Puraan | 4-Shiv Puraan | Miscellanea
Once Bhushund, a descendant of Jaabaali went to the Kailaash Peak and prostrated before Lord Mahaadev Shiv, who is the form of Omkaar and who is beyond the trinity of Brahmaa, Vishnu and Rudra.
Bhushund worshipped Shiv with great devotion again and again through fruits, flowers and leaves. Then he questioned Lord Shiv: “Lord, Kindly impart to me the essential knowledge of all the Ved, embodying the process and technique of using the Bhasm (sacred ash), because it is the only means for attaining Liberation. What is the Bhasm made of? Where should it be applied? What are the Mantra to be recited? Who are the persons fitted for this? What are the rules regarding it? Kindly instruct me, born from depressed class.”
The kind Lord Parameshwar said: At first the devotee after understanding the influence of the celestials at the prescribed time, should fetch some sacred and pure cow-dung early in the morning, keep it in the leaf of a Palaash-tree and then dry it with the Vaidik Mantra ‘Tryambakam’ etc (in the Sun). Then he should burn that dry cow-dung, placed in a convenient place, with any fire that is available, according to the rules laid down in the Grihya Sootra of his sect, and then pour Aahuti of sesame and paddy together with ghee, with the Mantra ‘Somaaya Swaahaa’. The number of Aahuti should be 1008, or if possible, 1 1/2 times this. The instruments for pouring Ghee should be made of leaf - in that case man does not commit any sin.
Then, at the end, the devotee should offer the oblation of Sweshta Krit at the time of Poorn-Aahuti, with the Mantra ‘Tryambakam’ etc. With the same Mantra, Bali (an offering) should be placed in the eight directions (of the fire). That Bhasm should be sprinkled with water by the Gaayatree Mantra. Then that sacred ash should be placed in a gold, silver, copper or earthen vessel and sprinkled again with the Rudra Mantra. It should then be kept in a clean and decent place. Then the devotee should honor the Braahman with a grand feast. Then only he will become purified. Then he should take the Bhasm from the vessel with the Panch-Brahm Mantra, ‘Manastoka’, ‘Sadyo Jaatam’, etc., and with the idea that ‘fire is Bhasm, air is Bhasm, water is Bhasm, earth is Bhasm, ether is Bhasm, gods are Bhasm, Rishi are Bhasm, all this universe and existence are Bhasm; I prostrate to this sacred and purifying Bhasm which destroys all my sins.’
Thus, the devotee should keep a little Bhasm with the decent left hand saying, ‘Vaam Devaaya’ (this is to Vaam Dev) sprinkling with the Mantra ‘Tryambakam’ etc., and cleaning it with the Mantra ‘Shuddham Shuddhen’ etc. Then he should filter it nicely. Then he should apply it from head to foot, with the five Brahm-Mantra. With the first finger, middle finger and ring finger, he should apply the same to the middle of the head saying ‘to the head’ and ‘O Bhasma! Thou hast come from Agni.’
Places where Bhasm is to be applied and Mantra to be used
The devotee should then prostrate to Siva with the Mantra ‘Somaya’ etc. He should wash the hands and drink that ash-water with the Mantra ‘Apah Punantu’ etc. The water should never be spilt down from any cause.
Thus, this practice of Bhasm Dhaaran should be done in the morning, noon and evening. If he does not do this, he will become fallen. This very thing is the prescribed Dharma of all Brahmins. Without having Bhasm Dhaaran in this fashion, he should never take any food, water or anything else. Accidentally if this practice is forgotten, that day, Gaayatree should not be repeated. No Yagya should be done on that day; no Tarpan should be offered to gods, Rishi or Pitri. This is the eternal Dharm that destroys all sins and gives the final state of Moksh.
This is the daily rite of Braahman, Brahmchaaree, Grihasth, Vanaprasthee and Sanyasee. If this is overlooked even once, he should stand in water up to the neck, repeating Gaayatree 108 times, and fast the whole day. If a Sanyaasee does not wear Bhasm, even a single day, he should fast during the whole day and do 1000 Pranav Jap, for being purified once again. Otherwise, the Lord will throw these Sanyaasee to dogs and wolves.
In case this kind of Bhasm is not available, any other Bhasm that may be at hand should be used with the prescribed Mantras. This kind of practice shall destroy any kind of sin that may be committed by man.
Then again Bhushund asked Shiv: What are the daily rites to be performed by a Braahman, by neglecting which he will commit a sin? Who is to be then meditated upon? Who is to be remembered? How to meditate? Where to practice this? Please tell me in detail.
The Lord answered all in a nutshell: First of all the devotee should get up early in the morning before sunrise, and after finishing the purification actions, should take his bath. He should clean the body with the Rudra Sookt. Then he should wear a clean cloth. After this, he should meditate on the Sun-god and apply Bhasm to all the prescribed parts of the body. He should then wear white Rudraaksh, as prescribed. Some prescribe the following way of applying Bhasm:
Places and No. of Times (lines)
I am the only giver of Moksh. Hence all people come to Me for final help. That is why I absorb into My Being those creatures who leave their Praan at Banaaras which is standing at the top of My Trishooul (trident). Therefore, everyone should perform penance at Banaaras only. Banaaras should not be neglected under any circumstance. Everybody should try to live at Banaaras as far as possible. No place is better than Banaaras.
Even at Banaaras, the most celebrated is the temple of Shiv, where in the East, there is the place of Wealth, in the South, the place of Vichaar, in the West, the place of Vairaagya and in the North, the place of Gyaan. There in the middle, I, the Eternal Spirit should be worshipped. That Ling at Banaaras, is not illumined by the Sun, Moon or the stars. That self-luminous Ling called ‘Vishweshwar’ has its root in Paataal. That is Myself. I should be worshipped by one who wears the sacred Bhasm and Rudraaksh in the prescribed manner. I shall deliver him from all sins and sorrows.
By performing my Abhishek, he attains my Saayujya state. Nothing exists other than myself. I initiate all with the Taarak Mantra. Those who want Mukti should live at Banaaras. I will take care of them. I am the Lord of Brahmaa, Vishnu and Rudra. The most corrupt man or woman will attain Moksh, if he or she dies at Banaaras. Other sinners will be fried in burning pits of live coals after death. Therefore, everybody should try to live at Banaaras which is my Praan Ling itself.
Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/05
Updated on 04/23/13