Swami Vivekananda's famous and beautiful poem 'Kali the Mother' depicts a very fierce form of the Divine Mother Kali, Whom Swamiji portrays as 'Terror'. The same is true for the bengali poem 'nachuk tahate shyama'.

In both the poems, Kali is the form of Death.

But the pranama-mantra of Devi mentions that She is the Good of all goods: Sarva-Mangala-Mangalya'.

So Swamiji's depiction of Her as 'the Terror' and 'The Death' does not seem to correspond fully to Her pranama-mantra, at least apparently.

Are these only partial repesentations of Swamiji's view on Mother Kali?


No, contrary to the popular belief, it is NOT. It is focusing on just one aspect of Swamiji's concept of the Mother Goddess, as He Himself says in the following instance:

Swamiji: Take, for instance, the figure of Mother Kali. In it there is the union of the blissful and the terrible aspects. But in none of the pictures can be seen the true expression of these two aspects. Far from this, there is no attempt to express adequately even one of these two aspects! I have tried to put down some ideas of the terrible aspects of Mother Kali in my English poem, Kali the Mother. (Reference : Svami-Sishya-samvad, CW).

A more complete picture is found in His sanskrit composition 'Amva-Stotram' (A Hymn to the Divine Mother) where He touches both the aspects, thus trying to reveal His complete idea about Her true nature. An English translation of the relevant parts from His Complete Works is given below:

O Thou most beautiful! Whose holy hands Hold pleasure and hold pain! Doer of good! Who art Thou? The water of existence By Thee is whirled and tossed in mighty waves. Is it, O Mother, to restore again This universe's broken harmony That Thou, without cessation, art at work?..

To friend and foe Thy lotus-eyes are even; Ever Thine animating touch brings fruit To fortunate and unfortunate alike; The shade of death and immortality — Both these, O mother, are Thy grace Supreme! Mother Supreme! Oh, may Thy gracious face Never be turned away from me, Thy child!

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