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  THE DIVINE LEGEND OF SRI KALABHAIRAVA (As Found in SKANDA PURANA) (Canto 13 - Defining the lord's   name Kapala Mochana - The Birth of Bhairava)

Maharshi Agasthya thus asked Kartikeya," Oh, the Onmiscient! the one who pleases our hearts! the Killer of Tarakasura! Eager am I to hear you Sri! if I ever deserve your kindness, now tell me the story of Bhairava who dwells in Kasi.

"Who is he, named as Bhairava? How does he look like? What form has he? what is his duty? Define his name. How can the devotees attain the blessings of Bhairava, by what mode of worship? Name also the right time of worshipping this lord".

Kartikeya then replied to Agasthya. " Oh Mahatma! Most interested are you in Kasi-Kshetra you are a great devotee, and as such to you I will explain fully all. To the one who listens to the tale of Kala Bhairava, the destroyer of sins, will be granted the fruits of ever dwelling in Kasi-Kshetra. Dancing as if he had drunk the nectarine Juice of a well - ripe mango fruit, Bhairava does protect the Three worlds. Oh! Agasthya, neither the four - faced Vishnu nor the four-faced (five-faced) Brahma does know the divine nature of Mahadeva. Oh! the noblest of Brahmins! It is no wonder; Lord Maha Siva's "Maya" is inscrutable. Who -ever is Charmed by the spell of His "Maya" can never know him Only Parameshwara knows Parameshwara. It is through his mercy alone that Brahma and the other gods ever know the 'Parameshwara Tatva'. Not Knowing Parameshwara, the very essential form of Atman, the one who is beyond all words, the ignorant equate him with other gods.

Oh the great maharshis on the mountain top of Meru, bowed at the feet of Lord Brahma and begged him to name that one Indivisible Power that lords over the worlds. Unknowing the great powers of Parameshwara under the spell of His 'Maya' Brahma said that he was such lord. Continued he, "I am the Creator of the end. Nothing can be attained in this world, without worshipping me. I am the Lord Creator and Protector None stands above .me'.

"Hearing such proud words of Brahma, Narayana who is the lords - god of 'Yagna' became angry. With blazing eyes he said, "Not it is good to speak thus, without knowing who the supreme is. Oh Brahma, I, the lord of all ‘Yagnas', am the supreme. Hard it is in the universe for anyone to cross the river of life. I am the light supreme, and am the Abode Ultimate. It is I who induce ye to create?
"Thus raged a war of words between Brahma, the Creator and Maha Vishnu, the Protector. Finally they went to the Vedas and begged them to resolve their quarrel. Each wished his own stand vindicated. So they prayed the Vedas, 'Oh Vedas Four! Famed are you every-where as the true testcmony (Pramana) of every thing. As such, tell us who you do regard as the Supreme One'. 

"To these spoke the Vedas thus, Oh Brahman and .Vishnu, Oh the Creator and the Protector! Hear us. If only you regard us as the Ultimate Pramana, you will have your doubts cleared, and thereby have your query answered! Both they soon expressed their faith in the authority of the Vedas.
"Then said Rigveda ' In whom does every living creature find its being, because of whom does the universe conduct itself, and who is known as Para Tatva or the Ultimate Truth - such is Rudra alone',

"Then Spoke Yajurveda, 'The One who is worshipped through Asthanga Yoga and the consummate Yagnas, and through whom do we receive our supreme authenticity - such is Siva!"

"Then in its turn spoke Sama Veda, 'By Whom does this Universe rotate, and whom the Yogis ever meditate upon in their hearts, and whose divine light illumines the Universe - Such is Siva, and He is Paramsa! "Finally spoke Atharva Veda, 'In Whom Mercy is fully extant, whom people worship with immense devotion, the one who destroys miseries and bestows all auspicious things and grants every comfort - such is Sankara alone!.

"Thus when all the vedas sung of Siva as the ultimate Reality, it did not please either Brahma or Vishnu. Soon they reviled, 'Is that naked one, the frequenter of cemetery, the one who smears ash all over him, that Sankara -Is he Ultimate Reality? Never can there be any comparison between him and the para Brahman?

"Pranava (Omkara) heard their reviling and said, the one who is Foremost extant power, the one who illumines by his own self, the one in whom his all sorts of wealth, the one in co-existence with Sakti - He that Iswara alone, beyond all doubt, is Para - Tattva'. "Brahma and Vishnu paid no heed even to these words of Pranava. Pride still prevailed over them, their ignorance still prevailed. 

"But lio, there sprung all. of a sudden betwixt them a great brilliance and spread between the sky and the earth. In the midst of that brilliance there appeared a manly form. Seeing this form in its divine blue, Brahmas fifth head flared in great anger. He began to ponder over this form, when it soon became Sankara, the great trident holder, the one with the great third - eye on his forehead, and the crescent moon on his head. To him spoke Brahma, 'Oh Sankara! you are born from mine own fore - head. Seek refuge in me, and will i protect you!'. Hearing these proud words of Brahma, Sankara grew angry; and soon he created Bhairava and said, 'Oh my son! Oh Kala Bhairava! You are as potent as Kala (Yama) and as such, are the very ruler of time. Potent you are to wear and fear the burden of the Universe. Even kala is afraid of you and so are you called Kala Bhairava. Punish Brahma who exudes pride! There after calm down and take pleasant form. Go then to Kasi, the city of Deliverance, most dear unto me! Be you the ruler of Kasipuri! There punish the sinful and flourish! Here after Chitra Gupta shall no more record the sins of the sinning residents of Kasi. Ordered thus by Sankara, Kala Bhairava plucked the head of Brahma that reviled Sankara with his left hand's small finger nail.

"Then Vishnu praised Sankara greatly And Brahma too, in great fear, worshipped Sankara, Chanting many a sacred 'Mantra'. Then Sankara, the Merciful, comforted both Brahma and Vishnu; and spoke thus to Kala Bhairava, "Oh My son! Brahma and Vishnu - they deserve your veneration of them. By chopping off Brahma's head, you have committed the sin of 'Brahma - hathya'. As such to wash off this sin, carry in your hands this skull of Brahma and go over the world as a mendicant'. Kala Bhairava's heinous sin soon took the form of a terrible lady, more terrifying than Bhairava himself. To her spokeSankara, "Oh lady of terrifying form! Chase this Kala Bhairava. But as soon as he enters the holy shrine of Kasi, leave him. Enter you not Kasi'.
"Later, as was ordered by Siva, Kala Bhairava set out on his journey through the three - worlds, carrying Brahma's skull as a mendicant's bowl. Thus when he reached Vaikuntha, looking at his terrible from form of Triple - Eyed Maha Shiva, Vishnu prostrated with all his followers; and greatly praised Kala Bhairava. Unto his consort then he said, " Oh sinless Devi ! Oh the Lotus - Eyed! Dear mine, hear! Blessed you are, and blessed I am ! This Kala bhairava, whom we now see, is the lord of the universe, the protector of the Universe, the defender of the unprotected, the veritable Iswara ! Omniscient is he, and the master unto all Yogis! He is Pasupathi, and the one present in all beings! He is the granter of every boon!" So did Vishnu continue in Kala Bhairava's praise, and spoke to him thus, "Oh the destroyer of Sins! Oh Lord of the Lords! Oh the omniscient ! What 'lila' is this? why do you thus beg?

"Then did Kala Bhairava explain the reason for his being a mendicant, inspite of his lordship over the Universe Vishnu spoke to him again, "Oh Paramatman! Who-ever utters your sacred names siva, sankara, chandraphala etc - will soon be relieved of the cycle of births and deaths. Oh god, blessed I am that you have presented yourself before me, Oh the one unseen ever by the yogi's !" Then gave Laxmi Devi alms unto Kala Bhairava. Then Kala Bhairava Started, when Vishnu begged the terrible demon like lady chasing Kala Bhairava to leave Kala Bhairava. Then spoke the lady, "Oh Vishnu! At least under this pretest do I have the opportunity of worshipping Lord Siva and as well, of going thus on a pilgrimage unto the countless holy shrines? Thus the lady kept chasing Kala Bhairava, despite Vishnu's prayer unto her. So was Kala Bhairava honoured and worshipped by Brahma to when went he to Brahma - Loka. Thus Kept Kala Bhairava moving from one shrine to another, throughout the three worlds. At last did he arrive in Kasi, when the demon - like lady made a great wailing. noise and disappeared without a trace. Brahma's skull that stuck to Kala Bhairavas hands too fell off by itself. Then did Kala Bhairava dance in great pleasure. Hence is it said that who - ever goes on a pilgrimage to Kasi, will have all his sins washed off. Kasi is the shrine where in sankara dwells, and so is called the shrine that . grants Bliss - Eternal. . .
"There in that shrine, at the spot where the Brahma's skull fell off, began Kala Bhairava to dwell. Even the sinner among the most sinful need not fear on having Kala Bhairava's darshan, for he is the destroyer of all sins 'Kala" is under his control, and as he drives away the 'Yama - Dutas', he is famed as Kala Bhairava.

"Who - ever on the 8th day of the moon's waning period of Margasirsha month goes on fasting and spends the night without sleeping, night-long meditating on Kala Bhairava, will have his sins destroyed. Who. ever worships him on that day with 'Sakalapanchara', will have every sin of his every erstwhile birth destroyed; will have every obstasce removed in every task that he proposes to take up. Who-ever listens to this sacred tale of Kala Bhairava, will soon be freed from prison; will have the deadliest of dangers that he faces soon destroyed.

Such is the tale of the faith of Kala Bhairava, in the 13th canto of Kasi-Kahnda in the Skanda Purana".


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