How to Pray to Mother Kali



I love to pray to Divine Mother. Last night when I asked Maa how I should pray to her (at this time) the response I felt was "Kali." What is recommended regarding initiation into Kali prayer? Is it appropriate to meditate on a short mantra of hers, such as Om Krim Kalikayai Namah?

Jai Maa,


—Andrew Roberts, USA


Dear Andrew,

Prayer is a very personal thing. Mother Kali will feel the heart of your prayer, its love. If I told you, “pray in this way”, but it doesn’t resonate with your heart, it would be useless. Pray as a child to Kali, the Mother. Trust that She hears you, is with you, loves you.

Chant to her. Swami Kriyananda has a wonderful chant, “OM Kali”.

Or you may use Yogannada’s chant, “Thousands of Suns”. It begins like this, “Who tells me Thou art dark, oh my Mother Divine?”

Kali is depicted as dark, but in truth She is the Cosmic Mother, full of stars and light, and suns and moons.

If the mantra Om Krim Kalikayai Namah really comes from your heart, then by all means use it.

You can also use the simple japa, “OM Kali, OM Kali” during the day. The important thing is always the heart. She answers to love, to nothing else.

For your devotion you may find this moment in Yogananda’s life inspiring (from The New Path by Swami Kriyananda):

Once, after a meditation at his desert retreat, Yogananda said to the disciples who were present, “This is the kingdom of OM. Listen! It is not enough merely to hear OM. You must merge yourself in that inner sound. OM is Divine Mother. OM Kali! OM Kali! OM Kali! Listen: Oh, how beautiful it is! OM Kali! OM Kali! OM Kali!”

And you may meditate on Yogananda’s description of Mother Kali (from the book The Essence of Self-Realization):

Kali represents Mother Nature. She is Aum, the cosmic vibration. In Aum everything exists — all matter, all energy, and the thoughts of all conscious beings. Hence, Her garland of heads, to show that She is invisibly present in all minds. The play of life and death expresses Her activity in Nature: creation, preservation, and destruction. Hence the sword, the head, and a third hand extended, bestowing life. Her energy is omnipresent; hence Her streaming hair, representing energy. Shiva, Her husband, represents God in His vibrationless state, beyond creation. Thus, He is depicted as supine.

Kali’s tongue is protruding not in blood-lust as most people believe, but because in India, when a person makes a mistake, he sticks out his tongue. In the West, don’t you express embarrassment somewhat similarly? You put your hands to your mouth. Kali is depicted as dancing all over creation. This dance represents the movement of cosmic vibration, in which all things exist. When Kali’s foot touches the breast of the Infinite, however, She puts her tongue out as if to say, ‘Oh, oh, I’ve gone too far!’ For at the touch of the Infinite Spirit, all vibration ceases.

Kali’s fourth hand is raised in blessing on those who seek, not Her gifts, but liberation from the endless play of maya, or delusion. Those who feel themselves attracted to Nature’s outward manifestations must continue the endless round of life and death, through incarnation after incarnation. Those devotees, however, who deeply long for freedom from the cosmic play worship God in the indwelling Self. Through meditation, they merge in the infinite Aum. And from oneness with Aum they pass beyond creation, to unite their consciousness with God — timeless, eternal Bliss.

The statues of Kali are not intended to depict the Divine Mother as She looks, but simply to display Her functions in the aspect of Mother Nature. The Divine Mother is, of course, without form, though we may say also that Her body is the entire universe, with its infinity of suns and moons. She can also appear to the devotee in human form, however. When She does so, She is enshrined in supernal beauty.

May your heart-prayers touch the Mother,