Mahā-kālī महा-काली (751)

She is mahatī (nāma 774). Mahat is used to indicate anything that is supreme. This word originates from the word mahā.  Both the words give the same meaning.  Mahatī can be used as an independent word whereas mahā is to be used with another word.  This is the origin of the nāma. 

Mahat also means intellect or buddhi.  This is the third principle in sāṃkhya yoga, the first two being puruṣa and prakṛti. Kālī has several meanings such as blackness, Śiva’s wife, black clouds, a woman with a dark complexion, mother of sage Vyāsa. Sarasvatī is also known as Kālī, a form of Durga, etc.  Mahā Kāla means Śiva and Mahā Kālī is His ŚaktīLiṅga Purāṇa (Chapter 106) says about the origin of Kālī. “Having entered the body of the lord of Deva-s, Pārvatī made Her own body out of poison in the neck of Śiva......... Śiva created Kālī, the blue necked Goddess with matted hair from His third eye.........On seeing Kālī who resembled fire and whose black neck was embellished with poison.......”

This nāma also says that Lalitāmbikā is the ruler of death in the form of Mahā Kālī. God of death Yama is also black in colour.  Lalitāmbikā takes black complexion when She destroys evil doers. Please refer nāma 756. 

{Further reading on Kālī: (as told by Śrī Kāñcī Mahā Svāmī in the book Voice of God – Volume I.) “White Śiva gets to the task of saṃhāra after taking black coloured Pārvatī as Śaktī.  When we refer to Ambāl (Tamil version of Śaktī) Herself as saṃhāramūrtī, we call Her as Kālī. The very word Kālī means a woman who is black.....

We do a lot of work. Then we become tired and go to sleep. This is caused by tamas. There, it is pitch dark –black only.  But, it is in this sleep that man gets at least some peace. To the being who runs around the whole day and goes through hardships, Parāśaktī, as a consolation, gives them sleep every day and gives them some peace. Therefore, there appears to a lot of grace in tamas itself. 

Saṃhāra is a long sleep. Just as we are in a state of peace during sleep, unaffected by sorrow, in the same way the jīva that undergoes saṃhāra is immersed in peace, free from the various kinds of experiences arising out of activities, till it takes another birth.  Lord Śiva performs saṃhāra in order to give us temporary rest, free from the bondage of karma.  Only the jñāni-s who have lost the ego ‘I am doing karma’ can permanently escape from the cycle of karma.  But, in order that even a sinner may, at least temporarily be free from the harassment of karmaParāśaktī has, with great compassion designed saṃhāra.....

The colour of Pārvatī, the Śaktī of Rudra, who performs saṃhāra is black. Only if the worldly attachements are given up, one can get released from sorrows and miseries and attain eternal peace. To be aware that we are in a state of peace and remain peaceful is the state of samādi. This is the state which is granted by Parāśaktī through Her function of grace. The next state is being in a state of sleep without the awareness that we are in a state of peace. Therefore, next to the stage of grace (anugraha), what is pleasing to all beings is only saṃhāra.}

Mahā-grāsā महा-ग्रासा (752)

She is a devourer (one who eats voraciously). This nāma says that everything merges into the Brahman. Kaṭha Upaniṣad (I.ii.25) says “the best among all people are like food to the Self.  Death overcomes everyone, yet even death is a mere condiment for the Self.”

Brahma Sūtra (I.ii.9) also says “The eater (the Brahman) on account of the appropriation of all that moves and does not move.”

This nāma refers to the act of annihilation or the great dissolution (mahā pralaya) of the Brahman. 

Mahā-śanā महा-शना (753)

The great eater. There is no significant difference between the previous nāma and this nāma. Possibly the earlier nāma refers to the great dissolution (the deluge) and this nāma refers to destruction. In the process of annihilation, the entire universe ceases to exist and in the case of destruction a part of the universe (evil doers) is destroyed.

This nāma is different from nāma 229 mahā-sanā (महासना). 

Aparṇā अपर्णा (754)

She is without debts. When apa (negation) is prefixed to rṇā (debts) it means She is without debts. She repays the devotion of Her devotees by granting boons to them, thereby not indebted to Her devotees.  She is not even indebted to Śiva because She takes care of His acts of creation, sustenance and dissolution.  She is not indebted to Deva-s (gods and goddesses) because, She is saving them from the demons.  She is not indebted to anyone in this universe. 

Bhāskararāyā (who authored Varivasyā Rahasya) was a great devotee of Lalitāmbikā.  He did not have enough money to perform even small rituals to Her.  He borrowed money and performed daily rituals to Her. His creditors pressurised him to return the money.  He did not have any money as his only job was to worship Her.  He did not have any source of income.  Suddenly, the pressure from his creditors stopped.  Later he found out that Lalitāmbikā personally repaid all his debts in the form of his wife.  Wealth and unfeigned devotion do not go together!

Aparṇa also means without leaves. It is said that She did penance for attaining Śiva without even taking leaves.  Aparṇa as such means Durga or Pārvatī

According to another interpretation parṇā means falling and aparṇā means She is devoid of fall. There is no fall for the Brahman. 

Caṇḍikā चण्डिका (755)

She is Durga. She is said to be inaccessible because of Her anger. She is the combined form of Durga, Lakṣmī and Sarasvatī. Please refer nāma 704. Caṇḍi or Caṇḍikā does not like evil doers and becomes terribly angry on seeing them.  She slays these evil doers without mercy.  Her anger is expressed in Śrī Devi Māhātmyam.

Taittirīya Upaniṣad (III.viii.1) says, “The wind blows out of fear for Him (the Brahman). The sun also shines out of fear.  Out of fear, fire, Indra, death all rush to do their respective duties.”  This clearly explains that making others fear for Him is the quality of the Brahman. Śrī Rudraṁ (I.1) opens by paying reverence to His anger. Śrī Rudraṁ says nāmasthae rudra manyava .... nāmah.

Caṇḍikā form of Her is said to be ferocious.  She cannot tolerate evil acts.  Because of Her anger, activities of universe take place in a disciplined manner.

A seven year old girl is known as Caṇḍikā.

Caṇḍa-muṇḍāsura-niṣūdinī चण्ड-मुण्डासुर-निषूदिनी (756)

Caṇḍa and Muṇḍa are the two demons who were killed by Her and hence She is known as Cāmuṇḍa (the first letters of the two demons). In Mārkaṇḍeya Purāṇa (Devi Bhāgavata) (84.25) Devi Caṇḍikā addresses Kāli thus “Because you have killed Chaṇḍa and Muṇḍa, you shall be known as Chāmuṇḍā and be famed in the world.”  Caṇḍikā is different from ChāmuṇḍāCaṇḍikā is the combined form of Durgā, Lakṣmī and SarasvatīCāmuṇḍā is the form of Kālī. All these forms are only manifestations of Lalitāmbikā

Cāmuṇḍa is one of the sapta mātā-s (seven mothers).  In the previous nāma it is said that She is angered on seeing evil doers. To prove this point, She destroyed two demons, who were the great evil doers.