This mantra, found in a yantra (divine diagram) in the Brhad Tantra Sara, vibrates together one of the bija (“seed” or “essence”) mantras of Kali, the Great Black Mother Goddess, with the name of Krishna, the black-skinned incarnation of the God Vishnu (“Krishna” and “Kali” both literally mean “black”). While this combination may seem strange, there are many instances throughout history of Krishna and Kali being worshipped in combined form. In the Tantras, Krishna even has a divine feminine origin.
In the Brhadyoni Tantra, Krishna is said to be an emanation of the goddess Mahamaya (a form of Kali). She descended to Earth, placed her yoni (vulva) in the eye of the peacock’s tail feathers, and then incarnated in the womb of Devaki, Krishna’s earthly mother. One day, when Krishna was in his divine play with the gopis (cow herder girls) and Radha (his eternal lover), he recognized his yoni in the peacock’s tail feathers, plucked one feather, and placed it on his head as a reminder of his divine femininity. This symbolic union of divine feminine and masculine within is a powerful reminder of our own quest for divine balance and completion within.