There are many stories about Kali in Hinduism which all seem to be different versions of the same story, suggesting that they came from a single source in the distant past. It appears that over thousands of years, the story was altered to fit in with the changing beliefs and ideas of different generations, with each version retaining a similar theme. Some of the stories seem to be heavily influenced by the patriarchal bias of the Hindu religion; others have somehow kept this to a minimum. it is one of these latter stories, translated into English by Ajit Moorkeriee in his book "Kali, The Feminine Force", that I would like to retell, to show how it can explain what is happening to our society today.
In this tale "The Great Goddess Durga or Devi was created by the united energies of the Gods when they became impotent after a long battle with Demonic Forces". The Demons are also called anti-Gods, and would be called Devils in western religions. When a new religion takes over a country the old Gods which existed before are usually turned into Devils. We can see this with Pan, who later became the Christian Devil, or Set, who was once a benevolent God, but when religion changed, became an evil God and was later the Satan of Judaism and Christianity. So the Demons were possibly the previous Gods of the Hindus.
One problem with our story is that in patriarchal religions, Gods are supposed to be all-powerful, and creators of the world. This has been accepted by most people until quite recently that the world was created by a male deity. So to patriarchal people, God is all powerful because he is the creator of the universe. To have Demons in this story who after a long war are more powerful than the Gods, points to it describing a time when the patriarchal age is in decline.
Who are the Demons? The biggest threat to patriarchal religion in recent years has been science. In the seventeenth century, Newton showed that planetary bodies move because of scientific laws and not by the hand of God. In the nineteenth century, Darwin put forward the theory that people and animals were created through evolution and not by God. Then in the 20th century, scientists postulated the "Big Bang" theory which showed that the Universe exploded from a singularity and was not created. Today, the Gods are no longer all-powerful, and in the western world many people do not believe in a God, or have serious doubts about his existence. So the story so far is a correct prophecy of now; the patriarchal Gods are finding themselves impotent in the face of the anti-Gods: science and atheism.
To win popular support, Christianity in the West is starting to rid itself of many patriarchal attitudes. Many believers are rejecting the angry and judgmental God of the Old-Testament, and returning to the more loving and caring Father God of the New Testament. They are also preaching the more matriarchal teachings of Jesus; tolerance and understanding of others, and using less and less, the strongly patriarchal teachings of the Old-Testament which emphasize intolerance and bigotry. Some are even going so far as to accept the concept of a genderless God and many sects are allowing women priests. In allowing the possibility that God could be both male and female, they are beginning to recreate a Goddess, as the Gods had to do in the Kali story in order to fight the Demons.
Because the power of the Church has been broken by science and rationality in our society, modern people in the West are free to worship a Goddess if they want to; thus the rise of the power of science is allowing the Goddess to return to us.
"Devi then has a long battle with the Great Demon and eventually destroys him. However, this victory was not the end of the episode. Two other Demons appeared with the intention of rendering the Gods impotent, so again they prayed for help from Devi". This part of the story is very similar to the later part of the story and seems to be two different versions of the same story joined together. There is a possibility that the stories of Kali are about the very ancient past as well as the future. If what is happening today has occurred in the distant past, it points to the possibility of a continuing cycle. In Hinduism as well as other ancient religions, the concept of great cycles or ages lasting hundreds of thousands of years exists. We live today in the Kali-Yuga age (Age of Iron) which started about 5,000 years ago and will go on for another 400,000 years. It could be suggesting that in our world we have ages where the Demons rule the Earth, and have to be defeated by The Great Goddess later on in the age. So Kali defeated the Demons in the Last great-age and will defeat them again during this age. 5,000 years ago is at the beginning of the Kali-Yuga age was also the time the recent patriarchal age started. So it does suggest that these ages start with patriarchy or demon rule and then Kali defeats the demons or patriarchy and matriarchy comes into being until the end of the age, then a new age begins starting again with patriarchy.
"Devi then came to Earth again, in disguise. There she is met by one of the Demons who tries to persuade her to see the Demon King. But she very politely declines the offer". In the nineteenth century many women began to realize that they were used as slaves by men in society. In the USA some women campaigned against slavery, only to realize that the slaves had the same rights in society as they had. They complained about this to men who tried to persuade them it was "natural" for women to be men's slaves and devote their lives to children and husbands.
So women in the last century began to question the status-quo and politely declined the "reasonable" arguments by men that they should accept their position in society. Women beginning to demand equal rights didn't have any confidence in themselves. They were easily intimidated by men who told them that women were not as clever as men because they had smaller brains. Or that women were too emotional to make sensible decisions about affairs of state. In the writings of the period, women show an undercurrent of anger about their situation of powerlessness. But they rarely showed this anger to men and used the 'feminine' ways of persuasion and patience to get their way. Women were disguising their feelings by being very polite to men, even though they felt great anger towards them. At the same time they didn't accept men's reasons for why they should remain dominated and go back to being submissive wives.
"The Demon King became enraged that Devi would not come to see him, and ordered a Demon Chief with an army to bring her to him by force. When they attempted to do this, Devi reduced the Demon Chief to ashes with the vibration of a hum she made. The army was destroyed by Devi's pet lion". The hum is used in Hinduism to create a harmonious vibration which helps meditation. In this century, women began to protest they were being unfairly treated by men and demanded equality. Harmony is created by equality because inequality creates resentment and conflict. So it was through the very sensible and reasonable argument for equality, put forward by women, that they gained their first victory over patriarchy. First by the Suffragette movement that campaigned for women to have the vote in western countries and then the women's Liberation Movement that campaigned for true equality. By being able to articulate the different ways men and women were being treated within society, they shamed many men into allowing women more equal treatment.
In very ancient religions, Gods were associated with animals; for example, Pan was half man and half goat and Horis was depicted as a bird-of-prey. A lion that can destroy an army has to have Godlike powers. if Devi is manifesting herself on this Earth through the women's movement, then it means the lion represents the men who have helped women to gain equality. Although men have not taken to the streets to campaign alongside women, women could not have achieved much in this century without the help of sympathetic men. These men were willing to vote for women's emancipation in male dominated legislative chambers, allow them in universities and employ them in male-dominated professional jobs. It was this type of men that countered the power of other men, who were greatly opposed to women gaining any form of power in society.
We can see a big difference in men as well as women from what was acceptable in the past and what is acceptable now. A Suffragist or women's liberation movement 400 years earlier would have resulted in a Witch-hunt, where men tortured and burned alive millions of women, who it seems at the time "didn't know their place". The fact that this didn't happen in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries shows that there had to be large numbers of men who were sympathetic to the women's movement and allowed it to progress without too much violent opposition. So the Suffragettes and later on the women's Liberation movement created, in theory, a more harmonious society where men and women are given the same opportunities in society.
"When the Demon King learnt that his Chief and army had been destroyed he ordered two other Demons and a larger army to bring her to him by force. On seeing this great army approaching her, Devi grew terrible with rage; her face turned black. Then from her frowning forehead jumped Kali, armed with a sword and noose. She is portrayed in the story as a hag, symbolizing the fact that she is a very ancient Goddess, far older than Devi. Needless to say, mounted on her lion, she totally destroys, in the most horrendous way, the two Demons and their army." We are now on more uncertain ground as this seems to be talking about something that will happen in the future. But there are signs that Kali is appearing in our society. The Dominatrix was mostly created by men's sexual fantasies, but today in the 21st century there are now many women who are also being turned on by the Kali archetype. These women call themselves Female Supremacists. They are not content with the idea of equality with men and want to dominate them. Since the nineteen eighties there has been a backlash against the women's Movement by religious fundamentalists and right-wing politicians, who have attempted to reverse all the gains made by the feminist movements. They encourage women to fulfil their traditional roles again, bring back antiabortion legislation and blame higher crime rates onto single mothers. This has already created anger in the women's movement. As the fundamentalist movement gains in strength, women will be forced to abandon their "we only want equality" stance, and realize that they are caught in a power-game where "the winner takes it all". Equality is not yet possible.
This will allow the women's movement to be Led by the Female Supremacists, who will inflict a defeat on the two demons of fundamentalism and right-wing politics. They will be helped by many men, symbolized by the pet lion Devi rides, who are greatly attracted to Female Supremacists, and more than willing to worship them and be their servants. As well as to fight on the behalf of the women's power.
"The Demon King, hearing of this defeat, sets out with his brother and an even Larger army against Devi, who separates different aspects of herself into many of the Hindu Goddesses and with the help of the loyal lion, destroys his army. When Kali fights the Demon King's brother, every wound she inflicts produces thousands of smaller demons. In the end she can only defeat him by swallowing him whole". The women's Movement has never been completely united even though they claim that THE SISTERHOOD IS POWERFUL. What seems to be suggested is that the more moderate wing of the women's Movement will try to distance itself from the Female Supremacists, and attempt to be more reasonable in what they demand. But the rise of the Supremacists will polarize society so much that they will be forced to fight alongside them. In the twentieth century most of women's gains were achieved by a small number of activists, while the vast majority of men and women were indifferent to the argument about women's rights. Equality between the sexes has not created widespread conflict in our society. But with the Supremacists insisting that women dominate society, this will change. Very few people will be neutral about this demand, and many will fight with great passion, either for or against it.
Probably the first countries to become matriarchal will be in the West, since it was in Northern Europe that patriarchy started. Today, Scandinavian countries have moved further towards matriarchy than any others, so it seems that matriarchy will begin there. With the West becoming matriarchal there will be problems in Eastern countries. Patriarchal rulers, seeing what has happened in the West, will try and prevent change, inevitably creating another war. The rulers will mount a propaganda campaign against women, out of their fear, making the women in these countries angry. With the support of matriarchal women from the West, patriarchy will be resisted and overthrown. One of the best weapons against matriarchy by patriarchy has been to make patriarchal women breed continuously, so that the patriarchal races outnumber the matriarchal. This is still true today, because in countries where women have gained some degree of equality the birth-rate has dropped, while in societies which are still very patriarchal the birth-rate is still increasing. So this is the demon that keeps on creating more demons, no matter how many times he is wounded. There is no point in trying to fight this demon; Kali could only defeat it by swallowing it whole. This means Patriarchy will have to be swallowed whole by matriarchy. The answer is not fighting, but an internal revolution in which countries and religions will become matriarchal because the majority of the people want to be matriarchal. In Greek mythology, there is a similar story . Hercules is sent to kill the many-headed Hydra. He attempts to do this by chopping off its heads, but each time he removes one, several grow in its place. He puts down his sword and drags the Hydra from its swamp into sunlight where it withers and dies. So it means enlightenment about the ills of patriarchy and the benefits of a female-ruled society will eliminate the demons of male domination.
Many people will think it impossible that a religion Like Islam could become matriarchal in the future, but not all Moslems are fundamental extremists. The only reason we have extremists today in Islam is because it is changing to a more moderate religion, and the extremists want to get back to how Islam was in the past. Women are still oppressed in Islam but they do not accept their Lot so easily as their mothers did, so the men are finding it more difficult "to keep them in their place". Islam today recognizes the threat to it from atheistic science and from its people becoming Westernized. The leaders of Islam know how important it is to keep popular support, and like Christianity will change to keep it. They have seen the demise of Christianity because it didn't change fast enough and quickly became out of step with the beliefs of most people. The teachings of Mohammed like Jesus, are open to many different interpretations. So if popular opinion begins to change towards feminism or even Female Supremacy they will have no choice but to follow.
This change is already happening in Roman Catholic countries like Italy and Southern Ireland. Although in these countries birth-control is still banned, the birth rates are not higher than any other European country and Italy has the lowest birth rate in Europe. Which means that most of the people are no longer following the Churches' doctrine of not using contraception. This gives the Church an uncomfortable choice, either to continue with its old laws and become completely out of step with the majority of the people, which will mean in time that they will become a minority religion. Or change and reflect the increasing power women have within society and eventually become a matriarchal religion.
"In the end only the Demon King was left, he started to taunt Devi, to encourage her to fight him on her own. She did not fall into this trap and brought together all the different aspects of herself including Kali. Then mounted on her faithful Lion destroyed the Demon King". As women start to overcome patriarchy, men will attempt to exploit the differences within the women's movement. So this is a warning to matriarchal women, not to allow internal differences to divert them from the main aim of defeating patriarchy. This realization will force women to forget their differences and join together as one, to bring about Patriarchy's final defeat.
This also gives a suggestion on how patriarchy will be defeated by Matriarchy. The last matriarchal age seemed to have ended through the violence of men, where the aggression of men seemed to be an advantage over women. But aggression can be also a great disadvantage as shown when the Romans conquered Europe, the Middle-East and North Africa. The Romans were not successful because of their aggression, but because of the passivity of their troops who were willing to obey the orders of their generals without question. It was soon discovered on the battlefield that a fighting force that fought together as one unit could easily defeat a much larger force that wasn't so united. The same thing happened in the English civil war in the seventeen century. The Royalists under Prince Rupert were mostly noblemen who even then were still a warrior class who learnt(sic) about warfare from an early age. Also Prince Rupert used mercenaries who were professional soldiers. With this advantage, Prince Rupert carried all before him early on in the war. His opponent Cromwell only had an army of farm-boys, who had no experience of war. But being on the bottom of the pecking-order were used to doing as they were told, Cromwell trained them into a force known as the Iron-Sides. When they took to the field of battle they fought as one and proved to be invincible, Rupert never won another battle and lost the war.
In business, and politics as well as war a number of people who are united can easily defeat a far larger number of people who are not united. This is men's disadvantage because their aggression makes it harder for them to unite with others as they are more likely to argue with each other than women are. During the whole patriarchal age the only way men could become united was by having a strong leader, who achieved obedience though intimidation and promise of reward. So a man who is working for a company is threatened with the sack if he doesn't do his job properly or receives reward in promotion if he is seen to do well. Women on the other hand have a far more responsible attitude to others and the community as a whole. They do not need rewards or threats to work for the good of others, and it has been only in this century that women have ever received money for what they do. Even today women are still working for nothing, looking after houses and husbands and bringing up children for no financial reward. This tack of ambition has been a disadvantage in a patriarchal society only whilst women have been kept separated by marriage. With marriage breaking down there is now an opportunity for women to come together and be united.
It has been noticeable that the feminist movement has achieved a lot without any leaders. All that was needed was for women to be informed of what was needed and they were able to organize themselves to benefit the cause. It is women's lack of aggression that makes it far easier for them to work together. Women fail to realize how much they have achieved in the twentieth century, changing from a situation of near slavery at the beginning of the century to near equality with men at the end. Which in historic terms is a very short space of time, something that it took men thousands of years to achieve at the end of the last matriarchal age. When women decide that they want to dominate and control society, men will be far too disorganized to prevent them. Even if all the fundamentalist forces join together to fight the women's movement, men will still be arguing and fighting among themselves and so will be too disorganized to resist the female Supremacists.
"After this The Great Goddess Durga departed, promising the Gods that she will nourish the world with vegetation growth".
As this story is told in patriarchal times it would be unacceptable to say that The Great Goddess will remain to rule the world. So we have to see that as something that was added to make it acceptable, or it would never have been allowed to be told. This is confirmed because Kali is called by her followers in India as both "The Savoir of the World" and "Female World Ruler", as we do not have a Female World Ruler, it has to be prophecy for the future.
The promise of the nourishment of the Earth is very interesting. Today with all our great forests being cut down and deserts Like the Sahara growing larger every year. Women will need to do a large amount of replanting to counter the Greenhouse effect and bring life back to many barren parts of our Globe. It is also of interest that the old Goddess Religion held trees to be sacred, and were reluctant to cut them down. The later patriarchal religions had no such inhibitions, and cleared the land to create man-made deserts. So it seems women in the future will reverse this trend and bring life back to the devastated parts of the world.
In other stories of Kali when she is defeating the armies of Demons, she gets drunk on drinking blood and cannot stop herself from killing. So much so, that the Gods fear that she will destroy all men on the Earth. In an attempt to save man, the God Siva come to the Earth and Lays on the ground in front of Kali. She walks all over him, and her anger evaporates. By doing this Siva in effect was totally surrendering himself to Kali. Which symbolizes, that the Female Supremacists will in the future keep on fighting until they receive complete and unconditional surrender from men. The gory images that come from Kali are completely unlike women, after all it is men who have started and fought wars. Most crimes of violence are committed by men so in this way Kali doesn't fit into the image we have of women. In spite of this, men have always suspected there is a tiger lurking within all women. Somehow the image of Kali becoming drunk with drinking blood doesn't become a surprise to us.
Rudyard Kipling wrote a very famous and popular poem call "The female of the species", which goes on to say she "is much deadlier than the male". In a time when women were seen by society as very much the weaker-sex. So it does indicate that we have an unconscious knowledge that women to can be extremely aggressive.
A glimpse of this aggression has come to light recently when male-striptease was introduced to women. Back in the nineteen sixties, with the rise of women's liberation, a few striptease shows decided to put on male strippers for women. At first they were given the cold-shoulder because it was considered by most women that only men lusted after naked flesh. Women were, after all, more interested in love and not so crude as to be interested in naked bodies the way men were. A few women did go to these strip-shows but only for a laugh, they of course claim they didn't take it too seriously. In spite of this, popularity of these shows grew and today more women watch strip-shows than men do. There is a great difference between how men react in seeing a strip show, men can be excited if they have never to seen a strip show before but they soon get used to it, and are calm about seeing naked women on stage. On the other hand women get hysterical over naked men to the degree women have rushed up on stage and some male strippers have needed bodyguards. Also it is acceptable for women to grab and handle the male strippers but today for men to do the same to female stripper is mostly very unacceptable.
Women's sexual needs have been oppressed for thousands of years, so when it is allowed to be released they become over excited. This is true of women's sense of powerlessness for thousands of years. At present Feminists claim that they only want equality but in the future there will be women who will admit that they want more than that. When women are no long ashamed to admit to wanting power over men, then as with striptease they will become over excited. In this state of mind if men make any resistance to women's demands then all hell will break loose. As women get better at organizing themselves men will not stand a chance, and like Siva there only mode of survival will be complete surrender. Even today this is beginning to happen when men marry or live with bossy women. They soon find that no matter how much they give in to them, it is never enough. Like Kali, women will want it all.
In the past we had Amazons, where men and women have met and fought each other on the battlefield. Whether this will happen again in the future, is something we can only speculate about. In the West the battle for Female Supremacy is being fought out in marriages where the divorce is on the increase, because women are becoming less and less tolerant of the demands made on them by men, who in turn are finding it difficult to cope with the demands made on them by women. The war could also be fought out in the Boardroom and in goverment. In education in the past most girls when they reached puberty began to dream about marriage and babies and lost interest in education. Recently this has changed, most girls in education today are continuing their studies and are outperforming boys at all levels of education. This suggests that in another generation most of the top jobs in our society will go to women.
In the end what will decide the issue is whether, the majority of people in society will want to live under patriarchal or matriarchal rule. As we can see around the world today, women have more power in some countries than in others. Sooner or later we will have in a few countries, genuine matriarchal rule. If women can demonstrate that they are better able to rule society than men, in these countries, it will create a worldwide revolution. Not that they will have to prove a lot, a look in history of how our world is run today. Demonstrates that women would have to try very hard, to do a worse job of running the world than what men do.