It is occasionally suggested that there is no Kali in the Vedas. Now, to this I do not agree. Partially, this is because there is quite clearly Devi, with a veer-y much Capital D to be found in the Vedas, as the Ultimate Power both within and beyond the Universe. But also, it is because there are nearly a half-dozen hymnals dedicated to Ratri – to Night. And within these, we can find elements which quite clearly pre-sage the later understandings and representations of Ma as Kali – most especially, as the Glorious Guarding Dark.
AtharvaVeda XIX 49: A Hymn of Praise and prayer to Night
“Friend of the home, the strong and youthful maiden, Night, dear
to Savitar the God, and Bhaga,
All-compassing, all-glorious, prompt to listen, hath with her
greatness filled the earth and heaven.
Over all depths hath she gone up, and mounted, most mighty
One, the sky’s exalted summit.
Over me now the loving Night is spreading with her auspicious.
Godlike ways like Mitra.
Excellent, high-born, blissful, meet for worship, Night, thou hast
come: stay here with friendly spirit.
Guard us, the food for men that we have gotten, and all pro-
sperity that comes of cattle.
With eager haste hath Night assumed the vigour of leopard,.
tiger, or of tawny lion,
The horse’s neighing and the wild-man’s bellow, Thou takest
many a form when thou appearest.
Kind through the Night be absence of the sunshine: Mother of
Frost, may she be swift to hear us.
Take notice of the hymn, thou highly favoured, wherewith I
worship thee in all the regions.
Even as a King, O splendid Night, thou takest pleasure in our
May we through Mornings as they flush have all our good men,
round us, and become possessors of all wealth.
Yes, Rāmyā is the name thou hast assumed. The men who fain.
My wealth do thou annoy, O Night, that not one robber may
appear, none may a second time appear.
Thou like a well-wrought cup, O Night, art lovely: thou, a.
young maid, art formed in perfect beauty.
Thou lovingly, for me with eyes to se: them, hast bound on thee
heaven’s stars as thine adornment.
Whatever robber comes to-day, mischievous mortal enemy.
Let Night go forth, encounter him, and smite away his neck and
His feet that he may walk no more, his hands that he may do
The robber who comes hitherward goes crushed and mutilated
Goes hence, goes far away from us, goes hence and bears no