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Updated: Oct 18, 2023

Long ago, in the ancient Vindhya kingdom, there lived a devout priest of Goddess Kaali called Bhadra. As a child, he was terrified of Goddess Kaali, but over time something changed.

“Bhadrakaali” by Santhosh Annabattula tells the story of an innocent & pure-hearted boy depicting how his perspective towards the true beauty of Goddess Kaali changed from a child to an adult.



This contribution is edited by Tarun Chintam, and illustrated by Nikhila Kotni.



This short story is available in paperback & ebook.


Long ago, in the ancient Vindhya kingdom, there lived a devout priest of Goddess Kaali. His wife died while giving birth to a boy. The priest named him Bhadra. He decided not to marry again and the boy grew up under his father’s care. When Bhadra was a young boy, he went to Kaali’s temple along with his father. But he was scared at seeing her imposing idol. He ran away in fear and did not return to the temple. His father tried to assure him that Goddess Kaali is fearful but she is also gentle and protects her disciples. But Bhadra was not to be convinced. He asked his father many questions. Why is she so dark? Why are her eyes bloodshot? Why does she take out her tongue like that? Why does she wear a Garland of skulls? Thinking of her would give him the chills. His father hoped that his fear would pass but Bhadra grew up to be a timid young adult. The fear and the dislike of the Goddess only grew to be stronger. He was ridiculed and shunned by the people in his village.

One day, his father had enough and he dragged his son to the temple. He narrated the story of the Goddess to his son. He told him how Kaali was a destroyer of evil and her fearful form was to strike fear in the hearts of her enemies. “There was an evil demon in ancient times called Rakhtabheej. He had a boon that he will be resurrected for each drop of his blood which falls to the ground. He ravaged kingdoms for wealth, killed virtuous people and committed many atrocities as he became invincible with his boon. Mother took the form of Kaali to destroy him. She fought and slew him but his blood touched the ground giving rise to an army of demons. Maa Kaali then killed each of them and drank their blood before it touched the ground. She, thus, became the destroyer of evil and protector of good”.

Bhadra was aghast with this story and his fear only grew stronger. He had nightmares with the images of Raktabheej and Maa Kaali etched in his mind. Why should the Gods be so violent, he thought. If the Goddess is the protector of the good, why did she let his mother die during his birth? His father helplessly watched his infidel son and was repenting for him. As time passed, Bhadra grew up to be a fair, strong and handsome man. He believed in and worshipped the Gods of nature, fire, water, wind, sky and earth but he did not enter the temple of Goddess Kaali.

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