"Kali is a Hindu goddess with a long and complex history in Hinduism. Although sometimes presented as dark and violent, her earliest incarnation as a figure of annihilation still has some influence, while more complex Tantric beliefs sometimes extend her role so far as to be the Ultimate Reality (Brahman) and Source of Being. She is also known and revered as Bhavatarini (meaning: redeemer of the universe Dakshineswar Kali Temple). Finally, the comparatively recent devotional movement largely conceives of Kali as a straightforwardly benevolent mother-goddess. Therefore, as with her association with the Deva (god) Shiva, Kali is associated with many Devis (goddesses) - Durga, Bhadrakali, Bhavani, Sati, Rudrani, Parvati, Chinnamasta, Chamunda, Kamakshi or kamakhya, Uma, Meenakshi, Himavanti, Kumari and Tara. These names, if repeated, are believed to give special power to the worshipper. She is the foremost Goddess among the Dasa Mahavidyas."
About the author:
Sir John Woodroffe (1865-1936), also known by his pseudonym Arthur Avalon, received his B.C.L. (Bachelor of Civil Law) from University College, Oxford. He moved to India, where he practised law. He became Advocate-General of Begal and in 1915 Chief Justice at the Calcutta High Court. He also was appointed Standing Counsel to the Government of India. He was appointed Tagore Law Professor at the Calcutta University. After retiring to England he became Reader in Indian Law at the University of Oxford .
Alongside his judicial duties he studied Sanskrit and Hindu philosophy and was especially interested in the esoteric Hindu Tantric Shakti system. He translated some twenty original Sanskrit texts, and under his pseudonym Arthur Avalon he published and lectured prolifically and authoritatively on Indian philospohy and a wide range of Yoga and Tantra topics. His work helped to unleash in the West a deep and wide interest in Hindu philosophy and Yogic practices.