Kali the Mother (Nivedita)/The Story of Kali
The Story of Kali.
Written for Baby Legget, at Bally, Calcutta, Christmas 1898.
BABY DARLING, what is the very first thing you remember? Is it not lying on mother's lap, and looking up into her eyes, and laughing?
Did you ever play hide and seek with mother? Mother's eyes shut, and baby was not. She opened them, and there was baby! Then baby's eyes shut, and where was mother? But they opened again, and—oh!
When mother's eyes were shut, where was she? There all the time? But you could not see her eyes. Yet she was there.
Baby, some people think God is just like that. A great great Mother—so great that all this big world is Her baby. God is playing with Her world, and She shuts Her eyes. Then, all our lives long, baby darling, we try to catch the Great Mother peeping. And if any of us can do that, if any of us can look into the eyes of God, just once, just for a minute,—do you know what happens? . . . That person at once knows all secrets, and he becomes strong and wise and loving, and he never, never forgets that moment.
And when you win like that, when you catch the Mother looking, something else happens. Something lovely. All Her other children come and play with you. The little birds come, and the wee lambs love you, and the wild rabbits touch your feet, and the poor children in the streets, who are cold and hungry perhaps—poor children that the Great Mother loves most of all, because they seem to have no father or mother, and perhaps no home—poor children trust you, and make a place for you with them. We are all sitting on the Mother's lap, but these sit closest of all to Her breast.
And what do we call the Mother with Her eyes shut? We call her Kali. ••••••Were you ever for a very few minutes, unhappy? And did mother, or nurse, or auntie, or someone else, come and pick you up, and love you, and kiss you, till you were not unhappy any more?
Sometimes God is like that too. We get so frightened because those eyes will not open. We want to stop the game. We don't like it. We feel alone, and far away and lost. Then we cry out. It has grown quite dark, and still the Mother's eyes are shut. Let us play no longer. So we feel sometimes.
But the eyes are not shut, really. We think so, because it is dark all round. Just at that moment when you cried out, the beautiful eyes of the Mother opened and looked at Her child like two deep wells of love. And you, if you had seen, would have stopped playing all at once, and saying "Kali! Kali!" you would have hidden your little face on the Mother's shoulder, and listened to the beating of her heart instead!
And so, wee one, will you remember that the Great Mother Kali is everywhere? Even when seems to be far away, it is only that you cannot see Her eyes. This mother goes away, and you cannot see her. But Kali is always there, always loving, and always ready to play with Her child.
And will you sometimes remember to stop playing, just for a minute, and to fold your little hands, and say, "Dear Mother Kali, let me see Your eyes!" •••••• There is another game of hide-and-seek that the Great Mother plays. This is more like a fairy story. She hides sometimes in other people. She hides in anything. Any day you might see Her eyes, just looking into mother's, or playing with a kitten, or picking up a bird that had fallen from its nest. Under all these forms you may find God playing at hide-and-seek!
When there is something to do for someone—Kali is calling us to play. We love that play. She Herself said once (She was hiding in someone, and He said it for Her). "Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of the least of these, My little ones, ye did it unto Me." Is not that like a fairy story! And what funny places She, the Great Mother, can hide in! Another time She said "Lift the stone, and thou shalt find Me. Cleave the wood, and there am I!" Did you ever lift a stone or break a piece of wood to see what was inside? Did you ever think that was God—at the heart of things? How beautifully Kali plays! You might find Her anywhere!
Does mother love baby when she is hiding from her? Why of course! else why should she hide? Even when her eyes are shut, is Mother loving baby? Why yes, see how she is laughing all the time!
And so with Kali. We need never he frightened, though Her eyes are long shut. She is laughing all the time. In Her own good time God will stop playing, and we shall look into Her eyes, and get away and away behind the world—straight "to the other end of nowhere," all at once.
So let us always run to play when we are called. Remember, little one, if any need anything you can give, your Mother is calling you to find Her! If anyone ask for something you can do, it is really Mother saying "Peep childie!" or when a new person comes for you to love, Kali is saying "Here am I!" •••••••There is something else. You love mother and father and auntie and nurse, and—, and—. Of course you do. Besides, they love you, and they are all so good and kind.
But far far away, mother has a brother, a big brother, like Holl. Do you love him too? Why? You never saw him. He never played with you.
No, but mother loves him. And you love all the people mother loves—don't you dearie? And so we love all the people Kali loves. All the children She plays with, and the lambs, and the flowers, and the great trees, and the little fishes. She loves all these, and She loves too the stars in the sky. And so do we. For we are Her children, and everything that She loves we love too, because She is the Mother, and we cannot help it.