Kali vs Durga Essay

This essay has a total of 944 words and 5 pages.

Kali vs Durga

Appearing in later Vedic literature of the Hindu religion are two goddesses, Durga and
Kali. These goddesses have many similarities and differences. Kali and Durga are
different in three ways. 1) Durga is a radiant warrior goddess and Kali is a bloodthirsty
monster goddess. 2) Durga and Kali are both associated with the Hindu god Shiva. The two
goddesses play different roles when they are with Shiva and affect him in different ways.
3) Durga maintains the balance of the cosmos while Kali destroys the balance. Durga and
Kali are alike in three ways. 1) Neither of the goddesses fit into the normal social
position for Hindu women. 2) Kali and Durga are one in the same. 3) Both goddesses are
worshipped by blood sacrifice.

Durga is a warrior queen who slays demons in the battle to keep the cosmos at balance.
Durga is universally beautiful. She rides on a lion into battle and holds many weapons
with her many hands attached to her many arms. David Kinsley, author of Hindu Goddesses,
describes Durga as "The great battle queen with many arms, each which wields a weapon. She
rides a fierce lion and is described as irresistible in battle." This is very different
from the description of Kali, as said by the above author, "The goddess Kali is almost
always described as having a terrible, frightening appearance. She is always black or
dark, is usually naked, and has long disheveled hair." Kali likes to accent her naturally
scary beauty by wearing severed heads, arms and dead children as jewelry. Blood seems to
be her favorite cosmetic.

The god Shiva is linked with both the battle goddesses. According to the book Religions of
the World, seventh edition, written by Lewis M. Hopfe, (class book) Shiva is the god of
death destruction and disease. Kali is Shiva's consort. Kali excites and empowers Shiva.
When Kali is in one of her blood frenzies, she entices Shiva to join. Kali and Shiva
exchange the destructive energy that builds between each other. Kinsley writes, "…she
entices Shiva himself to dangerous, destructive behavior." Durga is seen as Shiva's wife.
Durga's effect on Shiva is like an energy sucking sedative. Instead of giving power to
him, as Kali does, she drains the power from him making him relax. Tracy Pintchman writes
in her book The Rise of the Goddess in the Hindu Tradition, "Durga does not lend her power
or sakti to a male consort but rather takes power…."

Durga is the queen of the cosmos. Durga destroys whatever is causing a problem, usually
demons, with the universe. She upholds the balance and keeps everything stable. Kali
helps Durga in battle most of the time. Sometimes Kali gets a little too excited with the
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