The Kalika Purana is Hindu scripture that belongs to the 10th -11th century AD. It is written in Sanskrit, celebrating the power of the divine feminine in various forms centring around Goddess Kamakhya or Goddess Kalika. The Kalika Purana describes Goddess Kalika as the supreme deity who is present in different forms in accordance with the need of time. Kalika Purana showcases goddess Kalika as an independent form and superior to male gods.
Puranas And Upa – Puranas
The Puranas is a set of religious texts that embark on the journey of a different genre of Hindu literature. There are around 18 great Puranas and the others on the lists are called Upa Puranas. Like all the other Sanskrit hymns and verses, the Puranas are also related to Vedas and are categorized as Smriti (the ones that are recital in nature).
Unlike the Vedas being dedicated to all the gods, the Puranas are dedicated to a single god. The Puranas signify the new form of Hinduism and thus, they are often rephrased as “Puranic Hinduism”. The Puranas represent a structure of Hinduism as it is presented and practised today. It showcases the evolutionary stage of history in Hindu Scriptures focusing on the religious practices performed by any individual.
The importance of female deity in the Puranas differs from what is mentioned in Vedic literature. The importance to the deity is given in accordance with the material context. The position of Goddess Saraswati, Lakshmi and Parvati are different. They are represented as the better half and wives of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.
One ultimate difference is mentioned in the Markandeya Purana, Where it is made every prominent that the ultimate reality of the world is female power, A Goddess.
And keeping in mind the diligence of Markandeya Purana, many Upa Puranas were written along the subsequent period. Thus, laying more importance to the concept of Shaktism. In the Kalika Purana, the goddess is portrayed as the Adhyasakti, meaning the primaeval power. Adhyasakti is the one that defines the energy that created the universe and activated the male energy.
Most of the Mahapuranas insist on worshipping Sakti. In some Upa Puranas, it is so prominent that they are labelled as Sakta Upa Puranas. Kalika Purana is one among the Sakta Upa Purana. Kalika Purana embodies the manifestation of Goddess Kamkhya of Kalika in various forms.
Introduction To The Kalika Purana
The Kalika Purana is one of the revered and famous scriptures. It is one of the Sakta Upa Puranas used to worship the goddess. It starts with a salutation to Lord Vishnu and this shifts gradually to the goddess being the fundamental form of the universe. The Kalika Purana enhances the female power to be the core creator of the universe who can personalize into different forms according to the need of the universe.
Sometimes she is in the form of providing wealth to her devotees, while in some other episodes she is in terrible form destroying evil. Thus the Goddess in the Kalika Purana has many faces. She is called by more than fifty names, while many of these names are simply honorific (for example, Mahamaya, Maheswari, Jaganmayi, Kaali Maa).
Different Forms Of The Goddess
Let us discuss the different forms of the goddess as mentioned above.
- Goddess Kalika and Lord Vishnu
In the very first chapter of Kalika Purana, Goddess Kalika is associated with Lord Vishnu. The text starts with a salutation to Lord Vishnu and thus, salutations offered to Goddess Kalika. Here, in the first chapter, she was referred to as the Vishnumaya and is portrayed as the protector of the common being and the bestower of salvation to all her devotees.
Vishnumaya is described as the protector who encompasses the alluring charm of all the living beings on the planet and thus, destroys the evil desire in the minds of pure people. Here Goddess is the consort of Vishnu and this of all the deities, Vishnu is the first male deity with whom Goddess Kalika is associated in the Kalika Purana
Out of all the other gods, he is the most associated god with the goddess Kalika. Through the Kalika Purana, he is the consort of Goddess. The text wherein the association of Lord Shiva has discussed that the birth and rebirth of Goddess takes place only to marry or enchant Lord Shiva and to do the welfare of the world.
In Kalika Purana, the illusive power of Goddesses is given utmost praise. The supreme divinity is addressed as Mahamaya. The illusive power of the Goddess enchants the gods to enhance the process of creation of the universe Thus, you can say that with this elusive power the creation of this universe would not have been possible. She is so-called because of her power to lure creatures into different emotions of anger, temptation and attachment.
- Goddess Kalika – The Supreme
From the Vedic period, the supreme divinity is present as one fundamental. The Kalika Purana is a Sakta Purana, which mentions the idea of female supreme divinity in many passages. The Goddess is presented as superior to the Hindu trinity- Vishnu, Brahma and Shiva.
- Goddess Of Vegetation And Fertility
In some phrases of Kalika Purana, the Goddess is associated with vegetation and the fertility of the soil. The earth spirit is female and presiding deities of agriculture are mainly goddesses because the idea of fertility and reproduction is connected with women.
The colour red is frequently connected with the Mother Goddess, as it represents the menstrual blood and thus it is the symbol of fertility and represents the earth or Mother Goddess. In the Kalika Purana, the list of the offerings to the Goddess red cloth is praised as the best of the sacrificial items.
In Kalika Purana, the Goddess is portrayed as a bloodthirsty goddess, this form of goddess seeks sacrificial humans and animals. Blood sacrifice to the goddesses called the best of all the offerings. In tribal societies, the absorption of fluids ensures the regeneration of life. Thus, the Kalika Purana, where the goddesses symbol of fertility also, narrates the Goddess as blood-thirsty to whom offering of blood sacrifices.
In some episodes of Kalika Purana, the goddess is described as a deity who goes to war to protect the world. The deity goes to war with the demons and also leads the world to victory and succession here worshippers on the battlefield. The Kalika Purana devotes itself to the governing role of the kings and to worldly politics. Many rituals are also designed to ensure the prosperity of the kingdom and the conquest of the enemies.
Kamarupa is the most sacred pitha where Shiva and Parvati always reside. Kamarpura is praised as the most sacred land of the goddess. The Goddess Kamakhya is rare and thus is presented in the text as the form of the Supreme Goddess to be worshipped in the region of Kamarpura.
Goddess Kalika has been mentioned and portrayed in different forms in Puranic Literature. The goddess is portrayed as the supreme divinity and there are doubts that the goddess in any form is the female version of Lord Vishnu. However, throughout the Kalika Purana, it is mentioned that the Goddess is a single divinity in fundamental form and is superior to all male gods.
Kalika Purana is a Hindu text compiled around thousand of years ago, containing sacred stories, the passage of praise, rituals and description of sacred places. In Kalika Puran, various names like Devi, Goddess and ultimate feminine power are given to goddess Kalika. A major theme of Kalika Purana is the incarnation of Goddess Parvati. In these forms, she emulates the yogic practices of Lord Shiva. Similarly, Goddess Kalika and her reference with Lord Vishnu are discussed in the Kalika Purana.
Kalika Purana expresses the ultimate form of Mukti as the goal of life. The other goals include dharma, artha and karma. In addition to the summit, it is also mentioned that the Kalika is the wine goddess who responds to personal devotion, and who can grant both world and spiritual fulfilment.