Bhairava Path Sangrah
Bhairava Path Sangrah – Kaala Bhairava is the fierce manifestation of Lord Shiva associated with annihilation. He is one of the most important deities of Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Nepal who originated in Hindu mythology and is sacred to Hindus, Buddhists and Jains alike.
He is depicted ornamented with a range of twisted serpents, which serve as earrings, bracelets, anklets, and sacred thread (yajnopavita). He wears a tiger skin and a ritual apron composed of human bones. Bhairava has a dog (Shvan) as his divine vahana (vehicle). Bhairavi is a fierce and terrifying aspect of the Devi who is virtually indistinguishable from Kali, with the exception of her particular identification as the consort of Bhairava.
Bhairava himself has eight manifestations i.e. Ashta Bhairava:
Kala Bhairava is conceptualized as the Guru of the planetary deity Shani (Saturn). Bhairava is known as Bhairavar or Vairavar in Tamil where he is often presented as a Grama devata or village guardian who safeguards the devotee on all eight directions (ettu tikku). Known in Sinhalese as Bahirawa, he protects treasures. Lord Bhairava is the main deity worshipped by the Aghora sect.
Kalabhairava, the fearsome aspect of Lord Shiva, is the God who is the protector of Benares. Once Brahma insulted Lord Shiva and his fifth head teasingly laughed at Lord Shiva. From Lord Shiva came out the Kalabhairava (Black Bhairava) who tore off the fifth head of Lord Brahma. On the entreaties of Lord Vishnu, Shiva pardoned Lord Brahma. But the sin of beheading Lord Brahma followed Kalabhairava everywhere. Also the head of Brahma stuck to him. To keep away the sin and punishment which were chasing him, Kalabhairava entered the city of Benares. The sin could not enter the city. Kalabhairava was made as the Kotwa of Benares. Kalabhairava rides on a dog. A pilgrimage to Kasi is not supposed to be complete without visiting the temple of Kalabhairava.
Another story identifies Kalabhairava with Veerabhadra who cut off the head of Daksha the father of Sathi Devi, when he insulted Lord Shiva. Sathi’s body was cut into pieces and strewn all over India giving rise to Shakthi Peetas. Outside every Shakthi Peeta is the temple for Bhairava.
In another story, Kalabhairava is the form of Shiva who controls the growth and management of time. Whoever wants to spend, manage or ration their time in a proper manner should pray him.
He is also considered as the guardian of temples of Lord Shiva. After locking the doors of the temple of Lord Shiva, the keys are ceremonially offered to Bhairava.
This ashtakam is recited by the priests of the temple of Kalabhairava in Benares before blessing the devotee with a tap by the cane of Lord Kalabhairava.
Kalashtami, or Maha kalaBhairavashtami, is the most auspicious day dedicated to Lord Kala Bhairava. Lord kala Bhairava is a manifestation of Lord Shiva. Kala Bhairava is the God of Time – Kal means ‘time’ and ‘Bhairava’ the manifestation of Shiva. Ashtami after Poornima, the eighth day after full moon, is considered the ideal day to propitiate Kala Bhairava. In 2012, Kala Bhairavashtami is on Dec 06.
Lord Kala Bhairava is also known as Kshetrapalaka, the guardian of the temple. In honor of this, keys to the temple are ceremonially submitted to Lord Kaala Bhairava at temple closing time and are received from him at opening time.
The vahana (vehicle) of Lord Kaala Bhairava is the dog. Feeding and taking care of dogs is another way of showing our devotion to Lord Kaala Bhairava.
There are eight types of Bhairavas and they are called ashta Bhairavas. They are Asithanga Bhairavar, Ruru Bhairavar, Chanda Bhairavar, Krodha Bhairavar, Unmatta Bhairavar, Kapala Bhairavar, Bhishana Bhairavar and Samhara Bhairavar. Apart from these eight forms there is yet another form called Swarna akarshana Bahiravar. Maha Bhairavar is said to be Shiva himself.
The Swarna akarshana Bhairavar has red complexion and clothed in golden dress. He has moon in his head. He has four hands. In one of the hands he carries a golden vessel. He gives wealth and prosperity.