Kali, or Mahakali, the Dark Mother, is a deity with whom devotees have a very loving and intimate bond, in spite of her fearful appearance. She is a fearful and ferocious form of the mother
. She is believed to have born from the brow of Goddess Durga during one of her battles with the evil forces.
Kali has four arms, and carries a sword in one hand and the head of a demon in another. Her other two hands are raised in blessing, as if to say, ‘fear not’. In the place of earrings, she has two dead heads. She also has a string of skulls as necklace, and a girdle made of human hands as her clothing. Her tongue protrudes from her mouth, eyes are red, and face and breasts are drenched in blood. She stands with one foot on the thigh, and another on the chest of Shiva, her husband.
This pre-historic goddess is widely worshiped in North India, especially West Bengal. Navratri, or Dussehra, in West Bengal is related to Kali-worship. Saints like Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa and Swami Vivekananda are renowned Kali devotees.