Hindi/Sanskrit word ‘Masik’ means monthly. ‘Kala’ or ‘Kaala’ refers to Lord Kaal Bhairav, the controller of time. Part of ‘Kalashtami’ or Kala Ashtami’s ‘Ashtami’ means eight. The holy occasion of Masik Kalashtami is observed every month, the date determined per the Hindu lunar calendar. The main Kalashtami falls in the Hindu calendar’s 9th month of Margashirsha, called KalaBhairav Jayanti. Margashirsha normally falls in the Gregorian period around mid-end November to mid-end December.
Masik Kalashtami is observed on the 8th day (as above) Ashtami Tithi, of the Krishna Paksha, the descending-waning phase of the moon. It is in dedication and devotion to Lord Bhairav. Accordingly, it corresponds to the Gregorian August date in 2018 as the 4th of August.
Lord Bhairav is one of the top deities in Hinduism. Lord Bhairav is believed to be an incarnation and fearful manifestation of Lord Shiva. The Lord is also sometimes referred to as the God of Time. Lord Shiva is the destroyer of the evil; and a source of energy and power.
Many devotees observe Vrat, fast, on the day. They bathe early in the morning and perform basic prayers. Some visit the temples. The prayers and the observances are to please him. Devotees seek the blessings of the Lord and ask for forgiveness of any sins, removal of pain, negative influences, and request liberation. Many also perform prayers, Puja, in remembrance of the ancestors. Many chant Mantras devoted to Lord Shiva.
The remaining dates of Masik Kalashtami in 2018 are the 2nd /3rd of September, 2nd of October, 31st of October, 29th of November (KalaBhairav Jayanti), and the 29th of December.
A common Mantra for Lord Bhairav is–
Om Shri Kala Bhairavaya Namah
ॐ श्री काल भैरवाय नम: