Mahakali, aka: Mahākālī, Maha-kali; 7 Definition(s)

Introduction

Mahakali means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Hinduism

Shaktism (Shakta philosophy)

Mahakali in Shaktism glossary... « previous · [M] · next »

Mahākālī (महाकाली, “Great Darkness”):—One of the names of Mahākālī (tamas-form of Mahādevī). It represents pure tamas personified. Mahākālī is one of the three primary forms of Devī. Not to be confused with Kālī, she is a more powerful cosmic aspect (vyaṣṭi) of Devi and represents the guṇa (universal energy) named tamas. For reference, see the Devī Māhātmya, a Sanskrit work from the 5th century, incorporated into the Mārkaṇḍeya-Purāṇa.

Source: Wisdom Library: Śāktism

Mahā-Kālī is the personification of the universal power of transformation, the transcendent power of Time, the Great Goddess who rules unchallenged over the universe and all that is in it.

All processes in the universe are seen to be cyclic and can be divided in 10 phases connected with the symbolism attached to the mystical number 5 —the five aspects of Śiva and the five aspects of Śakti operate as day and night —the markers of Time.

Mahā-Kālī sub-divides herself into the 10 goddesses known as the Mahāvidyās (ten objects of transcendent wisdom) which are the 10 aspects of the cycle of time — they’re representative of the entire processes of projection and withdrawal of the universe. They are the underlying subtle energies of which the gross universe is the outer expression.

  1. Kālī,
  2. Tārā,
  3. Tripurasundarī,
  4. Bhuvaneśvarī,
  5. Chinnamastā,
  6. Bhairavī,
  7. Dhūmāvatī,
  8. Bagalāmukhī,
  9. Mātaṅgī
  10. and Kamalā
Source: Red Zambala: The 10 Great Wisdom Goddesses
Shaktism book cover
context information

Shakta (शाक्त, śākta) or Shaktism (śāktism) represents a tradition of Hinduism where the Goddess (Devi) is revered and worshipped. Shakta literature includes a range of scriptures, including various Agamas and Tantras, although its roots may be traced back to the Vedas.

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Purana

Mahakali in Purana glossary... « previous · [M] · next »

Mahākālī (महाकाली) is the name of a mind-born ‘divine mother’ (mātṛ), created for the purpose of drinking the blood of the Andhaka demons, according to the Matsya-purāṇa 179.8. The Andhaka demons spawned out of every drop of blood spilled from the original Andhakāsura (Andhaka-demon). According to the Matsya-purāṇa 179.35, “Most terrible they (eg., Mahākālī) all drank the blood of those Andhakas and become exceedingly satiated.”

The Matsyapurāṇa is categorised as a Mahāpurāṇa, and was originally composed of 20,000 metrical verses, dating from the 1st-millennium BCE. The narrator is Matsya, one of the ten major avatars of Viṣṇu.

Source: Wisdom Library: The Matsya-purāṇa

1a) Mahākālī (महाकाली).—A Varṇa śakti.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa IV. 44. 57; 32. 4.

1b) A mind-born mother.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 179. 14; Viṣṇu-purāṇa II. 13. 49.

1c) Came out from the wrath of Śiva.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 101. 298.
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
Purana book cover
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The Purana (पुराण, purāṇas) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahapuranas total over 400,000 shlokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

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General definition (in Hinduism)

Mahakali in Hinduism glossary... « previous · [M] · next »

Mahakali (महाकाली, mahākālī), literally translated as “Great Kali”, is the Hindu Goddess of time and death. She is said to represent the ten Mahavidyas or "Great Wisdom (Goddesse)s". She is depicted in this form as having ten heads, ten arms, and ten legs but otherwise usually conforms to the four armed icon in other respects. Each of her ten hands is carrying an implement which varies in different accounts, but each of these represent the power of one of the Devas or Hindu Gods and are often the identifying weapon or ritual item of a given Deva.

Source: WikiPedia: Hinduism

In Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

Mahakali in Theravada glossary... « previous · [M] · next »

An eminent Theri of Ceylon. Dpv.xviii.39.

Source: Pali Kanon: Pali Proper Names
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Theravāda is a major branch of Buddhism having the the Pali canon (tipitaka) as their canonical literature, which includes the vinaya-pitaka (monastic rules), the sutta-pitaka (Buddhist sermons) and the abhidhamma-pitaka (philosophy and psychology).

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Languages of India and abroad

Sanskrit-English dictionary

Mahakali in Sanskrit glossary... « previous · [M] · next »

Mahākālī (महाकाली).—an epithet of Durgā in her terrific form.

Mahākālī is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the terms mahā and kālī (काली).

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family. Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

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