Bhasma| Vibhuthi | Thiruneer refers to the holy ash or sacred ash used by Hindus.
Holy ash is applied on the forehead to remind us always of the impermanence of our life. The act of applying holy ash always remind us that this world is maya and since we always are reminded of our impermanence, we don't get too attached to worldly things. Applying holy ash on our forehead has these wonderful benefits
1. It increases the positive energy. The smell, the act of applying it, the chanting before it, everything increases the positive energy.
2. Applying holy ash prevents headaches. It prevents allergies on the skin especially if it is made with different herbs.
3. Applying holy ash is said to regulate all the 7 chakras in the body which is the basis for good health.
The seven fundamental chakras are known as muladhara, which is located at the perineum, the space between the anal outlet and the genital organ; swadhisthana, which is just above the genital organ;manipuraka, which is just below the navel; anahata, which is just beneath where the rib cage meets;vishuddhi, which is at the pit of the throat; ajna, which is between the eyebrows; and sahasrara, also known as brahmarandra, which is at the top of the head, where when a child is born, there is a soft spot.
4. Thiruneer also prevents cold and is very good for preventing all cold related headaches.
5. It always reminds of the impermanence of our lives, Our grandparents used to tell that the thought that we are here in this world for a short span of time will decrease our worldly desires and increase compassion for others.
Though we can get perfumed vibhuti from the shops, I suggest all to purchase the same from Ghosala mostly maintained by Sankar Muts. Traditionally till my Mother passed awamy we do make the vibhuthi at Home in Nagapatinam, we use karukkai (semi grown paddy grains) from the paddy fields. They are are usually discarded and we use it to make the holy ash. To make the holy ash, cow dung is made into balls, flattened and sun dried well. Then on an auspicious day they are layered with karukkai and hay till they are about 6 to 7 feet in height. After the prayers and chanting, fire is lit, it burns for several days. The hay retains the heat and the karukkai prevents it from burning instantly which results in white ash which is collected after several days.
But to make the vibhooti, cow dung that is got from organic grass fed native cows should be used. We usually store holy ash in a special wooden box called thiruneer poti which is usually passed on from generation to generation. But since it will be difficult for many to collect cow dung and do the whole process, I thought I will share an alternate method.
Usually bhasma refers to ash that is got by burning different ingredients and it can be used internally or externally. For eg,
Swarna bhasma is prepared form gold,
Godanti bhasma is prepared from gypsum,
Shankh bhasma is prepared from conch shell,
Mandur bhasma is prepared from iron oxide and
Vanga bhasma is prepared from tin.
These are all very important ayurvedic preparations that is used internally for treating different illness and should only be consumed under the strict supervision of an experienced ayurvedic practitioner. For external application like using cow dung is one way and the other is using the ash after doing homam (pooja ceremony).
Please don't consume the Vibhooti prepared Traditionally from Cow dug (more common available used) is not meant for consuming. Holy ash certainly will benefit you, only when you are applying it on your forehead and body as per the bhasmadharana vidhi. If you smear it as per the vidhi, then it will purify your body, mind and the soul. As per the vidhi, after the bath bhasma should be applied as three parallel lines on 5 or 8 or 16 or 32 places on your body including forehead. Once in the morning and then in the evening. Men should smear wet bhasma in the morning ,but dry bhasma in the evening. Whereas women should smear dry bhasma only both in the morning and in the evening on their forehead and body.
For example, the ash collected after ayush homam, for the ritual 9 different herbs and more than 54 herbal ingredients were used. The ash of all these various herbs have wonderful healing properties.
The ash collected is not white in color like made with cow dung but it has wonderful medicinal properties...
விபூதியை,. வலது கையின் ஆள்காட்டிவிரல் (தர்ஜனீ), நடுவிரல் (மத்யமம்), மோதிரவிரல் (அநாமிகம்) ஆகிய மூன்று விரல்களிலும் விபூதியை எடுத்து கட்டை விரலால் (அங்குஷ்டம்)நன்றாகத் தண்ணீர் விட்டுக் குழைத்து மூன்று பட்டைகளாக நெற்றியில் இட்டுக் கொள்ளவேண்டும்!
வலதுகையில் விபூதியை எடுத்துக்கொண்டு நெற்றியின் இடது ஓரத்தில் இருந்து வலது ஓரம் வரை முழுமையாக இடுவதே சரியானது. நாகரிகம் என்ற பேரில் நகத்தளவிற்கு விபூதிஇடுதல் கூடாது. மந்திரமாவது நீறு என்று தேவாரப் பதிகத்திற்கு ஏற்ப இவ்வாறு நெற்றி நிறைய திருநீறு பூசுபவர்களை எந்தவிதமான தொற்று வியாதியும் அவ்வளவு எளிதில்அண்டுவதில்லை என்று
ஆன்மிகத்தைப் போற்றுகின்றனர் விஞ்ஞானிகள்!
Source: Internet Wikipedia etc
N Jambunathan (Ex: REVL & IMPAL) Rengarajapuram-Kodambakkam-Chennai-Mob:9176159004
Reposting it from Amirthavahini Google Group.