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One of the most unconventional yet immensely popular deities in the Hindu pantheon, goddess Kali essentially represents the dark and contrary aspects of the cosmos. Her naked form and association with violence, blood and gore challenge the very concept of divinity. Yet, over the centuries, she has come to represent a whole gamut of conflicting images—from bloodthirsty ogress to benign goddess. So today while she is venerated as Chamunda, a deity who verges on the macabre and grotesque, she is also adored in household shrines in one of her milder forms, Dakshina-Kali. It is this evolution of Kali—from her origin as a tantric goddess to her metamorphosis into a divinity in mainstream religion—that Seema Mohanty captures brilliantly in this book. Drawing upon a variety of sources—rituals associated with the worship of Kali, tales from the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, the Puranas, the Tantras and Agamas, folklore and films—she has succeeded in portraying in engrossing detail the myriad manifestations of the enigmatic deity that is Kali.

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