By Sarathi Guha(03 Apr 2008)
A priest in the Kalighat temple depicts the story of foundation of the temple at the request of some visitors at the temple. There used to be Adi Ganga which is now the Tali canal. Goddess Sati’s body fell there and therefore Kalighat temple is a ‘peeth’. The priest went on telling about the visits of the saints like Sadhak Ramprasad, Kamalakanto, Bamakhyapa and Ramkrishna. According to mythology, when Goddess Sati died, Lord Shiva bereaved by Sati's death got agitated and started destructing the world. To save the world from destruction, Lord Vishnu (Narayan) sectioned Sati's body into pieces with his Sudarshan chakra and the body parts fell on 51 different regions on earth which became the peeth’s. Since then Sati’s toe laid undiscovered within a jungle on the bank of river Bhagirathi. After that a man called Atmaram used to hear the call of Goddess Kali and left home in search of her. Goddess Kali in the disguise of a boatman helped him cross a river so that he could reach his destination where Sati’s toe was lying. When he was exhausted by the journey, he got shelter, treatment and sacrament from the monks in a monastery. On the way, he was saved from getting immolated by a cruel saint. Goddess Kali did like the saint, saved him and directed him to his destination. When he was again disabled by the struggle of the journey, the goddess in the disguise of lady snake charmer cured him with medicine. Meanwhile, Brahmananda, a devotee was austerely worshipping to get sight of Goddess Kali at Nilgiri hills. The Goddess was pleased at his worship and gifted him the boon that she will be always with him. Goddess Kali could listen to Atmaram’s call but could not visit him as she was bound with the promise of staying with Brahmananda. Kali in Gouri's look was engraved in a rock at Nilgiri caves. Meanwhile, Atmaram reached the destination. There he met Kamdar and Padmavati who were given the dream of establishing temple at Kalighat by the Goddess. They told Atmaram that only his asceticism could bring the holy rock from Nilgiri to Kalighat. One night Goddess Kali could not bear Atmaram’s call and replied to him. The Goddess asked him to float her away from Nilgiri by his religious austerities. Then at Atmaram’s sincere asceticism, the Nilgiri was flooded, Brahmananda lying on the holy rock was floated to the bank of Bhagirathi in Kalighat. When Brahmananda met Atmaram, he was not ready to give the rock to Atmaram as he believed the Goddess was only his possession. Then Goddess by an oracle conveyed to Brahmananda that she was the mother of all creatures and wished that Atmaram would carve the rock into her idol and Brahmananda would infuse life into the idol. While Atmaram sculptured the idol, Padmabati summoned Brahmananda to the pond beside the temple from where Brahmananda collected the toe of Goddess. When Brahmananda went to set the divine toe at the temple, the idol was incomplete and brahmananda though withally was not ready to accept it had to accept it at Goddess’s with. One day when Padmabati and other ladies wanted to offer puja to the goddess, Brahmananda considering them profane cancelled their puja offering. Atmaram aware of the injustice done to the ladies prayed to goddess and asked her if that injustice was her wish. Then the goddess in the disguise of a girl appeared inside the temple, Brahmananda angry of the girl’s entry expelled her and discovered that the girl was Goddess Kali herself. At last pleased at Atmaram’s prayings, the Goddess appeared in front of him, made Brahmananda realise that she was the mother of all irrespective of holy, unholy caste or creed, poor or rich. Then Bramhananda realised his fault and called everybody to offer puja to the Goddess. The Goddess fulfills the desire of all who offer puja at Kalighat temple. Thus the temple was founded.