Kali, Untamed Goddess Power and Unleashed Sexuality: A Study of the 'Kalika Purana' of Bengal

Saumitra Chakravarty


This paper attempts to analyse the paradox inherent in the myth of Kali, both in her iconic delineation and the rituals associated with her worship as depicted in the twelfth century Kalika Purana. The black goddess Kali breaks conventional stereotypes of feminine beauty and sexuality in Hindu goddess mythology. She is the dominant sexual partner straddling the prone Siva and the wild warrior goddess drinking demon blood. She is originally depicted as a symbol of uncontrolled fury emerging from the fair, beautiful goddess Ambika in the battle with the demons in older goddess texts. Thereafter she gains independent existence both as the dark, mysterious and sexually demanding version of the more benign and auspicious Parvati and the Primordial Goddess Power pre-dating the Hindu trinity of male gods, the Universal Mother Force which embraces both good and evil, gods and demons in the Kalika Purana. Unlike other goddess texts which emphasize Kali's role in the battle against the demons, the Kalika Purana's focus is on her sexuality and her darkly sensual beauty. Equally it is on the heterodoxical rituals associated with her worship involving blood and flesh offerings, wine and the use of sexual intercourse as opposed to Vedic rituals.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.22158/jar.v1n1p1


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