In Bengal the Kali Puja is the most important religious ceremony. It comes next to the Durga Puja. The goddess Kali is another form of the goddess Durga to play an important role. Thus Kali comes to be another name for Durga. She is called mother Shakti.
Image of Kali:
She has four hands. She is shown standing upon her husband, Shiva. She is naked. Her hair is disheveled. She wears round her neck a garland of demon’s skulls. Her tongue is shown coming out of her mouth with the blood of the demon that she has killed.
The Origin of Kali Puja:
The kali Puja is a ‘Tantric Puja’. The origin of the Kali Puja has a mystic and mythological side. According to mythology two demons Shumbh and Nisumbh became very powerful. They teased the gods who sought the protection of the goddess Durga. The goddess, in her anger, changed herself in the form of Kali. She did so to frighten the enemies. She fought against the demons and killed them.
During the fight she became very furious. Her anger showed that she would finish the whole world. At this critical moment the gods approached her husband, Shiva. They requested him to cool her anger. Shiva did his best to bring her back to her sense. Ultimately he laid himself prostrate at her feet. She placed her feet on his body. As soon as she did this, her senses returned. She felt shame for placing her husband under her feet. She bit her tongue. That is the posture which she is worshiped at present in Bengal.
How she is worshiped:
The devotees of Kali attribute deep meaning to her origin. The demons represent the evil passions of human beings. Kali represents the source of energy and Shiva represents the source of knowledge. The passions are overcome by energy in attainment of truth.
The goddess Kali is worshipped in the darkness of the new moonlight. It comes off in the month of Kartik. The ceremony is serious and awe-inspiring. Goats and buffaloes are sacrificed before her. Her devotees get relief and comfort from her. They pray to her for blessings. According to them she is the giver of all good.