Mahakala Bhairava

Mahakala Bhairava

Mahakala Bhairava (‘Beyond Time’ and ‘Frightful’) is a fearsome aspect of Shiva associated with Annihilation. Known as Nagpo Chenpo (Great Black One), Vajrabhairava and Yamantaka (Destroyer of Death) in Tibetan Buddhism. The eight Ashtami Bhairavas that manifest from him represent the eight primary aspects of fear, and their correspondence with the Nakshatras represents them as portions of time and space of which Bhairava is the whole. Their consorts represent their vital expressions of Divine power, and together, they combine to form Bhairavi, Bhairava’s consort. In their totality, Bhairava and Bhairavi are of unified essence and their division into two separate entities serves only as a symbol expressing the objective Absolute and the possibility of becoming subjectively aware of it through the manifestation of Kundalini. Being destroyers and wrathful, this pairing represents the destruction of diversions such as ignorance, attachments, the ego and obstructive emotions that bar our union with the divine source. While fearsome, their associationa with negative emotions represents the knowledge of those emotions, how they can be obstacles to us and how, by destroying and overcoming their influences, we may perfect ourselves. Two of Mahakala Bhairava’s mantras to assist with this perfection, are:

“Om Shri Kaal Bhairavaya Namaha.”

“Om Sow Hreem Shaprowhm Sahase Kaala Bhairavaaye Namaha.”

Auspices

Kaal Ashtami – the 8th Lunar Day (Ashtami) of the waning fortnight, with Bhairava Ashtami,—which comes in the month of Kartik—being the most auspicious, especially if it falls on a Sunday or Tuesday. During this festival, Bhairava is depicted riding his dog in a form named Dandapani, in which he wields a Danda rod, to punish wrongdoers. An all-night vigil is held on the night of and at midnight an arati is performed with conches, drums and cymbals. After a bath the next morning, rites honouring dead kinsmen are performed and Bhairava, his Dog and Bhairavi are worshipped with offerings of flowers, milk, curds and sweets. In Varanasi, an eight day pilgrimage is taken in the days before this major festival.

Experimental Praxis

As Lord of Time, Mahakala Bhairava cannot strictly be apportioned specific Zodiacal properties, yet, with each of his eight manifestations having particular Nakshatras and planets assigned to them, he can be thought of as the sum-total of the entire Zodiac, all nine of the planets and, by extension, every aspect of time and space. With this intent in mind, meditating on and appealing to the Ashta Bhairava and their Shaktis through the course of the Lunar Cycle, can be seen as a month-long devotional ritual to them.

As well as being more convenient for division, the reduction to twenty-seven Mansions from the original twenty-eight also allows a connection between the Lunar Cycle and the sacred number 108, as, with the subsequent division of the twenty-seven Nakshatras into four padas—each of which is attributed a sequential Zodiac sign—a total of 108 (27 x 4) padas are passed through in every Lunar Cycle. An elaboration on the aforementioned adoration of my own devising involves attributing each of those padas to two of the 64 Bhairavas, which presents a more complete meditation on the Lord of Time, Death and the Universe. Considering the meanings of the names of each of these manifestations explored over the last eight posts, it is clear that these names are all epithets of Shiva in his most dreadful form, making a devotion such as this a long and considered reflection on each of those 64 symbolic aspects of his terrible and purifying nature.

Where no specific mantra has been provided for the 56 sub-Bhairavas in the previous posts, one can chant “Om…. Namaha” with the appropriate name of Bhairava being inserted after ‘Om.’

(See the post ‘Ashtama Bhairava and the Nakshatras‘ for the Planetary Lords of the Nakshatras and other relevant correspondences)

Nakshatra Pada Bhairavas Sidereal º Pada Lord
Ashwini Aries Bheeshana
Bhayahara
0º Aries Mars
Taurus Sarvajna
Kalagni
3º 20′ Aries Venus
Gemini Maharaudra
Daksina
6º 40′ Aries Mercury
Cancer Mukhara
Asthira
10º Aries Moon
Bharani Leo Kapala
Sasibhusana
13º 20′ Aries Sun
Virgo Hasticarmam-baradhara
Yogisa
16º 40′ Aries Mercury
Libra Brahmaraksasa
Sarvajna
20º Aries Venus
Scorpio Sarvadevesa
Sarvabhutah-drishtitha
23º 20′ Aries Mars
Krittika Sagittarius Ruru
Krodadamstra
26º 40′ Aries Jupiter
Capricorn Jatadhara
Visarupa
0º Taurus Saturn
Aquarius Virupaksa
Nanarupa-dhara
3º 20′ Taurus Saturn
Pisces Vajrahasta
Mahakaya
6º 40′ Taurus Jupiter
Rohini Aries Krodha
Pingaleksana
10º Taurus Mars
Taurus Abharupa
Dharapala
13º 20′ Taurus Venus
Gemini Kutila
Mantranakaya
16º 40′ Taurus Mercury
Cancer Rudra
Pitamaha
20º Taurus Moon
Mrighirsha Leo Chanda
Pralayantaka
23º 20′ Taurus Sun
Virgo Bhumikampa
Nilakantha
26º 40′ Taurus Mercury
Libra Visnu
Kulapalaka
0º Gemini Venus
Scorpio Mundapala
Kamapala
3º 20′ Gemini Mars
Ardra Sagittarius Bheeshana
Bhayahara
6º 40′ Gemini Jupiter
Capricorn Sarvajna
Kalagni
10º Gemini Saturn
Aquarius Maharaudra
Daksina
13º 20′ Gemini Saturn
Pisces Mukhara
Asthira
16º 40′ Gemini Jupiter
Punarvasu Aries Asitanga
Visalaska
20º Gemini Mars
Taurus Martanda
Modakapriya
23º 20′ Gemini Venus
Gemini Svacchanda
Vighnsantusta
26º 40′ Gemini Mercury
Cancer Khecara
Sacracara
0º Cancer Moon
Pushya Leo Unmattha
Vatukanayaka
3º 20′ Cancer Sun
Virgo Sankara
Bhutavetala
6º 40′ Cancer Mercury
Libra Trinetra
Tripurantaka
10º Cancer Venus
Scorpio Varada
Parvatavasa
13º 20′ Cancer Mars
Ashlesha Sagittarius Samhara
Atiriktanga
16º 40′ Cancer Jupiter
Capricorn Kalagni
Priyankara
20º Cancer Saturn
Aquarius Ghoranda
Visalaksa
23º 20′ Cancer Saturn
Pisces Yogisa
Daksasamsthita
26º 40′ Cancer Jupiter
Magha Aries Bheeshana
Bhayahara
0º Leo Mars
Taurus Sarvajna
Kalagni
3º 20′ Leo Venus
Gemini Maharaudra
Daksina
6º 40′ Leo Mercury
Cancer Mukhara
Asthira
10º Leo Moon
Purvaphalguni Leo Kapala
Sasibhusana
13º 20′ Sun
Virgo Hasticarmam-baradhara
Yogisa
16º 40′ Leo Mercury
Libra Brahmaraksasa
Sarvajna
20º Leo Venus
Scorpio Sarvadevesa
Sarvabhutah-drishtitha
23º 20 Leo Mars
Uttaraphalguni Sagittarius Ruru
Krodadamstra
26º 40′ Leo Jupiter
Capricorn Jatadhara
Visarupa
0º Virgo Saturn
Aquarius Virupaksa
Nanarupa-dhara
3º 20′ Virgo Saturn
Pisces Vajrahasta
Mahakaya
6º 40′ Virgo Jupiter
Hasta Aries Krodha
Pingaleksana
10º Virgo Mars
Taurus Abharupa
Dharapala
13º 20′ Virgo Venus
Gemini Kutila
Mantranakaya
16º 40′ Virgo Mercury
Cancer Rudra
Pitamaha
20º Virgo Moon
Chitra Leo Chanda
Pralayantaka
23º 20′ Virgo Sun
Virgo Bhumikampa
Nilakantha
26º 40′ Virgo Mercury
Libra Visnu
Kulapalaka
0º Libra Venus
Scorpio Mundapala
Kamapala
3º 20′ Libra Mars
Swati Sagittarius Bheeshana
Bhayahara
6º 40′ Libra Jupiter
Capricorn Sarvajna
Kalagni
10º Libra Saturn
Aquarius Maharaudra
Daksina
13º 20′ Libra Saturn
Pisces Mukhara
Asthira
16º 40′ Libra Jupiter
Vishakha Aries Asitanga
Visalaska
20º Libra Mars
Taurus Martanda
Modakapriya
23º 20′ Libra Venus
Gemini Svacchanda
Vighnsantusta
26º 40′ Libra Mercury
Cancer Khecara
Sacracara
0º Scorpio Moon
Anuradha Leo Unmattha
Vatukanayaka
3º 20′ Scorpio Sun
Virgo Sankara
Bhutavetala
6º 40′ Scorpio Mercury
Libra Trinetra
Tripurantaka
10º Scorpio Venus
Scorpio Varada
Parvatavasa
13º 20′ Scorpio Mars
Jyeshtha Sagittarius Samhara
Atiriktanga
16º 40′ Scorpio Jupiter
Capricorn Kalagni
Priyankara
20º Scorpio Saturn
Aquarius Ghoranda
Visalaksa
23º 20′ Scorpio Saturn
Pisces Yogisa
Daksasamsthita
26º 40′ Scorpio Jupiter
Mula Aries Bheeshana
Bhayahara
0º Sagittarius Mars
Taurus Sarvajna
Kalagni
3º 20′ Sagittarius Venus
Gemini Maharaudra
Daksina
6º 40′ Sagittarius Mercury
Cancer Mukhara
Asthira
10º Sagittarius Moon
Purvashadha Leo Kapala
Sasibhusana
13º 20′ Sagittarius Sun
Virgo Hasticarmam-baradhara
Yogisa
16º 40′ Sagittarius Mercury
Libra Brahmaraksasa
Sarvajna
20º Sagittarius Venus
Scorpio Sarvadevesa
Sarvabhutah-drishtitha
23º 20′ Sagittarius Mars
Uttarashadha Sagittarius Ruru
Krodadamstra
26º 40′ Sagittarius Jupiter
Capricorn Jatadhara
Visarupa
0º Capricorn Saturn
Aquarius Virupaksa
Nanarupa-dhara
3º 20′ Capricorn Saturn
Pisces Vajrahasta
Mahakaya
6º 40′ Capricorn Jupiter
Shravana Aries Krodha
Pingaleksana
10º Capricorn Mars
Taurus Abharupa
Dharapala
13º 20′ Capricorn Venus
Gemini Kutila
Mantranakaya
16º 40′ Capricorn Mercury
Cancer Rudra
Pitamaha
20º Capricorn Moon
Dhanishtha Leo Chanda
Pralayantaka
23º 20′ Capricorn Sun
Virgo Bhumikampa
Nilakantha
26º 40′ Capricorn Mercury
Libra Visnu
Kulapalaka
0º Aquarius Venus
Scorpio Mundapala
Kamapala
3º 20′ Aquarius Mars
Sathabhisha Sagittarius Bheeshana
Bhayahara
6º 40′ Aquarius Jupiter
Capricorn Sarvajna
Kalagni
10º Aquarius Saturn
Aquarius Maharaudra
Daksina
13º 20′ Aquarius Saturn
Pisces Mukhara
Asthira
16º 40′ Aquarius Jupiter
Poorva
Bhadrapada
Aries Asitanga
Visalaska
20º Aquarius Mars
Taurus Martanda
Modakapriya
23º 20′ Aquarius Venus
Gemini Svacchanda
Vighnsantusta
26º 40′ Aquarius Mercury
Cancer Khecara
Sacracara
0º Pisces Moon
Uttara
Bhadrapada
Leo Unmattha
Vatukanayaka
3º 20′ Pisces Sun
Virgo Sankara
Bhutavetala
6º 40 Pisces Mercury
Libra Trinetra
Tripurantaka
10º Pisces Venus
Scorpio Varada
Parvatavasa
13º 20′ Pisces Mars
Revati Sagittarius Samhara
Atiriktanga
16º 40′ Pisces Jupiter
Capricorn Kalagni
Priyankara
20º Pisces Saturn
Aquarius Ghoranda
Visalaksa
23º 20′ Pisces Saturn
Pisces Yogisa
Daksasamsthita
26º 40′ Pisces Jupiter

As noted above, the number 108 is of special importance in Vedic and Tantric traditions. The Shivaganas, the attendants of Shiva who reside in chthonic or liminal locations such as cemeteries and charnel grounds, were 108 in number.  It is also the number of beads on a Rudhraksha and the number of names attributed to many gods, including Bhairava, Additionally, when rounded up, the Sun and Moon are (on average) 108 times the distance from the Earth as their own diameters, with the diameter of the Sun also being approximately 108 times that of the Earth.

The mantras of the 108 names of Bhairava are:

  1. Om Bhairavaaya namaha
  2. Om Bhuutanaathaaya namaha
  3. Om Bhritaatmane namaha
  4. Om Bhuutabhaavanaaya namaha
  5. Om Kshetragyaaya namaha
  6. Om Kshetrapaalaaya namaha
  7. Om Kshetradaaya namaha
  8. Om Kshatriyaaya namaha
  9. Om Viraaje namaha
  10. Om Shmashaanavaasine namaha
  11. Om Maamsaashine namaha
  12. Om Kharvaroshine namaha
  13. Om Smarantakaaya namaha
  14. Om Raktapaaya namaha
  15. Om Paanayaaya namaha
  16. Om Siddhaaya namaha
  17. Om Siddhidaaya namaha
  18. Om Siddhisevitaaya namaha
  19. Om Kankaalaaya namaha
  20. Om Kalaashamanaaya namaha
  21. Om Kalaakaashtaaya namaha
  22. Om Tanaye namaha
  23. Om Kavaye namaha
  24. Om Trinetraaya namaha
  25. Om Bahunetraaya namaha
  26. Om Pigala-lochanaaya namaha
  27. Om Shuulapaanaye namaha
  28. Om Khadgapaanaye namaha
  29. Om Kapaaline namaha
  30. Om Dhuumralochanaaya namaha
  31. Om Abhirave namaha
  32. Om Bhauraviinaathaaya namaha
  33. Om Bhuutapaaya namaha
  34. Om Yoginiipataye namaha
  35. Om Dhanadaaya namaha
  36. Om Dhanahaarine namaha
  37. Om Dhanavate namaha
  38. Om Priitivardhanaaya namaha
  39. Om Naagahaaraaya namaha
  40. Om Naagapaashaaya namaha
  41. Om Vyomakeshaaya namaha
  42. Om Kapaalabhrite namaha
  43. Om Kaalaaya namaha
  44. Om Kapaalamaaline namaha
  45. Om Kamaniiyaaya namaha
  46. Om Kalaanidhaye namaha
  47. Om Trilochanaaya namaha
  48. Om Jvalannetraaya namaha
  49. Om Trishikhine namaha
  50. Om Trilokashaaya namaha
  51. Om Trinetrataapaaya namaha
  52. Om Dibhaaya namaha
  53. Om Shaantaaya namaha
  54. Om Shaantajanapriyaaya namaha
  55. Om Batukaaya namaha
  56. Om Batuveshaaya namaha
  57. Om Khatvaangadhaarakaaya namaha
  58. Om Yanaadhyakshaaya namaha
  59. Om Pashupataye namaha
  60. Om Bhikshukaaya namaha
  61. Om Parichaarakaaya namaha
  62. Om Dhuurtaaya namaha
  63. Om Digambaraaya namaha
  64. Om SHuuraaya namaha
  65. Om Harine namaha
  66. Om Paandulochanaaya namaha
  67. Om Prashaantaaya namaha
  68. Om Shaantidaaya namaha
  69. Om Siddhaaya namaha
  70. Om Shankarapriyabaandhavaaya namaha
  71. Om Ashtamuurtaye namaha
  72. Om Nidhiishaaya namaha
  73. Om Gyaanachakshushe namaha
  74. Om Tapomadaaya namaha
  75. Om Ashtaadhaaraaya namaha
  76. Om Shadaadhaaraaya namaha
  77. Om Sarpayuktaaya namaha
  78. Om Shikhisakhaaya namaha
  79. Om Bhuudharaaya namaha
  80. Om Bhuudharaadhiishaaya namaha
  81. Om Bhuupataye namaha
  82. Om Bhuudharaatmagyaaya namaha
  83. Om Kankaaladhaarine namaha
  84. Om Mundine namaha
  85. Om Naagayagyopavitavate namaha
  86. Om Jribhbhanaaya namaha
  87. Om Mohanaaya namaha
  88. Om Stambhine namaha
  89. Om Maranaaya namaha
  90. Om Kshobhanaaya namaha
  91. Om Shuddhaniilaamjanaprakhyaaya namaha
  92. Om Dvityaghne namaha
  93. Om Mundabhuushitaaya namaha
  94. Om Balibhuuje namaha
  95. Om Balibhunanaathaaya namaha
  96. Om Baalaaya namaha
  97. Om Baalaparaakramaaya namaha
  98. Om Sarvaapattaaranaaya namaha
  99. Om Durgaaya namaha
  100. Om Dushta Bhuutanishevitaaya namaha
  101. Om Kaamine namaha
  102. Om Kalaanidhaye namaha
  103. Om Kaantaaya namaha
  104. Om Kaaminiivashakridvashine namaha
  105. Om Sarvasiddhipadaaya namaha
  106. Om Vaidyaaya namaha
  107. Om Prabhave namaha
  108. Om Vishnave Namaha


Hymn to Kalabhairava

I Worship Kālabhairava, Lord of the city of Kāśī,
Whose sacred lotus feet are worshipped by the King of Devas,
The compassionate One,
Whose sacrificial thread is made of serpents,
On whose forehead shines the moon.
The naked one,
Whom Nārada and multitudes of other Yogis adore.
I worship Kālabhairava, the Lord of the city of Kāśī

Our great Saviour in our voyage across the ocean of the world.
The blue-throated, three-eyed grantor of all desires,
The lotus-eyed, who is the death of death,
The imperishable One,
Holding the rosary of human bone and the trident.
I worship Kālabhairava, the Lord of the city of Kāśī

I worship Kālabhairava, Lord of the city of Kāśī,
The primeval cause,
Holding in His hands trident, axe, noose, and staff 8
–Him of the black body,
The first of all Deva, imperishable, incorruptible,
Lord formidable and powerful,
Who loves to dance wonderfully.
I worship Kālabhairava, the Lord of the city of Kāśī

I worship Kālabhairava, Lord of the city of Kāśī,
Of great and beautiful body,
The giver of both enjoyment and liberation,
Who loves and smiles upon all His devotees,
Whose body is the whole world,
Whose waist is adorned with little tinkling bells;
Beautiful are they, and made of gold.
I worship Kālabhairava, the Lord of the city of Kāśī

I worship Kālabhairava, Lord of the city of Kāśī,
The protector of the bridge of dharma,
Destroyer of the path of adharma,
Liberator form the bonds of karma,
The all-pervading giver of welfare to all,
Whose golden body is adorned with serpent coils.
I worship Kālabhairava, the Lord of the city of Kāśī

I worship Kālabhairava, Lord of the city of Kāśī
Whose feet are beautiful with the lustre of the gems thereon–
The stainless, eternal Iṣṭadevatā,
One without a second,
Destroyer of pride, and liberator from the gaping jaw of the God of Death.
I worship Kālabhairava, the Lord of the city of Kāśī

I worship Kālabhairava, Lord of the city of Kāśī,
Whose loud laughter broke the shell of many an egg of the lotus-born;
Strong ruler, at whose glance the net of sin is broken; Giver of the eight powers,
Whose shoulders serpents garland.
I worship Kālabhairava, the Lord of the city of Kāśī

I worship Kālabhairava, Lord of the city of Kāśī,
The Saviour of all, giver of great fame,
The all-pervading One,
Who purifies of both sin and virtue the people of Kāśī;
The ancient Lord of the world,
Wise in the wisdom of all moralities.
I worship Kālabhairava, the Lord of the city of Kāśī

Ruru Bhairava

Ruru

I salute the Bhairava with the deer,
Who is like pure crystal and a destroyer,
Who has three eyes, blesses, and is peaceful, young and nude,
Who holds a hatchet, a deer, a drinking goblet and a sword in his hands,
Who has the armed Mahesvari by his side who is smiling and rides on a bull.

Ruru Bhairava is the Bhairava who is a Teacher. He is the Divine Educator and can make people strong, helping them to overcome enemies and hold sway over others. His colour is pure white and he is adorned with ornaments set with rubies. He carries an akshamala, an elephant goad, a book and a veena. He rules the South East, rides an Ox and is associated with the Sun and the Nakshatras Krittika, Uttaraphalguni and Uttarashadha, which begin at 26º 20 of the three Fire signs in the Sidereal Zodiac. His mantra should be repeated 9, 21, 108 or 1008 times, and is as follows:

“Om Hreem Shreem Kleem Shreem Shreem Kleem Shreem Sarvaraja
Vasheekaraya Sarva Jana Mohanaya Sarva Vashyam Sheeghram
Sheeghram Shreem Kleem Shreem Swaaha”

The eight manifestations of this aspect of Bhairava, with translations of their names, are:

Ruru – A dog, deer or other wild creature
Kroḍadaṃṣṭra – The Tusk of a Hog
Jaṭādhara – An Ascetic with Matted Hair
Viśvarūpa – One who Exists in All Forms
Virūpākṣa – Deformed or unusual number of Eyes
Nānārūpadhara – In the form of Gnosis
Vajrahasta – Impenetrable Hand
Mahākāya – Large-bodied

His consort is the Matrika Mahesvari, a manifestation of Parvati and the shakti of Shiva. She helps one overcome the forces of Degeneration and Dissipation, is depicted seated on the Bull, Nandi, having two or four hands and three eyes and holds a trident and a drum in two of her hands, while the other two are held in the Abhaya and Varada mudras. She is adorned with serpent bracelets, the crescent moon, a headdress formed of piled, matted hair with a serpent on it and wears a serpent around her neck. Her mantra is:

“Om Sri Siddha-linga Prasanna Subhamastu Durni mantra-vu Beem Namo Bhagavatey Maha Pra-laya-kaala Durgi Shakini Brahmhi Maheshvari Sarva Maarita Sarva Duurita Nivaarini Bheem Hraam Hreem Hruum Hrtem Hrom Hroum Hram Hrah Mama Raksha Raksha Huum Huum Hum Hum Mama Shallamya-siddhi Beem Patuu Svahaa”

Mahesvari

Ashta Bhairava and the Nakshatras

Ashta Bhairava
Starting with the next Full Moon and continuing daily until the celebration of Bhairava Ashtami, I’ll be posting a nine-part series on the connections between Shiva in his form as Mahakala Bhairava and the Vedic Lunar Mansions or Nakshatras. This series will reveal the forms of the Ashta Bhairavas (the eight major manifestations of Bhairava), the Nakshatras they are associated with, their consorts, their mantras and the seven other Bhairavas that each of the Ashta Bhairavas in turn manifests.

Before that, here’s some details about the Nakshatras themselves that will assist with aligning each of the Ashta Bhairavas to their corresponding Asterisms and Mansions. As most of us westerners tend towards using the Tropical Zodiac, the equivalent Tropical degrees have been included. Note also that the Vedic Mansions are twenty-seven in number and divided into segments of 13º 20′ rather than the twenty-eight mansions of 12º 51′ our own system inherited from the Arabic Manzils. With the Moon’s transit averaging about 13º 12′ each day, each Nakshatra lasts about a day give or take up to around five hours either way depending on the ‘speed’ of the Moon.

Nakshatra Meaning Asterism Sidereal º Tropical º
Ashwini The Heavenly Twins β and γ Arietis (Sheratan) 0º Aries 26º Aries
Bharani The Bearer 35, 39 and 41 Arietis 13º 20′ Aries 9º 20′ Taurus
Krittika Pleiades Alcyone 26º 40′ Aries 22º 40′ Taurus
Rohini The Red One Aldebaran 10º Taurus 6º Gemini
Mrigshirsha The Deer’s Head λ and φ Orionis (Meissa) 23º 20′ Taurus 19º 20′ Gemini
Ardra The Moist One Betelgeuse 6º 40′ Gemini 2º 40′ Cancer
Punarvasu Two Restorers of Goods Castor & Pollux 20º Gemini 16º Cancer
Pushya The Nourisher Asellus Borealis & Asellus Australis 3º 20′ Cancer 29º 20′ Cancer
Ashlesha The Embrace Alphard & Minchur 16º 40′ Cancer 12º 40′ Leo
Magha The Bountiful Regulus 0º Leo 26º Leo
Purvaphalguni First Reddish One Zosma 13º 20′ Leo 9º 20′ Virgo
Uttaraphalguni Second Reddish One Denebola 26º 40′ Leo 22º 40′ Virgo
Hasta The Hand Alchiba, Kraz, Algorab & Minkar 10º Virgo 6º Libra
Chitra The Bright One Spica 23º 20′ Virgo 19º 20′ Libra
Swati Very Good Arcturus 6º 40′ Libra 2º 40′ Scorpio
Vishaka Forked (Radha) Zub’genubi & Zub’schemali 20º Libra 16º Scorpio
Anuradha Following Radha Akrab & Dschubba 3º 20′ Scorpio 29º 20′ Scorpio
Jyeshta The Eldest/Most Excellent Antares & Palhaukale 16º 40′ Scorpio 12º 40′ Sagittarius
Mula The Root Shaula 0º Sagittarius 26º Sagittarius
Purvashadha First of the Invincible Ones Kaus Media & Kaus Australis 13º 20′ Sagittarius 9º 20′ Capricorn
Uttarashadha Second of the Invincible Ones Nunki 26º 40′ Sagittarius 22º 40′ Capricorn
Shravana Hearing Altair 10º Capricorn 6º Aquarius
Dhanishtha Most Benevolent δ Delphinum 23º 20′ Capricorn 19º 20′ Aquarius
Sathabhistha A Hundred Healers γ – λ Aquarii 6º 40′ Aquarius 29º 40′ Aquarius
Poorva Bhadrapada The First with Lucky Feet Markab & Scheat 20º Aquarius 16º Pisces
Uttara Bhadrapada The Second with Lucky Feet Algenib 3º 20′ Pisces 29º 20′ Pisces
Revati Prosperous ζ Piscium 16º 40′ Pisces 12º 40′ Aries

The Ashta Bhairavas each rule over three Nakshatras, with the exception of Bheeshana Bhairava, who rules over six. As well as being necessary for eight Bhairavas to have rulership over twenty-seven Nakshatras, this also occurs due to Bheeshana’s planetary association with both the South (Ketu) and North (Rahu) Lunar Nodes. Details of their Consorts and the directions of their Guardianships are also given below.

Nakshatra Bhairava Planet Consort Direction
Ashwini Bheeshana Ketu Chamundi North
Bharani Kapala Venus Indrani Northwest
Krittika Ruru Sun Mahesvari Southeast
Rohini Krodha Moon Vaishnavi Southwest
Mrigshirsha Chanda Mars Koumari South
Ardra Bheeshana Rahu Chamundi North
Punarvasu Asitanga Jupiter Brahmani East
Pushya Unmattha Saturn Varahi West
Ashlesha Samhara Mercury Chandika Northeast
Magha Bheeshana Ketu Chamundi North
Purvaphalguni Kapala Venus Indrani Northwest
Uttaraphalguni Ruru Sun Mahesvari Southeast
Hasta Krodha Moon Vaishnavi Southwest
Chitra Chanda Mars Koumari South
Swati Bheeshana Rahu Chamundi North
Vishaka Asitanga Jupiter Brahmani East
Anuradha Unmattha Saturn Varahi West
Jyeshta Samhara Mercury Chandika Northeast
Mula Bheeshana Ketu Chamundi North
Purvashadha Kapala Venus Indrani Northwest
Uttarashadha Ruru Sun Mahesvari Southeast
Shravana Krodha Moon Vaishnavi Southwest
Dhanishtha Chanda Mars Koumari South
Sathabhistha Bheeshana Rahu Chamundi North
Poorva Bhadrapada Asitanga Jupiter Brahmani East
Uttara Bhadrapada Unmattha Saturn Varahi West

Here, the Bhairavas are also restored to the order of their directional guardianship, which starts in the East and revolves clockwise.

Bhairava Meaning of Name Direction Colour
Asitanga Black-limbed East Gold
Ruru A Dog or Deer South East Pure White
Chanda Fierce South Blue
Krodha Wrathful South West Smoke
Unmattha Mad, intoxicated West White
Kapala Skull North West Yellow
Bheeshana Dreadful, Horrible North Red
Samhara Annihilation North East Lightning

From what’s been presented above, it’s clear that each Bhairava aligns with a specific celestial body and portion of the Moon’s transit around the Zodiacal signs. With each Bhairava forming a part of the greater whole of Mahakala Bhairava,  all twenty-seven mansions and nine planets (each of which is represented three-times) can be seen as aspects of the greater whole of that great and terrifying form of Shiva that is Lord over Time, Death and the Universe. The rest of this series will look into each of the Ashta Bhairavas in more detail and will conclude, on Bhairava Ashtami, with a summary of That which they constitute a part of.