Kalabhairava

Shiva with the trident

Translated By P. R. Ramachander

Bhairava is the fierce form of Lord Shiva in His aspect as the destroyer of the things that manifest in creation. Of His 18 forms, Kalabhairava is one. Kalabhairava means destroyer of time. In Hinduism time is equated with death, because death puts an end to the life and activity of a jiva, at least for the time being. Kalabhairava is usually depicted in a fierce form decorated with serpents and carrying the head of Brahma, which according to the Puranas was the fourth head of Brahma which Siva in His aspect as Bhairava cut off to teach him a lesson. Following is a prayer offered to Kalabhairava seeking his blessings.

I WORSHIP Kalabhairava, Lord of the city of Kasi,
Whose sacred lotus feet are worshipped by the King of Devas,
The compassionate One,
Whose sacrificial thread is made of serpents,
On whose forehead shines the moon.
The naked one,
Whom Narada and multitudes of other Yogis adore.
Kasikapuradhinatha kalabhairavam bhaje.

I worship Kalabhairava, Lord of the city of Kasi,
Blazing like a million suns,
Our great Saviour in our voyage across the ocean of the world.
The blue-throated, three-eyed  grantor of all desires,
The lotus-eyed, who is the death of death,
The imperishable One,
Holding the rosary of human bone and the trident.
Kasikapuradhinatha Kalabhairavam bhaje.

I worship Kalabhairava, Lord of the city of Kasi,
The primeval cause,
Holding in His hands trident, axe, noose, and staff 8
--Him of the black body,
The first of all Deva, imperishable, incorruptible,
Lord formidable and powerful,
Who loves to dance wonderfully.
Kasikapuradhinatha kalabhairavam bhaje.

I worship Kalabhairava, Lord of the city of Kasi,
Of great and beautiful body,
The giver of both enjoyment and liberation,
Who loves and smiles upon all His devotees,
Whose body is the whole world,
Whose waist is adorned with little tinkling bells;
Beautiful are they, and made of gold.
Kasikapuradhinatha kalabhairavam bhaje.

The protector of the bridge of dharma,
Destroyer of the path of adharma,
Liberator form the bonds of karma,
The all-pervading giver of welfare to all,
Whose golden body is adorned with serpent coils.
Kasikapuradhinatha kalabhairavam bhaje.

I worship Kalabhairava, Lord of the city of Kasi
Whose feet are beautiful with the lustre of the gems thereon--
The stainless, eternal I??adevata,
One without a second,
Destroyer of the pride, and liberator from the gaping jaw of the God of Death.
Kasikapuradhinatha kalabhairavam bhaje.

I worship Kalabhairava, Lord of the city of Kasi,
Whose loud laughter broke the shell of many an egg of the lotus-born;
Strong ruler, at whose glance the net of sin is broken; Giver of the eight powers,
Whose shoulders serpents garland.
Kasikapuradhinatha kalabhairavam bhaje.

I worship Kalabhairava, Lord of the city of Kasi,
The Saviour of all, giver of great fame,
The all-pervading One,
Who purifies of both sin and virtue the people of Kasi;
The ancient Lord of the world,
Wise in the wisdom of all moralities.
Kasikapuradhinatha kalabhairavam bhaje.

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