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acrylic on canvas, 30' X 30' in. on canvas, 2009

As the all-encompassing mother of Nature, Kali is the absolute pivot, sovereign mistress of all the three worlds. She is Mahaprakriti, ‘the primal power, destroyer as well as creator’. The world is made up of her energies, moving and residing within her. Kali stirs the cauldron of the cosmos wherein, as the Pachaka Shakti, the ‘power to riper’, she prepares everything through her eternal energy of evolution. Our successive lifetimes are merely milestones on the path of spiritual evolution. The mystique of her dark night is the elementary time ushering in the cosmic dawn. As the queen of evolution, her cosmic play lays out the gradual unfolding of the ultimate Divine possibilities inherent within us. In the one who is dark-bodied and of deep blue hues, Kali is usually visualised by wearing a skirt of severed arms, the disjointed arms of mankind reaching out to her for redemption. She is also the inner power of the hand and our hands really belong to her and work with her energy. Kali is visualized with four hands which direct the entire cosmos. Her lower left hand carries a severed head – the ego-mind of man’s resistant lower nature. The upper left hand grips a sabre, stained with blood of all the egos it has removed in the relentless movement of time. Yet her upper right hand offers boons to all who wish to receive them, while the lower right hand allays all fears of her devotees. Once our inner eye is awakened, her garland of skulls shines with the brilliance of gems. In the wildness of her fervent locks of hair, crowning her maidenly glory, rests the towering crown of the queen of the worlds. The power of Kali’s mystical stance can hardly be described by human expression – a passionate manifestation of the fear and terror of destruction along with the unassuming reassurance of maternal tenderness and protection. In my heart’s cavern, Kali ever rests as Subhadra, ‘the very auspicious’, the mother all beauteous forms and abounding abundance. -- -- Vamadeva Shastri

photo by Craig Bannerman