In Hinduism, Vibhuti (Sanskrit: विभूति; vibhūti, Bhasma (ash), Vibhooti) is the sacred ash which is made of burnt dried wood in Āgamic rituals.[1] Hindu devotees apply vibhuti traditionally as three horizontal lines across the forehead and other parts of the body to honor Shiva. Vibhuti smeared across the forehead to the end of both eyebrows is called Tripundra. According to the MahaShiva Purana the particles of ash which cling to the skin when tripundra is applied are to be considered as individual Lingams. The scriptures further state that bhasma purifies the soul, elevates the devotee of Shiva and works done without wearing Bhasma are infructuous. There are various methods for the application of the ashes according to the purana and various mantras to be recited during application.

Another meaning of vibhuti is a 'glorious form', in contrast with Avatar, a reincarnation of Brahman.[2] Bhagavata Theology describes a vibhuti as 'incarnation of power', which is only a temporary occasional manifestation such as when holy men are infused with divine virtues and qualities are infused.[3] 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 (2004-01-01). An Introduction to Epic Philosophy: Epic Period, History, Literature, Pantheon, Philosophy, Traditions, and Mythology. Cosmo Publications. p. 342. ISBN 9788177558807.
  3. Dhavamony, Mariasusai (2002-01-01). Hindu-Christian Dialogue: Theological Soundings and Perspectives. Rodopi. p. 75. ISBN 9042015101.
  4. Aurobindo, Sri (1992-01-01). Wisdom of the Gita: Second Series. Lotus Press. p. 21. ISBN 9780941524759.

Further reading

  • Dictionary of Hindu Lore and Legend (ISBN 0-500-51088-1) by Anna Dallapiccola
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