Origin of Kalabhairava
Posted by Art Of Legend India [dot] Com On 5:57 AM
Kalabhairava is the fierce manifestation of lord Shiva. The Sanskrit meaning of the word ‘Bhairava’ is ‘terrible’ or ‘frightful’. He is depicted ornamented with a range of twisted serpents, which serve as earrings, bracelets, anklets and sacred thread. He wears a tiger skin and a ritual apron composed of human bones. Bhairava has a dog as his vehicle. He is worshipped as an incarnation of Lord Shiva by some Shaivaites. He is one of the most important deities of Nepal. He is blue-throated from swallowing the poison to save the world; He is three-eyed with eternal supreme wisdom in his third eye. His eyes are like Lotus flowers. He is Death of death being the vanquisher of death. He is indestructible, wears the garland of human skulls and carries the trident. It is believed that if we worship Lord Bhairava, he would protect our assets and wealth. He 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 worship him. He is also considered the guardian of temples of Lord Shiva.
Kalabhairava is usually depicted in a fierce form decorated with serpents and carrying a head, which according to the Puranas, was the fourth head of Lord Brahma which lord Shiva in his aspect as Kalabhairava cut off to teach him a lesson. Kalabhairava is one of the eight Bharaiva fierce manifestations of Lord Shiva. Eight manifestations of kala Bhairava are said to guard the eight spatial directions and the abode of Lord Shiva. The eight manifestations are Kala Bhairava, Asitanga Bhairava, Samhara Bhairava, Ruru Bhairava, Krodha Bhairava, Kapala Bhairava, Rudra Bhirava and Unmatta Bhairava.
Origin of Kalabhairava
The story of origin of Kalabhairava is interesting. Once, lord Vishnu asked Lord Brahma that who is the supreme creator of the Universe. Arrogantly, Brahma told Vishnu to worship him because he (Brahma) is the supreme creator. This angered lord Shiva who, in reality is the creator of all. Therefore, lord Shiva incarnated himself in the form of Kalabhairava to punish Brahma. Bhairava beheaded one of Brahma's five heads. Cutting off Brahma's fifth head made him guilty of Brahmanicide, and as a result, he was forced to carry around the head for years until he had been absolved of the sin. He was advised to go to Varanasi and worship Goddess Annapurneswari to get rid of the sin. He did so and freed himself from sin. Lord Shiva then appointed him to guard the holy city of Varanasi.
One another story of the origin of lord Kalabhairava is the story of Sati, the daughter of Daksha and wife of lord Shiva. After the marriage of Shiva and Sati, Daksha organized a yagna (a ritualistic sacrifice) and invited all the gods, excepting Shiva and Sati. Sati came to the yagna alone, where Daksha insulted Shiva. Sati could not tolerate her husband’s insult and offered herself to the sacrificial fire.
When Shiva came to know about the incident of Sati, he destroyed Daksha’s yagna and beheaded him. Shiva carried Sati's corpse on his shoulders and ran uncontrollably all around the world for days. Since this would eventually destroy all creation, lord Vishnu used his divine discus to cut Sati's body into pieces, which then fell all around. These spots where Sati's body parts fell are now known as Shakti Peethas. In the form of the frightful Bhairava, lord Shiva guards each of these Shaktipeeths. Each Shaktipeeth temple is accompanied by a temple of lord Kalabhairava.
Kalabhairava is worshipped by Hindus and Buddhists alike. He is also referred to as Bhairo or Bhairon or Bhairadya. It is believed that worshipping Kalabhairava would solve most of the problems which are pending for a long time. Those who wish to improve their time management skills should worship him.All paintings are courtesy of Art of Legend India.