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Re-reading Swami Vivekananda's Kali the Mother

Kali The Mother is one of those Kali poems of Indian English poetry which tell about the visit of Swami Vivekananda and his love for the Dark Goddess. It is a poem of Kshir Bhawani and Kashmir, a visit to the temple with his disciples. The poet felt the fire and frenzy of writing. Having travelled to Amarnath, he went to Kshir Bhawani and the poem bore the fruit of his visit.                              

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

The stars have been blotted out, the clouds are covered upon clouds, and it is dark all around, nothing visible, such is the predicament of the poem, making us enlightened with a darshan of Kali, telling of the night of worship and prayer directed to Kali and foreboding a night of sadhna if dared to have a tryst with. Kali The Mother is the topic. How is the statue of Kali, Kali the Mother Goddess, the Dark Divine? How dreadful and awe-striking? How horrible and terrible is the image, the creational image? How to see Kali? How is our admiration for her? How to view her? How to pray to her in utter humility and submission? 

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 wind is roaring too as if the souls of lunatics were let off, set off free from the prison house and they are howling, wrenching trees by the roots, sweeping the paths. A dark and tempestuous night keeps it befalling and something to goes on happening internally. The sea too joins the fray and swirls up to reach the pitchy sky. 

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

The dance of Death goes on taking a toll upon and afflicting with. Plagues and sorrows keep raking, dancing with joy. When humanity is stricken, come, come you, Mother. Come, come you, Kali. 

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!

Terror is your name. Death is your breath. Your every shaking step destroys a world forever. You are Time, All-Destroyer. Kali as an image of Death, smiting with horror and terror is the thing of deliberation here. Kali is an image of Death. She is as fierce as lightning. She is dark and horrible and is annihilating.

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, come you, Mother. Those who dance, like to dance the death of destruction, you are terror to them. You are a horror to them. A mere strike of yours flattens them and you kill by lightening, striking them dead. The rakshas, asuric forces gone on a rampage or run amuck she terminates it instantly. The asuras who go on wreaking havoc, dancing the dance of death and destruction cannot stand before.

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

It is very difficult to explain the poem with a mystical base and mythical context. There is something of the ordaining deity of Kshir Bhavani of Srinagar, but apart from it the impact of the idol of Kshir Bhavani and the myth of creation. A sahdaka can only talk about the night of sadhna and the experiences borne. The poem is an outcome of that visit, and he is describing the things going within with the image of Kali hanging over the mind and heart and he is thinking about the creational force.

Sister Nivedita in her book The Master as I Saw Him speaks of the Master‘s visit of Amarnath and Kshir Bhowani and the writing of the poem especially. She discusses the factors leading to the writing of the poem in her content named Kshir Bhowani.





More by :  Bijay Kant Dubey

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