Kaalbhairava Ashtakam of Sri Adi Sankaracharya. Kalabhairava is an incarnation of Maha Shiva and Devatha of Lord Rahu (Planet Navagraha). Kalabhairava is also considered the guardian of the temples of Lord Shiva. Sri Kalabhairava Ashtakam is a very musical prayer of Lord Kalabhairava. Kalabhairava Astakam is recited by the priests of the temples of Kalabhairava.

The first stanza is a salutations to Sri Kala Bhairava the supreme lord of Kasi. His Lotus feet are served by Indra, The king of the devas and the great one who wears snake as his sacrificial thread (a cord worn by the Dvija's hanging from their left shoulder and goes below the right shoulder) and a moon on his head. He is extremely compassionate and is praised by Sage Narada and other Yogis, who also is a Digambara (remains naked).


The second stanza is a salutations to Sri Kala Bharaiva who is the supreme Lord of the city of Kasi, who has the brilliance of a million suns, who rescues us from the ocean of worldly existence and who is Supreme, Who has a blue throat, who bestows us with worldly prosperities, which we wish for, and who has three eyes, who is death unto death itself, whose eyes are like a pair of lotus flowers, whose spear supports the three worlds like an axle ( axis) around which they rotate, and who is imperishable.

Lord Shiva has several forms and avatars (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 to every day, but there is a deep symbolism associated with Kalabhairava. Before finding out what it is, let us first read the kaal bhairav ashtakam lyrics


Yam YamYam Yaksha Roopam Dasha DishiViditam Bhoomi Kampaayamaanam.

Sam SamSamhaaraMoortim Shira MukutaJataaShekharam Chandra Bimbam.

Dam DamDamDeerghaKaayamVikritaNakhaMukhamJordhvaromamKaraalam.

Pam PamPamPaapNaashamPrannmataSatatamBhairavamShetrapaalam.

RaMRaMRaMraktavarnam, katikatitatanumTeekshnaDhamshtraKaralam!”

                               For full lyrics  Click here.

Lord kaalbhairav ashtakam is described as bhoot sangha nayaka - the lord of the pancha bhootas - which are earth, fire, water, air, and ether. He is the granter of all kinds of coveted excellence in life, all the knowledge that we desire. There is a difference between learning and excellence and this state of bliss gives a person all the coveted excellence. By remembering Kalabhairava, a person attains the bliss that is in the deepest state of Samadhi, where you are devoid of all worries - not bothered by nothing.

The final stanza is a Salutation to Kala Bhairava the ruler of Kasi, who is the leader of ghosts and spirits, who showers glory on his devotees, who absolves people dwelling in Kasi from their sins as well as the fruits of their righteous deeds - thus making their souls devoid of any connection with the mortal world, who is splendour, who is the lord, efficient in guiding us on the path of righteousness, who is eternally old, and who is the Lord of the universe.