieve supernatural powers.
The Brahmin method involves individuals offering their sincere prayers to Goddess Kali in temples, their own homes and in huge pandals or podiums, as mentioned earlier. It also includes the Kali puja Aarti, which is chanted by each person who comes to offer prayers to Goddess Kali.
If she is pleased by your prayers, you will continue to receive blessings from her. Kali puja is a festival of celebrating womanhood, spirituality, love, faith, and bonding with loved ones.