Bhagavana Kala Bhairava is a deity whose name implies terribly frightful, Rudra Avatara of Siva associated with annihilation. He is depicted aggressivly with angry eyes shaped like lotus blossoms, blazing hair, tiger’s teeth, snake coiled around neck or crown and an eerie garland of human skulls. Kala Bhairava carries a trident, drum and severed fifth head of Brahma. His throat is blue in colour due to poison swallowed by Him to protect the world from annihilation. He masters Yama, deity of death, Moksa and entire Tantra while His third eye represents supreme eternal wisdom. Bhairava originated in Sanatana legends, worshipped by Hindu-s, Buddhist-s, Sikhs, Jains throughout Bharata and Nepal as the wandering manifest of Siva guarding cardinal points.
The name Bhairava has it’s roots in the word Bhiru meaning fearful. Bhairava literally means terribly fearful manifest. He protects his devotees from dreaded foes like greed, lust, anger etc. These are foes that never allow us seek the Supreme Absolute within our innermost realm. Bha also means creation while Ra, sustenance and Va, dissolution. Therefore, Bhairava is the one who creates, sustains and dissolves in three stages of life. Therefore He is regarded as the Ultimate and Supreme. Origin of Bhairava can be traced to a dialogue between Brahma and Visnu recounted in Siva Mahapurana. When Visnu inquired of Brahma about the Supreme Creator of Universe, Brahma responded Himself to be the Supreme Creator and aspired to be worshipped by Him. Brahma too had five heads as with Siva hence, declared Himself to be the real Siva !! He also began interfering and questioning Siva for His divine responsibilities. Angered by His tantrums, Siva flung a nail from His finger that transformed into Kala Bhairava who beheaded Brahma to restrain Him. Thus, Brahma Kapala is held in hands of Kala Bhairava, His Ahamkara was destroyed to become enlightened. Beheading Brahma’s head amounted to slaying a Brahmana. Consequently, Kala Bhairava had to wander carrying the gory head with Him for 12 years like a vagabond till He was liberated of the Karma.
In the manifest of Kala Bhairava, Siva guards all Saktipitha-s. Each Saktipitha Mandira has a Mandira dedicated to Kala Bhairava. Another version narrates Siva Himself created Bhairava by transforming Kali’s wrath into Bhairava after successful slaying of demon Dahurāsuraṇ by Kali. Thereafter, Kali and Bhairava merged into Siva. After the merger, Bhairava appeared as Astanga Bhairava. Yet another Puranic version states, Siva created Bhairava to destroy demons in a battle with Deva-s. Astanga Bhairava-s were created from Kala Bhairava subsequently who married Asta Matrika-s. From Asta Bhairava-s and Asta Matrika-s, 64 Bhairava-s and 64 Yogini-s were created. Normally Siva Mandira-s have Bhairava, also known as Ksetrapala, facing north-south direction in a standing position with four hands armed with drum, noose, trident and a skull. Some manifests of Bhairava have more than four hands. His weapons, dog as His mount, protruding teeth, garlanded with red flowers, all these impart a terrifying appearance. His regular Puja begins with Surya concluding with Bhairava. Bhairava likes Abhiṣeka with red flowers, Ghee lamp, coconut, honey, boiled food, fruits etc. Friday midnight is the auspicious moment to pray to Bhairava as it is believed, devotees may have Darsana of both, Bhairava and Bhairavi.
Svarnakarsna Bhairava, the ultimate manifest, is red complexioned, golden attired with a lunar crescent on His Crown and four hands. One of His hands carry a golden vessel assuring prosperity and wealth with Mangalavara being preferred day of His worship. Ancient texts also describe Him having thirty-two hands, bird shaped with golden complexion, terrible teeth and human form above the hip. He is also worshipped to destroy adversaries. Eight Bhairava-s represent five Bhuta-s viz. Akasa, Vayu, Agni, Jala, Prthvi and other three being Surya, Candra and Atma. They all have different appearances, weapons, Vahana-s, bless their devotees with eight types of wealth representing Asta Laksmi. Regular worship of Bhairava leads worshippers to his / her pre-determined Guru. Eight individual Mantra-s invoke eight Bhairava-s separately. Bhairava worshiping begets prosperity, success, superior progeny, prevents premature death, eradicates debts and liabilities. All manifests of Bhairava evolve only from Śiva alone who is also adored as Mahā Bhairava.
Every Jyotirlinga has a Mandira dedicated to Bhairava too. Visit to every Jyotorlingesvara must be preceded by adoration of Bhairava in His exclusive Mandira too. Shrines of Patala Bhairava and Vikranta Bhairava are located in Ujjain as well. The deity in Kala Bhairava Mandira at Ujjain accepts liquor in a flat silver bowl offered by Pujari-s and leaves a bit for devotees as Prasada. That constitutes Tamasika worship, also known as Vammargiya Puja. Avanti Khanda of Skanda Purana mentions Kala Bhairava, thus being older than even Mahabharata. Historically, the temple dates back to Parmar dynasty during 8th to 10th century AD with the original one constructed by King Bhadrasen. However, present temple building reveals Maratha influence with a conical tower studded with stone lampholders. This Mandira is central to Tantric Sadhana with the deity being a huge stone smeared with vermillion with two eyes created on it. Murty is purported to be Tantric in origin, not in human form but as a Vighraha i.e. embodiment of Param Brahmatma with no contours at all being Nirakara.
Jagadguru Adi Samkaracarya composed a poetic adoration dedicated unto Bhagavana Kala Bhairava known as Kala Bhiravastakama. Bhairava Astami commemorating the day Kala Bhairava appeared, is celebrated on Krsna Paksa Astami of Margasirsa, as a day of prayers and rituals. Kala Bhairava is adored with ornaments ranging from twisted serpents as earrings, bracelets, anklets to sacred Yajnopavita. He wraps tiger hide and an apron of human bones. He has a Svana as His divine mount. Devi Bhairavi is a fierce and terrifying aspect of Sakti almost indistinguishable from Kali except that of Her being His consort. Like Jyotirlinga-s, Kala Bhairava shrines exist in Saktipitha-s too. Bhagavana Siva is believed to have allocated responsibility of guarding all 52 Saktipitha-s to one Bhairava each. Thus emerged 52 manifests of Kala Bhairava, all directly from Siva Himself. Eight Bhairava manifests collectively known as Asta Bhairava, happen to be –
Sixty four Bhairava-s are grouped in eight categories and each category is headed by one Astanga Bhairava. Eight Astanga Bhairava-s together monitor eight directions of the universe. Each Astanga Bhairava has one sub Bhairava under Him totalling sixty four Bhairava-s. All Bhairava-s are governed by Maha Swarna Kala Bhairava, also known as Kala Bhairava, Supreme Master of Time of the universe. Bhairavi is His consort and Bhairava is also known as protector who guards eight directions of the universe. Bhairava guards every Mandira wherein He is established and consecrated. In Siva Mandira-s, keys are placed before Bhairava when locked for the day at night. He is also protector of women and the weak.
Kala Bhairava is conceptualized as Guru of Sani and known as Bhairavara or Vairavara in Tamil where He is often adored as Grama Deva or guardian of the village who safeguards devotees in eight directions; known as Bahirawa in Sinhalese, said to protect treasure. He is the deity worshipped by Aghora sect. Kala Bhairava is an important deity of Newars. All traditional settlements of Newars have a Kala Bhairava Mandira. Majority of Kala Bhairava Mandira-s in Nepal are maintained by Pujari-s of Newar community. Kathmandu valley is dotted with Kala Bhairava shrines while in Sri Adichunchanagiri of Karnataka, Sri Kalabhairaveswara is adored as Ksetra Palaka. Traditionally, Kala Bhairava is Grama Deva in rural Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu where He is also described as Bhaivara / Annadhani Vairavara. In Karnataka, Kala Bhairava is the supreme deity for community referred to as Gowda-s. Gangadikara Gowda community adores Him as their caretaker and protector. Sri Kala Bhairava Nath Swami Mandira in Madhya Pradesh is also widely known.
Published @ http://patriotsforum.org/?p=13667