The Cosmic Dance of Maha Kali

A Cosmic Dance. The imagery used to depict motion, energy and the fundamental elements of our existence. Like the laws of physics, or physical law, our emotional and spiritual selves are an expression of the forces that have created us.

Aya Pacha

7/12/20215 min read

A Cosmic Dance. The imagery used to depict motion, energy and the fundamental elements of our existence. Like the laws of physics, or physical law, our emotional and spiritual selves are an expression of the forces that have created us.

Our planet, our lives and our relationships are each sustained under the elements with which they were created - we are dependent upon such conditions with which to live.

Each condition, element or motion, you could say, has its dance. The falling of the rain has a cycle, a rhythm, and so, in a way, it has a dance. The turning of the seasons too - dance to a rhythm that brings varying beauty with which the whole ecosystem dances in unison. Though these are all physical examples, a ‘Cosmic Dance’ need not be seen, heard or felt.

Every 'dance' brings some expression into motion. And when a dance is done, that expression has reached its end; either it can no longer be sustained, or it has expressed everything that was desirable to express - the expression and all of its elements are finished. When the rain has stopped - no one is getting wet.

‘Cosmic dance’- an alluring way to name each force that layers itself accordingly, beneath the face of our existence…

Kali, A Shadow of Might

Long black hair; wild eyes; a pointed tongue and a necklace of severed heads. Clutched in one hand, the head of a man, and with another, outstretched arm, his blood being gathered. With a bloodied, red blade held above her head, she’s ready to claim the next victim… Who would wish to come across the cosmic dance of Maha Kali? Demonic in stature…

Our Mortal Truth...

As time rolls around, to eventually claim our body, this vessel that we have borrowed may be returned to the earth. What we are, that lay beyond our own individual and physical incarnation, cannot be claimed in such a way. There was a time before you were in the physical and time will remain long after your body has dispersed.

What you are, that is alike myself and all others, stems beyond your individual physical form. The very potential for yourself and others to exist is, in this way, is yourself. Potential is the necessary foundation before any other attribute that you may call ‘self’ can arise…

The Play of Time

Kali is time incarnate. Like a wave that washes a sandcastle from the shore; every piece of sand is left intact - every element of the castle still remains. Only the form, shape and identification that was assigned to the individual structure of the sandcastle is lost to the might of the water - all potential is reserved.

Kali (time) is like the water or the air, the waves and winds of time are like the strides that she takes as she performs her dance.

She is the liberator. She may have us return to the cosmic sea so that structure, form and identification may continue to arise from the perpetual nature of the universe. Without a return to the formless, there is no renewal, no re-birth or evolution.

When one can see beyond the physical form, and understand the world of existence that is beyond the individual form that we call ‘ourselves’ - The once fearful form of Kali can be welcomed into our lives. Her assets take on a new meaning between the countless life forms that are in perfect flux. No energy is lost.

Like grains of sand, our energy is passed on to ignite new life. This cycle is brought on by the cosmic dance of Maha Kali.

In Fear or In Faith?

Holding yourself at the center of the universe, Kali is the destroyer - a demon - a token of dread. She can and will, remove your identity, your riches, your name, your desires and your memory. Like death, there’s no escape. The counting of time will undoubtedly seize everything that ‘you’ own.

In the true light of what you are: temporary form, a vessel of awareness, a life made up of many variable other life forms - indeed, life forms that have themselves passed on in order for you to remain here, alive.

The force, dance, element or deity that perpetuates this cycle of renewal, undeniably, gave you your identity.

Your identity arises from your life as an individual - you can be unbound from this temporary form in life or in death.

This phenomena may be titled as ‘The Dane of Kali’

The Depiction of Kali

As any deity is depicted, their dance, their symbolism and the elements that they stand to represent, are each carefully represented and presented within or alongside their image.

The many aspects of Kali’s depiction each honor an essence of herself:

The severed heads from around her neck are the egos of men - the individual illusions of self that each fall at the mercy of time.

Her wild eyes and jagged teeth terrorise the alluded with fear - what the attached hold onto is easily snatched away: “The count of time will undoubtedly seize everything of ‘your own’...”

With a long outstretched tongue, like a jester, in Kali’s heart it’s all a game - she’s seen beyond our separate nature and has the compassion to slay our ignorance. With time or with wisdom, we eventually find our way back to one.

A gruesome reminder of our mortality, held in her hand as shown by the severed head of a man. This, made most significant by the reaching hand that holds a vessel so to capture the dripping blood. Here, the cycle of renewal. A key in distinguishing between herself and the demonic - nothing is lost to her - only recycled and reborn.

She is feral, naked, and with wild unkempt hair. There is nothing that can be offered or used to offend what in itself is beyond form.

This is a depiction, symbol and vision of the dance of time - a devilish tyrant, to stare in the face of, but one true blessing that all living beings possess. Time is our best friend disguised as our worst enemy.

Kali and Shiva

The serenity that Kali truly has to offer, by her divine dance and through her physical depiction, is foretold by the body that she dances upon.

Below her feet lay the ever blissful incarnation of Shiva - a god of mediation and the direct personification of the liberated soul.

How could one be at such peace beneath the wrath of this torment?

The divine relationship between the two counterparts brings to light what both deities stand to represent. Like any perfect coupling, they accentuate each other's purpose.

If Kali is the ‘claimer of the ego’, the ‘destroyer’ or ‘liberator’; Shiva is the ‘liberated’. Therefore, there is nothing left of Shiva (the ego-less soul) for Kali (the remover of all ego) to claim.

As many who remain attached to their individual selves may fear her, Shiva has surpassed the challenge that Kali presents. He has already entirely let go of his physical and independent self.

As Kali may claim our final strings of attachment to all things temporary, what lay beyond our individual form (Shiva - translating from Sanskrit to ‘that - that is-not’ meaning ‘what exists beyond form’) will be untouched by Kali’s dance. This is why, in the depiction, Shiva remains untouched by the terror-inducing dance of Maha Kali.They are one - unified in the field beyond all illusions (temporary form).

Manifest or non-manifest - they dance so that we may fall in and out of existence.

Such is the dance of Maha Kali.