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Celebrating Kalashtami Brings Special Boons From Bhairav
Worshipping Bhairava on this day removes all difficulties in one’s life and makes one’s wishes come true, goes the belief. Kalashtami is also called Kala Bhairav Jayanti.
Who is Bhairav?
Bhairava is revered by both Hindus and Buddhists. He is a fierce and powerful form of Shiva and is associated with destruction.
Bhairava is also called Dandapani, meaning 'one who holds the Danda in his hand'. The Danda is a rod to punish sinners. Another name is Svasva, meaning "one whose vehicle is a dog".
Vajrayana Buddhists consider him to be a fierce form of Bodhisattva Manjusri. His worship is prevalent in Nepal, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and Japan too. His name is derived from the word bhīru, meaning "fearsome".
He has the power to destroy fear and is said to protect people from enemies within (like lust, greed, and anger) and without. Yet another interpretation decodes his name thus: Bha means 'creation', ra denotes 'sustenance', and va means 'destruction'. Hence, Bhairava can create, sustain and dissolve the three ...
... stages of life. So he is the supreme God.
The Legend behind Bhairava
The Shiva Puranam offers an account of Bhairava’s origin. According to it, Vishnu asked Brahma who was the supreme creator of the Universe. Brahma arrogantly replied that he was the Supreme Creator. Brahma also felt that he had five heads, like Shiva, so he could do everything that Shiva did. Such thoughts made Brahma puff up with ego. He also began to interfere in Shiva’s activities.
This filled Shiva with annoyance. In a fit of anger, Shiva threw a small hair from his head to the ground. It took the form of Kala Bhairava and cut off Brahma's fifth head. When he lost his fifth head, Brahma lost his ego and became enlightened. The skull or kapala of Brahma became stuck to Bhairava’s palm. After this incident, Brahma was useful to himself and the world. He also became grateful to Shiva.
As he had committed Brahmahatya, Bhairava had to carry the burden of his sin in the form of the kapala, which was stuck to his hand. He wandered all over with it like a vagabond, and finally, when he reached the holy land of Kashi, it fell into the Ganges river, and Bhairava became free of his sin. He decided to stay there, becoming the Kotwal (guardian) of Kashi.
As Bhairava, Shiva guards all the Shakti Peethas (Shakti temples). Each Shakti Peetha has a shrine dedicated to Bhairava.
Another legend says that Shiva himself created Bhairav. Once, there was a demon called Dahurāsura, who had a boon whereby only a woman could kill him. Parvati took Kali’s form to kill him. Kali’s wrath killed the demon. After killing the demon, her wrath took the form of a child. Kali fed her milk to the child. Then both Kali and the child fused with Shiva. From this merged form, Bhairava appeared in eight forms (Aṣhṭāṅga Bhairavas). As Bhairava was created by Shiva in this story, he is one of Shiva’s sons.
The Puranas also offer a version of Bhairava’s origin. There was a fight between the Devas (gods) and demons. To kill the demons, Shiva created Kala Bhairava from whom the Aṣhṭāṅga Bhairavas emerged. These Bhairavas got married to the Ashta Matrikas. From their union, 64 Bhairavas and 64 Yoginis came into being.
There is also a story related to Sati’s death. After her father, King Daksha, insulted her and Shiva, Sati immolated herself in Daksha’s Yagna kund. On hearing this, Shiva flew into a rage and took the form of Kala Bhairava and beheaded Daksha. Later, he became the guardian deity of all the Shakti Peethas.
Depiction of Bhairav
Bhairava idols are usually placed in the north and facing the West in Shiva temples. He is seen in a standing position and has 4 hands. He carries a drum, pāśa (noose), trident, and skull. Some forms of Bhairava have more than 4 hands. His mount is a dog. The dog, his weapons, protruding teeth, and fierce looks make him look frightful.
The regular Pooja in a Shiva temple begins with the Sun god and ends with Bhairava. Devotees offer a ghee Abisheka, red flowers, a ghee lamp, unbroken coconut, boiled food, honey, fibrous fruits, etc., to him. Midnight is the ideal time to worship him. The most suitable time is Friday at midnight.
Bhairava is a protector who guards the eight directions. When Shiva temples close for the night, the keys are placed before Bhairava. He also protects women and timid people.
Those who worship Bhairava can gain success, prosperity, and good progeny. They can also gain longevity and become free of debts and liabilities.
Auspicious time for worship during Kalashtami
As per the Panchang, the Ashtami Tithi falling in the Krishna Paksha of Jyestha month is on May 12, 2023. The Ashtami Tithi will start from 09:06 am on May 12, 2023, and end on May 13, 2023, at 06:50 am.
Devotees arise at dawn on the day of Kalashtami. They take a bath and visit the temple of Bhairava. Many devotees observe an all-night vigil on this day. They listen to his stories and perform Arti at midnight.
The next morning, people take a bath and perform Tarpanam for deceased ancestors.
Offerings include incense, mustard oil lamp, flowers, fruits, coconut, and paan. Devotees also recite Bhairav's Mantra or Stotra.
People also offer liquor to Bhairav as a remedy. Those who cannot do this can offer sweet bread or milk, or curd to a black dog.
Many feed Brahmins at Nashik and Kashi.
At the Kalabhairav temple in Kashi, the festival is celebrated with great fervor.
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