The Navratra Saga, Day 7: ‘Kaal Ratri’, the Ferocious Goddess of Destruction
The seventh manifestation of the goddess Durga is the Mother ‘Kaal Ratri’. This form of Durga is considered to be the most ferocious forms of the Supreme Goddess. ‘Kaal Ratri’ translates into the ‘Night of Death’. Goddess Durga is shown to be extremely furious and transform into Goddess Kaal Ratri to slay a demon ‘Rakht Beej’.
Legend: The story goes when a demon ‘Rakht Beej’ acquires a boon from Lord Brahma that with every drop of blood falling on the ground, there would arise another clone of him. After acquiring the boon, Rakht Beej started laying all kinds of agonies on the human kind. These human then went to Goddess Parvati and request for his help. Parvati becomes infuriated and looks down on Rakht Beej and announces his destruction. She disappears and appears in front of Rakht beej, transformed into Kaal Ratri. It is also said that it was Durga and her Matrikas who tried to battle Rakht Beej first but due to his boon, there soon stood an army of his clones as his blood, when dropped on earth, gave rise to an another clone.
It was then when Durga summoned Kaal Ratri to battle him. Kaal Ratri after being summoned, decapitates Rakh Beej and drinks all of his blood.A striking similarity is between Kaal Ratri and Maa Kali in which after being drunk on blood, she started dancing in a frenzy but that’s a whole another tale with a whole new concept of energy and matter.
Depiction: Mother Kaal Ratri is depicted to be as black as the darkest night. She is clad in tiger skin as her husband ‘Lord Shiva’. She wears a garland of human skulls that emit great refulgence.
She has three eyes that are blood shot and represent the past, present and future. Her hair are dense but dishevelled and she breathes terrible flames as she inhales or exhales. Al though she is as black as the night, yet refulgent rays emit from her eyes.
The mere look of Kali evokes fear and terror in the evil. She has four hands; in two of them, she holds a cleaver and a torch, while the other two are in a gesture of giving and protecting. She rides a faithful donkey or it is believed to be the corpse of a donkey.
Al thought the exterior of Maa Kaal Ratri is extremely frightening, yet she blesses her devotees with welfare and prosperity. She is known to end all worldly troubles and turmoil for a new beginning. That’s the reason she’s also known as ‘Shubhamkari’