• Will anyone please tell me the origin of Kali Maa?
  • What is the relation between Shiva and Parvati?

4 Answers 4


The story of the goddess Kali is told in the Devi Mahatmya of the Markandeya Purana. She is an incarnation of the goddess Durga. For those who don't know, Durga was created from the combined powers of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva in order to defeat the demon Mahishasura. But she is generally viewed be the consort of Shiva, because she is considered an incarnation of Shiva's wife Parvati. (Or if you're a follower of the Shakta sect, then you'd view Durga to be a manifestation of the same Adi Parashakti of which Shiva's wives Shakti and Parvati were both incarnations.)

In any case, the story of Kali happened after Durga's victory over Mahishasura. Once the demons Shumba and Nishumba defeated the gods in battle and took over the three worlds, so the gods went to mount Kailash to ask Durga for help. After they said a prayer to Durga, Shiva's wife Parvati came by, and out of her body came a form of Durga known as Ambika or Kaushiki. During Ambika's battle with the Shumba and Nishumbha's Asura army, she was confronted by a pair of Asura generals named Chanda and Munda. To defeat them, Ambika created Kali out of her forehead, as described in this chapter of the Devi Mahatmya of the Markandeya Purana:

Thereupon Ambika became terribly angry with those foes, and her anger her countenance then became dark as ink. Out from the surface of her forehead, fierce with frown, issued suddenly Kali of terrible countenance, armed with a sword and noose. Bearing the strange skull-topped staff, decorated with a garland of skulls, clad in a tiger’s skin, very appalling owing to her emaciated flesh, with gaping mouth, fearful with her tongue lolling out, having deep-sunk reddish eyes and filling the regions of the sky with her roars, and falling upon impetuously and slaughtering the great asuras in that army, she devoured those hosts of the foes of the devas.

Kali defeated Chanda and Munda and brought Ambika their heads, for which she is known as Chamunda or Chamundeshwari. And she was instrumental in helping Ambika defeat Shumbha and Nishumbha and restore rule of the three worlds to Indra and the gods.

  • 3
    @@Keshav - Durga need not be Shiva's wife parvati. The vedic durga is not parvati. Please read the durga suktam. It clearly says, the following "gobhirjuṣṭamayujo niṣiktaṃ tavendra viṣṇoranusaṃcarema | nākasya pṛṣṭhamabhi saṃvasāno vaiṣṇavīṃ loka iha mādayantām || -Taittiriya Āraṇyaka --- So no where it says that Durga, mentioned in Durga suktam is parvati or consort of Rudra or Siva.
    – user808
    Commented Apr 10, 2015 at 6:47
  • 1
    @@Keshav - Moreover, Varaha Purana clearly says, that it was the goddess called Narayani who was created by Lord Vishnu, killed Mahishasura. Varaha Purana clearly mentions that the other goddesses issued out of Brahma and Siva, called as brahmani and Rudrani (Parvati), were instrumental in killing others Rakshashas.
    – user808
    Commented Apr 10, 2015 at 6:47
  • @@Keshav - The Durga Saptashati link you provided, no where says that Durga is parvati. Moreover, it says it is a prayer to Saraswati.
    – user808
    Commented Apr 10, 2015 at 6:50
  • 1
    @Krishna First of all the "meditation on Saraswati" stuff is just a section title; the Saptashati is divided into three sections, and the third section is named after Saraswati. In any case, in the Saptashati the gods pray to Durga by saying "Salutation to the consort of Shiva who is herself the good fortune as well as misfortune of kings." Commented Apr 10, 2015 at 7:03
  • @@Keshav - Please read the entire Durga sapthasati. I remember, reading it where in it also refers to Durga as consort of Vishnu at a few places. But, Vedic durga is no where related to Parvati, consort of Rudra.
    – user808
    Commented Apr 10, 2015 at 7:19

The Divine Mother Kali is worshiped by Saktas as the embodiment of Sakti, the Divine Power. Kali is the embodiment of Maya. Ramakrishna Paramahamsa says in The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna (pp 134-135):

Thus Brahman and Sakti are identical. If you accept the one, you must accept the other. It is like fire and its power to burn. If you see fire, you must recognize its power to burn also. You cannot think of fire without its power to burn nor can you think of the power to burn without fire. You cannot conceive of the sun's rays without the sun nor can you conceive of the sun without its rays.

Thus one cannot think of Brahman without Sakti, or of Sakti without Brahman. One cannot think of the Absolute without the Relative, or of the Relative without the Absolute.

The Primordial Power is ever at play. She is creating, preserving, and destroying in play, as it were. This Power is called Kali. Kali is verily Brahman, and Brahman is verily Kali. It is one and the same Reality. When we think of It as inactive, that is to say, not engaged in the acts of creation, preservation, and destruction, then we call It Brahman. But when It engages in these activities, then we call It Kali or Sakti. The Reality is one and the same; the difference is in name and form.


According to me Maha Kali Avatar of Maa Durga is the most fearsome and the most benign form of Mata at the same time. She possesses the power to annihilate the whole universe in her wrath, on the other hand she always bestow benign blessing to her upasakas/ devotes. Even in her fierce to the most fiercest form she never leaves her true nature of a loving mother.

When Trilok (Swarglok, Tribhuvan, Patal lok) was captured by Asuras and when there's havoc all around the world all the Devatas went in refugee of Maa Durga Adi-Shakti because Asuras had boon that only Adi-Shakti could kill the demons. Then what was there? Mata came to rescue her children and Trilok from the Asuras. Mata firstly killed the demon named Dhumralochan. He had the power to kill anyone by his roar but he himself got turned out into ashes by a single roar of Maa Durga.

Then she transformed into Maha Kali Avatar to kill asur Raktabeej. In this form Maa Kali holds: Khadga, a sword made up of metal (lohe ka kata), and a bowl. As his name indicates, from one drop of his Rakt/ blood on bhumi another Raktabeej would crop up. So, Maa Kali slashed him and didn't let his blood to fall on the ground and she drank the blood. Soon Raktabeej was killed but Maa Kali's thirst for blood wasn't over. She walked here and there. She grew more fiercer. Then all gods went to request Prabhu Mahadev to calm Mata.

Thus, Lord Shiva himself leaned under the foot of Maa Kali to calm her and in that process realizing it was Mahadev, Mata's tongue came out in that incident ( however Durga saptashathi which described the war of may Durga and may Kali along with other goddess and Shiva purana and Kalika puran doesn't report any such incident) We can also see the picture and the statue in this mudra.

There is another incident as well when Bholenath took Batuk Avataar (form of a child) to calm Maa Kali. That's why I said, even in her most fiercest Avatar she's the most gentle and kind one.


If you study Hindu Gods and Godesses carefully they do represent a cosmic phenomenon like God SuryaDev represent Sun, Bhudevi represent planet earth and so on. Mother Kali represent the "Time". The word Kali is derived from Sanskrit work Kal (Time). The attributes are of time are represented as herself in a human form.

Time is infinite and we cant cover some thing which is infinite. That's the reason why she is naked. Everything degrades and disappears over time and its represented with her mouth. Where her tongue is extended out as if she is never going to close it and swallowing continuously. She wears a dress made with hands which represents all our deeds merging into time. She wears a necklace of sculls which represents all our thoughts (may be great or wicked) merging into time. Holding a cut head in one hand representing all our egos will be suppressed by time. You can correlate remaining things like that.

Origin of Kali: According to the Shiva Puraana, Devi Bhagavatha

As there is no origin or end for time we cant say what is her origin. But we find her first appearance with the form we see now. This appearance was given to Lord Shiva by Sathidevi(Parvathi Devi's earlier incarnation) when he objects her wish to attend a Yagna which was going to perform by her father Daksh prajapathi to insult Lord Shiva.

We can say it's her first appearance because Lord Siva gets frightened by her appearance as Kali. Later he loves her more than any other form of her and meditates on this form. Later mother Sathidevi renounces her body and born into King Himavat's house as Parvathi (daughter of parvatha raja (personification of the Himalayan mountains)). Thats the reason why Lord Shiva asks mother Parvathi to show this form of her when he accepts to marry her.

Its not possible to understand the God/Goddess by mere explanations/discussions. We need to do sadhana (Spiritual Practive) to get even the glimpse of the knowledge of the God. We wont get any inspiration for sadhana without the knowledge of god. This is a kind of deadlock situation. Best thing to do at this point is pray the God for their knowledge as well as bhakthi to start and continue saadhana. Books written or the lectures delivered by perfected Sadhakas serve as great support for aspirant sadhakas.

If you sincerely interested in understanding the philosophy of any Devi (Goddess) and Siva please read David frawley's "Tantric Yoga and the Wisdom Goddesses" This is a very small book but give enough knowledge on Dasa Maha Vidyaas and Kali is first among them. It also gives about the knowledge of Siva and these goddesses are different representations of Mother Parvathi. Which were explained to Siva by mother parvathi as Sathidevi before her departure for Daksha Yagna.

Good luck @vivek doshi


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .