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Kṣemarāja's Bhairāvanukaranastava

Updated: Jun 3

Mahāmaheśvarācārya Kṣemarāja's Bhairāvanukaranastava,

or his prayers of worship to Lord Bhairava (mainly in his Svacchanda form),

translated by our teacher, Sthaneshwar Timalsina.


Manifesting [the highest wisdom] to those filled with devotion [with the instruction], “Those of you taking refuge in the foundation of consciousness! Rest on the glory of consciousness [and] do not wander in vain;” victorious is Śiva, skilled in bestowing grace.

I bow to Śiva, the supreme Bhairava of the character of consciousness, solitary, of the form of supreme nectar, radiant, [and] who has devoured the entire [existence] with the realm of senses streaming out [to their corresponding objects].

There exists nothing here that is distinguished as the [deity] that is prayed, the subject that prays, and the prayer. In whichever form one mentally touches, this [Bhairava-awareness] manifests in that form, since [it is] of the form of awareness [itself].

Lord, I bow your image that is in imitation of your true nature of the form of bliss and the [formless] void of consciousness, which, although the essence of all differences, in truth, is devoid of all differences.

Supreme self! [Just] as a sketch of a person suggests [the real] person, [and] the lines indicating alphabets identify the real phonemes, in the same way, the image manifests you having innumerable forms.

The supreme reality is not at all the object of imagination. We experience whatever [we do] having entered your essential nature of consciousness that is devoid of mental constructions.

I extol the supreme lord while experiencing my very self, the mass of consciousness alone, with the collection of ties dissolved by assuming the effulgence of the self as the goddess of speech [Sarasvatī] and having worshipped [her] by assuming the objects [of experience] as the flowers [to offer], having bowed to the preceptor, the first flash [of awareness], [and] having entered the heart.

The omnipresent one! Victorious are [your] powers called awareness, bliss, will, cognition, and action [that are] distinguished as the heads of Brahmā, having assumed the faces with the distinction of subtle and gross [forms].

Lord! The heart [and so forth] that corresponds to omnipresence and so forth are your six limbs. Since all [entities] up to Sadāśiva are of the character of the dead [or within the realm of death, and so constitute] your seat.

Lord! The goddess Parā is the power of reflection [of the self] that has the body of the supreme light [or consciousness]. All the goddesses such as Brāhmī are the emanations of herself.

By carrying fire and water, or [by] the flow of nectar and poison, you instruct that, although the world is [comprised of] conflicting [natures], this world (etat) does not conflict in me, [being] of the nature of being and consciousness [alone].

Lord! You as if show us by wearing the rosary of hands and heads that this mass of cognizing subjects threaded into awareness is devoid of essence [in itself].

You appear to be telling us, by the gesture of wearing entrails, that ‘look, look, I have removed these bonds (pāśa) which are hard to break.

Lord! By carrying an elephant hide covered with blood on your head, you tell [us] that the garment of illusion accompanied with passion [and other emotions] is expelled from the supreme void [of consciousness].

By the sword, you demonstrate the inner sword of power, which cuts [the illusion of] creation. Victorious are those who have embraced the entire world by the glory of one’s own power.

Our lord! In displaying the shield making sound striking on the arms, you instruct [us] that “fear not, I am your assistance, I am the destroyer of the fear of transmigration (bhava).”

In carrying a rope, you who subdue even death or time (kālakāla), show us that time or death (kāla) that is surrounded by the bondage of its own powers is constrained by you with your body of [pure] consciousness.

By carrying a hook, our supreme Bhairava reveals that He dispels with His own powers all of this comprised of distinctions in order to dissolve them [in the essential nature of the self].

[You suggest] by displaying an arrow taut within the bow that you with your [infinite] power slay the creator beasts, Brahmā, Viṣṇu, Rudra, Īśvara, and Sadāśiva.

With [your] hand [displaying the gesture] of boons, you play the role of bestowing prosperity on the world. One abiding in the supreme reality cannot be touched by the defilements of coming into being [birth].

Your hand [gesture] of fearlessness constantly displays your nature of showering [grace] upon the world by having obliterated the fear of coming into being.

In clutching a head that signifies illusion, you show that this head [referring to limited Pramâtra] here is a fragmented part of illusion, uneven and of the character of not revealing the real nature (akhyāti) [that is carried by] supreme realization.

With the stance of wielding the skull staff, you declare that the sustenance of the world whose entire essence has been dissolved is within you, the mass of consciousness alone.

In playing a lute, bell, and a loud drum, you show that you are resting [while] listening to the sound divided into three distinct forms of mental modifications (vr̥tti) [of the forms of waking, dreaming, and dreamless states].

Moreover, by the external gesture of carrying a trident, you constantly imitate the supreme Śakti [who is] decorated [with a wheel] with the spokes comprised of three Śaktis including Parā.

You hold your own supreme power comprised of the bolt that has six spokes [or aspects] that has the lower three objects of senses manifest by [three energies] beginning with will which are the powers of the self.

Our Bhairava of the nature of awareness! You demonstrate by wielding a stick that the entire sustenance of the whole world rests within the control of your power.

Lord! You demonstrate your orientation towards shattering difference by carrying a hammer and axe that imitate the drop (bindu) and sound (nāda).

Lord! While assuming different forms [to accommodate] differences in [people’s] viewpoints, you manifest your abode of the nature of Bhairava comprised of supreme awareness in all [of these forms].

In holding the human skull cup filled with blood, you suggest in my heart that you as if always drink the essences [of the world] found in the middle of the cosmic Śakti-egg.

Mahākāla! You carry the lotus [upside down by its stalk] like a heads [held] by its tuft [of hair], demonstrating as if [it is] the materialized bondage [of māyā and karma] accompanied by the limited ego [Aṇava mala] that have been eradicated.

Lord! Ocean of awareness! You demonstrate the seminal form of the entire world in its primordial [state] by the gesture of holding citron fruit with your hand.

Although you are of ferocious [Bhairava] form, you nonetheless carry counting beads. With this (tat), you change the entire world by engaging all the senses outwards

Lord! By wearing bones and the rosary made of hands and heads, and shining with the human blood, you instruct that the world is pure because it is of the nature of Brahman.

You instruct by opening wide (prath) the eye on your forehead of the nature of fire that incinerates the lord of desire that, for those who are enjoying [their] own [limited] self, although the bubbles of these objects are uneven, nonetheless, are of no significance.

As you always have your attention fixed within, even when the senses are spread out, you demonstrate that your self-nature is of the character of awareness, free from afflictions (moha) and limiting adjuncts (kalā) in all the states.

Lord! Your [acceptance of] the sky as raiment speaks of the nature of the self, free from limitations. How could the rays of supreme Brahman be veiled by illusion?

You demonstrate by the body of the hue of the cloudless autumn sky that you, the dark foundation, are the destroyer of all [celestial bodies] such as the sun.

Lord! As you are of the nature of supreme Brahman but still assume the form of Bhairava, you demonstrate that one who knows the reality is liberated even when there is difference.

Having been surrounded by the goblins in the circle of cremation grounds, you demonstrate that you are the Bhairava of the nature of consciousness, abiding at the center of consciousness streaming towards objects.

Lord! You are endowed with the flow of nectar of the form of supreme power, [and] you are the highest among the cognizing selves (pramātra), and so you appear in our heart that you are the life of the [entire] world.

Bhairava! There are external [circles of] family in every group of eight [phonemes] of your body comprised of the mass of phonemes, with an initial Lokeœvara following the distinction of the transcendent, subtle, and [gross] forms.

Lord! Your image is considered the seal for the reasons that [1] it affirms all the visible world (etat) by transcending the entire forms, [2] it delights the circle of devotees having bliss as their abode (gati), [3] it liberates from the net of bondage and dissolves differences, and [4] seals the wealth of gold in the form of various modes of consciousness.

Victorious is this [image of yours (mûrtti)] that is the lower ground for the stage of the supreme reality. Let this [image of yours] purify the defilements of the heart by vividly manifesting the reality.

Supreme Lord! The entire world manifests underneath within the consciousness that arises in every moment. Those engaged in the [inner] sacrifice realize that [this entire manifestation is] of the essence of the glory of Śiva and Śakti.

Bhairava, of the nature of consciousness! The self of all the beings! You always appear to me in this way. [And due to this,] all [the rituals starting from] your worship to the recitation of the mantras has been accomplished without any effort.

Thus completes the hymns in imitation of Bhairava composed by Mahāmaheśvara Kṣemarāja.

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