Definition - What does Kala mean?
Kala is a Sanskrit term with dual meanings. The first meaning is translated as "black" or "dark colored," and the second as "time," "destiny," "fate" or "death." Kala is also used in reference to one of the forms of Yama, the Hindu god of death.
In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali introduces a concept referred to as dirgha-kala, or “long time.” Dirgha-kala is the individual realization that when a new task is begun, it will not be perfected overnight. Yogis should take their time to create a solid foundation in this new undertaking—whether it be a new yoga practice, new job, an activity, a class or a relationship. No new endeavor can be perfected immediately. This principle acts as a reminder to enjoy the journey of learning something new and to intentionally build the groundwork needed to excel in the task.
Yogapedia explains Kala
Kala is a manifestation of Yama, lord of the underworld and destruction. In Vedic mythology,
Yama was thought to be the first mortal to die and was, therefore, made
to guide all others who came after him into the underworld. In Buddhism, especially Tibetan Buddhism, Kala is time personified. He appears as a deity in the form of Mahakala. Mahakala means
"great death" in Sanskrit and is frequently depicted as a wrathful
protector deity on temple walls and in religious paintings. In Hinduism,
Mahakala can also be another name for the god, Shiva.
Kala is also
one of the 36 tattvas, or principles of reality. In Kashmir Shaivism, there are three classifications of tattva: pure tattvas, pure-impure tattvas and impure tattvas. Kala—together with power, knowledge, space and passion—belongs to the second group of the pure-impure tattvas, describing the soul and the limitations of the soul. Kala-tattva is the stage at which one realizes the limitations of the endless individual soul. Since the soul has no time, beginning or end, one must go beyond the limitations of time and the other 35 tattvas in order to achieve pure consciousness and liberation.