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Hindu man, wearing tripundra
Hindu man, wearing tripundra
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In Hinduism, vibhuti (Sanskrit: विभूति, romanizedvibhūti), also called bhasma or tirunīru, is sacred ash made of burnt dried wood, burnt cow dung and/or cremated bodies used in Agamic rituals.[1] Hindu devotees apply vibhuti traditionally as three horizontal lines across the forehead and other parts of the body to honour Shiva. Vibhuti smeared across the forehead to the end of both eyebrows is called tripundra.

According to the Shiva Purana, the particles of ash which cling to the skin when tripundra is applied are to be considered to be individual lingams. The scriptures further state that bhasma purifies the soul and elevates the devotee of Shiva, and that works done without wearing bhasma are fruitless. There are various methods for the application of the ashes, according to the Shiva Purana, and various mantras to be recited during application.

Other uses

Another meaning of vibhuti is a 'glorious form', in contrast with avatar, a reincarnation of Brahman.[2]

Vaishnava theology describes a vibhuti as 'incarnation of power', a temporary occasional manifestation such as when holy men are infused with divine virtues and qualities are infused.[3]

Sri Aurobindo mentions a vibhuti as "the hero of a race's struggle towards divine achievement, the hero in the Carlylean sense of heroism, a power of God in man."[4]

See also


  1. ^ * Apte, Vaman Shivram. "A Practical Sanskrit Dictionary" p. 866.
  2. ^ Kapoor, Subodh (1 January 2004). An Introduction to Epic Philosophy: Epic Period, History, Literature, Pantheon, Philosophy, Traditions, and Mythology. Cosmo Publications. p. 342. ISBN 9788177558807.
  3. ^ Dhavamony, Mariasusai (1 January 2002). Hindu-Christian Dialogue: Theological Soundings and Perspectives. Rodopi. p. 75. ISBN 9042015101.
  4. ^ Aurobindo, Sri (1 January 1992). Wisdom of the Gita: Second Series. Lotus Press. p. 21. ISBN 9780941524759.

Further reading