Kamalakanta Bhattacharya was born in Bardhaman in West Bengal and was a great devotee of Maa Kali. He wrote poems, imploring the Big Mother to destroy limitations and bondage. Due to his excellence in language, poetry and music, the Maharaja of Bardhaman, Tej Chandra took him in as a court advisor and later on as his Guru.
One day, Sadhak Kamalakanta was offering his prayers to Maa Kali’s idol, while the general public, courtiers and Maharaja himself were attending the same. Just then the Maharaja uttered in a moment of devotion, “Maa, how fierce, yet how compassionate you are. You are so alive!” A courtier who envied Sadhak Kamalakanta’s goodwill, countered the King, “This idol of Maa Kali you are talking about…hmm…You say it is alive. Ask Kamalakanta to prove it.”
Kamalakanta asked the Maharaja “Come near the idol of Maa Kali, Maharaj, touch Her feet with utmost devotion and She shall be alive.”
The Maharaja went ahead to do as instructed and with eyes shut, devotion to the brim, he touched Maa Kali’s feet and he could feel the Divine Mother’s presence, Her feet so alive. He was moved to tears and he went into deep ecstacy. But the courtier was not convinced. Following which the courtier attempted the same but in vain, he could feel nothing. The Maharaja then asked Sadhak Kamalakanta to prove that Maa is alive to everyone present there.
Kamalakanta could not bear the thought of hurting his Mother, yet he took a thorn of Bel(Wood Apple) and pricked Her feet and then held a bel leaf under the wound. Slowly blood started to stream down Her feet. He cried, it was painful to see his Mother bleed.While the crowd hailed the Divine Mother and sang, he quietly walked out of the shrine.
It will be a while before he can understand why things are happening the way it does.
He wondered, looking at her dark figure, destroyer of all ignorance,
To them who meditates on Her,
the riches of heaven are poor indeed;
If Shyama casts Her glance on them,
he swims in Eternal Bliss.
The prince of yogis, the king of the Gods,
meditate on Her feet in vain;
Yet worthless Kamalakanta
yearns for the Mother’s blessed feet!
Image credit: Artwork by Subhabrata Bose