Twenty-Four Aspects of Mother Kali
By Babaji Bob Kindler
| from Nectar of Non-Dual Truth, Summer 2001 issue
How does one respond to a book every sentence of which demands extensive contemplation and not a cursory reading? Babaji has written a book, the immediate impact of which in every sense of the word is inward. The fascinating and equally frightening goddess is meditated upon in this book in her varied aspects which represent the cosmos itself. The 24 aspects are evoked rather than described. A key to the tone of the book is provided by the preamble "Her Vision". In words which point to rare tuning, Babaji says, striking a personal note, "I can attest, my friend, that she is no ordinary Divinity! Why else should the God of non-dual Wisdom have fallen at Her Feet in speechless amazement!"
The authentic personal awareness is unmistakable. This is no academic analysis or the fashionable feminist critique. Perhaps, it offers an alternate version, if not a corrective, to such proliferating studies ranging from full-length studies to sporadic articles. The complexity and quite often bewildering facets of the Mother are pointed out in depth and familiarity with sadhana which unlocks the secrets in the depths of one's contemplation. Every chapter is an evocation of the paradoxes which quite often shock or even repel those who are not used to the blend of the sublime and the terrible in spirituality. The various features of the Goddess Babaji links to the spiritual facets. In other words, the physical is interiorized in terms of the features that mask the cosmos in which we live. With this correspondence, the apparently bizarre becomes symbolic of the nature, structure and functioning of the cosmos. Thus, the Mother's 4 arms, her garland of human heads, her nakedness, the protruding tongue, the lightning flashes from her teeth, the anklets and bracelets of snakes, her demon and jackal companions, to name a few, are seen through as informing the sublime vision of the cosmic Mother who holds in balance time and timelessness, destruction and creativity without fragmenting or privileging. "The Divine Mother," says Babaji loves to sport in the diverse world of polar opposites and it is her desire that all beings play for a time as well," thus her "wisdom sword saves and liberates, acting to protect precious life forms from untimely disasters." Thus the 4 arms become varada mudra, abhaya mudra, the sword of wisdom and the severed head. In a uniquely illuminating evocation and analysis of one of the most controversial features of Mother Kali, her nakedness, Babaji offers something which has not been analyzed in this way before. he sees nakedness as the exposure of pure revelation which is crystallized in the "Truths of Truth". This is a complex ranging from achintya to avyaya. This is a unique analysis and approach, the authenticity of which can come only from the experiential dimension. Similar are the chapters on Kali's protruding tongue, the anklets and bracelets of snakes, her demon and jackal companions and above all her cosmic dance. Babaji makes the inter text of Ramprasad, Kamalakanta and others illumine his own meditations. It strikes me that this book can come only from someone who has had inward glimpses of the truths he articulates. Right now Kali is a fertile field of exploration by the Western psyche. In fact, Rachel Fell McDermott has suggested the emergence of Western versions of Kali. But Babaji's book can be read without that dull aesthetic and academic pain inflicted by most studies and with positive enjoyment. In short, this is a contemplative cyclopedia of the magic and mystery of Mother Kali indispensable specially for lovers of Kali's Child and the Holy Mother.
Osmania University, Hyderbad, India