The Holy Trinity of Kali

It is said that Kali has three primary forms including Her main self, Lakshmi, and Sarasvati. These three are actually more appropriately called Maha-Kali, Maha-Lakshmi, and Maha-Saraswati, where Maha means Great. Kali, Lakshmi, and Sarasvati are all the three manifestations of Mahadevi (The Great Goddess) that represent the three Gunas (or attributes) in Samkhya philosophy.

Each of the three Gunas is ever present simultaneously in every particle of creation but the variations in equilibrium manifest all the variety in creation including matter, mind, body and spirit.

Maha Kali

Mahakali's mythology is contained in various Puranic and Tantric Hindu Scriptures (Shastra), where She is variously portrayed as the Adi-Shakti or Primeval Force of the Universe, identical with the Ultimate Reality or Brahman, the (female) Prakriti or World as opposed to the (male) Purusha or Consciousness, or as one of three manifestations of Mahadevi (The Great Goddess) that represent the three Gunas or attributes in Samkhya philosophy; in this interpretation Mahakali represents Tamas or the force of inertia. A common understanding of the Durga Saptashati or Chandi Path (the Devi Mahatmya or "Greatness of the Goddess", a later interpolation into the Markandeya Purana, considered a core text of Shaktism, the branch of Hinduism which considers Devi to be the highest aspect of Godhead) assigns a different form of the Goddess (Mahasaraswati, Mahalakshmi, and Mahakali) to each of the three episodes therein.

Maha Lakshmi

Mahalakshmi is the presiding Goddess of the Middle episode of Devi Mahatmya. Here, she is depicted as Devi in her universal form as Shakti. The manifestation of the Devi to kill Mahishasura is formed by the effulgences of all the gods. The Goddess is described as eighteen-armed, bearing a string of beads, battle axe, maze, arrow, thunderbolt, lotus, bow, water pot, cudgel, lance, sword, shield, conch, bell, wine cup, trident, noose and the discus sudarsana. She has a complexion of coral and is seated on a lotus. She is known as Ashta Dasa Bhuja Mahalakshmi.


In the Devi Mahatmya, Saraswati is in the trinity of Maha Kali, Maha Lakshmi and Maha Saraswati. She is depicted as eight-armed. Her dhyana shloka given at the beginning of the Fifth chapter of Devi Mahatmya is: Wielding in her lotus-hands the bell, trident, ploughshare, conch, pestle, discus, bow, and arrow, her lustre is like that of a moon shining in the autumn sky. She is born from the body of Gowri and is the sustaining base of the three worlds. That Mahasaraswati I worship here who destroyed Sumbha and other Asuras.

Now whether any of these goddesses are mothers, daughters, or even grandmothers, it is important for pagan purposes to recognize the Triple Goddess here. Maha Kali, Maha Lakshmi and Maha Saraswati are infact Maiden, Mother, Crone. Their descriptions may not match perfectly, but that does not indicate contradictory. Each person in the Triple Goddess does not have just one but a few different aspects that seem to contradict each other, yet are all part of the Goddess.

This is Tridevi, the official Trinity in Hinduism.

The Tridevi (three goddesses) is a concept in Hinduism conjoining the three consorts of the Trimurti (Great Trinity):

Ø  Saraswati the goddess of learning and arts, cultural fulfillment (consort of Brahmā the creator)
Ø  Lakshmi the goddess of wealth and fertility, material fulfillment (consort of Vishnu the maintainer or preserver)
Ø  Parvati* (or in her demon-fighting aspect Durga) the goddess of power and love, spiritual fulfillment (consort of Śiva the destroyer or transformer).

*Parvati - This is another form of Maha-Kali.

Parvati manifests Her wrath as, for example, Durga and Kali; and Her benevolence as, for example, Lakshmi and Saraswati.

Hail MahaDurga in the name of Kali, Lakshmi, and Saraswati.