Goddess Kalaratri is considered as the 7th manifestation of Durga, the mother Goddess. She is the seventh of the nine aspects of Durga and is regarded as the most ferocious form of the Goddess. Kalaratri is genuinely a ‘Dark Goddess,’ and that is what her name itself suggests. The word ‘Kal’ can mean time, death and also darkness, and ‘Rathri’ is the night. ‘Kalaratri’ can thus be ‘the one who is death to the night-like darkness and ignorance’ or ‘the dark night’ or can simply be ‘the dark Goddess.’ She may be frightening to look at but remains essentially as ‘Shubhamkari,’ the auspicious do-gooder. This Goddess is said to indicate the dark sides of life and is believed to destroy the evil energies and establish peace and faith in the world. As the seventh aspect, she is worshipped on Saptami, the seventh day of the nine-day Navaratri festival.
Her Frightful Form
True to her name, Kalaratri is dark-complexioned like a moonless night. She has a mass of disheveled hair. A shining necklace is flashing around her neck, while flames emanate out of her nostrils, as she breathes in and out. She has three luminous eyes, denoting the past, present and the future. She is four-armed. One of her left hands holds a bloodstained cleaver and the other, a torch. Her two right hands are in the protective Abaya mudra and the boon-giving Varada mudra. In some other depictions, she is also shown holding a shining sword in her right hand. Wearing a tiger skin like Lord Shiva, she is riding a donkey and remains a picture of fearlessness.
Mythology of Kalaratri
The story of Kalaratri is quite interesting. There was a demon by name Raktabeeja, who did severe penance and obtained a boon. As per which, every drop of blood that fell from his body on earth, gave rise to one more form of his. Thus, enemies who dared to fight with Raktabeeja and cause injuries to him resulting in his bloodshed had to face the fury of not one but many and many Raktabeeja! This made the demon almost indestructible. So very well protected thus, he unleashed a reign of terror on heaven and earth, harassing the Devas and the humans alike. It was then that they all sought refuge in the divine mother, and she took the fearful form of Kalaratri to put an end to the demon’s atrocities. Sporting a garland of human skulls, a girdle of severed heads, three eyes red with anger and four hands holding deadly weapons, she took on the might of the demon with ferocity. While her terrifying form startled Raktabeeja, Devi Kalaratri beheaded the demon, drank every drop of his blood before they fell on the ground and thus, annihilated him. The world rejoiced her resounding victory and sang the praise of the divine mother.
Blessings from Kalaratri
The terrible looking Kalaratri spells evil, but only for the wrongdoers. She is believed to be the one, who removes all forms of darkness and negativity from the lives of the good. She offers them protection and assures her sincere devotees, the freedom from fear, obstacles, and difficulties. It is believed that her worship on the Navarathri–Saptami day, will bless devotees with immense power, accomplishments, and joy.