Question: I notice that you have a picture of Kali on your table. There have been a lot of misconceptions about Kali, even among spiritual people.

Sri Chinmoy: Each seeker is right in his own way. I cannot say that what I feel about Mother Kali is absolutely correct and that your conception of Mother Kali is absolutely wrong. That will be the height of my stupidity and absurdity. I can say only what I have inside my own room, my own apartment. What others have in their apartment, I have no way of knowing and I am not even so inclined to know.

For me, Mother Kali is the power of Infinity. Her name is Kali. Kali means ‘time’ and ‘the time beyond’. She carries the message of Infinity, Eternity and Immortality. Again, she transcends what she has and what she is. As far as my inner realisation goes, she is the Absolute in feminine form. You can say she is the Absolute. The power aspect she embodies. As the Mother, she embodies everything: peace, light, bliss and all other divine qualities. But she also expedites everything. There are many members in a family. If you ask one person to do you a favour, that person may take five years; whereas if you ask somebody else, that person may give you what you want in the twinkling of an eye, provided your cry or your aspiration is sincere.

This Mother, Mother Kali, is an aspect of the Absolute Supreme, and at the same time she is the Supreme. If we want to separate the parts of our body, we can say, “These are my arms, these are my legs, these are my eyes,” and so on. But they are part and parcel of the same body. If I do not have legs or arms or eyes, I am imperfect. All the limbs together comprise my physical body. So she is at once a portion of the Absolute Supreme, and again, she is the Absolute Supreme. She is also the Mother of speed. Everything she does faster than the fastest.

Mother Kali also illumines our imperfections. In the Western world, we use the term ‘sin’. But according to Indian spiritual philosophy, there is no such thing as sin; it is only imperfection. I am imperfect; therefore, I do quite a few things wrong. And as long as I am imperfect, I will continue to do things wrong. But what do we mean by sin? If our Source — God, the Absolute Supreme — is purer than the purest, how can we be wallowing in the pleasures of sin? We can only say that we are not perfect.

A child may learn ‘A, B, C,’ but he may not be able to read all the letters, whereas his mother and father can read everything. Slowly and steadily he learns to read the whole alphabet, and in a few years’ time he can read big books. But he starts with the alphabet and sometimes he makes mistakes. In exactly the same way, all human beings are now imperfect. Our goal is to arrive at perfection.

Again, perfection has no fixed limits. Perfection is constantly transcending itself. As a student, one may feel that he will be perfect when he gets his M.A. or Ph.D. Then he gets his degree and he sees that there is so much more to learn. He feels that what he knows now is nothing. Wisdom or knowledge is like a vast ocean. The student feels that his Master’s degree is like a few drops in the ocean of knowledge.

Suppose over the years you have done many things wrong, just because you are imperfect. If you pray to Mother Kali, if you cry and cry and cry, she will illumine all your imperfections.

In our Indian philosophy, God, the Supreme, has three aspects: God the Creator, God the Preserver and God the Transformer. But for many, many centuries, instead of ‘transformation’, we used the term ‘destruction’. Our Indian trinity is Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva: Brahma is God the Creator, Vishnu is God the Preserver and Shiva is God the Transformer. We do not destroy; we only transform. If we destroy, what will there be in our life? Suppose I do something wrong; I am angry with someone and give him a smart slap. Then will I rectify my mistake by cutting off my hand? No! That wrong action came from my mind. I have to use my mind in a proper way so that I shall not strike anybody. On the contrary, I shall only show my affection and compassion. So the third aspect of God is transformation, not destruction.

Now, when Mother Kali deals with human beings, with seekers or aspirants, some are terribly afraid of her power aspect. They feel that they have done so many things wrong over the years and that, instead of showing them compassion, she will destroy them. But she does not destroy; she transforms.

There are four aspects of the Divine Mother, the Universal Mother: Maheshwari, Mahakali, Mahalakshmi and Mahasaraswati. Of these four aspects, Mother Kali is for speed and for height, higher than the highest height. We can even say that she can take us to the highest sooner than the soonest. The other aspects of the Divine Mother feel that slow and steady wins the race, but this Mother says, “Even if you go fast, faster than the fastest, that does not mean you will fall.”

Again, what I am saying is all from my own personal point of view, from my own realisation. Each individual has his own way of speaking about Mother Kali.