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The Story of Kaal Bhairava

Our Hindu history is full of interesting stories and anecdotes. One of the incidents described in Shivpuran about the origin of the form of Lord Shivji called Kaal Bhairav is discussed here. The Sanskrit word Kaal Bhairav translates as the destroyer of enemies. The temples of Kaal Bhairav can be found all over India, Nepal, and Shri Lanka as a part of Hinduism and Buddhism. In the Trika system or the Kashmiri Shaivism, Bhairav represents Brahma or The Supreme Reality.

The Argument Between Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma

Lord Brahmaji is born from Lord Vishnu’s navel in a lotus flower. Once Lord Brahmaji was sitting on mountain Sumeroo, the Devtas came to him and asked him to create an indestructible being. Lord Brahma, riding on his swollen ego, said that he, Brahma, was an indestructible being. He was the creator, unborn, and the only God of the universe. He called himself the creator and the destroyer of nature itself.

Hearing the boastings of Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu could not keep quiet. He reminded Lord Brahma about his origins. Lord Vishnu also reminded him that Lord Brahma had created the universe as per the wishes of Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma asked four Vedas, who was the Supreme Being? The four Vedas reminded them that Lord Shivji is the ultimate indestructible being. He is Rudra, the destroyer with the power to destroy the whole universe. Shivji has the power to bless all the yogis for their yogs and yagnas. He is the tattva in all of us. Lord Vishnu did not agree with the Vedas. Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu kept on arguing about their supremacy.

The Birth of Kaal Bhiarav

Lord Shivji was angered on hearing the squabble between the two. A huge unending flame bursts out between the two. The fifth head of Brahmaji started burning due to the flame. A blue-blooded form of Lord Shiva came into being from the flame. Lord Brahma thought it was his son, and he started calling the blue-blooded being towards him. Lord Shiva was enraged at the audacity of Lord Brahma. He instantly formed Kaal Bhairav and ordered him to take charge of the universe.

Kaal Bhairav cut down the fifth head of Lord Brahma with his left fingernail. Lord Brahma understood the immense power of Lord Shiva and started reciting Rudri a hundred times to please Lord Shiva. Lord Vishnu also realized his mistake and started praying to Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva forgave both and took them in his shelter.

Kaal Bhairav was so scary that he could destroy the sins of his devotees. Even time was scared of his wrath. That is why Lord Shiva made him the ruler of Kashipura, also known as Varanasi. However, he had slandered Lord Brahma, so he was a sinner himself (Brahma Hatya). He held Brahma’s forehead in his hand. So, Shivji ordered him to become and monk and do penance for his sins in Varanasi.

The Mukti of Kaal Bhairav

Brahma Hatya took a mayavi (mythical) form and went after Kaal Bhairav. When Lord Vishnu asked why it was following Kaal Bhairav, Brahma Hatya replied that it was looking for liberation behind Kaal Bhiarav. When Kaal Bhairav reached Kashi, Brahma’s forehead and the tongs he held fell on the floor. That place is called Kapalmochan from that day onwards.

Till today Kapalmochan is a place known for praying for the dead. People come to this place to wash away their sins. Lord Shivji blesses everyone who comes here to repent to be free from all their sins, even if it is something as serious as brahma hatya. Lord Shivji forgives even the worst of the worst being if the devotee worships him with a true heart.

Shri Rudrabhishik or Shri Rudra Puja or Rudri, considers the tattva in everything and every being around us. Tattva also resides in oneself. Shri Rurabhishek also includes Maha Mrityunjay Mantra. There is a verse in Shri Rudrabhishek:

Vanchate Parivanchate, taskaranaye namo namaha

Which recognizes the tattva in thieves and sinners. It says worship to the tattva within the thieves and the sinners. Worship the tattva in ourselves. Thus, we should pray to Lord Shiva as if he is within ourselves and within everything around us. The Shravan month is the month assigned to the bhakti of Lord Shiva to free us from all the evil residing within us. Har Har Mahadev!

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