Bhairava – a formidable hypostasis of Shiva, who personifies the transcendental Godly reality

In the spiritual tradition of India, Bhairava is both a fundamental and formidable hypostasis of Shiva, a hypostasis that personifies the transcendent Godly reality.

But because what is transcendent and, generally, the limitlessness, the eternity, the endlessness, the mystery beyond appearances, from beyond the known, frightens the common human being and first of all the ego (ahamkara in Sanskrit), Bhairava is most often represented in a terrible or even terrifying form. But what is frightening to the overexaggerated and grasping ego is pure and ecstatic liberating Godly grace to the God-thirsty soul.

This is why Bhairava is in reality the most formidable antidote to all the fears, limitations, delusions and conditionings we still face.

He reveals to us, when we are ready, the primal purity of our God-like consciousness. He radically removes from our present consciousness all agitation, all chaotic thinking, all delusions and all ignorance. He helps us with overwhelming grace to definitively emerge from the state of so-called death of the soul and to discover true spiritual immortality.

So, despite the terrifying appearances of most of his traditional symbolic representations, Bhairava is one of the most graceful, protective and loving hypostasis of Godhood, constantly blessing all mankind.

Given all this, it is not surprising that Bhairava or Shiva Bhairava is found in different forms and under different names in many other spiritual traditions, each time playing a central, fundamental role in those traditions.

For example, in the Tibetan Tantric Vajrayana tradition, Bhairava is known and worshipped as Vajra Bhairava or Mahakala or Hevajra etc.

In the Kalachakra tantra tradition, Bhairava is the central deity who is called Shiva Mahakala.

In the Mahavidya yoga tradition, each of the 10 Mahavidyas are accompanied by a particular form or hypostasis of Bhairava. For example, Mahavidya Kali is accompanied by Maha Kala and so on.

In the tradition of Kashmir Tantric Shaivism, Bhairava, in his supreme aspect of Maha Bhairava, represents the pure and absolute transcendent and non-dual Godly reality. He is the protector of the entire universe.

Also, the entire tantric tradition of India states that Bhairava or Shiva Bhairava is the infallible protector of women. Especially in his form or hypostasis as Kala Bhairava or Mahakala Bhairava, or the equivalent Shiva Mahakala, Bhairava represents the supreme Godly aspect of the creative eternity, of the spiritual immortality and of the ultimate spiritual liberation.


May 11, 2023



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