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Bhairava (Sanskrit: भैरव, "Terrible" or "Frightful" ,[1]), sometimes known as Bhairo or Bhairon or Bhairadya, is the fierce manifestation of Shiva associated with annihilation.[2] He is one of the most important deities of Nepal, sacred to Hindus and Buddhists alike.

He is depicted ornamented with a range of twisted serpents, which serve as earrings, bracelets, anklets, and sacred thread (yajnopavita). He wears a tiger skin and a ritual apron composed of human bones.[3] Bhairava has a dog as his divine vahana (vehicle).

Bhairava himself has eight manifestations: Kala Bhairava, Asitanga Bhairava, Samhara Bhairava, Ruru Bhairava, Krodha Bhairava, Kapala Bhairava, Rudra Bhirava and Unmatta Bhairava.


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 having slain brahma, and as a result, he was forced to carry around the head for years until he had been absolved of the sin.


Another story of the origin of Bhairava is the tale of Sati, wife of Shiva. Sati, the daughter of the king of gods, Daksha, had chosen to marry Shiva. Her father disapproved the alliance because he perceived Shiva as an ascetic associated with animals and ghosts and a frugal lifestyle. Eventually, Daksha held a yagna (a ritualistic sacrifice) and invited all the gods, but not Sati and Shiva. Sati came to the yagna alone, where Daksha publicly spoke in a belittling manner about Shiva. Sati could not bear to hear her husband insulted and offered herself to the sacrificial pyre.

When Shiva learned of this, he destroyed the yagna and killed Daksha by beheading 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, Vishnu used his Sudarshan Chakra (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, Shiva is said to be guarding each of these Shaktipeeths

bhairava is the guardian deity of the abode of God shiva. So he is called kshetra pAla. The term bhairava means "Terrific". As the guardian of the abode of Lord, his form is very fierce, with ery many kind of weapons, naked and decorated with skull and having a smile on the face that threatens the wrong doers and protects the devotees. He has a dog as his vehicle. So he is referred as shuna vAhanar.

bhairava is not a form of Lord shiva, but a form very closely associated and he is one of the powers assigned by the Lord. It is the custom that the keys of the temple are submitted to bhairava after the pujas are completed for the day and again taken from him the next morning before the opening. As the guardian deity he is also worshipped after any of the festivals at the temple.

bhairava would be having an abode naturally in all the Lord shiva temples. The kAsi (vArANasi) abode is much renowned abode of bhairav, as he is the protector of that whole city - the holy land of the Lord vishvanath. Adishankara has sung a stotra in praise of kAla bhairava of kAshi.(1)

purANa of the deity

When brahma and viShNu were got into an argument who is the supreme, Lord shiva appeared as the column of fire in between them. kAla bhairava cut off the fifth head of brahma that lied in ego and he having that skull of brahma as the bowl, bhairava took the blood of mahA viShNu in that. The two got to understand their mistake and worshipped Lord shiva.

God appointed bhairava to be the protector deity. He also appointed him as the protector of the town kAshi. bhairava ensures that nobody misuses the belongings of Lord shiva and he is dreaded to punish and correct those who misuse the temple properties.



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This product was added to our catalog on Saturday 10 April, 2010.

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