Durga vs. Kali

Difference Between Durga And Kali


In Hinduism, Durga is one form of the mother-goddess Devi, the consort of Shiva. According to Hindu lore, the gods begged her to find and destroy Mahisasura, a demon who had dethroned them. Mounted on a lion, Durga battled the demon and at last thrust her lance through his heart. In art, she is depicted riding a lion or a tiger.


Kali, a Hindu deity who may be regarded as the personification of the countless village devis, or goddesses, who are worshiped throughout India. These goddesses are fearsome but have a benign aspect. Some were thought to be linked to disease, such as smallpox, or to women who died in childbirth. The tradition of such goddess worship may derive from prehistoric times.

The god Shiva typically is withdrawn from the universe and sunk in meditation upon himself as the ground of being. He projects various feminine aspects as active in the material world. Thus the goddess Māyā is the personification of the world of sensory awareness, basically illusory, and the goddess Kali (Kālī) reminds the devotee of the transitory, destructive side of reality ruled by time.

Kali is as black as the abyss of time. Often dancing, she has a terrifying expression on her face. Her tongue protrudes as she drinks the blood flowing from the severed head of the demon Raktavija. She drinks the blood to prevent the drops from turning into duplicate copies of the demon. Kali also wears a garland of human heads and a skirt of severed limbs to suggest the transitoriness of human values. Sometimes Shiva is depicted lying between Kali’s feet, where he threw himself to prevent her dance from destroying the world.

In worship, Kali accepts the bloody sacrifices of goats, buffalo, and fowl. Human sacrifices also were offered to her, yet she is the goddess of tender love if one can see the Mother beyond the external aspect of time. At least so she was to Ramakrishna, the 19th century Bengali saint who had many visions of Kali.




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