Deva raja sevya mana pavangri pankajam,
Vyala yagna suthra mindu shekaram krupakaram,
Naradadhi yogi vrundha vandhitham digambaram,
Kasika puradhi nadha Kalabhairavam bhaje. 1
Bhanu koti bhaswaram, bhavabdhi tharakam param,
Neelakanda meepsidartha dayakam trilochanam,
Kalakala mambujaksha maksha soola maksharam,
Kasika puradhi nadha Kalabhairavam bhaje. 2
Soola tanga pasa danda pani madhi karanam,
Syama kaya madhi devamaksharam niramayam,
Bheema vikramam prabhum vichithra thandava priyam,
Kasika puradhi nadha Kalabhairavam bhaje. 3
Bhukthi mukthi dayakam prasashtha charu vigraham,
Bhaktha vatsalam shivam* , samastha loka vigraham,
Vinikwanan manogna hema kinkini lasath kateem,
Kasika puradhi nadha Kalabhairavam bhaje. 4
Dharma sethu palakam, thwa dharma marga nasakam,
Karma pasa mochakam , susharma dayakam vibhum,
Swarna varna sesha pasa shobithanga mandalam,
Kasika puradhi nadha Kalabhairavam bhaje. 5
Rathna padukha prabhabhirama padayugmakam,
Nithyamadwidheeyamishta daivatham niranjanam,
Mrutyu darpa nasanam karaladamshtra mokshanam,
Kasika puradhi nadha Kalabhairavam bhaje. 6
Attahasa binna padma janda kosa santhatheem,
Drushti pada nashta papa jala mugra sasanam,
Ashtasidhi dayakam kapala malikadaram,
Kasika puradhi nadha Kalabhairavam bhaje. 7
Bhootha sanga nayakam, vishala keerthi dayakam,
Kasi vasa loka punya papa shodhakam vibum,
Neethi marga kovidham purathanam jagatpathim,
Kasika puradhi nadha Kalabhairavam bhaje. 8
Kalabhairavashtakam patanthi yea manoharam,
Jnana mukthi sadhanam , vichithra punya vardhanam,
Soka moha dainya lopa kopa thapa nasanam,
Thea prayanthi Kalabhairavangri saniidhim druvam. 9
Eight Pada - Kala Bhairav - Meaning
- I sing praise of Kalabhairav, Who is the ruler of the city Kashi, Who is adorned by lotus-feet which is reverred and served by Indra (Devaraj), Who has a Yagya-thread made up of snake, Who has the moon on His forehead, Who is the abode of mercy, Who has been sung by Narad and other celestial singers, and Whose clothes are the directions.||1||
- I sing praise of Kalabhairav, Who is the ruler of the city Kashi, Who is resplendent like millions of sun, Who absolves the ocean of cycle of rebirth, Who is supreme, Who has a blue neck, Who bestows us with our desires, Who has three-eyes, Who is the end of Kaal, Who has lotus-like eyes, Who has immortal monodent weapon, and Who is immortal.||2||
- I sing praise of Kalabhairav, Who is the ruler of the city Kashi, Who has monodent, spade, a cord and punishment in His hands, Who is the cause behind the beginning, Who has a grey (smeared) body, Who is the first Deva, Who is imperishable, Who is free from illness and health, Who is immensely mighty, Who is the Lord, and Who loves the special Tandava dance.||3||
- I sing praise of Kalabhairav, Who is the ruler of the city Kashi, Who is the bestower of desires and salvation, Who has an enticing appearance form, Who is endears His devotees, Who is static, Who takes various manifestations and forms the world, and Who has a beautiful golden waist-thread with small melodious bells.||4||
- I sing praise of Kalabhairav, Who is the ruler of the city Kashi, Who is the maintainer of righteousness, Who is the destroyer of unrighteous paths, Who liberates us from the ties of Karma or deeds, Who bestows us with shyness, Who is splendid, and Whose organ-groups are decorated with a beautiful cord of golden color.||5||
- I sing praise of Kalabhairav, Who is the ruler of the city Kashi, Who has feet adorned by two sandals made of gold which is possessing a resplendent shine, Who is eternal, Who is induplicable, Who bestows our desires to us, Who is without desires, Who destroys the pride of death (as in is supreme to death), and Who liberates soul by His teeth.||6||
- I sing praise of Kalabhairav, Who is the ruler of the city Kashi, Whose loud roar is enough to destroy all the manifestations created by the lotus-born Brahma, Whose (merciful) glance is enough to destroy all the sins, Who is the powerful ruler, Who gives the eight-powers¹, and Who wears a garland of skull-caps.||7||
- I sing praise of Kalabhairav, Who is the ruler of the city Kashi, Who is the leader of the ghosts and spirits, Who showers immense glory, Who absolves people dwelling in Kashi from their sins and righteous deeds, Who is splendor, Who has explained the path of righteousness, Who is eternally old, and Who is the controller of the universe.||8||
- Those who study these eight verses on Kalabhairav — which is enticing, which is a source of knowledge and liberation, which increases righteousness of a person, and which destroys grief, attachment, depression, greed, anger an heat — move towards the proximity of the feet of Shiv (Kalabhairav), necessarily.||9||
¹Anima, Mahima, Laghima, Garima, Prapti, Prakamya, Isatva, Vasitva are the eight powers or siddhis.
- Kalabhairava is the God who is the protector of Benares. He is supposed to be the fearsome aspect of Lord Shiva.
- Once Brahma insulted Lord Shiva and his fifth head teasingly laughed at Lord Shiva. From Lord Shiva came out the Kalabhairava (Black Bhairava) who tore off the fifth head of Lord Brahma. On the entreaties of Lord Vishnu, Shiva pardoned Lord Brahma. But the sin (in the form of a lady) of beheading Lord Brahma followed Kalabhairava everywhere. Also the head of Brahma stuck to him. To keep away the sin and punishment which were chasing him, Kalabhairava entered the city of Benares. The sin could not enter the city. Kalabhairava was made as the Kotwal (Inspector general) of the city of Benares. Kalabhairava rides on a dog. A pilgrimage to Kasi (Benares) is not supposed to be complete without visiting the temple of Kalabhairava.
- Another story identifies Kalabhairava with Veerabhadra who cut off the head of Daksha the father of Sathi Devi, when he insulted Lord Shiva. Sathi’s body was cut into pieces and strewn all over India giving rise to Shakthi Peetas. Outside every Shakthi Peeta is the temple for Bhairava.
- There is also another interpretation. He is the form of Shiva who controls the growth and management of time. (Kala means time). Whoever wants to spend, manage or ration their time in a proper manner should pray him.
- He is also considered as the guardian of temples of Lord Shiva. After locking the doors of the temple of Lord Shiva, the keys are ceremonially offered to Bhairava and taken back in most of the Shiva temples.
- This very musical stotra of Lord Kalabhairava is supposed to be written by Sri Adi Sankaracharya. Even today this ashtakam is recited by the priests of the temple of Kalabhairava in Benares before blessing the devotee with a tap by the cane of Lord Kalabhairava.