KRODHA KALI, 2012
acrylic on paper
41.5 x 29.75 inches (sheet)
46 x 34 inches (frame)
Krodha Kali, Fierce Black One, or Wrathful Black Varahi is an alternate form of the wrathful Tibetan Buddhist goddess Vajravarahi. Her origin is in the Hindu Varahi, an animal-headed mother goddess. Varahi means boar, and there is an image of a boar in Krodha Kali’s crown.
She wears many of the eight attires of the charnel grounds including facial ornaments, flayed animal skins (an elephant hide as an upper garment and a tiger skin as a lower garment), dry skulls in her crown, and a garland of freshly severed heads.
She holds a curved knife in her raised right hand, a skull bowl full of blood in her left hand at her heart, and a katvanga staff in the crook of her arm. These three attributes are typical of the female wrathful deities. The skull cup symbolizes method as the cultivation of bliss; the knife symbolizes wisdom as emptiness as the severing of all conceptualizations; and the staff symbolizes the union of bliss and emptiness. She dances on a human corpse which symbolizes the defeated ego.
This image was taken from a deity card, a small card that was part of a set, which would be used during initiation ceremonies and empowerment rituals where a given card would stand for a deity that was being invoked. They could also represent ritual objects and offerings that could stand in for objects used in a ceremony.