On the seventh day of Navratri, Goddess Kalratri is revered. As one of the most violent forms of Maa Durga, she is worshipped with great dedication. She is said to be so fierce that her appearance itself instils fright in the mind of evil. Although to her loyal devotees she brings peace and courage. She is the bearer of light for those who seek answers. She is the destroyer of all evils, demons, spirits, ghosts and negative energies.
In Devanagri scripture “Kaal” means time and death, and the word “Ratri” means the night. In true spirit the name “Kalratri” translates into the destroyer of darkness and evil. This swaroop or avataar of Goddess Durga is the fiercest indicating that life is balanced with both positive and dark side. Kaalratri represents that life has the fierce darkness or violence which creates mayhem as well as does good. She is revered by her devotees with great dedication wearing blue, red or white colours on this day
Her appearance is one that brings fear at first look. Pitch dark complexion, bountiful weathered hair, three eyes, and four hands with one left arm holding a cleaver and another left arm holding torch. The right arms are gesturing Abhaya and Vardana mudras, promising blessings and freedom from fear for her devotees. She adorns a necklace glinting with moon-shine. She rides a donkey, often seen as donkeys’ corpse. Dressed in tiger skin around her waist she looks ferocious with a garland of severed human heads around her neck and two severed heads as her earrings. She blows hot flames through her nostrils while inhaling and exhaling her breath.
As per a known legend, there was a demon Raktabeej, who was awarded a boon by Lord Brahma that every drop of his blood that fell on earth will produce another clone of his. In effect, this promised him eternal life that no one can kill him. After receiving the boon, he started creating havoc on earth and heaven alike destroying villages and town, killing sages and innocent humans and even torments Gods. Gods went to Devi Parvati in the time of distress. She promised to stop Raktabeej from creating further mayhem. Meanwhile Raktabeej was stoned in his own power, claiming every life on his path. Screaming at top of his lungs that no one can kill him or stop him. Goddess Parvati saw this from the skies and disappeared. However her voice echoed in skies “I will stop you”. Raktabeej saw up but couldn’t see anyone. The voice echoed on and suddenly in his front appeared a form so ferocious all black batter hair, severed skulls in her neck waving cleaver riding a donkey chasing towards him. She was an incarnation of Devi Parvati – Goddess Kalratri. Raktabeej ran to save himself. After a long battle Goddess Kaalratri decapitated him and drank all his blood to prevent it from dropping on earth, thus killing him.
The appearance of Maa Kaalratri is perilous for the evil-doers but for her followers she provides courage and protection from evil.