Lord Shiva has several forms and avatar manifestation of a deity in physical body form. Although his original ascetic form is widely revered, his Pashupatinath and Vishwanath avatar are also quite famous. But one of the most fearsome avatars of Lord Shiva is the Kalabhairava. This form of Shiva, described by Adi Shankaracharya in the Kalabhairava Ashtakam , is shown to be naked, black, entwined with a garland of skulls, three eyes, weapons of destruction in his four hands, and entwined with snakes. The depiction of this form may seem at odds with the dispassionate, calm, and meditative form that many pray every day, but there is deep symbolism associated with Kalabhairava.
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Kalabhairava, the fearsome aspect of Lord Shiva , is the God who is the protector of Benares. But the sin 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  of Benares. Kalabhairava rides on a dog. A pilgrimage to Kasi  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. Outside every Shakthi Peeta is the temple for Bhairava. In another story, Kalabhairava is the form of Shiva who controls the growth and management of 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. 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.
I salute Kalabhairava, the lord of the city of Kasi, Whose lotus like feet is being served by Devendra, Who is merciful and wears the moon on his forehead, Who wears a snake as his sacred thread, Who wears the different directions as his cloth, And who is worshipped by sages like Narada.
I salute Kalabhairava, the lord of the city of Kasi, Who shines like billions of suns, Who helps us cross this miserable ocean of life, Who is supreme and has a blue neck, Who has three eyes and grants us our desires, Who is the death to the God of death  , Who has lotus flower like eyes, Who has the undefeatable trident, And who does not have decay. I salute Kalabhairava, the lord of the city of Kasi, Who has a spear, a chord and a stick as weapons, Who is black in colour and the primeval cause, Who is deathless and the first God, Who is free from decay and ill health, Who is the Lord who is a great hero, And who likes the special vigorous thandava .
I salute Kalabhairava, the lord of the city of Kasi, Who fulfills desires and also grants salvation, Who is well known for his pretty mien, Who is a form of Shiva,who loves his devotees, Who is the God of the entire world, Who assumes various forms, And who has a golden waist thread, On which jingling bells are tied. I salute Kalabhairava, the lord of the city of Kasi, Who maintains the bridge of dharma in life, Who destroys paths which are not right, Who saves us from the ties of Karma , Who is the lord who makes us ashamed, When trying to do wrong things, Who has a shining body because of golden rope, With bells tied in various places.
I salute Kalabhairava, the lord of the city of Kasi, Who has feet adorned by the shine of gem studded sandals, Who is eternal and does not have any one second to him, Who is our favorite God who bestows everything, Who takes away the fear of death from humans, And who grants them salvation by his terrible teeth.
I salute Kalabhairava, the lord of the city of Kasi, Whose loud roar is enough to destroy all those created by Brahma, Whose sight is sufficient to destroy all sins, Who is crafty and strict ruler, Who can grant the eight occult powers, And who wears the garland of skulls. I salute Kalabhairava, the lord of the city of Kasi, Who is the chief of the society of Bhoothas, Who grants broad based fame, Who is the lord who judges good and bad deeds, Of those who live in Varanasi , Who is an expert in the way of righteousness, And who is eternally old and lord of the universe.
Those who read this enticing octet on Kalabhairava, Which is the source of eternal knowledge, Which increases the effect of righteous deeds, And which destroys grief, passion, poverty, want and anger, Would surely reach the holy presence of Kalabhairava.
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