Kali is probably the fiercest of all the world’s deities. She is an avatar of Durga. She gained popularity because of the ancient 5th or 6th century composition of Devi Mahatmya. In it, she was depicted as having been born from the brows of Goddess Durga during a battle with the evil forces who were out to destroy all peace on earth and only Goddess Durga or her incarnation could destroy these demons. According to legend, during the battle, Kali became over zealous and started destroying everything in sight thereby portraying the destructive forces harbored amongst Gods. In order to stop this mindless destruction, the all-powerful Lord Shiva threw himself under her feet. Kali was shocked beyond belief for having almost crushed to death this great God and she stuck out her tongue in astonishment and shock.
Thus her raging destructive madness was put to an end. Therefore the idols of Kali are modeled after this image with her standing with one foot on Shiva’s chest and her tongue stuck out.
It is a tantrik Puja and performed only at midnight on Amavasya (new moon night) in November. People revere this fearful Goddess and Kali Puja is always done most religiously to ward of destructive forces that she once embodied.
The Ceremonial Rituals
Kali Puja is performed to diminish the ego and all negative tendencies that hinder spiritual progress and material prosperity. Performed on the night of Kartik Amavasya, which falls in October/November, Kali Puja is an intense invocation to the fearsome goddess. The main purpose of the Puja is to seek the help of the goddess in destroying evil - both in the outside world and within us.
It is said that Maharaja Krishnan Chandra of Nawadweep gave an order that everyone, in his domain should worship Kali. Punishment was given to the defaulters. Thus more than 10,000 images of Kali began to be worshipped in his domain. Before the present Kali Puja, Ratanti Kali Puja was celebrated in ancient times. Kali is worshipped as the Mother Goddess who protects from evil. She also epitomizes strength or ‘Shakti’ and the darker side of life. The actual Puja takes place at midnight on the day of the new moon.