Gods and Goddesses Gallery

Smashan Bhairava Shiva

Smashan Bhairava Shiva

Gallery: Gods and Goddesses

Medium: acrylic on canvas

Size: 104x67 cm

Status: not for sale


Bhairava’s name is translated as “terrifying”.

After Shiva chopped off the fifth head of the Creator of Brahma, the severed head stuck to Shiva's arm and he took the form of Bhairava, the terrifying. In that form Shiva went to the land of Kashi, where he performed tapas; there the severed head of Brahma fell to the ground.

There are many different forms of Bhairava... It is known that each of the 52 Pithas of Shakti is guarded by a certain form of Bhairava. In Kashi, Kala Bhairava is Black, Terrifying. It is believed that Bhairava - ksetrapala is the defender of the area. Different schools of Hinduism give it different meanings and status. Bhairav is worshiped by Kapaliki and followers of Kashmiri Tantric Shivaism. In the Bhairava stotra, Abhinava Gupta (KS) describes Bhairava as pervading the whole universe, full and primordially original, Maheshu (Shiva) There he calls it a passing death.

This painting depicts Smashan Bhairava. (Smashan is the place of cremation). It is this Bhairava who is present as a ksetrapaala in the town of Govardhan. This Bhairava is considered the Amsha of Shiva - a partial incarnation. It is not common, but the royal smashan: the bodies of Dvarakadish Krsna's wives and the kings of Bharatpur were cremated here. In 1893, Maharaja Jasvan Singh was cremated in his dynasty ‘s place of liberation, Moksh Bhumi. Here, above the Tirtha-kunda (ritual pond), there are beautiful palaces-memorials, adorned with elaborate carving of sandstone. In 1993, Shri Shailendra Sharma, the 5th guru of the Kriya Yoga line (ascending from Mahaavatar Babaji and further Lahiri Mahasaya) acquired this, by that time quite a neglected place. Together with his disciples, he cleared this abandoned land, turning it into a blooming garden.

In 1998, Shiva Himself called Shailendra Sharma, indicating the place underground , where He was concealed in the form of natural shivalingama. The disciples where sent to the place described - and recovered ancient Shiva lingam. It was installed on the site of the cremation of Maharaja Jasvan Singh. On the day of the installation of the deity the Poniya Naga cobra came from the south-east side of the smashan; The pundit-brahmin conducting the installation puja, was ready to escape, knowing that the bite of this snake can kill a person in a minute. In the South, this snake is called Krishna-black, since it is usually black. But this one was snow-white on color, with reddish eyes and tongue of the color of the flame. The snake stopped exactly at the place where the Lingam was about to be installed. At that time and till now this place is visited by cobras. The ancient deity of Smashan- Bhairava resides on the very same grounds.

This Smashan Bhairava has been described to me in great details by the Yogiradj Shri Shailendra Sharma during one darshan. Bhairava is this black with a blue tint. There are no pupils in his eyes, since he no longer distinguishes between the dual nature of those who pass the threshold of death. Plainly speaking, "it is too late to pray and indulge, it was necessary to search for the path of self-knowledge during the lifetime " Therefore, he does not distinguish between your fear or horror, does not see your tricks and grimaces. Smhana Bhairava is a transitional feature , installed at the boundary of the world of gross matter and the world of subtle realities. Therefore, his Wahana or riding animal is a half-dog-half-jackal, black in color, symbol of Death itself. The dog’s eyes are glowing in the darknesses of night, it is ready to tear the body of the gross elements, releasing the subtle bodies of karma outward. In the right upper hand Bhairava holds the trishul - the weapon of Shakti Kali. In the right lower hand he holds chakryy (not to be confused with the weapon of Vishnu Sudarsana) It is a symbol of the soul-endless immortal atma. In the left upper hand he holds scissors as a symbol of cutting off attachment to all karmas. In the lower left hand is the skull, the symbol of justice: smashan Bhairava is also represented as Yamaraja. Necklace of skulls is symbolizing all those who burned on smashan. Smahan Bhairava stands in the place of cremation. Fires are burning, in the distance dwell smashanavasi, the inhabitants of cremation sites and the satellites of Bhairava, their eyes shine with light in the darkness of the night. These who practiced yoga and walked the paths of self-knowledge, recognize in the terrifying Bhairava all-pervasive spirit. These yogis are not afraid of this manifestation of Shiva.

Shailendra Sharma liked the painting very much. He hanged it in a room where he practices yoga and initiates disciples. Yohiraj himself explained to me the attributes of Bhairava in details. And I had a distinctive feeling that with this explanation the picture was shown to me as well, picture showed, in the flow of the yogic power. During our conversation the door flew open and a black dog bursted in, beginning to caress at the feet of Yogiraj. It was a peculiar and interesting sign, as the black dog is the companion of Bhairava. Shailendra Sharma said to me: "Look, here is Bhairava's companion right here. He is beautiful and stands in the dark night on smashan.”

“Do you see this picture? "Yogiraj asked me -and then I found myself with this picture imprinted in my vision. I must say that this mystical stream was powerfully present during entire painting process. There was a feeling that the whole universe is passing through me. The thing is that even under normal circumstances I work on the paintings of such scale from 20 days and up to a month. This picture manifested itself in six and a half days. And it is elaborately detailed. The painting is manifested in the Holy Gokarna kshetra, the place of Shiva.

Jay Smashan Bhairava Jay Mahadeva.