Most teachings, especially New Age, advocate a “romantic idealism” form of spiritual practice, rather than acknowledge the stark reality of the relative plane. But while we are in the body, the world continues to affect us all, including our abidance in SELF. This aspect of reality has repeatedly been ignored, and we have discovered new ways to escape from what stares us in the face. Hence, we are not prepared for calamity when it strikes.

Knowledge is freeing. It may not get rid of the situation we face, but knowledge can prepare us for the many things that can otherwise confuse and create doubts in us as seekers. I am addressing those sincere seekers who, in spite of their unflinching devotion and abidance in SELF, often lose their connection to their Being, or are suffering miserably on the earthly plane. I believe that if these seekers understand the workings of the foreground I-Am, they will stop looking for answers in places from where answers will never come, and hopefully stop criticizing themselves for their inability to fix the situation. Truth, no matter how harsh, is always liberating and healing. 

Many of us have been told about the background I-Am, which I call the “male principle.” All the spiritual practices we have all been doing are concerned solely with strengthening this male principle I-Am. Practices like witnessing, abiding in the “I” or the Self, and actively raising the Kundalini up the spine, are all concerned with the male background I-Am. 

The qualities of the background I-Am are that of stillness, peace, joy and bliss. As we deepen our relationship with this background I-Am, these qualities become more and more profound, and eventually lead us to the Absolute. There, everything dissolves. 

But there is another I-Am, a very important one. It has not been talked about, but presents itself again and again in our lives: The “Foreground I-Am”. 

That foreground I-Am is like Mother Kali who arrives with the noble motive of freeing us from our habitual tendencies (vasanas). But She then intensifies Her attack directly on anything we have latched onto, protected, or guarded. Having our attachments broken can be brutally painful and terrifying for us, for we cannot find any refuge in anything, whether God or the world. Even the Absolute, Shiva, absolutely collapses under Kali’s Lotus feet, and finds no favor. All our identifications, even the slightest, are Her enemy, irrespective of whether they are spiritual or material in nature. In Her eyes, all are the same.

Ego is never really eliminated until Kali visits. Facing Her, the subtlest trace of ego that remains hidden in us is plucked out. Such is Her power and glory. 

As I sat pondering Kali’s immense power, beauty, and terrifying form, the Truth about Her came to me as verses collected into the Song of Kali. I was fortunate to have Daniel Mills next to me recording them as they flowed through me. He helped me choose the verses, edited them, and offered his own input as my student, my friend, a teacher to many, and one who has finally awakened and continues to awaken deeply in his heart.

Together we present these verses to all those who feel the need to know the Truth as it is.

As a prelude to the Song of Kali, I share with you all a work by the Bengali poet, Dwijendralal Ray called “Clinging to Your Feet”: 

I lie clinging to your feet,
but you never look at me, Mother.
You’re lost in your own play,
and engrossed in your own emotion.
What is this sport you revel in
across earth, heaven and the underworld?
The entire universe closes its eyes in terror,
and calls out “Mother, Mother!”
while clutching at your feet.
In your hands, Kali, you hold
the world’s final destruction.
Under your feet
even the great Shiva
lies unconscious.
Wild laughter issues from your mouth
and streams of blood flow down your limbs.
Tara*, forgiving one, end our fear!

Pick me up like a baby in your arms.
Come shining like a star,
with a smiling face
and in fair dress, like the dawn
after a pitch-black night!
All these days, O Terrible Kali,
I’ve worshiped only you.
My puja is done, Mother.
Won’t you put down your sword? 

*Tara means star
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