Kaal Bhairav Jayanti, also known as Kala-Bhairav Ashtami or Bhairav Jayanti that falls on the eighth lunar day (Ashtami) in the fortnight of the Krishna paksha (waning phase of the moon) of every month in the Hindu calendar. Hindu devotees celebrate this auspicious festival to worship Lord Bhairav ("terrible") a fearsome and wrathful manifestation of Lord Shiva. Different stories from Shiv Purana describe that Kaal Bhairav is the supreme Lord of ghosts, goblins, zombies, mutants, witches, and other magical creatures. Kaal Bhairav Jayanti is celebrated throughout India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. This day is considered more auspicious if it falls on a Tuesday or a Sunday. Chanting of mantras and reciting Kaal Bhairav Katha (story) on this day, leads to success, develops a spiritual mind, and destroys enemies like anger, greed, and lust.
One of the oldest and holy cities of India, Varanasi, celebrates a grand ceremony on the day of Bhairav Jayanti. Millions of pilgrims visit the temple of Lord Bhairav which is believed to be re-structured and build in the mid-17th century AD. Though Lord Kaal Bhairav appears as a fearsome and wrathful manifestation in many scriptures and Vedic textbooks, He is a highly benevolent form of Lord Shiva. Thus, pleasing Kaal Bhairav is very easy and can be easily done by chanting the Kaal Bhairav mantra with a pure heart.
Kaal Bhairav Puja Vidhi: The most appropriate and auspicious time to worship Kaal Bhairav is during the evening hours of a Sunday or a Tuesday. Hindu devotees visit a temple while carrying sacred materials such as coconut, flowers, sindoor, mustard oil, black sesame, etc to worship Kaal Bhairav.
• Devotees take an early morning bath and then start performing the puja.
• Most of the devotees visit a temple in the evening to worship all the three deities- Goddess Parvati, Lord Shiva, and Lord Kaal Bhairav.
• They offer flowers, Diyas, sweets, and fruits to the deities.
• After this, people worship Lord Kaal Bhairav with mantras and prayers.
• Once the puja is completed, devotees recite the Kaal Bhairav Katha (story).
• Devotees stay up all night to listen to the stories of Lord Shiva and Lord Kaal Bhairav from a priest or an eminent speaker.
• Devotees perform the Kaal Bhairav aarti during midnights with some traditional music along with conchs, bells, and drums.
• Devotees observe a full day fast and break the fast only after the midnight aarti with some fruits and Prasad.
• As per teachings of sacred texts, Lord Kaal Bhairav rides on a dog. So, some devotees serve sweets and milk to the dogs.
Followings are few things that must be considered on this auspicious day -
• Wake up before sunrise and take a holy bath.
• Do not hurt dogs, instead offer them milk, sweets, and other foods.
• Visit a temple of Kaal Bhairav or Lord Shiva.
• Do not sleep during the daytime, you may incur financial losses.
• Avoid eating any type of food (other than fruits) during a fast on Kalashtami.
• As per expert’s opinion, it is a sin to worship Kaal Bhairav for the destruction of your enemies.
Mantras to chant during the puja: A devotee should chant Kaalbhairava Ashtakam on this day to please Lord Bhairav. By chanting this Ashtakam one can realize the true meaning of life and can free himself from grief (shoka), attachment and delusion (moha, maya), poverty (garibi), greed (lobha), anger (kopa), and sufferings (pida).
Kaal Bhairav Mantra
"Hrim batukaya apadudharanaya kuru kuru batukaya hrim."
"Om hreem vam vatukarasa Apaduddharaka vatukaaya hreem"
"Om Hraam Hreem Hroom Hrime Hroum Ksham Kshetrapaalaaya Kaala Bhairavaaya Namaha"
Kaal Bhairav Gayatri Mantra
Om Kaalakaalaaya Vidhmahey, Kaalaatheethaaya dheemahi, Thanno Kaala Bhairava Prachodhayaath.
Kaal Bhairav Beeja Mantras:
“Om aim hraam kleem shri batukbhairavaya”
Significance: Lord Shiva had taken several incarnations. But one of the most fearsome avatars of Lord Shiva is the Kaal Bhairav. The worship of Kaal Bhairav with complete devotion fulfils all the desires of a devotee.
• Evidences from Hindu mythology describes that those who worship Lord Kaal Bhairav and observes fast on His Jayanti help themselves to get relieved from all their sins as well as to bring victory in all spheres of life.
• On this holy day, the chanting of BhairavAsthak with devotion destroys the frightening dreams and brings success in all endeavors.
• It is believed that performing Kaal Bhairav puja before any marriage ceremony, childbirth, or any auspicious work helps to destroy all obstacles.
• Astrologers advocate that observing fast on this day eliminates all ‘Shani’ and ‘Rahu’ doshas from the Kundali of a devotee.
Legend: Kaal Bhairav Jayanti is one of the holy festivals that possesses immense significance and importance for the followers of Lord Shiva. Bhairav is considered as a manifestation of Shiva's wrath. According to the Hindu scriptures, one day the trinity of Gods: Shiva, Vishnu, and Brahma were discussing their supremacy and power. But eventually, the discussion had gone at such an extreme level that the great rishis and sages were called to suggest a solution. After giving deep thought and several discussions they came up with a suggestion, Lord Brahma expressed his concern and rejected that suggestion. Seeing this behaviour of Lord Brahma, Lord Shiva felt slighted by the remarks made by Brahma and got angry as that was an insult to him. Suddenly, Lord Kaal Bhairav, a fearful incarnation of Lord Shiva appeared from His forehead and chopped up one head out of the five heads of Lord Brahma. Since that day, Hindu devotees celebrate Kaal Bhairav Jayanti and offer prayers to get bestowed with success, good health as well as to get rid of all their accumulated sins.
Summary: Lord Shiva also called Mahadeva is one of the principal deities of Hinduism. Kaal Bhairav, a fierce form of Lord Shiva who wears a mala (garland) of skulls and carries a club of peacock feathers. The word "Kaal" means “death". So, Hindu scriptures describe that even death is afraid of Kaal Bhairav. Devotees of Lord Shiva worship Kaal Bhairav on the day of Kalashtami to destroy all negative energies from their life and to receive His divine blessings for healthy and fearless life.