Kali – the consort of Shiva


Kālī is the feminine form of kālam (“black, dark coloured”).Kāla primarily means “time” but also means “black” in honor of being the first creation before light itself. Kālī means “the black one” and refers to her being the entity of “time” or “beyond time.” Kāli is strongly associated with Shiva, and Shaivas derive the masculine Kāla (an epithet of Shiva) to come from her feminine name. A nineteenth-century Sanskrit dictionary, the Shabdakalpadrum, states: कालः शिवः । तस्य पत्Kali Maa 7नीति – काली । kālaḥ śivaḥ । tasya patnīti kālī – “Shiva is Kāla, thus, his consort is Kāli” referring to Devi Parvathi being a manifestation of Devi MahaKali.

Other names include Kālarātri (“black night”), as described above, and Kālikā (“relating to time”). Coburn notes that the name Kālī can be used as a proper name, or as a description of color.

Kāli’s association with darkness stands in contrast to her consort, Shiva, who manifested after her in creation, and who symbolises the rest of creation after Time is created. In his supreme awareness of Maya, his body is covered by the white ashes of the cremation ground (Sanskrit: śmaśāna) where he meditates, and with which Kāli is also associated, as śmaśāna-kālī. It is said that aspirants who wish to offer Bhakthi should approach under the proper guidance of a Siddha or equivalent.



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