Bhairava on coin

jayabarathi barathi at PC.JARING.MY
Thu Aug 13 12:30:33 UTC 1998

At 05:22 PM 8/5/98 EDT, you wrote:
>Dear Members,
>I have a gold coin from southern India possibly minted in 11th to 13th
>century AD by a Telugu-Choda chief (called themselves Bhujababala) who most
>likely was feaudatory of W. Chalukyas. On the coin one can read the old
>Telugu-Kanarese inscription  which reads "Bhairava". I have two questions:
>2. What is meaning/s of word Bhairava apart from being name of Lord

        Dear Dr.Nupam,

                Though belated, I thought it appropriate to
        provide $0.02 input on the above subject.

                Bhairava is commonly known as the terrifying and
        fierce aspect of Siva. Apart from it there is one more
        meaning to the name also.
                Worship of Bhairava became one of the sub-sects of
        Saivism and was quite prevalent about one and a half millenia
        ago.Bharavism had its own doctrines and tenets with rituals.
        Certain agamas and Tantras belonged to this sect.
                The followers of Bhairavism were also known as the
        "Bhairava"s. The name was more commonly applied to the Yogins
        of the Bhairava cult.
                At one time, they were a common sight in Tamilnadu.
        along with the Kapalikas, KaLamukhas, Pasupathas, and the
                In fact, in the Periya PurAraNam, in the chapter on
        "CiRuththoNdar nAyanAr purAnNam", Siva appears as a Yogin
        belonging to the Bhairava sect.

                He is denoted as,
                        "thudi sEr karaththu bayiravar"
                        "periya bayirava kOlap perumAn"
                        "parivu kaNdu bayiravarum"
                        "periya bayiravath thoNdar"

                These Bhairava Yogins weilded great power and influence
        and were the preceptors to some kings. Their influence was
        very great in the Malay Peninsula. In this place, the Shaktha cult
        and the Bhairava Siva worship reigned supreme. Their influence
        is still to be seen in certain of the Black Magic Rites performed
        by the Malay Sorcerers.
                Some kings who were followers of the Bhairava cult also
        called themselves as the "Bhairava"s. Some of them even adopted
        the "Skull-Humerus" combination called the "KatvAnga" as their
        insignia. (No! The "Phantom" does not belong to the Bhairava
        Cult. Nor does Blue Beard the Pirate, who flew the "Jolly Roger"
        flag - skull and cross bones!)
                Certain important temples had deep Bhairava influence.
                One of them was the "Ira - OttIswarar" temple. This
        name was slurred into "IrOttIsWaram". Finally, the name was
        further corrupted into "Irode" or "Erode" as it is known today.
                The female Yoginis of the Bhairava Sect were known as the
        "Bhairavis". Bhairavas and Bhairavis are around in various parts
        of India, even today. Some of the Bhairava rituals have passed
        into some special pujas.
                In certain of these pujas, large numbers of stray dogs
        make their appearance from somewhere. When the offerings are
        made to them, they accept the offerings and eat them with
        great discipline. Then they depart to whence they came from,
        until no dog remains.
                Some Bhairavas and Bhairavis can be identified when
        they are seen accompanied by dogs.
                The dog, as you know, is the vehicle of Bhairava, and
        the DEvata GAyatri for SrI Bhairava, addresses Him as,
        "SuvAnadhvajAya  vidmahe"

                Coming to the question of the coin, such coins have
         been found  in the Nellore, Godavari regions.  Some of them
         bear similar motifs. Almost all of them bear the letter "Shri"
        in at least two places - just as your coin does.
                In fact Dr.Parameshwari Lal Gupta's book titled "Coins"
        describes them. They are the coins No. 192 - 203 in the photo-plates.
                They are grouped under the Telegu/Chalukya and
        associated coins. They have not been identified specifically.
        It could have been Vengi Chalukya, or Telegu Choda coin.
        The Vengi Chalukya coin sometimes would have the "Wild Boar"
        emblem - the Varaha Lancana.

                The Triangular motif is actually a dagger. Its not
         a gopura.



>With best wishes,
>Dr. Nupam Mahajan, Ph.D.
>Room 230, CB#7295
>Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center
>University of North Carolina
>Chapel Hill, NC 27599
>Fax: 919-933-5455

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