Ashtakam

Ashtakams are a form of poetry which includes eight stanzas and four line each. Sri Aadi Shankaracharya wrote many popular Ashtakams on various dieties. By their nature of having 8 stanzas they are very transformative and I think this was Sri Aadi Shanakra’s intention as well, to transform the devotee at a subtle level. From my experience I think each diety’s Ashtakam could also be mapped to the rashi chakra. Here I attempt to map the Kaala Bhairava Ashtakam.

देवराजसेव्यमानपावनांघ्रिपङ्कजं
व्यालयज्ञसूत्रमिन्दुशेखरं कृपाकरम् ।
नारदादियोगिवृन्दवन्दितं दिगंबरं
काशिकापुराधिनाथकालभैरवं भजे ॥१॥
Deva-Raaja-Sevyamaana-Paavana-Angghri-Pangkajam
Vyaala-Yajnya-Suutram-Indu-Shekharam Krpaakaram |
Naarada-[A]adi-Yogi-Vrnda-Vanditam Digambaram
Kaashikaa-Pura-Adhinaatha-Kaalabhairavam Bhaje ||1||

Rashi: Mithuna
This Ashtakam starts at Mithuna since Ardra is in Mithuna and Kaala Bhairav being represented by Ardra nakshatra. The 3rd house is all about “earning your stripes”. Here Sri Shankaracharya starts with Narada and other Yogis praising Bhairava. 3rd house is also about arms and protection. Bhairava is Digambara i.e. he doesn’t have any clothing a form of protection. The directions are his clothing.

भानुकोटिभास्वरं भवाब्धितारकं परं
नीलकण्ठमीप्सितार्थदायकं त्रिलोचनम् ।
कालकालमंबुजाक्षमक्षशूलमक्षरं
काशिकापुराधिनाथकालभैरवं भजे ॥२॥
Bhaanu-Kotti-Bhaasvaram Bhavaabdhi-Taarakam Param
Niila-Kannttham-Iipsita-Artha-Daayakam Trilocanam |
Kaala-Kaalam-Ambuja-Akssam-Akssa-Shuulam-Akssaram
Kaashikaa-Pura-Adhinaatha-Kaalabhairavam Bhaje ||2|

Rashi: Karkataka Cancer (Karkataka) rashi is the natural fourth rashi signifying death, the real “home”, one of the moksha sthanas, where we find peace. Bhairava is the death of death. Sri Shankaracharya here mentions Bhairava’s lotus eyes. The left eye is ruled by Moon. 4th house is also about worldly pleasures.

शूलटङ्कपाशदण्डपाणिमादिकारणं
श्यामकायमादिदेवमक्षरं निरामयम् ।
भीमविक्रमं प्रभुं विचित्रताण्डवप्रियं
काशिकापुराधिनाथकालभैरवं भजे ॥३॥
Shuula-Ttangka-Paasha-Danndda-Paannim-Aadi-Kaarannam
Shyaama-Kaayam-Aadi-Devam-Akssaram Nir-Aamayam |
Bhiimavikramam Prabhum Vicitra-Taannddava-Priyam
Kaashikaa-Pura-Adhinaatha-Kaalabhairavam Bhaje ||3||

Rashi: Simha
The weapons used by Bhairava are used to create order in the universe. Simha (Leo) is all about governance, name, fame and authority. Bhairava creates order in the universe by his destructive dance and whose methods of operation are strange like the strategy used by the kings of yore. Bhairava is famous for his strange dance and big eyes (Sun is right eye).

भुक्तिमुक्तिदायकं प्रशस्तचारुविग्रहं
भक्तवत्सलं स्थितं समस्तलोकविग्रहम् ।
विनिक्वणन्मनोज्ञहेमकिङ्किणीलसत्कटिं
काशिकापुराधिनाथकालभैरवं भजे ॥४॥
Bhukti-Mukti-Daayakam Prashasta-Caaru-Vigraham
Bhakta-Vatsalam Sthitam Samasta-Loka-Vigraham |
Vi-Nikvannan-Manojnya-Hema-Kingkinnii-Lasat-Kattim
Kaashikaa-Pura-Adhinaatha-Kaalabhairavam Bhaje ||4||

Rashi: Kanya Like the shining golden bells around Bhairava’s waist (Kanya/gut area) which jingles creating a variety of pleasing Sounds, life on this earth plane is like this, binds us with Rog/Rna/Shatru.

धर्मसेतुपालकं त्वधर्ममार्गनाशकं
कर्मपाशमोचकं सुशर्मदायकं विभुम् ।
स्वर्णवर्णशेषपाशशोभिताङ्गमण्डलं
काशिकापुराधिनाथकालभैरवं भजे ॥५॥
Dharma-Setu-Paalakam Tu-Adharma-Maarga-Naashakam
Karma-Paasha-Mocakam Su-Sharma-Daayakam Vibhum |
Svarnna-Varnna-Shessa-Paasha-Shobhitaangga-Mannddalam
Kaashikaa-Pura-Adhinaatha-Kaalabhairavam Bhaje ||5||

Rashi: Tula Tula (Libra) rashi is where one makes choices, that is between what is Dharma and Adharma. Shani Bhagawan (the rope of karma/paasha) is judging your karmas, but Bhairava, who is the guardian of Dharma can free us from all the karmas and give us great joy.

रत्नपादुकाप्रभाभिरामपादयुग्मकं
नित्यमद्वितीयमिष्टदैवतं निरंजनम् ।
मृत्युदर्पनाशनं करालदंष्ट्रमोक्षणं
काशिकापुराधिनाथकालभैरवं भजे ॥६॥
Ratna-Paadukaa-Prabhaabhi-Raama-Paada-Yugmakam
Nityam-Advitiiyam-Isstta-Daivatam Niramjanam |
Mrtyu-Darpa-Naashanam Karaala-Damssttra-Mokssannam
Kaashikaa-Pura-Adhinaatha-Kaalabhairavam Bhaje ||6||

Rashi: Vrischik The natural eighth rashi is another moksha sthana and signifies death. Life and death are two sides of the same coin. Bhairava is the destroyer of death (metaphorically its a mirror/Darpan of life) with his terrible fangs. Bhairava is the eternal non-dual (life/death) and thus the favorite deity.

अट्टहासभिन्नपद्मजाण्डकोशसंततिं
दृष्टिपातनष्टपापजालमुग्रशासनम् ।
अष्टसिद्धिदायकं कपालमालिकाधरं
काशिकापुराधिनाथकालभैरवं भजे ॥७॥
Atttta-Haasa-Bhinna-Padmaja-Anndda-Kosha-Samtatim
Drsstti-Paata-Nasstta-Paapa-Jaalam-Ugra-Shaasanam |
Asstta-Siddhi-Daayakam Kapaala-Maalikaa-Dharam
Kaashikaa-Pura-Adhinaatha-Kaalabhairavam Bhaje ||7||

Rashi: Dhanu It is the ninth natural house signifying the belief system, principles and higher knowledge. Bhairav here is granting us the boon of Ashta Sidhi after crossing the duality of life and death in Vrischik. The garland of skulls represent all the intellectual pursuits and higher studies.

भूतसंघनायकं विशालकीर्तिदायकं
काशिवासलोकपुण्यपापशोधकं विभुम् ।
नीतिमार्गकोविदं पुरातनं जगत्पतिं
काशिकापुराधिनाथकालभैरवं भजे ॥८॥
Bhuuta-Samgha-Naayakam Vishaala-Kiirti-Daayakam
Kaashi-Vaasa-Loka-Punnya-Paapa-Shodhakam Vibhum |
Niiti-Maarga-Kovidam Puraatanam Jagatpatim
Kaashikaapuraadhinaathakaalabhairavam Bhaje ||8||

Rashi: Makar Bhairava is the leader of all goblins (Mars the leader is exalted in Makar) and bestows glory (ones reputation is earned by their deeds). He destroys both merits and demerits and is the most ancient (Shani) lord of the universe.

कालभैरवाष्टकं पठंति ये मनोहरं
ज्ञानमुक्तिसाधनं विचित्रपुण्यवर्धनम् ।
शोकमोहदैन्यलोभकोपतापनाशनं
प्रयान्ति कालभैरवांघ्रिसन्निधिं नरा ध्रुवम् ॥९॥
Kaalabhairavaassttakam Patthamti Ye Manoharam
Jnyaana-Mukti-Saadhanam Vicitra-Punnya-Vardhanam |
Shoka-Moha-Dainya-Lobha-Kopa-Taapa-Naashanam
Prayaanti Kaalabhairava-Amghri-Sannidhim Naraa Dhruvam ||9||

Rashi: Kumbha At the end Sri Shankaracharya gives us the Phala Sthuthi (fruits of dedication) in Kumbha rashi the natural rashi of desires and wish fulfillment. He says Bhairava gives us the strange results according his own ways like the quality of this rashi. One must overcome sorrows, delusions, infatuations, depressions,desires, passions and anger before the final moksh in Meena rashi.

Observe that Bhairava is a lower amsha of Mahadeva and hence it starts in Mithuna and ends at Kumbha one rashi short of the final rashi – Meena. We can similarly map, Shankara’s Mahalakshmi Ashtakam starting from Mesha Rashi (Adi Lakshmi).

Credits: https://www.greenmesg.org/stotras/shiva/kalabhairava_ashtakam.php

Published by srinivasa

Jytotish Enthusiast. Just want to share my thoughts on Jyotish.

6 thoughts on “Ashtakam

  1. Hi Srinivasanji, got to read Sanam’s BTR done by you, that is simply outstanding.
    Wanted to know if you do BTR for clients, could you please do it for me, I want my lagna to be fixed (Capricorn or Aquarius?).
    Pls let me know on sangram2202@gmail.com
    Thanks

    Like

  2. Very beautifully explained SrinivasaJi… I never knew this deep meaning of Kal Bhairav Ashtakam. Though I chant it daily. Thanks for your explaining it to us.

    Like

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