THE IMPORTANCE OF BHASMA (ASH) IN SHIVA’S WORSHIP
Bhasma are of two types:-1) Maha Bhasma and 2) Swalpa Bhasma.
‘Shrota’ (listener), ‘Smart; (rites according to the smritis) and Laukik (worldly) are considered to be the Maha Bhasma. There are many types of Swalpa Bhasma.
‘Shrota’ and ‘Smart’ are meant only for the brahmins. For the rest of the castes, ‘Laukik Bhasma’ is appropriate. A brahmin must apply Bhasma, only after initiating it with the mantras. The ashes
which remains after burning dry cowdung is called Agneya Bhasma. Applying ‘Tripunda’ on the forehead with the ashes after the completion of Yagya, is to the Upanishad rituals like Sandhya and Japa should only be performed after applying tripunda on the forehead.