Maa Kali is the fearful and ferocious form of the mother goddess Durga. She assumed the form of a powerful goddess and became popular with the composition of the Devi Mahatmya, a text of the 5th – 6th century AD. Here she is depicted as having born from the brow of Goddess Durga during one of her battles with the evil forces. As the legend goes, in the battle, Kali was so much involved in the killing spree that she got carried away and began destroying everything in sight. To stop her, Lord Shiva threw himself under her feet. Shocked at this sight, Kali stuck out her tongue in astonishment, and put an end to her homicidal rampage. Hence the common image of Kali shows her in her mêlée mood, standing with one foot on Shiva’s chest, with her enormous tongue stuck out.
Maa Kali Puja is done to diminish the ego and all negative tendencies that hinder spiritual progress and material prosperity. Performed on the night of Kartik Amavasya, which falls in October/November, Kali Puja is an intense invocation to the fearsome goddess. The main purpose of the puja is to seek the help of the goddess in destroying evil – both in the outside world and within us.