Kali Chaudas – Worshipping the Goddess of Darkness
Kali Chaudas is the festival attributed to KaliKali
There are several traditions of how Kali came into existence... – the goddess of darkness – and she is regarded as one of the most ferocious forms of Shakti. The name Kali She is the embodiment of empowerment and a fierce aspect of the Goddess. She is black in her complexion and thus she is named Kali. She is the Goddess of time, power, change and destruction and is majorly worshipped in South India, Bengal and AssamChaudas is a two word conjugation in which “Kali” means “dark or evil” and “Chaudas” means “fourteenth”. Hence, Kali Chaudas is celebrated on the fourteenth day during waning moon phase in the Kartik month (October to November), according to the Hindu calendar. Kali Chaudas is generally celebrated in the western states of India, especially Gujarat.
A famous legend states that on this day Kali killed a very powerful demon called Raktabeej. It is believed that Raktabeej had a boon due to which it was impossible to kill him. He had the power to develop several clones of him with a single drop of his blood that would fall on the ground. As such, whenever he used to fight in a battle, at any time when he would be injured and started to bleed, his several clones would form and overwhelm the opposition, thus, defeating his enemies. Terrified and depressed by his tyranny, people prayed to Kali to help them. Kali came to the rescue of her worshippers and, soon, a war between Kali and Raktabeej ensued. Whenever Kali attacked and injured Raktabeej, he would start to bleed and as soon as his blood fell on the ground, several clones of his grew and strengthened his army. Thus, any attacks on him proved to be futile. After some time, however, Kali came up with a plan. Now, whenever she attacked him and he started to bleed, she would drink that blood before it could fall down on the ground. Eventually, over the course of action, she drank all of his blood and, hence, killed the demon to the very joy and happiness of her devotees.
On Kali Chaudas, taking a bath and washing your head properly is very important. Applying kohl, black soot, in the eyes is considered quite auspicious on this day as it is believed to ward off the evil spirits. Various food items are prepared with the help of partially cooked rice, grains of which should be from the fresh harvest of the season. Food items are also offered to the forefathers to keep them happy and satisfied, and their blessings are asked for. The most fervent of devotees, generally yogis and hermits, offer prayers to Kali by visiting crematorium at midnight and worship the goddess there.
The day is celebrated with great devotion and it is the duty of a devotee to cast away laziness form his/her life and worship Kali with purity and sincerity. In turn, Kali is pleased and blesses her devotees and worshippers by protecting them and keeping the evil spirits away from them. The gist of the festival is simple – to throw away all that is evil, dark and negative, and bring light and positivity into one’s life.