Thursday, October 20, 2011

Exploring the Etymology of Kali, Kamakhya and Makar

I am wanting to elaborate more on the quote in my last post, from Kamakhya Tantra:

"It is certainly well known that Kamakhya is truly none other than that mother goddess Kali, who is in all things the form of wisdom." 

Before October 6th, I had never heard of Kamakhya as a name of Kali, and I had also never heard Kali described as being 'in all things the form of wisdom'. It begs the question, how exactly is it that the 'mother goddess' Kali is 'in all things the form of wisdom'? What does that mean practically? Is this some romantic description or does it point to some applicable wisdom or knowledge? 

Why is the form of Kamakhya known to have 12 arms, just as Aditi has 12 sons and just as the Zodiac has 12 months/rays? Why is the form of Kali traditionally depicted with 4 arms, one which carries a 3-pronged weapon (trident)? What is the practical and applicable wisdom that we are suppose to realize in these forms? Or are these forms of the Mother/Goddess just meaningless and applicable/useful in no way whatsoever?

The truth is that we cannot fully apply, utilize, appreciate and enjoy that which what we don't understand. And often, humans set out to ridicule, destroy or demonize that which we don't understand ... as exemplified by Judeo-Christians who have made a habit of destroying the 'false idols' of Hindus and other ancient wisdom traditions. The obvious question to be asked by honest seekers of a universal Divine-Consciousness and by sincere scholars is whether or not the symbolic and precise forms/icons celebrated by Hindus and other ancient wisdom traditions are indeed 'false' or are simply not understood.

After a few thousand years of mass mis-understanding, it is time for our civilization to wake up to the realization that the REAL FORM, measures, geometries and mathematics of the Cosmic Mother, and hence of our own material matrix, are inseparable from our knowledge of the Divine Self. Systems of 'knowledge' (religious, scientific or academic) that do not integrate this universal realization, will continued to be crippled and blinded in a real sense ... separated in heart and mind from the whole operating system.

I will offer a couple of etymological intrigues for those who find themselves interested or engaged in this 'waking up' process.  

In Sanskrit, ka means many things, including, 'the body', 'the sun', 'time', 'the soul', 'fire', 'light' and 'a peacock'. Remembering that ma means 'measure', the root word kama of the 'mother goddess' Kamakhya can be understood as the measure of the body, the measure of the sun, the measure of time, ect. The peacock's tail is an apt symbol for honoring and celebrating the 360 degree form and measure of time and space as the peacock unfolds its seemingly linear tail feathers into a beautiful 360 degree display.


Khya means to 'be known', 'make known', 'declare' or 'praise'. So, in these terms Kamakhya, the goddess, who is also known as Kali, means something on the order of 'to make known and praise the measure of the body of time, the body of the sun, the body of the soul'.

The li root of Kali has many meanings, most pointing to connotations of 'concealed in', 'lurking in', 'absorbed in', 'linked together', 'sitting on' or 'hidden'. When combining ka, as defined above, with li, the result is something to the effect of 'hidden in the body', 'linked with time' or 'sitting on top of the body', just as Kali stands on top of Shiva. She stands 'on top of' Time. She dwells in Time. Her force and Her truth are hidden in the body, in the sun, in the soul.

The original purpose of these words, and the realities they express, need to be remembered. The original sense of our own language, mathematics and symbols needs to be remembered. We need to remember that our own systems of measure ... our mathematical language as well as our written and spoken language (our verse) hails from a Vedic civilization who truly knew the Mother. Her measures, Her math, Her geometries and Her harmonies were the basis of the Vedic civilization's language and measure. Their verse was not something separate from the Mother's verse and measure ... not separate from Her dynamics and form ... not separate from Her math and Her mandalas. There is the common saying 'to be versed in' ... well the Vedic seers were extremely well-versed in the language of the Matrix/Creatrix. In our modern-day civilization, not only are we not well-versed in the sacred measures of material creation (including the Geometry of Time), but most have a truly poor idea what it means to recognize and praise the Divine Mother. Her SONG remains hidden in the body, hidden in time ... not heard or seen by most.

As a small example of that which we do not typically 'hear' or 'see', consider the English words 'make' or 'maker'. Reference to 'the Maker' – as in 'meeting one's Maker' – usually drums up images of a masculine God. Most would not think 'maker' refers to a feminine principle or that we have inherited the word from our Vedic ancestors. But when we consider that in Sanskrit ma means … to measure out, mete or mark out, it is clear that the English words 'make' and 'maker' are firmly associated with matri/mother/matriarch rather than with pati/patriarch/father.

In English, as a noun make means: 'structure, texture, constitution of parts; construction; shape; form'. As a verb it means: 'To find, as the result of calculation or computation; to find the number or amount of, by reckoning, weighing, measurement;' and 'to cause to exist; to bring into being; to form; to produce; to frame; to fashion; to create; to construct. To bring about; to bring forward; to be the cause or agent of; to effect, do, perform, or execute.' And the word 'maker' means: 'One who makes, forms, or molds; a manufacturer; specifically, the Creator. One who writes verses; a poet.'

If we look to the above connotations of the Sanskrit roots ma and kyha, makhya (of Kamakhya) would mean 'to make measure known'. Such is the original essence of the English word 'make'. Makhya also seems to be related to both the Sanskrit word makar and the English words 'maker' and 'mark'. In India Makar Sankranti marks the December Solstice, wherein the Earth passes into the 10th sign of the Zodiac Capricorn or the 10th month of Makar as it is known in India, signifying the return of the Light.

Sri Aurobindo wrote in The Secret of the Veda circa 1920's that it was not known (he did not know!) what the 'precise significance' (nor the usefulness) of the Vedic Rishis' special exultation of and special expectations for the passage between the 9th and 10th months of the Vedic journey (i.e. the Tropical Year). 

This victory [the recovery of the lost Sun/Truth-Consciousness] is won in twelve periods of the upward journey, represented by the revolution of the twelve months of the sacrificial year, the periods corresponding to the successive dawns of a wider and wider truth, until the tenth month secures the victory . . . What may be the precise significance of the nine rays and the ten is a more difficult position which we are not yet in a position to solve.’ – Sri Aurobindo, The Secret of the Veda

But as a natural consequence of the evolution of consciousness and the continued descent of supramental knowledge via the Mother of Pondicherry and Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet, the 10th month of the Vedic year (Capricorn/Makar) has been remembered/recognized as the victory or full illumination of the Divine Mother (Aditi), wherein her true face and form is no longer hidden and the individual and collective is REBORN in the 'true form of wisdom', in the true form and knowledge of the Divine Mother.

Upon this realization, humans can collectively know and celebrate the December Solstice as the point in our evolution of consciousness wherein the Truth of the Mother – the truth of her Divine Measure (geometry, form, mathematics, etc.) – is remembered ... including the truth of the Tropical Zodiac itself, which is absolutely a true form of HER wisdom. As long as the true importance (the 'precise significance') of arriving at that MARK and making that essential SHIFT or PASSAGE in consciousness is not understood, humanity is in effect a Motherless Child, cut off from that which would love nothing more than to nourish us to full maturity/self-knowledge.

The Mother's Symbol
[Discussed/featured in Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet's latest series
'Updating the Vedic Altar']






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