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The application of Holy Ash
The Holy Ash, that decorates the bodies of Lord shiva and shaivites, is very
sacred and there are prescriptions on how it needs to be adored and adorned. Here are
few of those. The two ways of getting adorned with holy ash are tripuNDram,
uddUlanam. The first is applying the holy ash in the form of three distinct bands
and the second is sprinkling it on the part of the body.
One simple way would be to chant thirunIRRuppadhikam (1) while taking
the Holy ash and while getting adorned with that chant the aghora panchAxaram
(The aghora Holy Five Letters) which is shivAya namaH.
With clean hands take the Holy Ash chanting the sadyojAdAdi mantras and the mA
no mahantam mantra from shrI rudram.
Those who perform rituals, perform shiva pUja should first take the holy ash
without adding water and sprinkle on their head, forehead, chest and two shoulders.
Later using the right hand index, middle and the ring finger take the holy ash, keep
in the left hand, close it with right hand and chant these mantras
om nivRiti kalAyai namaH
om pratiShTA kalAyai namaH
om vidyA kalAyai namaH
om shAnti kalAyai namaH
om shAntyatIta kalAyai namaH
om IshAnAya namaH
om tatpuruShAya namaH
om aghorAya namaH
om vAmadevAya namaH
om sadyojAdAya namaH
om hRidayAya namaH
om shirashe namaH
om shikAyai namaH
om kavachAya namaH
om netrAya namaH
om astrAya namaH
Then saying hRidayAya namaH, add water and saying kavachAya
vauShaT, mix it. Chant the first four of the above said panchabrahma
mantram and apply (with the three fingers of the right hand mentioned above -
index, middle and ring fingers) the holy ash paste on the first four places of the
body. (See below for the list of places where to apply holy ash). Chant the fifth
mantram when applying at the other parts of the body. While applying face up, so that
the holy ash does not spill down on the ground. If by mistake the holy ash spills on
the ground, clean that area with water.
The places to apply the holy ash on the body
vibhUti can be worn either in 32 places or 16 places or 8 places or five places.
Two sides of groin
Total 32 Places
Total 16 places
Total 8 places
Total 5 places
One of the ways of taking bath as prescribed by vedas is known as
Agneyam. It is defined as Agneyam bhasmasnAnam. That is Agneyam bath
is nothing but bathing in the holy ash.
The holy ash has very good medicinal value. This could prevent/cure 81 diseases
that are out of air (vAta), and 64 of diseases caused by bile(pittam),
and 215 of phlegm (kapham).
The Holy Ash is the most ancient symbol. It is hailed in the vedas along with
rudrAxam(2). Even the devotees of Lord viShNu used to wear this originally
(kariyamEni michai veLiya nIRu chiRidhEyidum periya kOlath thadaNkaNNan, nIRu
chevvE idakkANil nedumAladiyAr enROdum - divya prabhandham). The following
scriptures talk about the glory of the Holy Ash.
The scriptures that hail Holy Ash
- bharadvAja - sAtAtapa - parAchara
- shivarahasya parama itihAsam
1. thirunIRRup padhikam
3. The respect the chera emperor gave for the Holy Ash
4. The curing of the disease of pANdiya emperor with Holy Ash
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