Kali, The Mother by Swami Vivekananda by Bijay Kant Dubey SignUp

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Kali, The Mother by Swami Vivekananda
by Bijay Kant Dubey Bookmark and Share

The stars are blotted out,
The clouds are covering clouds,
It is darkness vibrant, sonant.

In the roaring, whirling wind
Are the souls of a million lunatics
Just loose from the prison-house,
Wrenching trees by the roots,
Sweeping all from the path.

The sea has joined the fray,
And swirls up mountain-waves,
To reach the pitchy sky.

The flash of lurid light
Reveals on every side
A thousand, thousand shades
Of Death begrimed and black —
Scattering plagues and sorrows,
Dancing mad with joy,
Come, Mother, come!

For Terror is Thy name,
Death is in Thy breath,
And every shaking step
Destroys a world for e'er.
Thou 'Time', the All-Destroyer!

Come, O Mother, come!
Who dares misery love,
And hug the form of Death,
Dance in Destruction's dance,
To him the Mother comes.

Kali The Mother is one of those poems of Swami Vivekananda which have been written during the spur of the moment, after his visit to the temple of Kshir Bhavani in Srinagar. Though he never intended to write poetry and to be a poet, nor was it his latent desire to be, these are but overflows from his pen, the off-shoots and it is also an established fact the saints are but singers of some extent and the same is true to it. Needless to harp upon that Swami Vivekananda is not only the famous disciple of the great mystic priest Ramkrishna Paramhamsa, but also a social reformer, an educationist, a philosopher and above all a karmayogin and an Advaita Vedantist. His writings lie in scattered over a corpus of prose-pieces, addresses, lectures, speeches, letters and talks given. While participating in the Parliament of Religions held at Chicago, he startled everyone with his address starting with my dear brothers and sisters.

Stars have been blotted out, clouds seems to be covering clouds and against the backdrop of such a scenery, the poem take sits wings, in that darkness prevailing around sonant and vibrant he feels as if the lunatics from the prison house had been let loose and they seemed to be howling and babbling with the wind wrenching trees and sweeping it all from their paths.

The sea also joins the fray and the waves swirling and pitching high to reach the sky, the flash of lurid light which but shows Death scattering diseases and epidemics and claiming lives.

The poet invokes the Dark Goddess to come and save earth from destruction. If She is the Creator, She is also the Destroyer as She is the Goddess of Darkness and Death. But whatever be that, when sin aggravates on earth, She comes to slay the sinners, the demons and devils, is the mythology as it does the rounds and so the idols of Hers show it wearing a garland of the heads of the sinners cut and wreathed around.

But we must remember what those asuric forces are lust, greed, immorality, sin, vice, voluptuousness and so on. The other thing too is this that making and destruction will go side by side.

Terror is Her name, Death is Her Breath. The world trembles and shakes when Her Feet fall upon and She comes with weapons to annihilate and destroy sin.

She is Time, the Destroyer of the old decadent order and the Creator of the new one. Everything is but into Her Hands.

If something appears to be devilish and demoniac and threatening to the existence of earth, the Mother will come, come to end the terror and horror created. If She is Herself the Dark Side of the Creation, what to say it more? The dance of Destruction, the hug of Death, these will themselves take them away with.

What is Kali? She is Kal-rupa, End-imagined, Delusion-faced, Kali, the Dark She, Mahakali, the Greater Kali and out of delusion, the things are created, light comes out of darkness. Death and Delusion are the handiworks of Hers.

To read the poem is to imagine about the idols the idol-makers make, the stone statues of Kali, dark-coloured, blue-coloured and reddish frescoes. Here Shyama Kali not, but the Darker Kali has been taken into consideration. The Dark Rupa is the point of deliberation and discussion.

She is the Night of Sadhna, the Ordaining Deity of the sadhakas and tantrics, but sometimes occult experimentation misleads to if the energies are not channelized in the right direction. Such a state is just for inner progression, the progression of the mind and heart, not to be taken otherwise which but imparts inner pleasure. What can be more elevating than to feel the Motherly Consciousness? She is the Third Eye Power which is just the meditative strength to see and imagine within which gives foresight.

The first three lines give a scenic background to the poem as it should be for a Kali poem and ‘t’ and ‘s’ sounds keep giving a specific rhyming intermittently. Such a scene one needs while doing the sadhna, in Aurobindo it is Trance of Waiting and in Harindranath it is Noon. This is but psychic, nocturnal intermixing with the Consciousness Supernatural and Extraterrestrial.

The stars are blotted out,
The clouds are covering clouds,
It is darkness vibrant, sonant.

Thereafter the poet tells about the mystic experiences of undergoing the Transformational Feelings:

In the roaring, whirling wind
Are the souls of a million lunatics
Just loose from the prison-house,
Wrenching trees by the roots,
Sweeping all from the path.

The souls of the lunatics are either the sadhakas or the tantrics, the supernatural creatures or agents spiritual and abstract, some consciousness to be felt otherwise. Whose prison-house? Who can wrench the trees? But here the latter ones specifically referred to.

Such a thing it is in Keats’ The Terror of Death and Donne’s Death, Be Not Proud. In Gitanjali too, there are a few poems dealing with death and Yama. Tennyson’s Crossing the Bar and Lawrence’s The Ship of Death too can here enlighten upon the topic but in a very different way, but here Swami Vivekananda talks of Death foreboding ill and spewing venom. The naked dance of Death only those can say it about whom it strikes with tragedy, loss, suffering and mourning. The lines discuss the power of the Black Death which as an agent of the Deity can laugh madly in joy. The below-quoted lines tell of Blakian tigerly element adding to suspense and awe:

A thousand, thousand shades
Of Death begrimed and black —
Scattering plagues and sorrows,
Dancing mad with joy,
Come, Mother, come!

But the words, ‘Come, mother, come!’, halts it all with it that the Mother can come to our rescue and She is but the Last Ray of Hope in Darkness. Destruction’s dance is just like Shiva Tandava, may go well or can turn destructive. So is Kali as Bhairavi, Kalbharaivi, dreadful as well as blissful. How to take to the Womb of Creation? In the crematorium, there lies it nothing. Pour you water with an earthen pitcher full of on the ashes of the pyre finally. Make the figure of the man departed on the sands and the asthi-kalasha will hang by the peepul tree of the ghat for some time to be immersed into the holy waters.

It all depends on the way we approach the Divine, the Divine Mother, the Dark Goddess, that is Mother Kali. It is also said that the midnight is the best time for approaching the Goddess and seeking for Her blessings. One may also invoke Here during the lonely midday. But  here the context is one of a visit; a darshan.

Kali The Mother as a poem is one of a mythical base and mystical experiences. The whole world is the Playfield of Hers and how to say about the Creational Force, the Dark Side of Creation? The iconography of the terrible form is awe-inspiring as well as fascinating indeed.

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Comment It's a beautiful discussion about " Kali The Mother" of Swami Vivekananda. . Returning his first tour from America , he decided to travel India by walking. He started from Kannyakumari and reached to Kashmir along with some disciple and also His Western disciple , Sister Nivedita. Nivedita wrote in her book"The Master as I saw him" about the poem which is most important. He already visited Amarnarh . And next he went to Kheer Bhawani Temple. That time his brain was teeming with thoughts .

Sushil Rudra
10/29/2020 04:40 AM

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