Once upon a time, two demons Sumbho and Nishumbho plagued the Earth and the Heaven. They posed a challenge to Indra, the king of Gods and his kingdom. To stop this the gods prayed to Goddess Durga who is the eternal Shakti of the Universe. In answer to their prayers, Goddess Kali was born from the forehead of Goddess Durga.
Kali killed the errant asuras with a 'khara' which is kind of twisted sword in her hand. Once she started slaying the demons, she could no longer stop. Any demons who crossed her path were slayed. She then made a garland of the heads of dead demons and wore around her neck. To pacify her anger, her husband Shiva lay down in her path. When she stepped on her husband in her fury, she stuck her tongue out in regret. Her fury ended and particular image is portrayed with her tongue stuck out and her foot on Shiva.
Kali Pujo is a tantric pujo performed on the new moon night of Kartik amabasya in October / November (Bengali month of Ashwin). This happens on the same day as Diwali celebrated in the rest of India. According to legend Raja Krishna Chandra who was the king of Navadipa, began this Bengali pujo of Mahakali in the eighteenth century. Since then, the tradition was continued by his descendants and by the rich zamindar families in Bengal under their patronage.
Goddess Kali has 4 forms: the four armed Dakhina Kali, the ten armed Mahakali, the Sashan Kali & the maternal Kali.
|The four-armed Devi Kali otherwise called Dakshinakali is the most common form of Goddess Kali. Daksinakali is the most popular form of Kali. The four arms of Devi Kali carries a sword, a trishul (trident), a severed head, and a bowl (skull-cup or kapala). The bowl is used to collect the blood of the severed head. Two of her hands (right) are in the abhaya (fearlessness) and varada (blessing) mudra. These two hands means that anyone worshipping her with a true heart will be saved and guided hereafter.|
|Goddess Kali in the ten armed form is known as Mahakali, the bigger aspect of Kali. She is depicted with a blue skin in her Mahakali form. Mahakali has ten faces, ten feet, and three eyes for each head|
|Sashan Kali is the most dangerous and powerful form of Devi Kali. Sashan Kali is the chief goddess of Tantric texts. It is said that if Devi Kali steps out with the left foot and holds the sword in her right hand, she is in the form of Sashan Kali. She is the Kali of the cremation ground and is worshiped by tantrics.|
|One more form of Devi Kali is known to exist, the Maternal Kali. This form is the most pleasing and calm form of Kali and is not associated with war or destruction. It is said that at the time of samundra manthan when amrito (nectar) came out along with poison, Lord Shiva drank the poison to save the world from being destroyed. However, Lord Shiva was so much in pain due to the poison that at this momemt, Lord Shiva became a child. Devi Kali fed him with her milk which soothed the effect of poison.|