I don’t know a lot about the Hindu pantheon, but I know I like Kali. She’s fierce.
Western interpretations – at least the ones I’ve seen – tend to fixate on her role as destroyer, and cast her as almost a demon to be feared. But yesterday, I was reading a book by Bri. Maya Tiwari, who gives a more balanced description of Kali:
” Kali is honored in India as the form of the Mother from whom the universe emerged and to whom it must return. To her devotees, she is the Great Mothers who nurtures and cares for them. She is also the force who insists on retooling our thoughts and actions which run counter to her laws and rhythms, and who dissolves the universe when the appointed time comes.”
I was reading about Kali just before reading about the Supreme Court’s decision to make same-sex marriage legal nationwide. Specifically, I was reading excerpts from the dissenting justices’ opinions on NPR. What a total mind fuck. These are supposed to be the most highly educated, wisest, revered judges in the land, and they’ve been reduced to babble. Not even legal-speak babble – just babble. To quote Scalia:
“Huh? How can a better informed understanding of how constitutional imperatives [whatever that means] define [whatever that means] an urgent liberty [never mind], give birth to a right?”
Alito actually wrote that he’s afraid the decision will “vilify Americans who are unwilling to assent to the new orthodoxy…I assume that those who cling to old beliefs will be able to whisper their thoughts in the recesses of their homes but if they repeat those views in public, they will risk being labeled as bigots and treated as such by governments, employers and schools.”
Well, yeah. That’s kind of what society does. I cling to my old belief that cucumbers are disgusting, but I don’t run around yelling it at salad bars, or picketing cucumber farms, because I would be treated like a crazy person. I truly hate cucumbers. I don’t buy them. There are no cucumbers in MY refrigerator. And no one can make me eat them – ever!! But, I also don’t try to keep other people from eating cucumbers. I understand that other people think they are tasty in some unfathomable way. Unless someone tries to hide cucumber in my sushi, I really don’t give a thought to cucumbers most days. Sure, maybe it would be nice (for me) if there were no cucumbers. Unfortunately, it really isn’t my decision to make. The world is what it is.
Back to Kali.
“In her hands, Kali wields the sword of knowledge, which cuts through ignorance; scissors, which cut attachment; a severed head, which symbolizes letting go of the rational mind and ego; and the lotus, which represents the fulfillment of spiritual life.”
So that’s what the severed head is all about. I’d gotten the impression she was just bloodthirsty. Kali means business when she says let go of the rational mind and ego.
Arguments about procreation, tradition, religion – none can come close to defining what a marriage is. But if you feel – not think, but feel – that you derive benefit from marrying the person you love and sharing a life together, then it becomes really hard to think that depriving someone else of that (even if they like cucumbers and, heaven forbid, pickles!), is the right thing to do.