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K A L I
In the Tantric pantheon, Kali is mentioned as the first of the ten Great Cosmic Powers, because in a certain way she is the one who "spins the wheel of the universal time".
On the other hand, at the end of the manifested world, time (in Sanskrit Kala) devoured all the universes of the three plans of the creation: the physical, the astral and the causal universes.
The Great Cosmic Power Kali finally devours the time itself, which is Kala, and this is the very reason for which Kali is viewed as the primordial cause of the creation and destruction of the universe.
The famous Tantric writing Nirvanatantra associates Kali to Brahman, the Supreme, as representing both the being (the existence) and the infinite consciousness in manifestation.
This association has allowed the worship of Kali both from the metaphysical abstract perspective, as well as from a more concrete perspective, which implies certain attributes (functions, characteristics, qualities).
According to the Tantric tradition, the whole manifested world springs from the Infinite Consciousness of the beatific union between Shiva and Shakti.
The function of the creation comes to the divine energy bearing the name Brahmani Shakti. The universe thus created has to be maintained in the manifestation, function performed by Shakti Vaishnavi.
Nonetheless, both the creation and the preserving aspects imply a molecular "death" or "destruction" of each form of the universe, function performed by Rudrani Shakti.
In fact, Brahmani, Vaishnavi and Rudrani are the consorts of the three Hindu gods Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva (also named Rudra).
HER DARKNESS DISOLVES EVERYTHING
The simultaneous existence of these three processes within the creation clearly expresses the statements included in all Tantric writings, that the creation of the universe did not occur once, in the past, nor will the universe be destroyed once in the future, and that rather in every instant these aspects manifest as flashings creating the illusion of continuity and reality.
Although the human body and mind are permanently assailed by innumerable sensorial perceptions, the state of divine ecstasy (samadhi) implies the disappearance of all mental functions and of the physical awareness into the supreme consciousness of Paramashiva, the one that is beyond all duality.
The description of the Great Cosmic Power Kali describes her as being dark as the night, dancing over Shiva's inert, white body. This representation reveals the significance of the two fundamental aspects of Reality: on one hand there is the dynamic, imanent aspect of God (Kali's dance) and on the other the static, transcendent aspect of consciousness (identified with Shiva).
Shiva is white because he signifies the infinite divine light (prakasha), inert because the absence of movement and action reveals the consciousness pure, homogenous and compact.
On the other hand, Kali's dance signifies the dynamic, active aspect of the Divine, and the dark color of her skin indicates that the processes of the creation are disolved in Kali.
From a different perspective, Kali is also the creator of the universes, as they come to life from the ashes of the Divine Consciousness' purifying fire. Consequently, Kali's action is deeply evolutionary, as she impels the human beings towards evolution, sometimes in a painful manner.
Nonetheless, Kali performs her actions in the divine light and harmony, knowing that this is the best thing to do. Those who manage to pass all the tests and go through all the stages are in truth spiritual heroes, and they will be rewarded with Kali's spiritual grace.
However, until God's will does not manifest the creative impulse, the divine infinite energy (Shakti) lies potential, but unmanifested, inseparably united with Shiva, in his purely transcendent aspect.
The spiritual Tantric writings denote this state as SAT-CHIT-ANANDA (PURE EXISTENCE-PURE CONSCIOUSNESS-INFINITE BLISS).