For millions across India, the “Mother Kali” is widely known as the Supreme Goddess.
For yoga practitioners, Kali’s symbolism stands for powerful metaphorical teachings. She is depicted as pitch black. The blackness standing for the quality of invisibility and the unknown.
So what do we do to connect to Kali? The teachings suggest that since Kali is the unknown, we have to go to the borders of what is known about ourselves — our name, form, profession, skill sets, identities and so on. How will we identify the edge of the unknown? When we feel fear and discomfort!
At the border of familiarity, the pure unknown and its pitch black nothingness tends to generate fear. This is the fear we have to manage if we have to know our Kali nature within us. But it is a fear that we have to respect too.
Kali’s vehicle is a tiger — fierce and territorial. So we can’t just rush the unknown but establish a relationship at the border, first.
For instance, we all have a known projected side and an unknown private side. As long as we converse among ourselves along the known sides, a social amicability forms. But if private areas of our life are disrespectfully probed, we might get offended. That is the tiger.
But you might find that you begin to reveal your true self to those who really listen to you and are respectful of your boundaries. Kali too, is like that. Her tiger will accept your presence in her habitat, and the unknown will reveal.
At the edge of what is known lies the fear of infinite possibilities, of what defines you in terms of known capacities.
So let’s take ourselves to the edge of Kali’s mouth — the portal of infinite blackness — and envision ourselves beyond the comforts of our known identity and skills, and receive the unknown to expand our borders.
Here is a short Kali meditation to boldly go to that place where the tiger prowls within:
Switch off all lights and close your eyes
See that all forms are absorbed into the darkness, where all differences are united in one blackness. That is Kali.
Stay with the sense of this vast unknown for a few breaths.
After a while, think of the time of your birth. This is when you emerged out of Kali’s mouth — from the unknown and unseen — into the known and seen by the world.
Open yourself up to time of your childhood. Youth. Middle age.
Feel the presence of Kali. Right now. She is taking you in, and giving you out.
Observe your breath now.
Each breath the body breathes, know it as movement of life in the vast mouth of death.
Know that Kali can swallow you anytime, but then she continues to manifest you. Acknowledge the vast unknown in which the limited known is manifesting.
Stay for a while until you’re ready to open your eyes.