Ma Bhabatarini Temple – Dakshineswar
The magnificent Dakshineswar Kali Temple which is famous as Ma Bhabatarini Temple at Dakshineswar near by Kolkata (Calcutta). This is just not a temple in the 19th Century it was changed the then Bengal and also a part of Bengali Renaissance. Contemporary culture of Bengal changed immensely in that era considering the temple as a center of the focus.
Being a yogi, I believe that, this temple and the master yogi of this temple able to convince people about spirituality instead of religion. It is not only a divine place but also a true spiritual place which undauntedly told Humanity is Divinity.
The History of the temple:
I am am talking about the era when Calcutta presently Kolkata was the Capital of the British empire in India. Even the time before the first mutiny against British in India. Calcutta was then the second largest city under British rule only next to London. In the early 1800 CE Dakshineswar was tiny village along the bank of river Ganga (the Holy Ganges).
This is one of three surveys by Mark Wood, a Captain in the East India Company’s Bengal Army. A minutely-detailed survey drawn at a scale of 4 inches to a mile, the map shows the city of Kolkata (then known as Calcutta) in West Bengal and the land surrounding the River Hooghly.
Courtesy British Library
– J С Marshman | Calcutta Review – issue of January 1845
Rani Rashmoni, founder of the temple
The famous Dakshineswar temple of Ma Bhabatarini – the Goddess Kali was founded by Rani Rashmoni following a dream she saw when she was about to start on her pilgrimage to Benaras. A long term plan of the Rani material
ised which she had longed to perform when her husband died with unfulfilled wish of constructing a Kali temple.
A dynamic woman, Rani Rashmoni took over the administration of the enormous estate her husband left her. The benevolent administrator, Rani Rashmoni was always in conflict with the stringent British laws and policies. People honored her and loved her for her daring and benevolent spirit. Dakshineswar temple, bathing ghats, a way from Subarnarekha River to Puri, Imperial Library (present National Library) and Hindu College (present Presidency College) are the testimonials to her benevolent nature.
The dream had moved the Rani intensely and she instructed her trusted people specially her youngest son-in law to look for plots to construct the Kali Temple. After a massive hunt for suitable plots, a 20-acred plot in the village of Dakshineswar was selected. The land resembled a hump of a tortoise. One part of this land belonged to a European Christian while the other part was a Muslim burial ground. The Rani began to construct this Hindu temple in 1847 on this very ground thus integrating different faiths.The Deed of endowment states was executed on 31st May 1855.
Swami Saradananda mentioned in the Lilaprasanga, ‘It is recorded in the Endowment document that the land of the Kali temple complex is 60 bighas.’ In the paper itself, we come across the fact that the plot calculated to 54 1/2 bighas, (Ref: 1 Bigha = 1333 m2.) with the surroundings of the Ganges in west, the land of Kashinath Roy Choudhury in east and the constructions of John Hastie in south. Later a part of the plot was used for a railway line and for the Vivekananda Bridge. So the current sum of the land mass is around 58 bighas. (Ref: 1 Bigha = 1333 m2.)
Ma Bhabatarini – The Goddess Kali
It is difficult to describe The Goddess Kali in the language, the different scriptures and the holy siddhas depicted the Goddess Kali in different way.
Adyashakti is the primordial energy-consciousness-bliss, she is the Mahamaya who creates the universe and liberates the jiva from the clutches of Maya. The sky is Her clothes. Her eyes have the spread from ear to ear.
The Gods were defeated in the war against the two Asura brothers Shumbha and Nishumbha. They were driven out of the heaven. They then composed a hymm to the Devi and prayed to Her. At this, a Devi came out of the body of the Adyashakti. She was named Kousiki. As a result, the color of Adyashakti turned into black. So she became known as Kali or Kalika(the dark).Though in course of time,she got black Her original color.
In another version, during Ambika’s (the mother) war against Shumbha and Nishumbha, at the moment of killing Chandasur Kali sprang forth from the forehead of Ambika.
Kali is the first Vidya of ten Mahavidyas. She wears tigerskin. She plays with mahakal and so she is Mahakali or Kali. Kali has so many forms. She is terrible and at the same time calm and benefactress of the world.
The idols of the Gods and the Goddess was decided to be installed on the ‘Jagannath Deva Snana-Yatra day’, an auspicious days of the Hindus. 31st May 1855, 18 Jaistha 1262 Bengali Sambat (BS) or Bônggabdô.,
(More than 1 lakh Brahmins were invited from different parts of the country to grace the auspicious occasion amidst the controversy of the Rani being in no position to own a temple and to offer Brahmins to feed since she was of low birth.) A big difference between Bharatiya Sanatana Dharma Vs Hindu Dharma
Being aware of the problem Rani Rashmoni a most dynamic and awesome administrator started discussion to solve the issue with the pundits, but none could solve her problem. Only Ramkumar Chattopadhayay, Sri Ramakrishna’s elder brother suggested that dedicating the temple to a Brahmin could overcome the existing problem.
The temple was dedicated in the name of Rani’s Guru. Sri Ramkumar Chattopadhyay, was the head priest, who installed the idol of Kali in the new temple with a grand splendor on Thursday, 31st May, 1855.
Many Intellectuals of shastras (scriptures), Brahmin pundits, and celebrated scholars arrived from distant places like Kashi, Orissa, and Navadvip.
The exceptionally open-minded Rani wished that pilgrims of all casts and religions could offer prayers at the temple. Her dreams were fulfilled since irrespective of religion and castes Dakshineswar is thronged by millions of devotees and admired for its peaceful ambiance.
Picture of Pamchavati where Sri Gadadhar Chattopadhyay became Ramakrishna Paramhansa
Sri Ramkumar Chattopadhyay passed away leaving the entire responsibility to his younger brother, Gadadhar. Gadadhar became Sri Ramkrishna Paramhansa Later on and his Leela during that time made a immense change in the socio-religious condition of Bengal.
A glimpse of Dakshineswar Temple Area
Statue of Swami Vivekananda
House of Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa
House of Sarada Devi, wife of Sri Ramakrishna