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Bhairava - Kala Bhairava - How many Bhairavas you know and who manifested as

Kala Bhairava and why ?

C. Sri Vidya Rajagopalan
1) Bhairava and Kala Bhairava:
Bhairava (Sanskrit:
, "Terrible" or "Frightful", sometimes known as Bhairo or Bhairon or
Bhairadya, is the fierce manifestation of Shiva associated with annihilation.
Bhairava himself has eight manifestations, Kala Bhairava, Asitanga Bhairava, Samhara
Bhairava, Ruru Bhairava, Krodha Bhairava, Kapala Bhairava, Rudra Bhirava and Unmatta
The origin of Bhairava can be traced to the conversation between Lord Brahma and Lord
Vishnu recounted in "Shiv Maha-Purana" where Lord Vishnu asks Lord Brahma who is the
supreme creator of the Universe. Arrogantly, Brahma tells Vishnu to worship him because he
(Brahma) is the supreme creator. This angered Shiva who in reality is the creator of all. Shiva
then incarnated in the form of Bhairava to punish Brahma. Bhairava beheaded one of
Brahma's five heads and since then Brahma has only four heads. When depicted as Kala
Bhairava, Bhairava is shown carrying the amputated head of Brahma. 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.
On the entreaties of Lord Vishnu, Shiva pardoned Lord Brahma. But the sin of beheading
Lord Brahma followed Kala bhairava everywhere. Also the head of Brahma stuck to him. To
keep away the sin and punishment which were chasing him, Kala bhairava entered the city of
Benares. The sin could not enter the city. Kala bhairava was made as the Kotwal (Inspector
general) of the city of Benares. Kala bhairava rides on a dog. A pilgrimage to Kasi (Benares)
is not supposed to be complete without visiting the temple of Kala bhairava.
Another story identifies Kala bhairava with Veerabhadra who cut off the head of Daksha the
father of Sathi Devi, when he insulted lord Shiva. Sathis body was cut into pieces and strewn
all over India giving rise to Shakthi Peetas. Outside every Shakthi Peeta is the temple for
There is also another interpretation. He is the form of Shiva who controls the growth and
management of time. (Kala means 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 and taken back in most
of the Shiva temples.
Thus there's a shrine for Lord Kala Bhairava in each Siva temple. The Bhairava shrine in the
Arunachala temple is very special. The Kala Bhairava temple in Kasi (Benares) is a must see
for Bhairava devotees.

Kala Bhairava stotra ' Kalabhairavashtakam' was written by Adhi Sankara Bhagawt Pada.
In the Kathmandu valley:
Bhairava is an important deity of Newars. All the traditional settlements of Newars have at
least a temple of Bhairava. Most of the temples of Bhairava in Nepal are maintained by
Newar priests. There are several Bhairava temples in the Kathmandu valley. One of them on
Kala Bhairava.
The Kala Bhairava temple in Hanuman Dhoka (Durbar Square) has a 12-foot (3.7 m) high
stone image of Kala Bhairava sculpted in the 17th century CE. It was believed that people die
if they speak false in front of this sculpture. So, this temple served as the supreme court of
Nepal for a long time.
2) Bhairava Mantras:
" Hrim vatukaya apadudharanaya kuru kuru batukaya hrim."
Om hreem vam vatukaaya Aapaduddharanaya vatukaaya hreem
Om Hraam Hreem Hroom Hrime Hroum Ksham Kshetrapaalaaya Kaala Bhairavaaya
Kala Bhairava Gayatri Mantra:
Om Kaalakaalaaya Vidhmahey Kaalaatheethaaya dheemahi Thanno Kaala Bhairava
3) Bhairava Temples:
Kal Bhairava Temple, near Purana Qila, New Delhi. Said to be established by the Pandava
brothers during the building of their capital Indraprastha. Purana Qila is sometimes said to be
their castle and the temple is situated in its backyard.
Ashta Bhairava at Sri Kamanada Eswar temple, Aragalur, Tamil Nadu.
Bhairavar Temple, Vairavan Patti, Karaikudi, Tamil Nadu.
Bhairaveswarar Temple, Cholapuram, Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu
Ajaikapada Bhairava Temple, Nuagaon, Jagatsinghpur, Odisha
Kal Bhairav Temple at Ujjain, M.P
Kalabhairaveshvara Temple at Adichunchanagiri, Karnataka
Kalabhairaveshvara Temple at Jogi Mutt, Kadri, Mangalore, Karnataka
Kalabhairav Temple at Adhiyaman Kottai, Dharampuri district, Tamil Nadu

Sri Kalabhairava Swamy Temple at Ramareddy, Nizamabad district, Andhra Pradesh

Bhairava Kona, Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh
Kala Bhairav Temple at Toliasar, Sri Dungargarh, Rajasthan
Kodamdesar Ramdevra Temple, Jaisalmer Highway, Rajasthan
Bhairava Moorthi ( Bhairava Natha Moorthi) Temple, Morepalayam, Tiruchengodu Thaluk,
Namakkal District,Tamil Nadu