Kali’s dancing God

I worship Adya Kalika... as she watches Mahakala dancing... 

...words from the Mahanirvana Tantra.1This is a most valuable Sanskrit work about worship of the Goddess and her God, though historians differ wildly about how old it is.

Adya, the First One, is a name of the Goddess.

Mahakala is a name of masculine gender. Maha means great. Kala means time, fate, destiny. This word Kala is the masculine noun closest to the feminine Kali.

Sanskrit and Bengali works about Kali often mention

Mahakala as her partner and first devotee - the Siva who lies beneath her.

The word Kala can refer to time as destroyer. For instance in the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna reveals himself as Kala Lokakshayakrit,2 world-destroying Kala.

On the other hand, the Maitri Upanishad praises Kala as the great creative principle. He has the form of the Sun and the Year, and is the

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Read our page A God for the Goddess.

source of all creatures.3

Recent works in English about Kali have said comparatively little about this male other self of hers.

1Avalon, A. (Woodroffe, J.) (ed); Mahanirvana Tantra[Sanskrit]; Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi, 1977 (1st ed: 1929); chapter 5 verse 141. Woodroffe also published an English translation of the Mahanirvana Tantra, which you can find online at
2 Chidbhavananda, Swami (ed); The Bhagavad Gita [Sanskrit and English]; Sri Ramakrishna Tapovanam, Tirupparaitturai, Tamil Nadu, 1975; chapter 11 verse 32.
3 Radhakrishnan, S.; The Principal Upanisads [Sanskrit and English]; George Allen and Unwin, London, 1953; Maitri Up. chapter VI verse 15.

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