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Vibhuti and Shiva Agni

Vibhuti is gathered from three sources – Shiva Agni, Vaidika Agni and Shaiva Agni – on the occasion of the diksha or initiation.

Shiva Agni is of two fold –

  • Guru Bhasma, also known as maha bhasma or great ash.
  • Laghu Bhasma, also known as ordinary bhasma or ash.

Guru Bhasma is Shiva, who is the cause and source of all auspicious fires, particularly the Trinity of household fires known as havaniya, dakshina and grahapatya.

The other kinds are dhumra, rcisa, udham, masvalini, visphulingini, sucinisvarupa, kapila, havya and kavya.

Laghu Bhasma is again two fold – natural and artificial. The former issues forth in Shiva Agni Bhasma. It is said to appear on the forehead of Shiva as the sacrificial fire in order to redeem the soul from bondage.

The second kind is prepared from cow dung. This has its source in the legend of Shiva’s command to his consort to perform the fivefold act – creation, protection, dissolution, obscuration and grace. When Shakti wanted the power of Shiva’s grace for the execution of this stupendous task, Shiva produced the five elements (earth, water, fire, air and ether) from his five faces (Sadyojata, Vamadeva, Aghura, Tatpurusha and Ishana) and also the five kalas (nivrttikala, partishakala, vidyakala, santkala and santyatitakala) and sent them forth in the form of cows to the Earth. They took their seats around Nandi (sacred bull) and, through Nandi, the power of Shiva entered these five cows and became sacred ash. This ash was given to Shakti as the seal of authority for performing the five-fold functions of creation.