The Hidden Benevolence Of the Divine Powers of Destruction

Paramahansa Yogananda relates one of the key experiences he had of the Divine Mother while visiting the Kali Temple in Calcutta. There are those who worship the Divine Mother in the form of the Goddess Kali, wearing a garland of skulls, dripping blood and presenting a fierce aspect. They see that which Arjuna has now begun to recognize, that even in the most horrific forms, or manifesting the most destructive powers, there is still an inner truth that this too is the Divine Power, the Mother. The Divine does not destroy purely for the sake of destruction, but to aid in the progress of the manifestation towards its eventual fulfilment. When this destruction takes place in an outward action such as the great battles that define a movement from one evolutionary stage to another, the forces of hostility and negativity, those trying to hold back and prevent the progress from occurring, to maintain their own ascendancy and power are disheartened by the advent of a divine Power; while those who are seeking for the higher light, wisdom and truth that needs to manifest sing the praises of the “dark goddess–Kali”.

Sri Aurobindo takes up this theme: “For this Spirit, this Divine is only in outward form the Destroyer, Time who undoes all these finite forms: but in himself he is the Infinite, the Master of the cosmic Godheads, in whom the world and all its action are securely seated. He is the original and ever originating Creator, one greater than that figure of creative Power called Brahma which he shows to us in the form of things as one aspect of his trinity, creation chequered by a balance of preservation and destruction. The real divine creation is eternal; it is the Infinite manifest sempiternally in finite things, the Spirit who conceals and reveals himself for ever in his innumerable infinity of souls and in the wonder of their actions and in the beauty of their forms.”

The manifested forms are ever-changing, being born, living for their time and then undergoing dissolution and destruction, while behind that there is the Infinite, the Eternal, the Unchanging, the Supreme. “He possesses his immutable self in a timeless eternity of which Time and creation are an ever extending figure.”

Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, Second Series, Part I, Chapter 11, The Vision of the World-Spirit–The Double Aspect, pp. 375-376