By William Clark
Traveling to India immediately became a top priority of mine. I found myself heading there within two years of my darshan (“divine vision”) and will undoubtedly be visiting this country again and again for as long as I am able. During this time, I have immersed myself in the study of Indian culture and religion, focusing primarily on the state of West Bengal where Kali enjoys a particularly exalted position of popularity and reverence. I have acquired a comfortable grasp of the Bengali language and my passionate interest in the folk music of that region has led to the attainment of some specialized knowledge in that area as well. While back home in the USA, I decided to spend some time learning the basics of field recording and photography in order to document the ongoing pilgrimage which has become the central pivot of my existence. During my last visit to India from 2011-2012, I began developing www.kalibhakti.com as a way to share my journey with those who might wish to come along for the ride.
First and foremost, this website serves as an offering to my ishta devi (“patron goddess”), Ma Kali. “Bhakti” is perhaps most easily defined as the path of “loving devotion” and this project has developed as both a reflection and extension of my love for the Divine Mother. For me, the name of the website and the process are inextricably linked. Part of my endeavor to connect with Kali involves traveling to ancient sacred sites, known asshakti piths (“places of power”), to ritually worship various manifestations of the Supreme Feminine Power. It is during these sojourns that I gather and produce the materials which form the core of the website.
Through the sharing of written essays, photography, and field recordings, I offer a view into an otherwise highly-personal and solitary path. A major benefit of this multi-media approach is its broader appeal: I have received many compliments from people who initially were interested only in checking out some unique images or sounds, but ended up reading an essay and learning something about Hindu goddess worship. Naturally, this sort of thing makes me very happy as it ties directly into my personal goal of serving Kali by providing accurate information regarding the traditions surrounding her diverse manifestations. Even more exciting for me is the fact that www.kalibhakti.com is still in its nascent phase. With a solid foundation nearing completion, this project is sure to continuously expand and evolve for the duration of my lifelong dance with that mysterious black goddess who claimed me as her own more than thirteen years ago.
JAY MA KALI