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Kali is the Goddess of enlightenment or liberation and is the changing aspect of nature that brings things to life or death. She is revered as the Goddess of Time, Creation, Destruction and Power. In spite of her seemingly terrible form, she is also regarded by her devotees as the Mother of the whole Universe and is often seen as a great protector. Known as the celibate Goddess, she practices austerity and renunciation. Her dark complexion represents the womb of the quantum unmanifest from which all creation arises and will eventually dissolve.
Goddess Kali wears a garland of skulls and a skirt of dismembered arms. She holds a sword and a freshly severed head, dripping blood and seated on a lion. She is endowed with four-arms, holding a sword and blue lotuses, her hair unrestrained, body firm and youthful. Her eyes are red with small fangs sometimes protruding out of her mouth and her tongue is lolling. She is also accompanied by serpents and a jackal while standing on the calm and prostrate Shiva.
There are several forms of Kali that are popularly worshiped. Every avatar of goddess Kali has some significance.
Durga as Ambika, battling the asura army, is confronted by a pair of Asura generals named Chanda and Munda. Kali emerged from Ambika’s forehead armed with a sword and noose, bearing the strange skull-topped staff, decorated with a garland of skulls and clad in a tiger’s skin, with gaping mouth assuming a fearful form. With her tongue lolling out and deep-sunk reddish eyes she filled the regions of the sky with her roars and falls upon the asuras slaughtering their army. She defeats Chanda and Munda and brings Ambika their heads for which she is known as Chamundeswari.
Generally, lemon garlands are offered to the Goddess on the occasion of Kali Chaudas festival. Many people wear black clothes and visit Kali temples to offer flowers and coconuts to the deity. People generally offer garlands of 11 lemons, but sometimes garlands have as many as 108 lemons.
Goddess Kali reminds us that good can come out of bad situations. By praying to Her, you can achieve your dreams and aspirations. Where there is sorrow, she brings joy, where there is fear, she dances in courage. She dispels darkness from our lives and exalts the Earth with her transient external elements.