Table of Content
1. Who Is Kalabhairava?
2. Kalabhairava Ashtakam
3. Who Wrote Kalabhairava Ashtakam?
4. Kalabhairava Ashtakam Song
5. Kalabhairava Ashtakam with Lyrics In English
6. Kalabhairava Ashtakam Meaning in English

Who Is Kalabhairava? 

In the Yogic lore, Shiva is said to have 108 different names, each accompanied by a unique form. Each form of Shiva represents a different dimension. One of the most teriifying form of Shiva is Kalabhairava – a fierce warrior adorned with a garland of skulls. Kalabhairava literally means one who is so terrifying that even time is fearful of him. In this form, Shiva is the destroyer of time, a symbolism that is enormously relevant to one who is on the spiritual path. 

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Kalabhairava Ashtakam 

A masterful composition by the revered Adi Shankaracharya, Kalabhairava Ashtakam consists of eight stanzas, a common format of how Sanskrit shlokas are often presented. It exalts the qualities of Kalabhairava, referring to him in each stanza as the glorious one who resides in Kashi, a major holy city in India. Kalabhairava is described as the supreme one whose might and grace can help a person transcend the limitations of both life and death. Even if one does not understand the language, the sounds of the Ashtakam are soothing and uplifting to hear. 

Who Wrote Kalabhairava Ashtakam? 

This iconic Ashtakam was written by Adi Shankaracharya who was instrumental in disseminating Advaita Vedanta across the Indian subcontinent. He travelled extensively throughout the land, debating and giving discourses wherever he went. Such was his fame and impact on the culture of the time that he has become an indelible icon in the spiritual ethos of the land. Adi Shankaracharya is also credited with organizing the Dashnami monastic order, which still exists as ten akharas or unique spiritual sects. It is said that he authored over 250 different texts on spirituality. 

Kalabhairava Ashtakam Song 

Here is Sounds of Isha’s rendition of the Kalabhairava Ashtakam: 

Kalabhairava Ashtakam with Lyrics In English 

देवराजसेव्यमानपावनांघ्रिपङ्कजं

व्यालयज्ञसूत्रमिन्दुशेखरं कृपाकरम् ।

नारदादियोगिवृन्दवन्दितं दिगंबरं

काशिकापुराधिनाथकालभैरवं भजे ॥१॥

 

deva rāja sevyamāna pāvanāṅghri paṅkajaṃ

vyāla yajña sūtramindu śekharaṃ kṛpākaram

nāradādi yogi vṛnda vanditaṃ digambaraṃ

kāśikā purādhinātha kālabhairavaṃ bhaje

 

भानुकोटिभास्वरं भवाब्धितारकं परं

नीलकण्ठमीप्सितार्थदायकं त्रिलोचनम् ।

कालकालमंबुजाक्षमक्षशूलमक्षरं

काशिकापुराधिनाथकालभैरवं भजे ॥२॥

 

bhānu koṭi bhāsvaraṃ bhavābdhitārakaṃ paraṃ

nīla kaṇṭhamīpsitārtha dāyakaṃ trilocanam

kālakālamambujākṣamakṣaśūlamakṣaraṃ

kāśikā purādhinātha kālabhairavaṃ bhaje

 

शूलटङ्कपाशदण्डपाणिमादिकारणं

श्यामकायमादिदेवमक्षरं निरामयम् ।

भीमविक्रमं प्रभुं विचित्रताण्डवप्रियं

काशिकापुराधिनाथकालभैरवं भजे ॥३॥

 

śūla ṭaṅka pāśa daṇḍa pāṇimādi kāraṇaṃ

śyāma kāyamādi devamakṣaraṃ nirāmayam

bhīmavikramaṃ prabhuṃ vicitra tāṇḍava priyaṃ

kāśikā purādhinātha kālabhairavaṃ bhaje

 

भुक्तिमुक्तिदायकं प्रशस्तचारुविग्रहं

भक्तवत्सलं स्थितं समस्तलोकविग्रहम् ।

विनिक्वणन्मनोज्ञहेमकिङ्किणीलसत्कटिं

काशिकापुराधिनाथकालभैरवं भजे ॥४॥

 

bhukti mukti dāyakaṃ praśasta cāru vigrahaṃ

bhakta vatsalaṃ sthitaṃ samasta loka vigraham

vi nikvaṇanmanojña hemakiṅkiṇī lasatkaṭiṃ

kāśikā purādhinātha kālabhairavaṃ bhaje

 

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धर्मसेतुपालकं त्वधर्ममार्गनाशकं

कर्मपाशमोचकं सुशर्मदायकं विभुम् ।

स्वर्णवर्णशेषपाशशोभिताङ्गमण्डलं

काशिकापुराधिनाथकालभैरवं भजे ॥५॥

 

dharma setu pālakaṃ tvadharma mārga nāśakaṃ

karma pāśa mocakaṃ su śarma dāyakaṃ vibhum

svarṇa varṇa śeṣa pāśa śobhitāṅga maṇḍalaṃ

kāśikā purādhinātha kālabhairavaṃ bhaje

 

रत्नपादुकाप्रभाभिरामपादयुग्मकं

नित्यमद्वितीयमिष्टदैवतं निरंजनम् ।

मृत्युदर्पनाशनं करालदंष्ट्रमोक्षणं

काशिकापुराधिनाथकालभैरवं भजे ॥६॥

 

ratna pādukā prabhābhi rāma pāda yugmakaṃ

nityamadvitīyamiṣṭa daivataṃ nirañjanam

mṛtyu darpa nāśanaṃ karāla daṃṣṭra mokṣaṇaṃ

kāśikā purādhinātha kālabhairavaṃ bhaje

 

अट्टहासभिन्नपद्मजाण्डकोशसंततिं

दृष्टिपातनष्टपापजालमुग्रशासनम् ।

अष्टसिद्धिदायकं कपालमालिकाधरं

काशिकापुराधिनाथकालभैरवं भजे ॥७॥

 

aṭṭa hāsa bhinna padmajāṇḍa kośa santatiṃ

dṛṣṭi pāta naṣṭa pāpajālamugra śāsanam

aṣṭa siddhi dāyakaṃ kapāla mālikā dharaṃ

kāśikā purādhinātha kālabhairavaṃ bhaje

 

भूतसंघनायकं विशालकीर्तिदायकं

काशिवासलोकपुण्यपापशोधकं विभुम् ।

नीतिमार्गकोविदं पुरातनं जगत्पतिं

काशिकापुराधिनाथकालभैरवं भजे ॥८॥

 

bhūta saṅgha nāyakaṃ viśāla kīrti dāyakaṃ

kāśi vāsa loka puṇya pāpa śodhakaṃ vibhum

nīti mārga kovidaṃ purātanaṃ jagatpatiṃ

kāśikā purādhinātha kālabhairavaṃ bhaje 

Kalabhairava Ashtakam Meaning in English 

I sing praise of Kalabhairava, the lord of Kashi, who is adorned by lotus-feet which is revered and served by Indra (Devaraj), Who wears a snake as a sacred thread, who has the moon on his forehead, who is the abode of mercy, whose praises are sung by Narada and other yogis, and who wears the sky as his raiment. 

I sing praise of Kalabhairava, the lord of Kashi, who is resplendent like millions of Suns, who absolves the ocean of cycle of rebirth, who is supreme, who has a blue neck, who fulfils one’s desires, who has three-eyes, who is the death of death, who has lotus-like eyes, whose trident supports the world and who is immortal. 

I sing praise of Kalabhairava, the lord of Kashi, who has a monodent, a spade, a noose and a club in his hands, who is the cause behind the beginning, who has an ash smeared body, Who is the first God, who is imperishable, who is free from illness and health, who is immensely mighty, and who loves the special Tandava dance. 

I sing praise of Kalabhairava, the lord of Kashi, who is the bestower of desires and salvation, who has an enticing appearance, who is loving to his devotees, who is stable, who takes various manifestations and forms the world, and who has a beautiful golden belt with small melodious bells. 

I sing praise of Kalabhairava, the lord of Kashi, who is the maintainer of dharma, who is the destroyer of unrighteous paths, who liberates us from the bonds of Karma or deeds, who is splendid, and whose is adorned with golden snakes. 

I sing praise of Kalabhairava, the lord of Kashi, who has feet adorned by two golden sandals, who has a resplendent shine, who is eternal, who is inimitable, who bestows our desires to us, who is without desires, who destroys the pride of Yama or the God of death, and whose teeth liberate us. 

I sing praise of Kalabhairava, the lord of Kashi, whose loud roar is enough to destroy all the manifestations created by the lotus-born Brahma, whose merciful glance is enough to destroy all sins, who bestows the eight-powers, and who wears a garland of skulls. 

I sing praise of Kalabhairava, the lord of Kashi, who is the leader of the ghosts and spirits, who showers immense glory, who absolves people dwelling in Kashi both from their sins and virtues, who is splendor, who has shown us the path of righteousness, who is eternal, and who is the lord of the universe. 

Editor's Note: At Isha Yoga Center, Coimbatore, certain rituals are conducted that have been designed by Sadhguru specifically for the deceased.  
 

Kalabhairava Karma Process Registration

Register for the Kalabhairava Karma process with a phone call to +91 83000 83111 or by emailing kbprocess@lingabhairavi.orginfo@lingabhairavi.org

Kalabhairava Shanti Process Registration

Register for the Kalabhairava Shanti process online here or with a phone call to +91 83000 83111 or by emailing kbprocess@lingabhairavi.orginfo@lingabhairavi.org

Kayantha Sthanam

Kayantha Sthanam is Isha’s Cremation Service that revives ancient traditions and death rituals with a powerful energy basis, conducting them in the spirit of service rather than as a commercial venture. We request your support and contributions to help us offer these services to more people. Donate now by clicking the respective links for Indian Residents and Overseas Residents.