Mahadevi, the supreme mother goddess in Hindu religion has many names and forms. She is known as Devi, Sati, Uma, Parvati, and Gauri.
She manifested herself to Shiva in ten forms: Kali, Bagala, Chhinnamasta, Bhuvaneshvari, Matangini, Shodashi, Dhumavati, Tripura Sundari, Tara, and Bhairavi.
As per Parashurama Kalpasutra, a tantric ritual text, composed in the 16th century in the Southern part of India, name Bhairavi is derived from the words Bharana (to create), Ramana (to protect), and Vamana (to emit or disgorge) i.e three basic cosmic functions of creation, maintenance, and destruction.
Partner of a tantric or a woman who has reached highest stages of consciousness is also called Bhairavi.
As per Vigyana Bhairava Tantra (a text from Bhairav Agama), Vigyana means knowledge, and ‘Bhairava’ is the ultimate supreme who has gone beyond fear or death. Tantra means technique or practices. Shiva is known as Bhairava and Devi is known as Bhairavi – those who have gone beyond the dualities of life and death.
Vigyan Bhairav Tantra is an important text in the Tantrik literature. In this text, Parvati, Shiva’s consort sitting on the lap of Shiva, by completely surrendering to him, asks him to reveal the fundamental truth. She asks him about the path to achieving the supreme consciousness. Shiva tells 112 meditation techniques to achieve the same. Shiva is the Guru and Devi is the disciple here.
It is considered that attaining Bhairava is impossible as he is incomprehensible and invincible. One can only reach and meet Bhairavi. And Bhairavi is nothing but the divine energy of Shiva. Bhairavi is the stage when the mind is devoid of ego and is empty. Ultimately both Shiva and Devi are one.
As per Todala Tantra, Bhairavi as garlanded with flowers which have the aura of the red rays of 1,000 rising suns. She has four hands, three eyes and her body is smeared with red. She is holding milk and books in her hands.
Bhairavi resides in the Muladhara chakra and is the central fire in the Kundalini.
Apart from her fierce and destructive form, she is considered the Goddess of wealth, perfection, power, food and sexual gratification.
The Mahanirvana Tantra (translated by Arthur Avalon)dedicates a hymn to the devi:
Alipiśitapurandhrī bhogapūjāparo’ham Bahuvidhakulamārgārambha-saṃ bhāvito’ham Paśujanavimukho’ham Bhairavīm aśrito’ham Gurucaranarato’ham Bhairavo’ham Śivo’ham
(I follow the worship wherein there is an enjoyment of wine, flesh, and wife as also other different forms of Kaula worship. In Bhairavi, I seek my refuge. To the feet of Guru, I am devoted. Bhairava am I. Shiva am I)
As per the Mahanirvana Tantra describes Bhairavi Chakra as a mode of worship for Kaulas (an ancient tradition in Shakti tradition).
Bhairavi Mool Mantra is :
ॐ ह्रीं भैरवी कलौं ह्रीं स्वाहा
(Om Hreem Bhairavi Kalum Hreem Svaha)