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Exploring the Threefold Nature of Kāli: A Deep Dive into Sanātana Sādhanā's Hidden Stream




The Sanskrit mantra, "kālikāyai vidmahē, śamaśānavāsinnai dhīmahi, tannō ghōrē pracōdayāt", alludes to the divine Goddess Kāli in three distinct stages: firstly as Kālika, secondly as Shamshānavāsini, and thirdly as Ghōra. The stages demarcate the gradual and profound spiritual transformation of a devotee.

In the initial stage, Kāli appears to the devotee as Kālika. As the devotee delves deeper into meditation, Kāli, the divine embodiment of time and transformation, progressively draws the aspirant towards her. This attraction morphs the devotee's heart into a metaphorical cremation ground, marking the second stage of Shamshānavāsini. This is a symbolic representation of how the divine resides within the heart that has purged worldly desires, akin to a cremation ground.


Reaching the state of Shamshānavāsini paves the way to the third stage, Ghōra. In this state, the goddess, seated in the heart, guides the devotee on the path of knowledge and duty, just as a machine is directed by its operator. This phase is termed 'Ghōra' as it presents the fierce, driving force aspect of the goddess.


It's essential to note that this third stage transcends the notions of duality or semi-duality. Here, it's not a nihilistic, featureless, or powerless state of non-duality, but rather it is filled with divine play of conscious energy. This stage is neither entirely theistic nor atheistic, rather it is a transcendental state beyond both.

Even though this is the liberated and accomplished state, it doesn't forgo the divine play of supreme devotion. The reason being the individual soul and the goddess co-exist in an unbroken form – one as the observer and the other as the instigator.

The individual soul bears witness, but it does not identify with the body that it inhabits. The responsibility of the body's actions is taken up by the Goddess herself. She, according to her divine will, continuously enacts knowledge and action in the body through her rays of wisdom and activity. As a silent spectator, when the individual soul witnesses this without ego attachment, it experiences supreme bliss.


This third stage is the culmination of the synthesis of the sentient, insentient, and divine. This stage represents the grand unification of these three, presenting an ultimate holistic worldview.


In conclusion, this esoteric stream of Sanātana Sādhanā offers a profound and transformative spiritual journey. The understanding of these three stages of divine revelation, as represented by Goddess Kāli, is a pathway to spiritual liberation and ultimate bliss. Through these stages, one learns to not just transcend the ego but to realize the divine within, illuminating the path towards ultimate liberation and oneness with the divine.


Translation & Compilation

Hemanth Kumar G

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