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Thread: Lord Bhairava

  1. #1
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    Lord Bhairava

    At our local temple (Mariamman temple) there is a shrine to Bhairava near the entrance to the main temple, right beside a shrine of Hanuman. I've noticed that there are two large, slightly curved swords and a trident placed behind the Bhairava Deity. I've seen similar weapons on a rack in the prayer room at my girlfriend's grandfather's house. I'm wondering, what is the significance of these weapons? Are they simply decorations or is there a significance to them? And are they actually used by the priests in any sacred rites (e.g. breaking the coconut)?

    And what is the difference between worshipping Lord Shiva as the Bhairava form and in His Lingam form? Why would a person choose one form over another?

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    Re: Lord Bhairava

    Vannakkam Scott; I don't know much except for my own experiences. Here there is a Bhairava, and he is at the door, and lined up directly with the lingam shrine. (This temple was designed by the famed Ganapati Sthapati, so it is in accordance with the Saiva Agama stuff on temple design. Bhairava is the gatekeeper. At his shrine I feel a sense of thankfulness always; a thankfulness out of just letting me in at all, as I still feel like a foreigner/intruder sometimes. Not only is it a sense of entering the temple, but also a sense of entering the religion. (I don't go with this specifically in mine, it just sort of pops up when I approach that shrine. I feel it is a mystical thing. One day the priest here made the point 'Don't cross Bhairava, its his job to protect this place." He also holds the key (physical key) when the temple is closed and the priest has to retrieve it from him in order to open the sanctum after the temple has been closed. However, back at the Lingam shrine, which is quite small as this is a Ganapati temple, I always just get the yearning for the Self feeling as that is what the Lingam is, a representation of Absolute reality beyond time, form and space, So I have no clue if this would be helpful to your understanding at all, so take it for what its worth, one devotee's observations based on experience. Aum Namsivaya

  3. #3

    Re: Lord Bhairava

    Namaste Scott.

    At our local temple (Mariamman temple) there is a shrine to Bhairava near the entrance to the main temple, right beside a shrine of Hanuman. I've noticed that there are two large, slightly curved swords and a trident placed behind the Bhairava Deity. I've seen similar weapons on a rack in the prayer room at my girlfriend's grandfather's house. I'm wondering, what is the significance of these weapons? Are they simply decorations or is there a significance to them? And are they actually used by the priests in any sacred rites (e.g. breaking the coconut)?
    The weapons behind the deity of Bhairava, are probably worshiped as a form of Bhairava, and I'm not too sure if they'd also be used in any sort of ritual. I'm fairly certain the weapons in your girlfriend's grandfather's prayer room, would be used for rituals like breaking coconuts, and possibly sacrificing an animal if he isn't vegetarian.

    And what is the difference between worshipping Lord Shiva as the Bhairava form and in His Lingam form? Why would a person choose one form over another?
    It really depends upon which form they are attracted to, and some might worship both. I can't give you a whole lot of information on Bhairava or his worship, but there is a nice thread on him here http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/showthread.php?t=1352 if you're interested. Now, on the subject of the Shiva Linga, the Shiva Purana gives us an interesting account of its appearance. Brahma and Vishnu were arguing over who was supreme, when a giant Linga of fire appeared. Brahma tried to find the top of the pillar, and Vishnu the bottom, but neither could find an end to the Linga. Finally, Lord Shiva appeared to them both, revealing himself to be the supreme Lord, and that this Linga of fire was him. He further revealed that this Linga was without beginning, without end, and that from it all other beings arose. In other words the Lingam, is an abstract form of Shiva, which represents his infinite, and all encompassing nature.

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    Re: Lord Bhairava

    Quote Originally Posted by ScottMalaysia View Post
    At our local temple (Mariamman temple) there is a shrine to Bhairava near the entrance to the main temple, right beside a shrine of Hanuman. I've noticed that there are two large, slightly curved swords and a trident placed behind the Bhairava Deity. I've seen similar weapons on a rack in the prayer room at my girlfriend's grandfather's house. I'm wondering, what is the significance of these weapons? Are they simply decorations or is there a significance to them? And are they actually used by the priests in any sacred rites (e.g. breaking the coconut)?
    Namaste Scot,

    The weapons are worshipped with the deity to whom they belong. They are normally not used for any other ritual (like breaking coconut or sacrifice).

    OM
    "Om Namo Bhagvate Vaasudevaye"

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    Re: Lord Bhairava

    Hari Om
    ~~~~~

    Namaste

    There are a few meanings for Śiva's triśula. Perhaps sarabhanga can take apart this word and go deeper into tri+śu+la
    • Some see this trika, 3 pronged, as Siva, Viṣṇu and Brahmā. Siva holding it as paramaśiva, some say parameśvara.
    • This trika is also considered 3 main śhakti: parā, parāparā and aparā;
    • This śhakti is also considered icca śhakti, kriyā śhakti and jāna śhakti - hence Śiva's rule or domain over these 3 and also can be used as tools to bring the aspirant to Him
    • Others may see this as Śiva, Rudra and Bhairava - this can be extended to the Trika philosophy of kaśmir śaivism and the āgamas (some call śāstras) and are grouped by these names: Śiva, Rudra and Bhairava and are considered parā, parāparā and aparā
    • Some see this triśula as Śiva's rule over spiritual, mental and physical - that is the whole universe.
    • Some see the triśula as the 3 guna and Śiva's rule over the guna
    Also note that Also note that durgatināśinī (some say Durgā) wields the triśula.

    Yet I would ask, this triśula is known to have 3 points on it, yes? But what of the shaft? The 4th? This 3 pronged trident can be carried as a daṃḍa (danda or stick). What of this is? Is there significance? Could not the triśula just have been a logo, like a lapel pin, without the danda? Any thoughts on this?


    Om Māhdeva namo namaha

    pranams

    Last edited by yajvan; 29 September 2008 at 11:11 AM. Reason: correct Durga and Durgati, durgatināśinī
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

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    Re: Lord Bhairava

    Quote Originally Posted by yajvan View Post
    Hari Om
    Also note that Durgati ( some just call Durga) wields the triśula.

    Namaste Yajvan Ji,

    You have provided nice meanings for the trishula. shula is that which pierces/gives pain etc. Controller/remover of three kinds of primeval pains daivic, bhautic and atmic associated with the body/self is Shulapani.

    As far as I know, Durgati and DurgA are widely apart in meaning. durgati mainly means distress or Hell. In fact DurgA is vanquisher of durgati. Some dictionaries use Durgati as noun for Goddess durgA. That may be a problem of not knowing a language from inside.

    Om
    That which is without letters (parts) is the Fourth, beyond apprehension through ordinary means, the cessation of the phenomenal world, the auspicious and the non-dual. Thus Om is certainly the Self. He who knows thus enters the Self by the Self.

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    Re: Lord Bhairava

    Quote Originally Posted by atanu

    Some dictionaries use Durgati as noun for Goddess durgA. That may be a problem of not knowing a language from inside.
    Namaste,

    shrI durgA is durgatinAshinI, but no dictionary suggests durgati as a name for durgA ~ it is clearly a problem of not knowing how to read the dictionary !

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    Re: Lord Bhairava

    Quote Originally Posted by sarabhanga View Post
    Namaste,

    shrI durgA is durgatinAshinI, but no dictionary suggests durgati as a name for durgA ~ it is clearly a problem of not knowing how to read the dictionary !
    Namaste sarabhanga,

    Yes. durgatinAshinI, vanquisher of durgati as already stated.

    Originally Posted by atanu
    As far as I know, Durgati and DurgA are widely apart in meaning. durgati mainly means distress or Hell. In fact DurgA is vanquisher of durgati.

    Om
    Last edited by atanu; 31 May 2008 at 08:52 AM.
    That which is without letters (parts) is the Fourth, beyond apprehension through ordinary means, the cessation of the phenomenal world, the auspicious and the non-dual. Thus Om is certainly the Self. He who knows thus enters the Self by the Self.

  9. #9
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    Re: Lord Bhairava

    Hari Om
    ~~~~~

    Quote Originally Posted by atanu View Post
    Namaste sarabhanga,

    Yes. durgatinAshinI, vanquisher of durgati as already stated.
    Om
    Namate atanu and sarabhanga,

    Points well made... when my jyotish teacher talks of DurgA he only mentions her as durgatinAshinI, that is, the full name. This is neither here nor there for this conversation but seemed to stick out in my mind as I thought about his conversations on this matter.

    And yes, when I view durgati as a dictionary entry I see it as misfortune , distress , poverty and hell, as she (DugrA) removes one from this condition. This durgA is also shown as 'a singing bird'.

    Most readings I see have Her as Durga; In fact I find it rare to see Her mentioned as durgatinAshinI. This does not infer by any means this is incorrect - I rather like the name durgatinAshinI; yet many sites I see on the Web choose to call Her Durgati also...

    pranams,
    Last edited by yajvan; 31 May 2008 at 01:01 PM. Reason: revised a sentence for clarity
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

  10. #10
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    Re: Lord Bhairava

    Quote Originally Posted by yajvan View Post
    Hari Om
    ~~~~~
    Namate atanu and sarabhanga,

    Points well made... when my jyotish teacher talks of DurgA he only mentions her as durgatinAshinI, -yet many sites I see on the Web choose to call Her Durgati...

    pranams,
    Namaste Yajvan Ji,

    Hari Om,

    To err is us. It does not matter, if one has the correct meaning with a wrong word. There is nothing to prove or disprove or no axe to grind.

    Just occurred that Maa DurgA is not durgati.

    Regards

    Om
    That which is without letters (parts) is the Fourth, beyond apprehension through ordinary means, the cessation of the phenomenal world, the auspicious and the non-dual. Thus Om is certainly the Self. He who knows thus enters the Self by the Self.

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