About Kala Bhairava Jayanthi
The auspicious occasion of Kala Bhairava Jayanthi falls on the ‘Ashtami’ or eighth day of the ‘Krishna Paksha’, during the waning phase of the moon. Kala Bhairava Jayanthi is also known as Mahakaal Bhairavashtami or Kala Bhairava Ashtami. This day celebrates the birth anniversary of Lord Kala Bhairava and occurs in the Hindu month of ‘Karthik’ which corresponds to the months of October-November according to the English calendar. Kala Bhairava is a fearsome manifestation of Lord Shiva, who assumed this form to enlighten humanity about the value of time management. The occasion is considered to assume even more significance if it falls on a Tuesday or Sunday, since both these days are believed to be sacred to Lord Kala Bhairava . This auspicious occasion is celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm and fervor in various regions of the Indian sub-continent.
Significance of Kala Bhairava Jayanthi
Followers of Lord Shiva attach a lot of religious and spiritual significance to celebrating the occasion of Kala Bhairav Jayanti. An interesting anecdote narrates the story of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva discussing their respective roles and strengths in the cosmic sphere. Lord Bhairav is said to have suddenly appeared from Shiva’s forehead to settle the issue. In a sudden twist of events, Bhairav severed one head of Lord Brahma, thus leading him with four heads. This set the balance of the Universe right since Brahma’s four heads represent the four ‘Vedas’ or holy texts of Hinduism. Lord Bhairav is depicted seated on a dog and holding a staff in one hand to punish sinners. Scores of devotees worship Lord Bhairav on his birthday to cleanse their sins and seek forgiveness for the deeds they have committed. The widespread belief is that worshiping Lord Kala Bhairava on his birth anniversary rejuvenates the individual and brings about good health. It is also imperative to attain the Lord’s blessings for success and progress in all endeavors. Worshiping Lord Bhairava is also said to negate the effects of all the ‘Rahu’ and ‘Shani’ doshas in one’s natal chart. The occasion of Kala Bhairava Jayanthi presents a great opportunity to perform special pujas for our deceased forefathers and help them attain ‘Moksha’ from the Pitru Loku. This in turn will help to cleanse our bad karma and free us from restrictive obstacles. Those who are embroiled in legal issues are also benefitted by praying Lord Kala Bhairava . The fear of evil spirits and evil forces will vanish when we worship Lord Bhairava. All negative energies are also eradicated and enemies will also be overcome.
Rituals observed on Kala Bhairava Jayanthi
Devotees observe Kala Bhairava Jayanthi by waking up early and having a ritualistic bath in preparation for the Pujas to be performed. Worship is offered to Lord Bhairava along with Shiva and Parvati. The deities are propitiated with offerings of fruits, flowers and sweets. The Kalabhairav katha is recited after the completion of the Puja. Rituals are also performed in honor of deceased members of the family. Mantras dedicated to the deity are chanted and Aarti is performed at midnight to the accompaniment of traditional musical instruments like drums, bells, and conches. Many devotees observe a strict ‘Vrat’ (fast) on this day. It is widely believed that doing so will remove obstacles hampering our progress in life. Dogs are also fed with milk and sweets on this day to honor Lord Bhairava’s mount. Special Poojas are performed in Bhairava temples all across the country and devotees actively participate in the ‘Shodashopachar Puja’. Perhaps the factor that signifies the value of Lord Bhairava the most is the importance of adhering to time management in all spheres of life. Since all the wealth and riches of the world cannot buy anyone this most precious aspect of existence, it is important that one respect the value of time and utilize it judiciously. Our limited period on the earthly plane should be channeled towards acquiring divine merit by committing good deeds and eschewing the bad. This helps in accumulating good karma which will serve us well in the afterlife and future incarnations.