OF BHAIRAVA AND BALANCE, Vedic, Eddic, and Homeric perspectives upon Lore and Order [Part 4D] KankalaMurti (Habeas Corpus) – The Inception Of Divine Reconciliation As The Beginnings Of Atonement

The ‘short-form’ rendition of the Tale of Bhairava, Brahma-Slayer, generally has Him pursued by the Brahmahatya personification until He reaches the Holy City of Varanasi/Kashi, whereupon Bhairava’s symbolic act of penance is completed, the Skull of Brahma falls from His Mighty Blood-Stained Hand [‘KapalaMochana’] and the Brahmahatya sinks into the ground mere meters from the City’s gates just as she was about to catch up with the Avenging Son. This is not an entirely inaccurate accounting of proceedings – it’s just that there are two quite important elements missing from this accounting, which render it less than ideal for our purposes.

And that is something that is worth dwelling upon as a broader instructive point. Too often, in this modern age of ‘Cliff Notes’ and Wikipedia summaries (or even, *gasp*, questionable and abridged translations, often with spurious personal/political agendas to push!), we find ourselves running through a brief synopsis of something and thence concluding that we ‘know’ it. Or, at least, that we know enough about it to have garnered its general lesson and purpose, so that we don’t have to look at it in any further great depth nor detail. Which is not to say there’s no place for secondary sources and commentaries – otherwise why would you be perusing this manuscript, dear reader? But simply to caution a little less haste, a little more perspicacity [‘broad-view], and always – always – more inspection as to the deepa revelation of something. It is not enough to know the threadbare outline of something. Inquire as to the *how*, the *why*. *That* is what shall make the truth contained within a text or a mythic episode *come out*, *come alive*, and invite your internalization of, your participation perhaps, therein.

But to return to our tale – while there are several narrative elements from the Myth of Bhairava which we could point to as being omitted unfairly from such a brief treatment of the travail … there is one in particular which I think is worth highlighting, and thence linking to this concluding episode to illustrate in almost flashing neon (in fact, better than neon – *lightning* , *thunder*, *speech* ) terms what’s *actually* going on here.

That is the encounter of Bhairava with Vishnu, in the former’s guise of Kankalamurti – the ‘Bearer of the Skeleton’. The Skeleton in question being, in this case, that of the Seneschal-Sentinel of Vishnu, Vishvaksena – the Gatekeeper to Vishnu’s Own demesne at Vaikuntha; Whom Bhairava had slain when He arrived there in the course of His wanderings and was refused entry. What thence ensues is an in-depth theological/metaphysical dialogue, debate, and demonstration between Vishnu and the Bhairava Aspect – which, in some ways, can be viewed as a continuation of warfare by another means; and in another manner, is a much more positive and compassionate engagement between Deities Whose relations, while occasionally fractious, are also often immensely cordial. [Indeed, it was Vishnu Who staged the ‘intervention’ of sorts when Lord Shiva was overcome with grief following the Death of His Wife, Sati, at the Horse-Sacrifice of Daksha – another instance involving Lord Shiva wandering while bearing a heavy burden and a corpse.]

I shall quote from my 2017 KaalBhairavJayanti commentary, for succinctness and simplicity:

“During this period of wandering, Lord Kala Bhairava also slays Vishvaksena, the seneschal [or General] of Lord Vishnu’s realm and armies for attempting to obstruct His quest, before engaging in dialogue with Lord Vishnu about the nature of His Sin and reality.

Accounts differ as to the precise nature of the attempted assistance rendered by Lord Vishnu to Bhairava at this point; with some suggesting that Lord Vishnu offers His Own blood to attempt to fill the skull-cup with, and others instead having Lord Vishnu split open one of Bhairava’s veins to do likewise. Wherever the blood flew from, however, it is insufficient to fill the cup regardless of how much is poured in or for how long – thus representing the difficulty of applying ‘quick fixes’ or self-sought (ab)solutions of improper nature in cases where wrongdoing must be amended for.

The dialogue continues, with Lord Kala Bhairava making the astute observation [according to at least one source, anyway] that the alms given to the truly pious beneficiary/beggar do not lead him to corrupt habits, intoxication, and worldly-ensnarement – but rather, aid and facilitate the pursuit of Truth.

This culminates in Lord Vishnu realizing that even despite the seemingly ‘degenerate’ outward appearance and habits of Bhairava [as an extension, somewhat, of same of Lord Shiva], and His [self-imposed, effectively] status as an egregious Sinner – that nevertheless, Lord Shiva is the Supreme, with these outer elements not impeding, contaminating or ‘weighing down’ the actual truth and essence of Mahadeva. [For His part, Lord Vishnu is acknowledged as the foremost disciple of Lord Shiva – something which turns up in a number of, perhaps peculiarly, Vaishnava texts as well]

Vishnu then directs Kala Bhairava to head to Varanasi, the present-day Hindu City of the Dead [which is also an actual city, located on the banks of the Ganges in Uttar Pradesh, in case you were wondering] – also known as ‘Kashi’, the ‘City of Light’ – in order to perform the appropriate penitential ritual there and at last be free from His Kapalika burden-of-obligation.”

So, why have I sought to highlight this particular encounter as having strong illustrative value for what we are about here.

Well, to put it simply, because it represents something quite important. For it is not simply enough, in these cases where odious Transgression has imbued an ‘Imbalance’ which must be actively counteracted against, corrected for, and ultimately expiated … to express a general desire to do these things. We must know *how* to do them. What is appropriate, what is demanded, what is going to *work* to actually begin the process of setting things back to rights.

And that is rarely something which an individual, by themselves, is able to adequately determine.

In many instances, we are capable of doing what a physicist would do [a ‘metaphysicist’, perhaps?] and ‘reducing things down to a previously solved problem’. That’s part of the role and function of myth, of scripture, of legend, of ethics and theology and soteriology in general. To *provide* guidance to present and future generations based ultimately upon the passed-down, handed-down, and refined-down lessons gleaned by the past. Consulting the wisdom of the past, of the permanent, of the priesthood is generally a Good Thing To Do. Although this should be caveated by noting that there is a rather strong danger in being what we might term ‘wrong-genre-savvy’ – thinking you are in *one* sort of story, with *one* sort of instructive precedency and accompanying guidelines as to how to fix it … when actually, you are in *quite* another. This can make it exponentially *worse*, for reasons which ought be plainly obvious – which is one reason why we do not tend to encourage ordinary people, Cultural Protestantism style, to go off and start attempting to do all of this themselves, in lieu of seeking out a proper expert for guidance and grounding. “Dr Google” does not simply invite anybody to delude themselves that they may have an M.D. – but a PhD. and Acharya status as applies all sorts of religious matters, as well.

But I digress. There are three elements to the encounter with Vishnu which we should draw out for easy comprehension.

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