Kali Battles the Demon Raktabija

It happened once, that the world was threatened by the Asuras (demons). The demons rallied together to overthrow the gods and gain control of the earth. The leader of this uprising was Raktabija, the demon-general.

Through the practice of austerities, Raktabija was granted a boon. This boon, granted by Brahma, allowed Raktabija's power to increase by a thousand every time a drop of his blood was spilled.

The demon soldiers, led by Raktabija, came forth and the gods trembled with outrage. The demons ravaged the earth and its inhabitants. Who would rid the world of this monster? In desperation the gods turned to their shakti (female energy) counterparts. The great and beautiful goddess Durga stepped forward. She had protected them before and was obliged to do it again.

Armed with the weapons of the gods, Durga rode into battle on a tiger, her champion mount. She switched goddess forms many time during battle, slaying demon soldiers as quickly as they advanced until all that remained was the demon-general.

The battle between Raktabija and the Devi ensued. Durga charged again and again; Raktabija's blood spilled everywhere. From each drop of blood a thousand more demons like him sprang up. Full armies arose from the puddles of Raktabija's blood. Demons advanced on the goddess by the thousands. They rode on elephants and horse drawn chariots. They laughed and shouted at the goddess' dilemma.

Upon seeing this, Durga became enraged. She knitted her brows in absolute fury. From this concentration came Kali, the Terrible One.

The whole universe shook with the thundering roar of this powerfully terrible goddess. Those demons who stood nearest the mighty Devi were consumed within the roaring rage of energy.

Kali emerged, naked except for a covering of tiger skin. Her skin was of the deepest black, and hung loosely on Her bones. This mad skeleton of a hag was armed with a skull topped staff, a noose, and the sword of Vengeance. She appeared most frightening with her blood red eyes,sunken deep into her skull, wild with raw power anxious to be unleashed and a third eye flaming brilliantly from her forehead. Her entangled black hair blew wildly about Her shoulders.

She turned her furious gaze upon the demon armies, half fell lifeless from the deadly grip of Her stare. She let out a loud and petrifying shriek and more fell dead to the ground at Kali's feet. With wild cackling, She advanced on Her enemies. She reached out with her claw-like hands and shoveled some of the remaining demons into her gaping mouth.

The rest turned away in fear of this ferocious Devi. The skies were filled with the sound of Her shrieking laughter. But Kali didn't stop at that. She stretched out Her bright red tongue and swallowed all of the elephants and their riders as they tried to run. The horse drawn chariots disappeared with another mouthful into the abyss of Dark Goddess.

With his armies fully destroyed, again the great Devi faced off with Raktabija. Kali pierced the demon in the side and quickly caught the flowing blood with her tongue and drank it greedily. The life energy of Rakatibija flowed out with his dripping blood like wine from a bottle. This time he was not given the chance to raise more demons from his blood. He was helpless in the face of this terrifying hag. Kali lifted him high in the air so she could more easily drain the blood from his body. Finally, drunken with the blood of victory, Kali, threw away the demon-general's corpse. The world was saved. . . . .almost.


The Dance of Victory

It was time for Kali to begin her victory dance among the demon corpses. By now She was drunk from Raktabija's blood and the effect it had on Her caused her to dance wildly. As She danced She threw Her head back and again filled the skies with her shrill cackling.

Her terrible laughter drew the attention of the gods who then came to see the outcome of the battle. They watched as she weaved in and out between the bodies of the demons. As she went she snatched up tokens of victory. From the demon hands she created a belt and from their heads she fashioned a garland which she wore around her neck. Her dancing grew more and more frenzied as she slipped into a trance. Her feet pounded out destruction with each step upon the earth.

Soon the demon corpses were reduced to mush, yet Kali continued dancing. It seemed as though nothing would stop Her, and again the world was on the verge of collapse. Something had to be done,and soon. The gods begged Shiva to intervene and calm Kali before it was too late.

Shiva did not yet believe that the world would be detroyed. As Lord of the Dance, He himself was enjoying the fine display of dancing. He laughed and waved the other gods away. "Let Kali enjoy herself,"he said, "Her job was well done."

That was right before he was unseated by the thunderous pounding of Kali's dance. When he attempted to right himself, another foot step from the Devi sent him flying in the air. He then understood the full force of what was taking place. He hurried down to the other gods. They again beseeched him to do something.

Shiva called out to Kali, but She could not hear him, such was the fever that raced through Her. She continued pounding what was left of demon flesh into oblivion. She rattled her staff and shook her great head. Her hair whipped wildly about causing great winds to carry off a few of the gods that were near by. She turned about, and lifted her arms to the sky, laughing crazily all the while. Nothing could stop this display of raw energy.
Shiva called out again, but again His words went unheard. Finally in an act of complete desperation, Shiva threw Himself down beneath Her feet.

Kali continued her frenzied dancing, pounding the life out of her husband. It was a few moments more before She realized that it was indeed Her husband, Shiva, who lay flattened at Her feet. This quickly brought Her out of Her trance, and She was once more the calm Devi.

Once more the world was saved from total destruction. Shiva's quick and selfless thinking had balanced the Devi's dance of destruction. With the world now safe, the gods returned to their regular routines.

Such is the nature of Kali.