Kala Bhairava is a fierce form of Lord Shiva. His birth anniversary is celebrated as Kala Bhairava Jayanti or Kala Bhairava Ashtami. The festival is held on the ‘Ashtami’ (8th day) of the ‘Krishna Paksha’ (waning Moon phase) during Kartik month (mid-Nov – mid-Dec). Kala Bhairav is the God of Time in Hinduism. If it falls on a Tuesday or Sunday, it is very auspicious, as these two days are dedicated to Kala Bhairav.
Kala Bhairava Jayanti is celebrated with great fervor by Shiva devotees.
The Legend behind Kala Bhairava Jayanti
The Shiva Purana has a story about the origin of Kala Bhairava Jayanthi. Lord Brahma, the creator of the universe in Hinduism, became very arrogant and boasted to Lord Vishnu that as he was the creator, he was the most powerful. Also, he had 5 heads like Lord Shiva, and so he had all the powers that Shiva also had. He claimed that he should be worshipped on par with Lord Shiva. Irked by his ego and arrogance, Shiva wanted to teach him a lesson. He plucked a strand of hair from his head and threw it down. Kala Bhairava emerged from it and chopped off Brahma’s 5th head.
Brahma realized his mistake and asked for Shiva’s forgiveness. But as Kala Bhairava had committed the sin of Brahmahatya by chopping off Brahma’s head, he was condemned to wander about like a vagabond, holding the severed head of Brahma. Finally, he reached Kashi, where the head dropped to the ground, and he was redeemed from his sin. So he stayed in Kashi and became the guardian deity of the city. Devotees call him the ‘Kotwal of Kashi’.
Another legend says that a demon called Dahurasuran got a boon whereby only a woman could kill him. Goddess Parvati, Shiva’s consort, took the avatar of Kali to destroy him. From her rage, a child was born, and she fed it her breast milk. Lord Shiva then merged Kali and the child into himself. The Ashtanga (8) Bhairavas emerged from this merged entity. They married the Ashta Matrikas, and the union led to the birth of 64 Bhairavas and 64 Yoginis.
A third story says Shiva took the form of Kala Bhairava to take revenge on King Daksha, the father of his wife, Sati. Sati immolated herself as Daksha insulted her and Shiva. As Kala Bhairava, Shiva beheaded Daksha. He also became the guardian deity at all Shakti Peethas.
Rituals of Kala Bhairava Jayanti
- Take a bath and clean the Pooja area. Perform Pooja for Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati along with Lord Kala Bhairava. Offer fruits, sweets, and flowers.
- You can also perform Poojas and rituals for ancestors on this day.
- Observe a strict fast. Chant Kala Bhairava Mantra and keep vigil at night. Recite stories of Lord Shiva and Kala Bhairava.
- Perform aarti at midnight with bells, drums, and conches.
- Recite Kala Bhairava Katha, which sings praises of Shiva and his feats.
- The dog is Kala Bhairava’s mount and companion. So, offer milk and sweets to dogs.
- Visit temples and take part in Shodashopachar Pooja.
Benefits of Celebrating Kala Bhairava Jayanti
- Celebrating Kala Bhairava Jayanti can bestow many blessings and boons for those who worship the deity with true devotion.
- It can help overcome anger, lust, greed, and fear. Lord Shiva is very easy to please. His blessings can bestow success, prosperity, and wish-fulfillment.
- It helps you to exert control over your life. Kala Bhairava gives you the ability to distinguish between good and bad deeds.
- It can bestow occult powers.
- It helps you to overcome enemies, diseases, and poverty.
- He is the Guru of Shani, so he can protect you from Shani’s ill effects.
- It offers protection to travelers.
- Kala Bhairava protects women and can bestow good progeny.