Balam – The Fierce One

She who is fierce in the three worlds: heavens, atmosphere and earth. Her primary role in the cosmic process is destruction.

She has a luminous complexion like a thousand rising suns. She has three eyes and is lovely in her various ornaments. She is the destroyer of enemies. She wears a garland of freshly severed heads that are still vomiting blood. She wears red clothes. She has ten hands and carries a trident, small drum, sword, club, bow, arrows, noose, goad, book, and rosary. She is seated on a corpse throne. She smiles.

Balam (Tripura-Bhairavi) arises or becomes present when the body declines and decays, which is a natural, inevitable, and irresistible force. She is also evident in self-destructive habits, such as eating food, drinking liqueur, lust, anger, and jealousy. All of these habits in forms of selfish behavior attract her presence.

Balam’s fierce, terrible, or destructive nature arises at the end of a cosmic cycle, during which all things having been consumed by fire, are dissolved in the formless waters of precreation. She is the force that tends toward dissolution. This force is present in each person as one gradually ages, weakens, and finally dies. Destruction is apparent everywhere, therefore Bhairavi is present everywhere.

bhairavi-fireAs a Mahavidya – Bhairavi is one of ten aspects spiraling out from the source of Parvati, in essence they are all one. The ten Mahavidias have been known as a group since the early medieval period (post 10th century ce), though many of these aspects were known before this time. The cluster of Mahavidyas as a whole reveal a fascinating spectrum of wisdom instruction. In some instances: outrageous, mocking and insulting, in others; light and gentle. These awakeners are antimodels, they strike at the root of ignorance by any means possible. (kinsley)

The Goddess of Many Forms

Bhairavi has many forms at her disposal, more so than any other Mahavidya. She is a multifaceted and complete goddess who is not limited to being the embodiment of destruction. In the guise of her many forms she grants blessings. She grants food. She gives riches. She Who Grants Every Perfection. She Destroys All Fears. She Gives Awakened Consciousness. She Who is Present in Creation and Engenders Growth. She Kindles Sexual Desire and Grants Sexual Satisfaction.

In one of her mantras, it says she is intoxicated with her youth, is very attractive, young and shapely. Her association with sexual desire and fulfillment is expressed frequently – She Who Dwells in the Yoni.

Her flower arrows are used to empower devotees in the arts of love. Each of the flower arrows produces an intoxicating emotion of love and desire: i.e. excessive agitation, a melting sensation, an irresistible attraction to another, and stupefaction.

Worship of Bhairavi is rare given her particularly fierce nature. Only those of heroic nature dare worship Bhairavi. Hers is the left hand path, and the only other goddess to be so worshiped is Mirita. Only those with the nature of the hero are qualified to undertake the left handed path.

The inner meaning of her name Bhairavi; is to create, to protect, to emit. Therefore she is directly identified to the cosmic functions of creation, maintenance, and destruction. Her consort, from a cosmic perspective, is Bhairava; an equally ferocious aspect of Shiva.


References: Ten Mahavidias – Tantric Visions of the Divine Feminine – Kinsley

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