Money, if lost, can be earned again. But time is the one thing that, once lost, is lost forever. So learning how to use time intelligently and efficiently can lead us to success. It is here that divine help enters the picture in the form of Kaala Bhairava. Kala Bhairava is the Archetype who rules time and a fierce form of Shiva. Worshipping him is believed to bring many benefits, including time management skills, which are essential both at work and home.
Kaala Bhairava is also called Kshetrapalaka, or guardian of the temple. For this reason, the keys to the temple are ceremonially submitted to him when the temple closes in the evening or night and are received from him when it reopens again in the morning. Kaala Bhairava is also the guardian deity of travelers. The Siddhas have said that before undertaking a journey, especially at night, we should decorate an idol of Kaala Bhairava with a garland of cashew nuts. We should also light lamps for him and request him to protect us during our travel.
Kaala Bhairava’s mount is the dog. Taking care of dogs and feeding them is one way of honoring him. The 8th moon after the full moon, every month, is his power time. This is known as Kaala Bhairava Ashtami. Kala Bhairava Jayanthi is a special day for worshipping the deity. It is usually in December/January. This year, it is on December 7.
Kaala Bhairava is depicted with a trident in one hand and a human head in the other. He is accompanied by his vehicle, the dog. He is one of Shiva’s eighth fierce manifestations of God Shiva. The human head that hangs from his hand is that of Brahma. Some hold that it is a skull, not ahead and that it denotes the soul’s liberation (Mukthi) at Kaala Bhairava’s hands. In some temples, he is seen with angry, frowning, tiger’s teeth, and flaming hair. He is naked and wears garlands of skulls as well as a coiled snake around his neck.
There are many myths about the birth of Kaala Bhairava. One account has it that Brahma became arrogant as he was the Creator and spoke in a disparaging manner about Shiva. This angered Shiva, who decided to cut him down to size. On his orders, Rudra took the form of Bhairava and chopped off the head of Brahma, which spoke ill of Shiva. In another Puranic version, it is said that Brahma created a beautiful woman called Shatrupa. Smitten by her beauty, his eyes followed her wherever she went. As he had four heads, he could see in all directions. To escape from his prying gaze, she went to heaven, but he acquired a fifth head that could gaze above. Shatrupa complained to Goddess Parvati, who accosted Brahma and cursed him, saying that he would lose his fifth head for his shameless act, which had caused so much pain to Shatrupa.
In a unique practice, devotees often light pepper, pumpkin, and bitter gourd lamps for Kaala Bhairava. Worshipping Kaala Bhairava on Rahu Kalam and Ashtami thithi with pepper lamp is considered to be highly auspicious and can bring success in business, work, and also helps to overcome black magic and illness.
Pepper lamp for Kaala Bhairava:
Place 27 black peppercorns in a new and clean, white cloth. Put a knot to use this as a thread for a lamp.
Dip the cloth in gingelly oil overnight.
The next day, take a mud lamp or akal vilakku during Rahu Kalam.
Place the cloth (with peppercorns) and oil in the lamp.
Light the lamp in front of Kaala Bhairava during Rahu Kalam.
After lighting the lamp, chant Kaalabhairavastakam with devotion.
Significance of the Pepper Lamp:
The 27 peppercorns signify the 27 stars or Nakshatras. The lamp can be lit before the idol of Bhairava in any temple. Rahu Kaalam is the ideal time for worshipping Bhairava and lighting the pepper lamp. Ashtami Tithi is also an ideal day for lighting the pepper lamp.