Bhadrakali is one of the Supreme Deity mentioned in Devi Mahatmyam. She is the auspicious power of Time. The word ‘Bhadra’ means fortunate, good or auspicious. ‘ka’ means to get radiant. So the meaning of Bhadra means ‘to get the radiant glow of the goodness or welfare. Bhadrakali is the fearful and ferocious form of the mother goddess Durga, also known as the gentle Kali, is generally an auspicious form of the goddess Kali. Legend states that she came into being by Devi’s wrath, when Daksha insulted Shiva. It is believed that Bhadrakali was a local deity that was assimilated into the mainstream Hinduism, particularly into Shaiva mythology. Mother Bhadrakali is the auspicious and fortunate form of Kali. Generally she is considered as the Consort of Lord Shiva in his Rudra manifestation. At times she is also considered to be the consort of Virabhadra, one that was born of the wrath of Rudra.
TEMPLES: According to Tantra Rahasya, Bhadrakali arose from the Uttaramnaya or the north of Siva’s amnayas, face. The Matsya Purana states that she manifested in the north-central part of Bharatvarsha in the region of Mount Kalanjara, now known as Kalinjar. Bhadrakali temples are found widely but with a concentration in Kerala where they are known as Bhadrakalikabus. Rituals, bordering on art performance and other artistic manifestation of worship have for centuries been performed here to appease Bhadrakali. Bhadrakali worship is also predominant in the hilly tracts and plains closer to the Himalayas, many places in Tamil Nadu and parts of Karnataka, Andhra, Central India, Gujarat and Nepal. In Kashmir, Bhadrakali and Durga worship emerged simultaneously. It is indeed erroneous to consider Bhadrakali and Kali as one. They are two manifestations of Devi. Bhadrakali is ante-Kali. The Bhadrakali Temple in Warangal in Andhra Pradesh is known to be one of the oldest temples for Goddess Bhadrakali in India.
BHADRAKALI SHAKTIPEETH: Bhadrakali Shaktipeeth Kurukshetra is one of the 52 Shaktipeeth of the Divine Mother. The Devikoop Bhadrakali Temple is near Dwaipayan Sarovar in Kurukshetra, Haryana. It is said that the right ankle of Mother Sati fell here and is in the form of a Koop –well. The importance of this temple is found in Tantra Churamani. It is also the holy place where Lord Krishna offered worship of Mother Kali for the Pandavaas. It was pledged that if the Pandavas win, then Mother Bhadrakali would be offered the horses of his ratha. This tradition still continuous with gold, silver or clay horses being offered to Bhadrakali. Lord Krishna’s Mundan ceremony, first hair cutting was performed here. There is also a Shiva Linga in which head, ordination and sname is imprinted naturally. By tradition Lord Shiva is to be visited before Goddess Bhadrakali.
TANTRA and PURANAS: Mother Bhadrakali is a quite ancient mythological deity. With the advent of Shakta worship and tantric nature of Shaivism taking roots after 6th century AD, Kali worship and her eight other forms also took roots. Kali worship is a must for tantra puja so much so, erroneously, some Kuladevatas were presumed as forms of Kali by Tantra sadhaks. The entire Indian tantra literature is full of prayers and hymns for Mother. The Gadaparva of Mahabaratha, Padma Purana. Markendeya Purana, Chandi Purana of Sarala Das, Vishnu Purana and the second part of Harivamsa make vivid references to Goddess Badhrakali as all pervasive and eternal incarnation of Parambrahma. According to Durga Astottara Satanama stotra, She is the Emancipator of human soul. She appeared in various metaphysical forms for the general welfare of the Universe.
BLACK MAGIC: Black magic is both positive and negative. Temples black magic is a contradiction in terms, so one should express it positively in terms of extreme worship. Negative black magic is usually in the hands of individual practiotioners. As Atharvana Bhadrakali, she is popular in Kerala and Tamil Nadu in black-magic arts. She is propitiated to ward off the effects of black magic and this is positive prayer. Here she is also known as Prathyangira Devi. Both Atharvana and Prathyangira are associated with Shakti, the feminine energy of Devi. Prathiyanga is also the wife of Bhairava. Sri Bhadrakali uses ghee, red flowers, black pepper, Sea sum, Gingili seed, cooked rice, etc. This is very powerful for eliminating an enemy’s evil wishes. This neutralizes and eliminates an evil wish or thought directed against us and makes an enemy think favorable or pleasing thoughts about us.
LINGAM: Where a Lingam is venerated, then worship is observed to It first as in the Devikoop temple. These prayers do not follow convention. Vermillion is generously used to symbolize sacrificial blood. It is also symbolic of menstrual blood which is to be seen as purity. Menstruation goes to the issue of creation and not as a wasted emission from the body. Cutting of limes and into three parts each and rubbing vermillion on the exposed sides symbolizes life-giving sacrifice. The limes are then left to dry or offered into yajna to ensure the seeds to not grow at all. Pumpkin (Poosanikkaai) also serves the same purpose. Where real bird or animal life is sacrificed then the remains are either burned in the sacrificial fire or buried. Sometimes it is also cooked to be offered to the Deity.
In the abisheka only water, milk, turmeric, vermillion and panchamirtham of fruits are used. This lingam is unique in that it has a prominent Yoni base and V shaped where pradasa flows out. The V is symbolic of the womb. Collected prasada water in it reddish form is mixed with rice already cooked to be used as naivedya for Mother worship later. A serpent is depicted to coil at the base of the male aspect of the Lingam. Lingam worship is only the initial prayers as the formal prayer is to Mother Kali or Bhadrakali Amman. Black magic is never never invoked before a Lingam. It is disastrous to even think about it. It is only seeking of blessing before one proceeds to the Mother who is amiable to such prayers.
The Father may not want to hear tantric hymns such as ‘Thalayai aru’ – sever the head (of enemies) whereas the Mother may, as she loves Her children and wants to protect them. But then again, even one’s so-called enemies are Her children also and She treats them in accordance with karma phala.
MANTRA: Bhadrakali mantras are said to bring blessings for worldly power, earthly enjoyment, fearlessness, access to feminine powers and virtues. “Jayanti mangale Kali, Bhadrakali kapalini, durge ksame sive dhatri, svadge svahe namo’stu te” meaning ‘O victorious one, auspicious one, Kali, Bhadrakali! Wearer of the skulls garland, O Mother, All forgiving protector and nurse, Sacred syllable of the sacrifice, I bow down to you.’
Om Bhadrakali, Naraayani Namastute.
Yogi Ananda Sarawathi