Collections: Asian Art: Kali

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    2000.98.6_PS2.jpg 2000.98.6_bw_IMLS.jpg


    • Medium: Watercolors on paper with polished tin accents
    • Dates: late 19th-early 20th century
    • Dimensions: 17 7/8 x 10 7/8 in. (45.4 x 27.6 cm)  (show scale)
    • Collections:Asian Art
    • Museum Location: This item is not on view
    • Accession Number: 2000.98.6
    • Credit Line: Gift of Dr. Bertram H. Schaffner
    • Rights Statement: No known copyright restrictions
    • Caption: Kali, late 19th-early 20th century. Watercolors on paper with polished tin accents, 17 7/8 x 10 7/8 in. (45.4 x 27.6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Dr. Bertram H. Schaffner, 2000.98.6
    • Image: overall, 2000.98.6_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2009
    • Record Completeness: Adequate (53%)
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    Recent Comments
    01:23 05/19/2011

    The Black Goddess laughs.

    The unrepentant, the reckless evil-doer fears Kali. The ignorant naturally fear Kali.

    But the just can just walk up to Kali and see but love in her face.

    For Kali’s form is grace; Kali is beauty; Kali is satya; Kali is all goodness.

    See, the wise do not fear Kali.

    Even the innocent fool does not fear Kali.

    See this fool Tenali Raman. This fool is lost and seeks shelter in a temple, a Kali temple. The fool remembers people muttering mantras to themselves and so he mutters to himself. The fool does not know what mantra he utters; he does not even utter complete words; he mutters with love, and innocence, and he looks at Kali.

    See this fool Tenali, he just knows this is Kali, like the Black Goddess in his village, and he mutters what his village folk have muttered. He utters each nonsense with love.

    And Kali appears in all her ferocity. She is fierce and anyone else would have died of fear.

    But Tenali Raman laughs at Kali.

    He looks at her in the face and laughs.

    The Mother says, Why do you laugh?

    Anyone else would have been speechless with fear. But not the fool Tenali. For he is innocent and he laughs.

    The fool says: You have so many heads but only two hands so I laugh.

    What’s so funny about that? Kali asks.

    The fool says:
    You have so many heads but only two hands so I laugh. When Tenali has a running nose he can wipe it easily with two hands; but what will you do with so many running noses and with only two hands?

    God does not roar with anger. God is not offended by love.

    Kali laughs.

    Fools, is a mother offended by her child’s sweetness?

    Kali laughs.

    Fools, is a mother offended by her child’s innocence?

    Kali laughs.

    Fools, does a mother reject her child because the world says the child is a fool?

    Kali laughs.

    And Tenali laughs. He makes people laugh and he laughs if anyone laughs.

    And mother and child laugh together.

    And Kali says, You will make the world laugh; from this day, child – with your wit and humor, you shall make the world laugh.

    And thus became Tenali Raman the Grand Fool, the jester who made the south laugh. Because Kali laughed first. And loved her child for making her laugh.

    Can you make God laugh?

    So stand easy before Kali, for a sense of humor points to love.

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