We are sure, you must have heard of Kaal Bhairava somewhere in your lifetime. Kaal Bhairava is one of the forms of Lord Shiva who is believed to be a fiery manifestation of his. It is said he is always aggressive with eyes full of anger, hair blazing, teeth of a tiger, a snake is wrapped around his neck and always wears a garland of skulls. Being one of the forms of Lord Shiva, he draws his resemblance from him - the third eye, blue throat, carries trident and the fierce look that he wears.
According to one of the legends from Shiva Mahapurana, once Lord Brahama was completely drenched in pride, he asked Lord Vishnu to worship him for he is the originator of the universe. When Lord Shiva heard about it, he lost his temper and got into his fierce form i.e. Kaal Bhairava. In order to break the pride of Lord Brahama he beheaded one of his five heads and ever since Lord Brahama is believed to have four heads only. Kaal Bhairava was sinned of killing a ‘Brahamana’ due to which he had to stay in exile for more than a decade until he was liberated.
Our one of the designs ‘The Tempest and The Keeper’ is also inspired by the story of Kaal Bhairava and here’s what out design depicts which is inspired by various legends and not just one.
“This art is an illustration of Bhairava who is believed to be the fiery, raging, tempestuous and wandering form of Lord Shiva. The fiery Bhairava is believed to be born out of Lord Shiva's third eye and therefore is connected with an umbilical cord amidst raging flames to the third eye in the illustration. The howling dog is considered to be Bhairava's pillion. There are 64 Bhairavas in all, and are grouped under 8 categories with each one headed by a major Bhairava (known as Astanga Bhairava) and is thought to control the 8 directions of the universe. The 8 bipyramidal wooden planks denote the 8 Cardinal points of the universe which Bhairava guards. Bhairava defends people from lust, greed, anger and enemies as seen in the form of two skulled entities caressing each other in the top, a craving hand on the left, the angry human head and blade on the right.”
He is known by some other names such as, Kotwal or Kshetpalaka that means the Guardian of the temple hence our design is named ‘The Tempest and The Keeper’. At most of the Shiva-Parvati temples, the keys to the temple are yield to Bhairava after the gates are locked.
In most of Bhairava’s illustrations and idols, you much have seen a dog around that is because the dog is Bhairava’s wagon. People who preach Bhairava are usually dog lovers and they pay their devotion by feeding dogs and adopting them. Our design would have been incomplete without including a dog. It is believed that if someone feeds hungry dogs with ‘halwa puri’ then Bhairava takes all their problems away.