An associate had sent me this poem – curiously, as fate would have it, very swiftly after I’d finished my Kali & Durga hymnals in the pre-dawn darkness here after yet another night awake.
It is an interesting suite of verses. And no doubt, would be more so if I were working from the Bengali original with its suite of Sanskrit-origin terminology to pick over to more precisely uncover the poet’s potential intent of meaning.
But we shall make do.
That notion of the Mind “hold[ing] the Sword of Kali’s Name” – attains an additional depth when one considers that this is evidently being wielded against ‘Time’ and ‘Death’ [‘Kaal’] ; and there is a pleasing duality also viz. the invocation for Tara – this being an iconographically quite similar (to Kali) Devi-form, very much a Protectress [and we note the meaning of ‘Tara’ ( तारा ) as ‘Star’ (with which it is etymologically cognate, as it should happen) – a ‘Light’ in the Black; even though somebody is likely to wish to emphasize the other ‘Tara’ ( तार ), which refers to carrying across … in this case, the darkness, the peril [compare Ancient Greek ‘Nectar’ – to [safely] carry through Death]].
We are also reminded of [well, I was, at any rate – your local experience may vary] the instruction in Shiva Purana II 1 4 54 that the pious devotee may utilize the “Axe (Kuthara) of Shiva’s Name” to ward and strike back against the salience of ‘Shocati’ ( शोचति ) [the root for that term शुच् (‘Shuc’), “refers at once to ‘grieving’, ‘mourning’, ‘being in a state of clear (and loud) emotional distress’ … and yet also to ‘burning’, ‘consuming’, and to the gleaming, shining, radiance of fire.”, to quote myself upon the subject; and in-context, is an apt summation of the travails of existence, Samsara … which, yes, ‘Time’, indeed]
And certainly, in terms of ‘Defences’ – whether against ‘Sleep’ (a ‘Cousin of Death’, or otherwise related more closely, contingent upon which exegetical one is running from) or other and more injurious foes … “Durga”, repeated in mantrasic form should prove rather literally that.
‘Durga’, after all, quite directly being ‘The Impassable’, ‘The Unvanquishable’, ‘The Inaccessible’ – and being also a way to refer to a strongpoint, a fortification.
Most, of course, would think instantly of that most formidable of Goddess-forms – and thus we have an interesting duality with the other [non-Kali] deific form earlier mentioned, Tara. Insofar as there is ‘Impassable’, and also ‘Carrying Across’.
‘Impassable’ to others, perils – yet ‘Carrying Across’ of the devotee and protecting them through these, that is to say ‘rendering passable’, all the same.
There is an interesting progression toward greater Light visible, culminating of course with the Dawn – and we are reminded of the situation of Ushas in the Vedas being hailed quite prominently as a Warrior Goddess in various verses; ‘Rays of Light’ being as Her Arrows, etc. and the frequently encountered notion of darkness driven back as an adversary elsewhere therein. [We are also reminded of the situation of Durga’s great appearance in the Devi Mahatmyam – wherein Her manifestation is described as a Mountain (Parvata) of Tejas [‘Radiance’, ‘Fire’; but also ‘Sharpness’, ‘Potency’, ‘Fierceness’, and ‘Violence’ – ‘Ultra-Violent Light’, indeed]
And, for that matter, that ‘Bring the Dawn!’ tagline with which we had concluded several of our works in recent months which had focused upon or after-action recounted some of the more ‘live-fire’ efforts and exercises conducted by some of our number in active resurrection of Indo-European piety amidst the European (etc.) spheres.
The ‘Dark Age’ of the second-to-last verse is, of course, the Kali Yuga … and it is once again a studied juxtaposition to have the ‘She’ Who can Save – that is to say, Kali – doing so amidst the context of the Kali Yuga; just as it is a juxtaposition for ‘sinners’ and ‘saved’ in the next line. The one transforms the other.
Kali (Devi) [ काली ], a Darkness, protecting (Durga) and carrying through (Tara) the invoking Devotee, from the iniquitous and spiritually toxic ‘Darkness’ of an entirely different kind which is the eponymous Kali ( कलि ) of the Kali Yuga.
That latter ‘Kali’ [ कलि ] can mean ‘Sin’ – and hence, the root of and (exteriorly) defining characteristic to the ‘Sinner’. Who is, after all, a person who does something sinful (an essential distinction – it means that the state of ‘sin’ is not endogenous and all-consuming as the person themselves, but rather something more temporary (‘temporal’ ?) and external thereto) – and can be ‘carried through’ these grasping tendrils of corruption to emerge beyond and above such as the result.
There is more which I could (and probably should) say upon all of this (including a ‘Triple’ Goddess point about the Figures thusly invoked) … but it is well after Dawn here, and as I mention – I haven’t slept, either; albeit I had not thought that it was due to any Durga invocation upon my part.
Perhaps that is why I do not sleep so much.
Devi’s Blessing with me – ‘Cha Me’, we would put it.
Although we are also getting rather better at fighting whilst asleep, too.
Jai Mata Di.
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