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The Hindu God Kaal Bhairov: A Fierce Representation of the Lord Shiva

Updated on January 30, 2020
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MG is an air warrior with a distinguished career and now a corporate advisor, writer, and intrepid traveler and novelist

The Earthier God

Hinduism is a complex religion. It believes in one god and at the same time is also polytheist. This may appear as a dichotomy to a foreign observer but Hinduism is a deep philosophy that is not easy to understand. Hinduism talks of the Supreme Being in the form of Vishnu who is the creator. At the same time, there are other gods like Rama, Krishna, and Shiva. Rama and Krishna appeared in the form of Human beings while Shiva is an amorphous god, more in belief than in flesh and blood.

Some theologians of other religions like Mirza Ghulam think that Ram and Krishna were prophets, but human beings. But not many takers are there among Hindus for this thought. Even western researchers do not accept this theory. The Hindus believe in another God who is a manifestation of both goodness and the seamier side of life. Shiva is both the creator and the destroyer and that makes him the supreme god in Hinduism, though a shade below Vishnu.

In the Hindu pantheon of gods, Shiva occupies a high pedestal. He is the ruler of the three worlds and is both the creator and destroyer. In the role of the destroyer, he takes the form of Kaal Bhairon.

Shiva: the Creator and Destroyer

Shiva the Creator and Destroyer

Shiva is a God who in Hindu mythology is simple and innocent and thus is easily pleased. Hindus pray to him for salvation and seek his blessings for success in any venture. He is supposed to be sitting on the heights of Mount Kailas in the Himalayas where he meditates. Shiva normally is associated with a snake around his neck and a Trishul, a weapon of war. He is benign, merciful as well as a warrior who fights evil.

Shiva has many forms and one of the forms adopted by Shiva is Kaal Bhairon. This god is on the fringe of the Hindu pantheon of gods and is supposed to represent the fierce form of Shiva. He is supposed to be earthier and his followers worship him in the grave hard and at obscure places.

Kaal Bhairov

There are separate temples dedicated to the God Kaal Bhairon. The deity of Kaal Bhairov has a fierce look and he wears a necklace of bones and overall has a fierce appearance. Followers of Kaal Bhairov normally pay their respects to him with gifts of liquor. In the Kaal Bhairov temple at Ujjain, a unique phenomenon takes place. The deity is installed in the center of the temple and devotees queue up to offerings of liquor. This is available in a string of shops outside the temple. The priest will uncork the bottle and pour the liquor in a flat plate which is held to the lips of the deity. It is on record that the liquor slowly disappears and devotees feel that the liquor is drunk by the god.

This is a unique phenomenon and despite some scientists visiting the scene, no explanation is available as to how the liquor disappears when held to the lips of the deity.

Last word

Kaal Bhairov is worshiped by a fringe of Hindus who believe in his powers. Among them are the Aghori clan which earlier had cannibalistic tendencies They carry out their rituals in the cremation ground as well as sex with menstruating women there. Kaal Bhairov is a unique god and devotes vouchsafe that praying to him is both uplifting and fulfilling.

There are many Kaal Bhairov temples in India and Nepal. Though I have not heard of any in other countries. In all these temples Kaal Bhairov has a fierce look with skull, bones, and serpents. These represent the underworld (Hades) and Shiva thus rules over all the 3 worlds.


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