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Thread: Why Black?

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  1. #1
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    Why Black?

    hariḥ oṁ
    ~~~~~~

    Namast

    I wrote some time back

    Yet one may think that Kālī is only associated with the death of the individual and viewed somewhat negatively. This is the beauty of this knowledge - Kālī can be viewed and experienced as Dakṣiṇa Kālī and as Bhadra Kālī.
    Dakṣiṇa is defined as the right ,straightforward , candid , sincere , pleasing , i.e. right action or right facing. So Dakṣiṇa Kālī is that śakti that brings the delight of vanquishing that is right action, straight forward.
    Mother Divine's actions here are uplifting, evolutionary in nature, upholding ( dharma) for the individual or society. One can see the 'death' of bad habits, the ending of negative attributes, the removal of obstacles. She is seen as the might of the Supreme no doubt, but this might is done with discernment - right action , skill.
    Without something being destroyed, consumed, there is no room for creation or advancement to occur. Even during ones meditation, one comes back from turiya anew, fresh. Something was given up, destroyed - fatigue, stress, etc.
    In fact the correct way to write Dakṣiṇa as it is applied to Mother Divine would be dakṣiṇā. A beautiful word that also means right facing, a gift or reward given to the priest, and is another name for Mother Durgā. More on this word and its application in the next post.

    So, the question is why do we see Kālī black? One view is black is the total absence of color - and that then is nirguṇa निर्गुण devoid of all qualities or properties, attribute-less. Dakṣiṇā Kālī is representing the Absolute, akṣara. She is akṣara, the imperishable, indestructible , undying, She does not perish.

    Another view is black is that which absorbs all , the merging of all and hence even ignorance is destroyed by Her. Her bloody sword is the might of sattvia, that ignorance is severed ( Her holding a severed head in hand). Her might is so great that even Yama the lord of death ( who resides in the south or dakṣiṇa) runs away in fear. That is she destroys death for her devotees.


    I find it worthy of note that that Kṛṣṇa and Kālī are depicted as black in color - the association to the transcendence and akṣara. Their bījā mantras are also quite similar. Kṛṣṇa's bījā is that of Klīm ( sounding like kleem) and Dakṣiṇā Kālī's is krīm ( sounding like kreem).

    More in the next post


    praṇām

    words and references
    HDF post http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/showthread.php?t=3226
    bījā बीजा- seed; in this application it is the 'seed' sound or mantra.
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

  2. #2
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    Re: Why Black?

    hariḥ oṁ
    ~~~~~~

    Namasté

    How does the worship or adoration of dakṣiṇā kālī overcome death? Let me offer one point of view for your kind consideration. Yama is that of restraints . Yama means to rein , curb , bridle. These are not bad things as we know them from our discussion on the 5 yamas called out by Patañjali discussed on this HDF Post: http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/showthread.php?p=31624#post31624
    Yet the ultimate restraint is the halting of one's life, the halting of time kāla (some write it like this , kAla) ¹ काल.

    Time is a measure of a sequence of events occuring on the continuum of eternity (this is my definition - othesr may have different views). That stoppage we give the name Yama , or death occurring along the continuum - He restrains the continuious movement.

    So, how does dakṣiṇā kālī save you from this Yama? She is beyond time , beyond the 3 guna'-s and therefore not subject to death and its rules. She removes one from the clutches of Yama.
    When one becomes established in the SELF, ātman, brahman, then one has gone beyond death. 'But the body dies' you say. Yes this is true, the body is subject to the laws of the 3 guna-s. Yet Ādi Śaṅkara-ji coaches us on the following:
    The 158th śloka of Vivekacūḍāmaṇi says the following:
    pāṇi pādādimān deho nātmā vyaṅge'pi jīvanāt |
    tat- tacchakter anāśāc ca na niyāmyo niyāmakaḥ||
    The body, consisting of hands, feet and so on, cannot be the SELF because one lives without these limbs and continues to function. The controlled cannot be the controller.

    If you wish to read more of this, see HDF postings found here: http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/showthread.php?t=4033

    So the aligment to dakṣiṇā kālī is dakṣiṇa - right facing, right action bringing sākṣātkāra साक्षात्कार- evident or intuitive perception , realization of ones true Being. 'But we know kālī as one that destroys, how can She help me?' . The wisdom is hidden in her name ( as I see it)
    kālī काली = kā+ lī
    • kā का - from the root kan - to seek , desire , yearn , love ; be sought after; to satisfy
    • ली - to adhere , obtain
    What is there to seek and obtain that is right facing, right action ? Her grace is the transformation of the seeker to the SELF.
    And how does one win her favor? The alignment of Awareness with the inflowing and outflowing of the breath.
    From this post: http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/showpost.php?p=31576&postcount=8

    As for the breath portion of this application karma yoga ( one of my favorites) - There is a substantial difference between casual, autonomic ( involuntary) breathing and breathing knowingly, with awareness. By recognizing the in-breath and the out-breath¹ , it's gaps or pauses ( some call kumbhaka&#185 and several other approaches one grooms silence and the expansion of stillness. here are a few for your consideration¹

    praṇām

    words and references
    Last edited by yajvan; 23 August 2009 at 06:43 PM.
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

  3. #3
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    Re: Why Black?

    hariḥ oṁ
    ~~~~~~

    Namasté

    One may ask, 'what is this principle that is being offered, this adoration of dakṣiṇā kālī?'.
    The principle is the following: śaivīmukham ihocyate -or- śaivī + mukham uccyate
    • śaivī is śakti or Śrī Devī ( or dakṣiṇā kālī) + mukham is mukha - mouth, opening or aperture. And ucyate is moving, connected or joined. uccyate also means explained.
    This says Śrī Devī ( or dakṣiṇā kālī) is the opening, the entrance to śiva .
    It is this śakti that is non-different then śiva that is the entrance point to the intimate union with Śivabhaṭṭāraka- the great Lord ( this is called sāyujya सायुज्य ).

    Hence we see that the alignment with, the adoration of Mother Divine as Śrī Devī as dakṣiṇā kālī is the entrance to the Supreme.

    But who says this, surely this is not the wisdom of yajvan¹. It comes from the 20th kārikā of Vijñāna Bhairava. A conversation and
    instruction between Śiva and Śrī Devī. Śiva is informing Śrī Devī ( and the sādhaka) how this union is accomplished.

    When one is connected to the Supreme, then death, the 3 guna-s , sorrows, are all left behind.

    praṇām

    words
    • sāyujya सायुज्य intimate union , communion with Śivabhaṭṭāraka- the great Lord , venerable or worshipful
    • uccyate components - uc उच् - to become accustomed, suitable with + yat यत् - to seek to join one's self with , make for , tend towards
    • yajvan यज्वन् - a worshipper; rooted in yaj , to offer, present.
      • We find yaj in yajamāna sacrificing, worshiping.
      • The moon is also known as yajvnāmpatiḥ; and the moon is considered pārvatī.
    Last edited by yajvan; 24 August 2009 at 11:44 PM.
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

  4. #4
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    Re: Why Black?

    Vanakkam:

    Off Yajvan's topic, but does anyone know why Ayyappan devotees wear black on yatras?

    Just curious.

    Aum

  5. #5
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    Re: Why Black?

    hariḥ oṁ
    ~~~~~~

    Namasté

    why is kālī often depicted naked?
    She is without boundaries, boundless. Showing kālī with no clothes is the symbol (saketa&#185 of Her Unbounded nature.


    and what of these arms that hang from her waist?
    Arms and hands symbolize actions, doing, the 3 guna-s, karma. She cuts away the binding influence of
    action from the realized sādaka.

    does that mean I no longer act? I no longer do things?
    It means now you have realized the instruction given to people that wish to realize their own SELF -gaining skill in action.
    This comes from Kṛṣṇa's instruction in Chapter 2, of the Bhāgavad gītā ,48th śloka:
    He says, yogastha kuru karmānī- established (or steadfast) in yoga ( union) perform actions (karma).
    This union is the union or possession of the SELF. Being established in yoga = being established in the SELF.

    And being established in the SELF leads to skill in action.
    This is the answer to Tirisilex 's question he poses on this post: http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/showthread.php?p=31691#post31691
    It is my understanding that Samskara Shuddhi is the cleansing of past Karma..
    I've searched high and Ive searched low and I cannot find anything on how to practice this.. any help??
    Skill in action is 'doing' yet one is outside the binding influence of karma.

    ...and what of the string of skulls ( 50 of them) that kālī wears around Her neck , what is that significance?
    We will take a look at this in the next post.


    praṇām

    1. saṃketa संकेत - symbol, gesture, sign, signal ~hint~.
    Last edited by yajvan; 24 August 2009 at 09:57 PM.
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

  6. #6
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    Re: Why Black?

    namaskar,
    Why kali is standing on shiva's chest?
    satay

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