Time and tide waits for none, goes the prophetic saying; thus time is of quintessential importance. Time is a phenomenon which is shrouded in mystery and various enigmatic tales surround it.
But if we ask, what is time? Time is probably a concept which guides our movements. Time moves when there are planetary rotations happening. Kal essentially means Time and Bhairava is another name for the Lord God Shiva; or can be explained as another manifestation of the Lord Shiva.
Kal is believed to have control over the entire Universe and all that happens in it. Naturally, devotees feel the urge to appease Kala, and the observance is known as Kalashtami.
Who is Kala Bhairava?
According to the Tamil Siddhas, the entire universe belongs to the Kala Bhairavas. The Kala Bhairava as his name means is the omnipotent controller of time. He controls and also develops the concept and manifestation of time for our abode, Earth as well as other planetary aspects. These Tamil Siddhas, as the name again implies were experts in their own domains, and during their time travels, came into contact with the great Kala Bhairava. His demeanor is ferocious, complexion dark and has a huge dog as his pet or vehicle. It is generally perceived in Hindu mythology that since he is the controller of time, by praying to the Kala Bhairava, one can alter the course of one’s time, or the circumstances one is going through.
What is Kalashtami?
Kalashtami is the optimal and most beneficial time to pray to the Kala Bhairava, in order to seek his benevolence. This is observed in the eighth day of the waning (dark) moon cycle or the Krishnapaksha. Although it can be observed every month during this time, the most important Kalashtami falls on the month of Margashirsha, and this day remains the same irrespective of North Indian or South Indian calendar. It is folk lore and a belief among the devotees that Lord Shiva appeared in the form of the dark and ferocious Bhairava on the same day.
When is Kalashtami observed?
Kalashtami is celebrated on the eigth day of Krishnapaksha (dark phase of the moon) in the Indian month of Margashirsha.
How to please Kala Bhairava?
Kala Bhairava, can be pleased by chanting his Astangam. It is generally believed that his devotee, praying for his benevolence is freed from all obstacles and sorrows; he is freed from fear, debts, and illness and is granted enlightenment and the path to prosperity. There are special pujas, havans, rites and rituals held to appease the great God on this day in his temples.