goddess Kali drunk on the blood of her enemies and the nectar of Shiva’s
company, dancing and clapping her hands in a furious ecstasy, while Shiva
nearby matches Her cosmic dance with the transcendent beats of his damru
(drum). Ganas (attendants), bhootas, yoginis, and dakinis (all ghoulish
attendants of Kali) complement the dance of the divine mother. If there is a
way to visualize the divine frenzy of Maa Kali after her battle with the forces
of evil, it is through this awe-inspiring painting.
As per a
legend from the Hindu text, Linga Purana, Kali- the wrathful incarnation of Parvati, after slaying the demon Daruka was overwhelmed by the violence of the
battlefield. In order to protect the world from the uncontrolled wrath of the
goddess, Shiva first took the form of a child, who brought out the motherly
side of Kali and subdued her anger. After this, Shiva performed his famous
Taandava, and he was joined by his ganas as well as the Parameshwari- great
goddess Kali herself.
has skilfully depicted a moment from the cosmic dance of Kala (Shiva) and Kali
(Parvati) in this Guler-style artwork. With open jata (matted hair),
ornamentation of Nagas (snakes) and Rudraksha beads, and his skin in the colour
of smoke that rises from the funeral pyres, Shiva is in his form as the Lord of
the Cremation ground. His fingers produce cosmic hums on his damru, while he
stands, almost bowing down to the dark-skinned goddess. Kali looks equal parts dreadful and divine-
her body skeletal, breasts dry and dangling, the goddess wears garlands of
enemies’ heads and the skin of a tiger that flaps sharply as she grooves in a
celestial passion. Shiva’s attendants behind him accompany their master and
play different instruments, while Kali’s attendants- yoginis and dakinis, drunk
on blood follow the footsteps of their mistress. The skull, sword and tiger hide
on the ground add to the overall ferocity of the scene.
painting is a representation of Kali’s greatness as the Swamini (mistress) of
Kaal (time and death). The posture of Shiva and his role as the musician
supporting the dance of Kali underlines the idea that- when Kali moves,
everyone including Mahadeva (the great lord) himself becomes an assistant in
her magnificent cosmic play.
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