Kali Durge

Jaya Jagatambe Seetaa Raadhe, Gauri Durge Namoh Namah
Paalana Karani Bhava Bhaya Harani, Kaali Durge Namoh Namah
Victory! Hail to the Mother of the World!
Called Sita, Radha, Gauri and Durga
I bow to you again and again.

She who lifts me up and saves me from the fear of this world,
Kali Durga, I bow to you again and again.

I first heard this chant in Maharaj-ji’s temple in Kainchi, in the Kumaon Hills. It was during Durga Puja — the 10-day festival during which the Divine Mother is worshipped in the form of Kali and Durga. Every day there is a ceremony with chanting of mantras and offerings being made into the fire. Many of Maharaj-ji’s women devotees (His Ma’s), stayed at Kainchi for the whole ten days. Every night they gathered in a small room and sang for hours. The sound was electrifying; I was drawn to it like a moth to a flame. The problem was that men were not allowed in, so I would wrap myself in a blanket and sit listening outside the window in the cold mountain air. One day I was caught. Instead of being mad at me, the women cracked open the window a little so I could hear better! Sometimes the singing would be going along and all of a sudden there would be a scream from inside the room: another Ma had gone into ecstacy! It was totally unbelievable. Later, Mrs. Tewari and her daughter, Minnoo, taught me the words.