One of the most famous stories of Maa Kali is of battle between demons and goddesses.
According to the eighth chapter of Devi Mahatmya from Markandeya Puran, there was a demon named Raktabija (literal meaning - blood seed). He had been given boon by Lord Bramha that every time a drop of his blood fell on the ground, his strengeth would increase many times by his blood creating more of his own.
The mother of the universe, the Goddess Durga, leads the charge in fighting the demons that are intent on destroying the earth. The goddesses kill all the demons except for the strongest one, Raktabija. Every time Durga tries to kill Raktabija, his blood hits the ground and creates a clone. Durga summons the goddess Kali. She picks up Raktabija, pierces him in the side with her sword, and pops her tongue out so that his blood can’t touch the ground. She’s victorious as Raktabija can’t clone himself and perishes.
Maa Kaali is worshipped for obvious reason that she embodies the fierce and strong feminine, but also because she’s complex. Kali is not all that she seems at first glance - that’s for sure. There are many things she can teach us.
Kali teaches us to be a great protector
There’s no doubt that there’s a lot of terrible things happening in the world. If we flick through Facebook or take in any news at all, we can become overwhelmed with all the injustice and horror. The bad stuff may also very much be in our day-to-day lives, right in front of us. In many ways we are at the edge of the battlefield, watching Raktabija clone himself again and again. It can seem hopeless.
This story of Kali inspires us to be like her. We need to step up and do things that reduce the propagation of terror, bigotry, ignorance, evil, and injustice. When we see Raktabija, we should take action.
Kali teaches us that it’s important to overcome our ego
We’ve already understand that Maa Kali is a legend and an overcomer, but there’s more to her than that. Many images of Kali show her with a sword of divine knowledge in one of her hands and a severed head in another. This symbolizes that ego (the head) must be slayed by wisdom and insight (the sword).
The ego is always looking for identity, superiority, or inferiority. Those of us who practice yoga often battle our egos during practice. We compare ourselves to others; we are proud or put ourselves down. Some days, the ego is gone and we are in flow, and it’s glorious.
Kali teaches us that identity doesn’t matter; it needs to be released and dissolved. There are more important things to focus on, such as loving and protecting.
Kali teaches us that there’s profound meaning in darkness
Kali reminds us that darkness can take a different form. The point at which all is dissolved can be the point of where we can access the infinite. Some find this through meditation and yoga, others through travel, others through doing what they love, others through service. When we say to ourselves, “I am nothing,” then we are connecting with vibrating life, the profound relaxation of letting go so that we can drink it in.