Why She is Called “Kali?”

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This is an important question why she is called Kali? It’s the question of hundreds of thousands of devotees. Generally, some people think that Her appearance is black, so we address her by that name. Is it true? I think this simplification of Her name is not express the inner meaning.

The Goddess Kali is the Goddess of Time. She is one of the most popular goddesses of Hindus after Durga Ma. There is a great significance in the name ” Kali “. But the name is different in other languages. Here it is with etymology:

Etymology Of the Name

Devanagari काली

Tamil script காளி

Kālī (Sanskrit: काली, IPA: [kɑːliː]; Bengali: কালী; Tamil: காளி), also known as Kalika (Bengali: কালিকা, Kālikā), is the Hindu goddess associated with eternal energy.


The name Kali comes from kāla, which means black, time, death, lord of death, Shiva. The meaning of the name is “the black one”. Since Shiva is called Kāla – the eternal time, Kālī, his consort, also means “the Time” or “Death” (as in time has come). Hence, She is considered the goddess of time and change.


Although sometimes people present kali as dark and violent.Her earliest incarnation as a figure of annihilation still has some influence. Various Shakta Hindu cosmologies, as well as Shakta Tantric beliefs, worship her as the ultimate reality or Brahman. Some worship her as Bhavatarini (literally “redeemer of the universe”). Comparatively recent devotional movements largely conceive Kali as a benevolent mother goddess.

On the other hand, Some scholars represent Kali as the consort of Lord Shiva. There she is standing on the body of Shiva. She is associated with many other Hindu goddesses like Durga, Bhadrakali, Sati, Rudrani, Parvati and Chamunda. She is the foremost among the Dasa Mahavidyas, ten fierce Tantric goddesses.[1]


Kālī is the feminine of kāla (“black, dark coloured”).[2] Kāla primarily means “black,” but also means “time.” The word means “the black one” and also “time” or “beyond time.” Kali is strongly associated with Shiva, and Shaivas derive her feminine name from the masculine Kāla (an epithet of Shiva). The nineteenth century Sanskrit dictionary, the Shabdakalpadruma, states: कालः शिवः । तस्य पत्नीति – काली । kālaḥ śivaḥ । tasya patnīti kālī – “Shiva is Kala, thus his wife is Kali.”


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.[3]

Kali’s association with blackness stands in contrast to her consort, Shiva, whose body is covered by the white ashes of the cremation ground (Sanskrit: śmaśāna). He meditates there. As He spent in the creamation ground, so Kali is also associated, as śmaśāna-kālī.

She is frequently confused with the word kali, as in Kali Yuga or the demon Kali. However, the words Kālī (“black, time”) and kali (“weak, crude, inarticulate”) are etymologically unrelated, and the goddess Kālī is not associated with Kali Yuga in Hinduism.

Kali (disambiguation). Not to be confused with Kali (demon) or Mahakali.

Kali (/ˈkɑːliː/; Sanskrit: काली, IAST: Kālī), also familiar as Kalika (Sanskrit: कालिका), is a Hindu goddess. Hindus consider Her as mistress of death, time, and change. According to Shaktism, she is a form of Parvati, the supreme of all powers, or the ultimate reality.


It’s clear that goddess’s earliest appearance is when she emerged from Shiva. She is the ultimate manifestation of Shakti and the mother of all living beings. The goddess destroys evil in order to protect the innocent. Over time, devotional movements and Tantric sects wirshipped Him variously as the Divine Mother, Mother of the Universe, Adi Shakti, or Parvati.[1][2][3]

Besides, Shakta Hindu and Tantric sects additionally worship her as the ultimate reality or Brahman.[3] She is also seen as the divine protector and the one who bestows moksha or liberation.[1]So, She is the Goddess of War, Time, Change, Creation, Destruction and Power.Kaali the Divine Mother.

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statue of hindu god kali puja on black background
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By kalpataru

I'm Dr. Sushil Rudra, residing in Durgapur City West Bengal, India . Studied in The University of Calcutta and did M.A , Ph.D . Also another M.A from Sridhar University. Taught in College and University ( RTU) . Love to write, traveling, singing Rabindrasangeet and social work. Have some books authored by me. Vivekananda and Rabibdranath both are my favourite subject. I have written more than 150 articles in my wordpress.com blog( kalpataru.home.blog and now I'm writing in my new " http://www.kalpatarurudra.org blog.

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