Maa Kalratri : The Night Goddess
Goddess Kalratri is the ferocious form of the Mother Goddess Durga (Navdurga). The goddess is adulated during the Navratri Pooja and especially on the seventh day. According to the ancient Hindu scripture of Goddess Durga, Markandeya Purana, Kalratri is represented as the slayer of the kaal. Many people confuse Kalratri with the Goddess Kali. Goddess Kali is mentioned distinctly in Hinduism around six hundred CE, whereas one will find the traces of Maa Kaalratri pooja in Mahabharata around 300 CE.
The Goddess is also popular by the name of Subhankari. The word Subhankari is derived from Sanskrit, which means auspicious. Worshiping the goddess with full faith and devotion is supposed to bring peace and stability to life. Dhumorna and Raudri are the other names of the goddess. The Kaalratri form of mother goddess encompasses destruction and death.
Symbolical representations of the Goddess:
The appearance of Goddess Kalratri is enough to invoke fear at first sight. Her dark night like complexion makes her look terrifying. With long tresses left open, the goddess has three eyes and four hands. Rays emanate like light from her three eyes. Around her neck, the goddess wears a necklace of black beads. The goddess holds sharp objects made of iron in her left upper and left lower hand. The upper right hand of the goddess is in Abhay Mudra, and the lower left is in Varada Mudra. With Abhaya Mudra, Kalaratri accords divine protection, benevolence and peace. With Varada Mudra, the Goddess bestows generosity. Donkey is the vahana of Kalaratri and she is believed to be the destroyer of the evil influences and negative energies.
Despite her fiery appearance, the Goddess is graciously generous towards her devotees. She eliminates all the hurdles from the life of the devotees and sets them free from the sufferings. Goddess Kalratri blesses her devotees with power, place and position in their respective fields.
Scriptural references of Goddess Kalratri
In Silpa Prakasha, an ancient tantric scripture Maa Kalratri is believed to be someone, who rules the night. The Pooja of Goddess is supposed to invoke the Sahasara Chakra, which blesses the devotees with niddhis and siddhis.
In Sauptika Purana of Mahabharata, the references of Goddess Kalaratri can easily be traced dating back to 300 BCE to 300 CE. The references of her appearance can be found when the battle between the Pandava and Kaurava was on the finishing line. Goddess Kalratri is said to have appeared in her most frenzied form when Ashwathama sneaked into the Kuru Camp (which was now occupied by victorious Pandava) to avenge his father’s death. The appearance of the Goddess is described as that of dark skinned female form with burning red eyes. She was attired in a single piece of red colored cloth with crimson garlands.
Skanda Purana illustrates that Goddess Parvati, with the objective to relieve the gods and goddesses from the terror of the Durgamasur (King of Demons), took the form of Kalratri. The ancient scripture mentions that Goddess in order to reveal her Kalratri dark skin coloured form removed her golden coloured skin.
The Goddess Kalratri is also cited in the Vishnu Purana. She is described as the feminine form of the Lord of Death, Yama.
Legends associated with Goddess Kalratri
Legends are a proof of the ferocious form of the mother goddess. According to mythology, two demons, Nishumbha and Shumba invaded the abode of gods, Devaloka and started troubling them with their sinful acts. The gods were unable to confront them as the asuras or demons were blessed with supernatural powers. The ruler of gods, Indira with all the demigods approached Shiva and asked for Maa Parvati’s help in getting back their humble abode. The group of gods started praying to Goddess Parvati. Since she was bathing at the particular point of time, so she created another goddess, Chandi to resolve the issue of the gods and put an end to the wrath of the asuras. Hearing this, Nishumbha and Sumbha sent two generals – Chanda and Munda. When the battle began, Chandi acquired her Kaalratri form and ferociously killed the two generals. Since then the goddess is also popular by the name of Chamunda. The death of Chanda and Munda was so disturbing for the demons that they decided to take revenge from the gods.
Henceforth, another demon Raktabeeja arrived. He was granted the boon that wherever his blood will drop, another asura will arise from that drop. The fearful fight between Kaalratri and Raktabeeja began. Every time Raktabeeja’s blood plunged on the ground, his clone re-appeared. This made Kaalratri so ferocious that she started collecting every drop of blood that slumped from his body in a bowl and then gulped it. Thus, she killed Raktabeeja and helped the gods to return to their abode peacefully.
How to worship Maa Kalratri / Popular Mantras for Kalratri Pooja
Her Favorite Flower you should use in pooja – Night blooming jasmine (रात रानी)
ॐ देवी कालरात्र्यै नमः॥
Om Devi Kalaratryai Namah॥
एकवेणी जपाकर्णपूरा नग्ना खरास्थिता।
लम्बोष्ठी कर्णिकाकर्णी तैलाभ्यक्त शरीरिणी॥
वर्धन मूर्धध्वजा कृष्णा कालरात्रिर्भयङ्करी॥
Ekaveni Japakarnapura Nagna Kharasthita।
Lamboshthi Karnikakarni Tailabhyakta Sharirini॥
Vardhana Murdhadhwaja Krishna Kalaratrirbhayankari॥
या देवी सर्वभूतेषु माँ कालरात्रि रूपेण संस्थिता। नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमो नमः॥
Ya Devi Sarvabhuteshu Ma Kalaratri Rupena Samsthita।
Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastasyai Namo Namah॥
करालवन्दना घोरां मुक्तकेशी चतुर्भुजाम्।
कालरात्रिम् करालिंका दिव्याम् विद्युतमाला विभूषिताम्॥
दिव्यम् लौहवज्र खड्ग वामोघोर्ध्व कराम्बुजाम्।
अभयम् वरदाम् चैव दक्षिणोध्वाघः पार्णिकाम् मम्॥
महामेघ प्रभाम् श्यामाम् तक्षा चैव गर्दभारूढ़ा।
घोरदंश कारालास्यां पीनोन्नत पयोधराम्॥
सुख पप्रसन्न वदना स्मेरान्न सरोरूहाम्।
एवम् सचियन्तयेत् कालरात्रिम् सर्वकाम् समृध्दिदाम्॥
Karalavandana Ghoram Muktakeshi Chaturbhujam।
Kalaratrim Karalimka Divyam Vidyutamala Vibhushitam॥
Divyam Lauhavajra Khadga Vamoghordhva Karambujam।
Abhayam Varadam Chaiva Dakshinodhvaghah Parnikam Mam॥
Mahamegha Prabham Shyamam Taksha Chaiva Gardabharudha।
Ghoradamsha Karalasyam Pinonnata Payodharam॥
Sukha Prasanna Vadana Smeranna Saroruham।
Evam Sachiyantayet Kalaratrim Sarvakam Samriddhidam॥
हीं कालरात्रि श्रीं कराली च क्लीं कल्याणी कलावती।
कालमाता कलिदर्पध्नी कमदीश कुपान्विता॥
कुमतिघ्नी कुलीनर्तिनाशिनी कुल कामिनी॥
क्लीं ह्रीं श्रीं मन्त्र्वर्णेन कालकण्टकघातिनी।
कृपामयी कृपाधारा कृपापारा कृपागमा॥
Him Kalaratri Shrim Karali Cha Klim Kalyani Kalawati।
Kalamata Kalidarpadhni Kamadisha Kupanvita॥
Kumatighni Kulinartinashini Kula Kamini॥
Klim Hrim Shrim Mantrvarnena Kalakantakaghatini।
Kripamayi Kripadhara Kripapara Kripagama॥
ऊँ क्लीं मे हृदयम् पातु पादौ श्रीकालरात्रि।
ललाटे सततम् पातु तुष्टग्रह निवारिणी॥
रसनाम् पातु कौमारी, भैरवी चक्षुषोर्भम।
कटौ पृष्ठे महेशानी, कर्णोशङ्करभामिनी॥
वर्जितानी तु स्थानाभि यानि च कवचेन हि।
तानि सर्वाणि मे देवीसततंपातु स्तम्भिनी॥
Om Klim Me Hridayam Patu Padau Shrikalaratri।
Lalate Satatam Patu Tushtagraha Nivarini॥
Rasanam Patu Kaumari, Bhairavi Chakshushorbhama।
Katau Prishthe Maheshani, Karnoshankarabhamini॥
Varjitani Tu Sthanabhi Yani Cha Kavachena Hi।
Tani Sarvani Me Devisatatampatu Stambhini॥
On the seventh day of Durga Pooja, Kalratri is worshiped with all the vidihis or rituals. The sequence of rituals for her worship is almost similar to that of pooja on all other nine days. Popular for tantras, the seventh day is the most awaited day for tantriks as they worship the goddess at midnight with all the tantric rituals. This night is also known as the night of siddhis.
The pooja of Kaalratri brings prosperity. She removes all the darkness. The negative movement of the planets recedes bringing stability to the life of devotees. Maa Kalratri is worshiped for the annihilation of evil influences of mankind. Worshiping Kaalratri ensures the longevity of life. She protects her devotees from the evil influences. Her dreadful appearance and generous nature are totally opposite. Protecting her devotees at every step, Goddess Kaalratri bestows freedom from adversity.
Invoking Goddess Kaalratri on the seventh day of Navratri empowers devotees with devouring qualities of ratri (night) and kaal (time). Both ratri and kaal have the audacity of destroying things with its consuming nature. Worshiping Goddess Kalaratri ensures success in all the undertakings and endeavors of life.
Other Forms of Navdurga: