Addressing Alleged Human Sacrifice In Hinduism By Hindu Monk C.D Johnson.

So, yesterday, group member James Torres felt it necessary to post to my personal page the lines from that racist movie, Indian Jones And The Temple Of Doom, concerning the scene about human sacrifice and goddess Kali Ma, also known as Kali Devi or Kalika. I can only presume that he did so because he hates me just as much as I hate him, and he realized I was a Hindu Shakta, Kali Devi being my Ishta-Devata, which basically means the god of choice in my particular denomination (sampradaya) which is Kalikula Shaktam, a knowledge-based religious sect. I'm actually a full-monk (yogi) in that sect. So, not a small matter.

In any case, since I had to bother to educate him on his religious bigotry and intolerance, I thought there might be others who were genuinely curious about what Kalikula actually has to say about human sacrifice. So, here you go.

"Bali chadhogay." // "Bali mangti Kali maa." // "Mukti degi Kali maa." // "Kali maa." // "Kali maa!" // "Kali maa!" // "Kali maa, shakti de!" // "Bali chadhau tere aage." // "Swikar karo..." // "Ab iski jaan meri muthi main hai." // "Ab iski jaan meri muthi main hai!" // "Ab iski jaan meri muthi main hai!" // "Ab iski jaan meri muthi main hai!" // "Bali chadhado!"

^ That is not an actual mantra. Those are some invented lines, put in the mouth of a racist caricature, from a script written by a Hollywood writer. It literally translates as:

<<You will climb the scapegoat. Mother Kali asking for sacrifice. Kali mother will give us freedom. Mother in Black. The Black Mother! The Black Mother! Kali mother, give me strength! Bali I will put you in front of you. Accept it... Now his life is in my fist. Now his life is in my fist! Now his life is in my fist! Now his life is in my fist! Bali on fire!>>

Totally fake. Here are a couple of real Kali mantras for comparison:

<<Om. Fierce of face, she is dark, with flowing hair and four-armed. Dakshina Kalika divine, adorned with a garland of heads. In Her lotus hands on the left, a severed head and a sword.>>

<<Om Great Goddess Kali, the One and only one, who resides in the Ocean of Life and in the cremation grounds that dissolve the world. We focus our energies on you, may you grant us boons and blessings.>>

The murti or religious image of Kali Devi is indeed fierce looking. In one hand (she has four), she is carrying a three-pointed trident. In another, she is waving a sword. In yet another, she is holding the severed head of a demon. And in the last, she is holding an offering bowl which is collecting the blood from the severed head. And she has other accouterments that are just as scary. A garland of skulls around her neck. A skirt of severed arms around her waist. And she is standing on the corpse of Lord Shiva most times, her red tongue, dripping with blood, protruding from her mouth.

It does all seem to say that she is quite a bloodthirsty goddess indeed. Closer to a demon herself, perhaps. Why is she portrayed this way?

Well, in the earliest context, Kali was a goddess who was called upon by Lord Shiva to slay the gods who had insulted him. Not because he was upset at having been insulted. But because one of the gods was his father-in-law, and as a means from separating herself from her father forever, Shiva's wife Sati ended her life in a pyre of fire. Shiva was mad from sorrow when he ordered the death of the gods. He did restore their lives, though his father-in-law ended up with a goat's head as a reminder.

So, instantly, Kali is portrayed as a viciously and murderous goddess. However, as anyone who has ever studied Hindu Dharma knows, nothing is ever one-sided. Everything is always both this and that at the same time. 

One aspect of Kali is a murderous warrior who slaughters gods and demons alike when the need arises. In fact, this is basically her natural function in the cosmos. To restore order (Dharma) and facilitate causality (Karma). 

However, on the other hand, Kali as the Supreme Shakti or Great Goddess (Mahadevi), she is also the Mother of Creation. The Great Time. The Great Reality. Source of us all. And Sati was merely one of her aspects that needed to return to that source for a new rebirth in the form of Parvati, Shiva's wife returned. Though, even though she had returned, Shiva still had to reach of state of atonement and enlightenment (connection with his Sat-Guru Kali [teacher]) to recognize who she was.

Fast-forward to the events of the text called the Devi Mahatmyam, in which the goddess Durga, in her supreme form of Kali (you might say, her Super-Saiyan form), kills the world-threatening demon, Mahishasura and destroys his army. Mahishasura's crimes: Ignorance, attachment, ego, and fear. Because of these weaknesses or mind-poisons (Kleshas) couples with his great power, Mahishasura represented a great imbalance in the nature forces of the many worlds that need to be corrected. Durga did off Mahishasura payment in the form of boons for ceasing his violence and tyranny, but ignorantly he refused. So, Kali totally and utterly wrecked him.

In another event of the text, Kali becomes so drunk on the blood of demons that she goes on a rampage and the gods who initially asked her for help against the demons began to fear that she would devour all the worlds as well. Such is the unbridled power of Nature. Shiva managed to stop her rampage by lying at her feet, a symbol of their surrender to the Supreme Power, and an acknowledgement of the fact in their reality that not even the gods are above the power of Nature.

The trident in Kali's hand represents her power of the three worlds, but also over creation, preservation, and destruction. The sword represents the unstoppable and correcting power of knowledge. The head of Mahishasura represents our weaknesses and flaws. The bowl collecting the blood represents the sacrifice of our weakness in exchange for spiritual liberation. 

The skulls are a symbol of Samsara, the cycle of life, death, and rebirth, or the material world, the influence of which we seek to liberate ourselves from. And arms represent our Karma, the choices we make in life that culminate in who we choose to be. The bloody tongue is Shakti, the original spark of creation that Kali both gives and takes according to her nature. 

And Shiva is us. Or those who ultimately realize that the way to liberation does not lie in violence or force against the world, but in the recognition of those things which ware greater than ourselves. And we must partner with those things, not struggle against them.

Now, Kali's association with human sacrifice comes from a text called the Kalika Purana, which evolved into a compilation between the 7th and 12th century AD. In it, a passage states that with the consent of a King or Prince, and during a time of war before a great battle, a sacrifice of a willing male volunteer who is not elderly, a child, or handicapped, can be made in order to receive a boon from Kalika. Not a practice that takes place in terms of modern politics anymore. But yeah. Human sacrifice in the ancient world. So shocking!

However, there are still certain witch-doctors, shamans, and such, operating in remote rural communities, who will convince people that committing an act of murder and making a sacrifice in Kali's name will somehow gain the Mahadevi's favor. Though, it is actually the opposite, and this practice is considered Adharma (or against the natural order). 

The most famous of these practices was among the Thuggee cult. The Thuggee were a cult of bandits and murderers who once operated on the roads through the rural areas between cites. They believed that in making offerings to Kali, they could gain her protection. This was a "magical rite" on their part, and not a religious one. A notion recognized in the fact that the majority of Thugs engaging in these practices were Muslim, not just Hindu. And in other places in the world, such as Sri Lanka, you can often see statues of Kali and Durga in the lawns of people seeking protection of their homes from the goddess, even though they may be Muslim homes. So, the superstitions run deep in a lot of eastern cultures, of course. Just like everywhere else.

Kali didn't protect the Thuggees, by the way. They were eventually wiped out by the British who had the help of local priests in finding and eradicating them.

However, it should be noted that in Kalikula specifically, the supernatural and magic is not considered real. They are considered deceptions which can be created by those who have a talent for bending Maya to their will. Maya being the false reality that we find ourselves trapped in, a matter of conditional ignorance that separates us from Brahman (true reality). Also, if Kali is Nature and Reality, and Nature and Reality are supreme, there cannot be anything beyond Kali. That is literally what the supernatural and magic is said to be. Beyond nature. Beyond reality.

In addition to these kinds of nuances in the doctrines themselves, India actually has a program where they send brahmin priest out to these areas to educate people in proper Hindu Dharma which does not allow for the harming of humans in the worship of gods or in any god's name. But if you are ignorant, poor, and desperate (usually the ideal victims for charlatans), it's not hard for someone to take advantage still. 

Especially if you are someone who doesn't believe in the truth. This is why I always look down on truth and fact deniers. Those people are the most damaged. People with little or no sense of what is true or false, right or wrong. They are easily manipulated.

Many such cults have existed throughout the world, including in the Christian and Muslim world. Most of them centered around a belief in demonic witches, evil spirits, and black magic. Such as the European and American European witch craze. And the occasional Christian church cults that spring up today.

Well, I anticipate that this has been somewhat educational for you. Though, it's my personal belief that bigots can't be educated. The ignorance just runs way too deep for that. But anyone else who reads this (someone smarter, obviously) may be curious about it. Thanks for inspiring the lesson.

Moreover, the next time you want to learn something about Hinduism, I suggest reputable sources like the Wisdom Library online, you can google it - or simply ask a Yogi. I am Yogi Adinathakalidasa. I'll be more than happy to help you exchange your ignorance for knowledge. It's the very duty I have been charged with.

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