Kalabhairava, the fearsome aspect of Lord Shiva , is the God who is the protector of Benares. 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.
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Lord Shiva has several forms and avatar manifestation of a deity in physical body form. Although his original ascetic form is widely revered, his Pashupatinath and Vishwanath avatar are also quite famous. But one of the most fearsome avatars of Lord Shiva is the Kalabhairava. This form of Shiva, described by Adi Shankaracharya in the Kalabhairava Ashtakam , is shown to be naked, black, entwined with a garland of skulls, three eyes, weapons of destruction in his four hands, and entwined with snakes.
The depiction of this form may seem at odds with the dispassionate, calm, and meditative form that many pray every day, but there is deep symbolism associated with Kalabhairava. Before finding out what it is, let us first read the lyrics of Kalabhairava Ashtakam. The vehicle of Kalabhairava is shvaana a dog. It is the most fearsome depiction of Lord Shiva. In spirituality, the words death and time are symbolic. Shvaana is formed of two words shva and na. In Vedic literature, the meaning of shva is tomorrow and yesterday, and the meaning of na is not.
So shvaana means something which is neither yesterday nor tomorrow, something which is only in the now, the present moment. So, Kalabhairava is someone who is neither yesterday nor tomorrow. He is ever-present in the now. Also, Lord Kalabhairava is the lord of the city of Kashi. This also has a symbolic meaning. In tantra, Kashi is recognized as Agya Chakra , which is located in between the eyebrows.
The depiction of Kalabhairava is vikraala large and fearsome. It signifies that time eats away everything. Anything that is present in this world, it will dissolve and perish with time. The kings and empires that were here thousands of years ago, the wonders that are present now and anything that will come in the future, they will perish as time passes.
And where is time? It is not in the past or the future. It is now. And when this realization of time and present moment comes, our Agya Chakra the seat of knowledge in our body gets heightened, signifying the presence of Lord Kalabhairava in us. This leads us to the deepest state of samadhi meditation which is also called a state of Bhairava.
In the Kalabhairava Ashtakam , where Adi Shankaracharya praised Lord Kalabhairava as the Lord of Kashi, he actually means the Agya Chakra — signifying total awareness of the present moment. This is also coveted by all the Devatas divine energies. Adi Shankaracharya says that even the lords, those divine energies bow down at the feet of Kalabhairava, yearning for that state of bliss and samadhi.
Just remembering the state of Kalabhairava, by chanting the Kalabhairava Ashtakam every day gives us knowledge of life and leads us to liberation.
We are provided with merits that are unknown, incomprehensible and intangible. Chanting this Ashtakam frees us from shoka grief , moha attachment and delusion, the cause of misery , dainya poverty or the feeling of lack , lobha greed , kopa irritability and anger , and tapa sufferings.
Lord Kalabhairava is described as bhoot sangha nayaka - the lord of the pancha bhootas - which are earth, fire, water, air, and ether. He is the granter of all kinds of coveted excellence in life, all the knowledge that we desire. There is a difference between learning and excellence and this state of bliss gives a person all the coveted excellence. By remembering Kalabhairava, a person attains the bliss that is in the deepest state of Samadhi, where you are devoid of all worries, not bothered by nothing.
Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar talks about this state of samadhi and the different ways that we can attain it in the Vigyan Bhairava course, conducted in several places every year. You can also discover the different ways we can attain this samadhi by checking the online webcast.
Leave your comments artofliving. To take sankalpa, register here. To know more about this special day, visit here. Listen to the magnificent Rudram, chant Om Namah Shivaya and meditate at midnight with millions of people. National Website Menu. Home About Blog Chants. The spiritual symbolism behind Kalabhairava So, Kalabhairava is someone who is neither yesterday nor tomorrow.
Benefits of chanting Kalabhairava Ashtakam Just remembering the state of Kalabhairava, by chanting the Kalabhairava Ashtakam every day gives us knowledge of life and leads us to liberation. Ashram Webcast. Most Popular.
Kala Bhairava Ashtakam
Kalabhairava Ashtakam - Spiritual Symbolisms of the Ferocious form of Shiva