Virabhadra has been created by Shiva to be a fierce warrior to fight injustice. Why?
King Daksha's daughter, Sati, became the wife of Shiva. One day Daksha delivered a special fire sacrifice called Yagna, where he invited everyone except his daughter's husband as he didn't agree with Sati's marriage to The Yogi, Shiva. Sati, despite of not being invited, showed up on the ceremony, however her father talked about her husband disrespectfully and humiliated her in front of everyone. She wanted to break every relation to her father so she said:
“since you have given me this body I no longer wish to be associated with it!”
and cultivated her internal fire to burst into flames, leaving the body her father had given her (other sources mention that she throw herself into the fire of the sacrifice).
In the pain and grief of loosing her, Shiva pulled out one of his dread lock and created Virabhadra (Vira: hero + Badhra: friend) to take revenge and destroy the sacrifice of Daksha. He emerged from the ground, targeted Daksha and cut his head off while killing everyone else around let it be God or Rishi.
After the massacre Shiva also appeared and instead of victory he felt heartbroken, his rage turned into sadness followed by compassion. He searched for Daksha, but found only his body. Filled with remorse Shiva got a goat’s head and placed it on Darksha’s headless body bringing his father-in-law back to life. After Darksha awakens, he recognised Shiva’s greatness and becomes his devotee.
What is Virabadhra repressing to us?
In this story Shiva is representing our higher self (freedom, liberation from all sorrows), Daksha the Ego (order, law, responsibility, rituals) and Sati (Shakti), our heart (the link in between the two different worlds). Virabadhra is our strength, spiritual side linked to the universe, which all of us have to embark on our internal journey to find our true nature.
Virabadhrasana 1: Virabhadra entered the party by breaking through the ground as he rose from within the earth, reaching up and clasping a sword in each hand. It represents the strength and determination we need to reach up and out of our material realm.
Virabadhrasana 2: As soon as he arrived he spotted Darksha from across the room, his real target. It represents the clarity, focus we need to differentiate between us and our Ego, which can be generated with being fully present and aware of our surrounding.
Virabadhrasana 3: Finally he approaches Darksha while slaughtering the surrendering guests before he finally beheads Darksha. It represents that we need to get rid of our old ways, habits, thoughts, subconscious imprints before reaching to our ego, which will not be destroyed, but rather surrendered to our higher self.