Now, despite the fact that this piece is, in both inspiration and in tributary offering, dedicated to the mighty Mahadevan emanation in question, we shall not seek to cover in any great length the actual occurrences and theological points bound up within that tale. For a much more in-depth look at such, rest assured that there are several thousand words’ worth of explication upon *exactly* this subject-matter to be found elsewhere in my canon of published (or interviewed) output.
Yet a brief run-down of the salient events in question is nevertheless necessary for the less familiar reader. To which we shall now but briefly turn.
There are several canonical explanations for just why it was that Shiva had cause to dispatch His Executioner Emanation to carry out the grim sanction mandated against Brahma; but for our purposes, we shall parse but two:
The first, and most foundational concerns Brahma’s attempt to usurp Lord Shiva’s portfolios and cosmological function. An act of impertinence motivated in part by the aforementioned sin of hubris, which caused significant cosmological complications and contingent disorder. The second, sees Brahma seeking to present Himself as supreme over Vishnu, by lying and cheating as to the outcome of the test of the Lingodbhava Incident (the nature of which, as it happens, also happens to be one of the demonstrations of Shaivite supremacy literally uber alles). These explanations are non-exclusive, and indeed make best sense when read, as it were, together. This is particularly the case when we add in a third explanation, surrounding Brahma’s attempt to behave improperly against His own Daughter; as it helps to ‘constellate’ the common unifying thread to Brahma’s transgressions. Namely, that Brahma’s disposition and actions were violations and indeed violence against Divine Order / Cosmic Law. Indeed, given the severe scale of his arrogant ambitions, He perhaps inadvertently struck against the veer-y foundations for the immanency of same into our universe. (So, to emphasize the point – not just ‘against the Law’, but *Against* the Law, if you see the distinction)
Now, “Ahimsa”, as I have often noted, can be somewhat figuratively rendered as “giving the adversary the chance to surrender first” – i.e. that violence is not to be understood as the insta-go to problem-solving tool, where dialogue and other means (including the intimidation of pointing out just exactly what it is that shall happen next if dialogue is *not* positively responded to) can be engaged first. A wise maxim in instances such as these, given that in the conflict between Gods, the weaponry and other forms of devastation thus employed are quite literally capable of unmaking *worlds*.
Thus it was that Lord Shiva went to Brahma, and attempted to remonstrate with Him. An effort which did not meet with any significant success.
Rather than reconsider His position, Brahma responded to Shiva’s approach by … doubling down. He maintained His pretensions to supremacy, and in the course of prevaricating upon these, insulted Shiva directly and repeatedly as to Mahadeva’s appearance, mode of dress, lifestyle, habits, and other characteristics – before mockingly offering Lord Shiva protection if Shiva would submit to Brahma. And, for good measure, He apparently insulted Lord Shiva’s Wife.
So really, what happened next, had all the inexorability of … Time.
Shiva emanated the aforementioned Executioner Aspect (there is a pointed set of remarks around this involving Shiva’s fingernail – with the implicit illustration that this therefore means that Lord Shiva quite literally possesses a greater might in His fingernail than did Brahma in His entire being); Who proceeded to quite literally cut the upstart Brahma down to size.
[it should be noted here that in Hindu symbolism, the removal of a head not necessarily to be understood as simply a killing – but is also often regarded as the removal of ‘ego’, the lessening of arrogance, the provision of enlightenment by getting impediments such as these out of the way. In this way, the enlightenment of Brahma as to the reality that Shiva is supreme … occurred via the humbling blow struck by Bhairava and His Mighty Axe – a strike against which Brahma, for all His posturing and pretensions, could not hope to stand. This is also one of the reasons why we have referred to the employment of an Axe as a Roudran Theological Argument; as its employment quite decisively tends to settle a range of theological debates around just who is supposed to be Supreme, or has the authority to call another to account, etc. ‘Ultima Ratio Rudrasya’, we might perhaps call it.]
Now it is at this point that the example of KaalBhairavJI contra Brahma becomes a most strongly worthy counterpoint to the previously mentioned failure of the Greeks to deal properly to Ajax the Lesser – and not simply because in one and only one of these instances is the miscreant in question brought to justice in the manner initially mandated from On High.
For you see, resting upon Brahma was the status of a Brahmin – and therefore, upon Him too were all the attendant protections one might otherwise presume accrued to such a being. The act of striking down a Brahmin, known as Brahmahatya, being a most grievous crime indeed, and bringing with it some quite considerable sanctions for the committer.
The reason why this renders the Decapitation of Brahma by KaalBhairavJi such a counterpoint to the inaction of the Greeks against Ajax the Lesser, is due to the reasoning of the latter that they should not dare to carry out sanction against their Divinely directed foe because of the trepidation that in so doing they might happen to damage the Murti to which he was clinging, or at the very least be in breach of the prohibitions upon violence within such a religious sanctum. This stayed the Greeks’ collective hand, and therefore lead to their upholding the ‘lesser’ pieties around those concerns … at the direct and considerable expense of the unquestionably *greater* piety of following the Divine Command they had been given – which was also, it should be remembered, to uphold the Law against a transgressor to those same injunctions which now gave them pause.
Bhairava, the Avenging Son, was not dissuaded by the travails and sanction which awaited Him for the fulfilment of His Lord’s Order – it was enough that the Command had been duly given, and that it was righteous in its nature for it to be followed through. Not simply because of the ‘Positivist’ understanding that the Law is what one’s Sovereign decrees it to be … but also – and this is important – because the setting things back into balance entailed by the solving of the Brahma-problem was undoubtedly necessary for the continued Ordered functioning of the Cosmos at large. Brahma’s actions had imperiled the immanence of the Divine Order in(to) our Universe; and therefore, despite the more ‘surface-level’ action against the Law represented by the Brahmanicide of Lord Brahma, the *deepa* understanding showed Bhairava’s actions to be in *congruence* rather than conflict with the principles of Rta and Orlog in question … and which would have been placed under escalatingly grave threat had He not chosen to act. The ‘lesser’ piety was noted, and then set aside – so that the far *greater* pieties could be carried out in service of the greatest possible overarching cause. In this manner, you might say, there may perhaps be some ‘resonancy’ with the actions of Odin as pertains the conception of Vali – and as we shall soon see, that is not where the parallels with that particular case and its eventual handling reach a conclusion.