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Famous Legends of Baba Kaal Bhairav

Posted By ServDharm


Posted on May 17 2022

Lord Bhairav, or Kaal Bhairav, as the God is otherwise called is considered to be a fierce manifestation of Lord Shiva. The Shaivite deity is represented in naked form with four arms and has a dark complexion. The four arms have a noose, a skull, a trident and a drum. He wears a garland with red flowers and has terrifying looks along with protruding teeth that give Him a terrifying appearance. He uses a dog as his mount.

The lord is said to safeguard His devotees from enemies and remove fear from their minds. He also helps His followers in getting rid of negative traits like lust, ego, anger and greed in their lives. It is interesting to note that Lord Bhairav is considered by his devotees to be beyond time and death.

There are a few legends associated with the birth or origin of this lord. Read on to know some of them. According to a few legends, Lord Bhairav is represented as the son of Lord Shiva while some others refer to Him as Lord Shiva himself.

As per one legend in the Puranas, Lord Bhairav is a creation of none other than Lord Shiva. Shiva produced Kaal Bhairav when a war once took place among the devas and the asuras. Kaal Bhairav was created to destroy and eradicate the demons. The Ashta Bhairavas later took form from Kaal Bhairav and had terrifying forms like their originator. They married Ashta Matrikas who also had dreadful forms.

According to a second story, the Trinity once got into a heated debate among themselves as to who was superior among the trio. As the debate proceeded, Brahma, the Creator made a comment about Shiva, the Destroyer that angered the latter. This anger gave way for the birth of Lord Bhairav.

The third legend of Lord Bhairav is associated with Lord Shiva and Shakti. Shakti, the daughter of king Daksha was determined to marry Lord Shiva. However, Daksha opposed this vehemently as he felt that Shiva was in no way a match for his superiority or status. Later, when the king conducted a yagna, he invited everyone except Shiva. This upset Shakti and she went to question her father. Daksha lost no opportunity in belittling Lord Shiva in front of the guests. Shakti could not bear to hear her husband being humiliated and jumped into the yagna fire.

When Shiva heard about what happened, He was saddened beyond limit. He went to Daksha’s court and started performing the Rudra tandav. In the midst of the tandav, He produced the form of Kaal Bhairav from His hair and merged with him. Bhairav proceeded to extinguish the yagna and behead the king. He them mounted the corpse of Shakti and wandered unconsolably and aimlessly with the corpse on His shoulders. Lord Vishnu knew that this would have a drastic effect on the world and cut Shakti’s torso into 52 pieces all over the earth. These places are home to the Shakti Peeths that we know today.

One other legend talks about Lord Shiva creating Kaal Bhairav following the death of the demon Dahurasuran. The demon once received a boon that he would meet his end only in the hands of a woman. Hence, Goddess Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva invoked Mother Kali to kill Dahurasuran. Kali killed the demon effortlessly with Her wrath.

As soon as the demon was slayed, her wrath took the form of a child and Kali calmed down. Kali then fed the child with Her milk. Lord Shiva merged Kali and the child within Him. Kala Bhairav appeared from this merged form of the Lord and His eight forms or Ashta Bhairavas took birth from this form.

Most of the lord’s temples are situated near the Shakti Peeths. It is believed that Kaal Bhairava in this frightful form guards the Shakti Peeths. Some temples of Lord Shiva, especially the Jyotirlingas have an idol of Kaal Bhairav in them. The idol is kept in the northern part of the temple and faces the south.

The offerings made for the lord are quite unique and different from those made to Shiva in the usual temples dedicated to the lord. For example, the deity is offered alcohol as prasad in the Kaal Bhairav temple in Ujjain. The Kaal Bhairav deity in the Kaal Bhairav mandir in Varanasi is considered to be the kotwal or bodyguard of the city. The shrine is one of the must visit temples in the holy city. Some other noteworthy temples in honour of Lord Bhairav are Kalabhairaveshvara Kshetra Palaka Temple, Karnataka; Ajaikapada Bhairava Temple, Odisha; Chomukha Bhairavji Temple, Rajasthan; Kalabhiravar Temple, Tamil Nadu and Shri Kala Bhairava Nath Temple, Madhya Pradesh.


Written byDeepthi K