It’s Friday night, time for a quick Khmer lesson

Bhairava, the Wrathful

Bhairava, the Wrathful, by Abishek Singh

The 2007 Law on Counter-Terrorism (‘ច្បាប់ ស្ដីពី ការប្រឆាំងនឹងភេរវកម្ម និង សេចក្ដីពន្យល់’) uses the term “ភេរវកម្ម” (भैरव कर्म, Bhairava Karma) for “terrorism”. The Sanskrit term “ភេរវ” (भैरव, Bhairava) literally means “terrible” or “frightful”, and therefore ភេរវកម្ម should literally mean “act which causes terror”.

– Anirudh S. Bhati

For more on Bhairava, we turn to Wikipedia:

The origin of Bhairava can be traced to a conversation between Brahma and Vishnu recounted in the Shiv Mahapuran, in which Vishnu inquired of Brahma, “Who is the supreme creator of the Universe?”. Arrogantly, Brahma told Vishnu to worship him as Supreme Creator. One day Brahma thought, “I have five heads, Shiva also has five heads. I can do everything that Shiva does and therefore I am Shiva”. Brahma had become a little egoistic. Not only had he became egoistic, he started to forge the work of Shiva. Brahma started interfering in what Shiva was supposed to do. Then Mahadeva (Shiva) threw a small nail from His finger, which assumed the form of Kala Bhairava, and casually went to cut off one of Brahma’s heads. The skull of Brahma is held in the hands of Kala Bhairava; Brahma Kapala in the hands of Kala Bhairava and Brahma’s ego was destroyed and he became enlightened. Then onwards he became useful to himself, to the world and deeply grateful to Shiva. In the form of the Kaala Bhairava, Shiva is said to be guarding each of these Shaktipeeths. Each Shaktipeeth temple is accompanied by a temple dedicated to Bhairava.

However, as Anirudh Bhati points out:

There are different versions. That Brahma got “egoistic” is not the one I subscribe to. Brahma was smitten by his own daughter because of the acts of Lord Kama, the god of Love, who used the bow and arrow of love that Lord Brahma had bestowed upon him, on Brahma himself. Brahma grew four heads so he could forever watch his daughter, and then she fled to the heavens. He grew a fifth head on the top of his four so he could keep gazing at her. Shiva was upset and he cut a nail from one of his fingers which transformed into Bhairava. Bhairava, wanting to cure Brahma of his delusions, cut of his fifth head Since then, Brahma, the Creator, started praying to Shiva.

Just thought that was interesting. Now please return to your alcohol-fuelled excess.

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