Maa Kaalratri is one of the terrifying forms of Goddess Durga and is also known as Maa Kaali. The word ‘Kaal’ usually denotes ‘time or death’, and the word ‘Ratri’ means ‘night’. Therefore, she is also known as the Goddess who ends darkness.
Maa Kaalratri is believed to destroy ghosts, evil spirits, and demon entities. Since it is believed that she brings good news, she is also called Shubhankari.
History and Origin
Shumbha and Nishumbha were once wicked demons. Their brother, Namuchi was killed by the God of Heaven – Indra Deva. The news devastated them both, and they decided to take revenge on the gods. Soon, they launched a fierce attack on the Gods and defeated them. Chandha, Mundha, and Raktabeej assisted them in this attack.
The three were old friends of Mahishasura, who was killed by Maa Katyayani. They all became rulers of the three worlds together.
Indra and the other Gods went to the Himalayas to worship Goddess Parvati. In order to help them, she created another goddess – Chandi. Goddess Chandi killed most of the demons sent by Shumbha and Nishumbha. The demons Chandha, Mundha, and Raktabeej, however, were too powerful for her to kill them. Thus, Goddess Chandi created another goddess from her forehead, who came to be known as Kaalratri or Kaali.
Chandha and Mundha were killed by Maa Kaalratri. She is also known as Chamunda. Following this, Goddess Chandi and Goddess Kaalratri fought the powerful demon Raktabeej. Raktabeej, a devotee of Lord Bramha, possessed a special boon from him according to which, if even a drop of his blood fell to the ground, another lookalike of him would be created from that drop. As Maa Kaalratri fought and injured Raktabeej, several clones of him were created.
Seeing this, Maa Kaalratri became enraged and began drinking the blood of every clone of Raktabeej. As a result, his blood did not fall to the ground and ultimately he was killed by Maa Kaalratri. Later, she killed Shumbha and Nishumbha and restored peace to the three worlds.
She is known for having a very dark complexion and long, untied hair. In addition to being drenched in blood, Maa Kaalratri wears a garland of skulls around her neck and has four hands. In two of her hands, she holds a thunderbolt and scimitar, while her other two hands are in the abhaya (protecting) and varada (blessing) positions.As a result, it is believed that Maa Kaalratri blesses and protects her devotees. During Navratri, she is worshipped and honored because she can destroy all darkness and bring peace to the world.