Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism Online

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Vibhūti (lit. great power, might, splendor) is the name given to ash usually made of cow dung (gomaya) or taken from crematory grounds (śmaśāna). Another common term for it is bhasman (that which is pulverized or consumed/calcined [by fire]). From vedic times, ashes have been a memento of death, of the fleeting character of one's individuality. As stated in Bṛhadāraṇyakopaniṣad 5.15.1 (= IśU. 17), "Ashes (bhasman) are this body's lot." 

A peculiar cleansing efficacy is attributed to ash (MaSm. 5.111). Used primarily among Śaiva adepts, vibhūti is applied to the body first and…

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Rigopoulos, Antonio, “Vibhūti”, in: Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism Online, Editor-in-Chief Associate Editors Knut A. Jacobsen, Helene Basu, Angelika Malinar, Vasudha Narayanan. Consulted online on 29 January 2022 <>
First published online: 2018

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