Parākāśā पराकाशा (782)

She is the supreme ākaś or ether or space.  Parākāśa is often used to mean the Brahman.  This is due to three factors.  First the vast stretch of ether and secondly its purity, thirdly its imperceptibleness and finally its subtle nature.  Both shine and rain come from ākaś.  These are the reasons for comparing ākaś to the Brahman.  Since She is the Brahman, She is compared to ākaś.  When one is not able to comprehend subtle matters, normally a comparison is made to known things.  Since the Brahman is the subtlest of all, a comparison is made to ether or ākaś

Brahma sūtra (I.i.22) says ākāś tat lingāt.  This means that ākaś is the Brahman owing to the indicatory mark of that.  The indicatory mark is explained in Chāndogya Upaniṣad (I.ix.1).  It says ‘End of this earth is space, as everything arises from space and also goes back into space.  Space is superior to everything.  Space is the highest goal.”  The Upaniṣad again says (VIII.xiv) ‘That which is described as space manifests names and forms.  These names and forms are within Brahman.” 

Taittirīya Upaniṣad says that Brahman is bliss ( “Bhṛgu (a great sage) came to know that bliss is Brahman, for it is from bliss that these beings are born.  Having been born, they are supported by bliss and when they perish, they go back to bliss. It is Varuṇa who taught this Truth.  This Truth is in the empty space of the heart.”

The point driven home by the Upaniṣads is that Brahman is vast empty space.  Kaṭha Upaniṣad also confirms this by saying (II.ii.2) “The Self is everywhere......It supports everything and is the air in the space between the earth and heaven.”

This nāma says in a single word the teachings of these UpaniṣadsLalitā Sahasranāma is in mantra form.  Hence it is said that this should not be recited like musical notes (rāga and svara) or with any musical instruments. Veda-s should never be recited in notes form or accompanied by musical instruments.  

Prāṇadā प्राणदा (783)

She is the giver of vital breath or prāṇa.  Her subtle form continues to be discussed.  Like ākāś, prāṇa also is subtle.  Like ākāś, prāṇa is also life giving.  Sun and rain come from ākāś that are under Her control.   Prāṇa also is controlled by Her.  The omnipresent nature of the Brahman is being explained by Vāc Devi-s.  The next Brahma Sutra (I.i.23) says “On that very ground, prāṇa is Brahman”.  Chāndogya Upaniṣad also says (I.xi.5) says “In prāṇa all things that we see around us disappear.  And at the time of appearance they appear from prāṇa.” 

Bṛhadāraṇayaka Upaniṣad (IV.iv.18) says “those who have known the prāṇa of prāṇa” which means subtle of the subtlest, the Brahman, because ‘Self is taintless and beyond the subtle ether.’ (IV.iv.20)

Prāṇa-rūpiṇī प्राण-रूपिणी (784)

This is in confirmation of the previous nāma.  The previous nāma said that She is the giver of prāṇa and this nāma says that She is the embodiment of prāṇa.  Unless something is overflowing, it cannot be shared.  She cannot be the giver of prāṇa unless She is full of prāṇa and prāṇa overflows from Her.  These types of nāma-s are available in plenty in this Sahasranāma.  For example nāma-s 736 muktidā and 737 muktirūpiṇī

Chāndogya Upaniṣad (IV.x.5) explains these nāma-s (782-784).  “‘I know that prāṇa is Brahman.  But I do not know that ka-क and kha-ख  are Brahman.’   The fire replies ka is kha and kha is ka (meaning both are same) and taught him that Brahman is both prāṇa and ākāś.”  This teaching of Agni goes to prove that Brahman is everything.  ka and kha are only taken as examples.  For example Mr. A and Mr. B are the same.  Both of them are Brahman.  If Mr. A realises this fact, he is known as knowledgeable and Self-realized.  If B does not understand this, then he is called ignorant. 

Mārtāṇḍa-bhairavārādhyā मार्ताण्ड-भैरवाराध्या (785)

She is worshipped by Mārtāṇḍa-bhairava.  He is posited in the twenty fourth prahāra (wall) of Śrī puraṁŚrī Cakra is in the centre of this Śrī puraṁ.  Anything associated with Her is prefixed with Śrī, a sign of auspiciousness.  Some are of the opinion that Mārthaṇda-bhairava is the sun.  Sage Durvāsa says that he worships him with his wife Chāya Devi.  Sun’s wife is Chāya Devi.  Then this nāma means that She is worshipped by sun.

Others are of the opinion that Bhairava here means Vaṭuka Bhairava-s who are also great devotees of Her.  They are also posited in Śrī puraṁ and constantly meditate on Her. 

There are sixty four Bhairava-s and Mārtāṇḍa-bhairava is one among them.  These sixty four Bhairava-s are grouped under eight categories and each category is headed by one Bhairava and these eight Bhairava-s are called Aṣṭāṅga Bhairava-s.  Mārthaṇda-bhairava comes under the first group headed by Asitāṅga Bhairava

Bhairava means ŚivaŚiva Sūtra (I.5) says udyamao Bhairavaḥ which means ‘sudden realization like a flash is Śiva’.  Realisation always happens suddenly.  It is like a flash of light.  When the light is not switched on, the place remains in darkness.  Once the light is switched on, the room is flooded with light.  Realisation also happens this way.  We go on acquiring knowledge and we know that Brahman is present everywhere.  This is only assumption and presumption.  But, realisation is different.  Realisation is understanding and personally experiencing the Truth.  Truth means everything is Brahman. In this nāma mārthaṇda refers to the flash of light.  Therefore, in this context Mārtāṇḍa-bhairava means Śiva.  The one who has realized Śiva and merges with Him is also known as Śiva.  She is worshipped by such devotees. 

{Further reading of Bhairava: There are different interpretations on Bhairava. Śiva is worshiped in twenty five forms as per āgama śāstra.  The important ones are Liṇgotbhava, Ardhanārīśvara, Somaskanta, Dakṣiṇāmūrti, Kālasaṁhāra, Sarabeśvarā, Nīlakanṭa, Bhairava, Riśabhārūḍha, Candraśekara, Naṭarāja and Gangādhara.  Out of the twenty forms of Śiva, Bhairava form is considered to be important.  Ābhatuthtārana, Vaduga, Kṣetrapāla, Brahmasiraccheta are said to be the other names of Bhairava.  There is another school of thought which says that Śiva Himself crated Bhairava.  There was one demon by name Dahurāsuraṇ who got a boon that he could be killed only by a woman.  Kālī was created by Śaktī to kill him.  The wrath of Kālī killed the demon.  After killing the demon, her wrath metamorphosed as a child.  Kālī fed the child with her milk. Śiva made both Kālī and the child to merge with Him.  From this merged form of Śiva, Bhairva appeared in his eight forms (aṣṭa Bhairava-s).  Since Bhairava was thus created by Śiva, he is said to be one of the sons of Śiva, others being Gaṇeśa, Kārttikeya, Ayyanār (said to be the God of villages) and Vīrabhatra.

Bhairava is the ultimate form of manifestation or pure I consciousness. This form is called Mahā Bhairava or Śiva, the Supreme.  Others give Him terrifying forms. 

The word Bhairava originates from the word bhīru, which means fearful.  Bhairava means terribly fearful form.  The right interpretation is that He protects His devotees from dreadful enemies, greed, lust and anger.  Bhairava protects His devotees from these enemies.  These enemies are dangerous as they never allow us seek Him within.  There is also another interpretation.  Bha means creation, ra means sustenance and va means destruction. Therefore Bhairava is the one who creates, sustains and dissolves the three stages of a life.  Therefore, He becomes the Ultimate or the Supreme.

Bhairava is also called the protector.  If Bhairava is manifested as a form of Śiva, He becomes the protector of the universe.  In all the temples, there will be a Bhairava idol.  This Bhairava is the protector of temples.  In Śiva temples, when the temple is closed, the keys are placed before Bhairava.  In some of the ancient texts, Bhairava is described as the protector of women.  He is described as the protector of the timid and in general women are timid in nature, hence this description.  

Purāṇa-s too give different versions of BhairavaBrahma is the lord of creation.  He thought that He is the Supreme and abused Śiva. Śiva created Bhairava who removed one of the five heads of Brahma and took away his skull.  There is yet another version.  There was a war between gods and demons.  To eradicate the demons, Śiva created Śiva from whom aṣṭa Bhairava-s were created.  These aṣṭa Bhairava-s got married to aṣṭa mātā-s.  These aṣṭa Bhairava-s and mātā-s have dreadful forms.  From these aṣṭa Bhairava-s and aṣṭa mātā-s, 64 Bhairava-s and 64 yogini-s were created.

There are eight types of Bhairava-s and they are called aṣṭa Bhairava-s.  They are Mahā-Bhairava, Saṃhāra-Bhairava, Asitāṅga-Bhairava, Ruru-Bhairava, Kāla-Bhairava, Krodha-Bhairava, Tāmracūḍa-Bhairava, or Kapāla-Bhairava, Candracūḍa-Bhairava or Rudra-bhairava.  Apart from these eight forms there is yet another form called Svarṇākarṣṇa BhairavaMahā-Bhairava is said to be Śiva himself.  Normally in Śiva temples idols of Bhairava are situated in the north facing, southern direction. He is also called Kṣetrapāla.  He appears in a standing position with four hands.  His weapons are drum, pāśa (noose), trident and skull.  In some forms of Bhairava, there are more than four hands.  He appears without dress and with a dog.  His weapons, dog, protruding teeth, terrifying looks, garland with red flowers all these give him frightening appearance. 

In all Śiva temples, regular pūja rituals begin with Sun and end with BhairavaBhairava likes ghee bath (abhiṣeka), red flowers, ghee lamp, unbroken coconut, honey, boiled food, fibrous fruits etc. If a Bhairava idol is facing west, it is good; facing south is moderate; facing east is not good.  The right time to pray to Bhairava is midnight.  During midnight it is said that Bhairava and His consort Bhairavī (nāma 276) are together and will give darśana to their devotees.  The most appropriate time is Friday midnight.  There are eight types of flowers and leaves used in arcana (अर्चन) to Bhairava.

The eight Bhairava-s are said to represent five elements viz. ākāś, air, fire, water and earth and other three being sun, moon and ātman.  Each of the eight Bhairava-s are different in appearance, have different weapons, different vāhana-s and they bless their devotees with eight types of wealth representing aṣṭa Lakṣmi-s.  Continuous worship of Bhairava leads the worshipper to a true Guru.  There are separate dhyāna verses and mūla mantra-s to all the eight Bhairava-s. 

Apart from the aṣṭa Bhairava-s there is one more important Bhairava called Svarṇākarṣṇa Bhairava.  He has red complexion and clothed in golden dress.  He has moon in his head.  He has four hands.  In one of the hands he carries a golden vessel.  He gives wealth and prosperity.  Performing pūja on Tuesdays gives quick results.  Ākāśa Bhairava is also known as Sarabheśvara.  In some of the ancient texts he is said to have thirty two hands, shape of a bird, golden complexion, terrible teeth, and human form above the hip.  Worshipping him destroys enemies.

It is generally believed that worshipping Bhairava gives prosperity, success and good progeny, prevents premature death and solution to debts and liabilities.  Different forms of Bhairava evolve only from Śiva, who is called the Mahā Bhairava.}