Bhasma: 18 definitions



Bhasma means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, Marathi, Hindi. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

Alternative spellings of this word include Bhasm.

In Hinduism

Ayurveda (science of life)

Source: WikiPedia: Ayurveda

Bhasma (भस्म):—The usual means used to administer these substances is by preparations called bhasma, Sanskrit for "ash".

Source: Ayurveda glossary of terms

1) Bhasma (भस्म):—Ashes of metals / minerals obtained through incineration / calcinations process

2) Ash

Ayurveda book cover
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Āyurveda (आयुर्वेद, ayurveda) is a branch of Indian science dealing with medicine, herbalism, taxology, anatomy, surgery, alchemy and related topics. Traditional practice of Āyurveda in ancient India dates back to at least the first millenium BC. Literature is commonly written in Sanskrit using various poetic metres.

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Rasashastra (chemistry and alchemy)

Source: Ayurveda and Pharmaceutics (rasashastra)

Bhasma (Cinder): Powder of any substance obtained by calcinations is known as bhasma. Metals, minerals and animal products are calcinated in closed crucibles in pits specially made. Example: Abhraka-bhasma.

Rasashastra book cover
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Rasashastra (रसशास्त्र, rasaśāstra) is an important branch of Ayurveda, specialising in chemical interactions with herbs, metals and minerals. Some texts combine yogic and tantric practices with various alchemical operations. The ultimate goal of Rasashastra is not only to preserve and prolong life, but also to bestow wealth upon humankind.

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Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

Source: Shiva Purana - English Translation

Bhasma (भस्म) refers to the “sacred ashes”, symbolically representing the “essence”, as mentioned in the Śivapurāṇa 1.18. Accordingly, “[...] the ash (bhasma) is of three types, derived from ordinary fire, Vedic fire and Śiva fire. The ash derived from ordinary fire shall be used for the purification of articles of mud, wood or metals and even for grains. [...] The ashes resulting from Vedic rites in fire shall be smeared over the forehead at the end of the rites. Since the ashes are purified by the mantras the rite itself takes the form of the ashes. [...] Bilva twigs shall be burnt repeating the Ātma mantra of Aghora. This fire is called Sivāgni. The ashes resulting therefrom are called Śivāgnija”.

For the sake of resplendence, the ashes (bhasma) shall be taken. The word bhasma (Ash) means that which is honoured and adored. Śiva formerly did so.—“A king takes the essence of wealth by way of tax, in his kingdom. Men burn plants and take the essence thereof. The gastirc fire burns different kinds of foodstuffs and with their essence nourishes the body. Similarly the great lord Śiva, the creator of the universe, burns the universe presided over by Him and takes the essence of the same. After burning the universe He applies the ashes (bhasma) over his body”.

According to the Śivapurāṇa 1.24, while explaining the importance of holy ashes (bhasma):—“[...] the ashes (bhasma) of auspicious nature are of two types. I shall explain their characteristics. Please listen attentively. One is known as mahābhasma (Great ashes) and the second is known as svalpa (the little)”.

Also, “A person who has applied ashes (bhasma) on his body actually wears as many liṅgas as there are particles of the ash that remain on his body. [...] Just as the fire when touched with or without knowledge burns the body so does the ash (bhasma) worn consciously or unconsciously sanctify the man”.

Source: Puranic Encyclopedia

Bhasma (भस्म).—(Sacred ash). To know a story about the greatness of Bhasma see under the word Durjaya.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

Bhasma (भस्म).—Sacred ash supposed to be the vīrya of Śiva who is Bhasmasamcchannadeha;1 snānam of, makes one pure: amulet for places of confinement.2

  • 1) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 27. 10 and 92, 105-28; III. 28. 12.
  • 2) Ib. II. 27. 105-115.
Source: Shodhganga: The saurapurana - a critical study

Bhasma (भस्म) represents the “energy of Agni”, according to the 10th century Saurapurāṇa: one of the various Upapurāṇas depicting Śaivism.—Accordingly, the merits of using the bhasma is expressed by the Saurapurāṇa. The bhasma is the energy of Agni and by besmearing bhasma on the body a person becomes powerful (vīryavān) and self-controlled. He becomes liberated from all sins and attains communion with Śiva (śivasāyujya)”.

Purana book cover
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The Purana (पुराण, purāṇas) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahapuranas total over 400,000 shlokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

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Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)

Source: Wisdom Library: Śaivism

Bhasma (भस्म, “holy ash”) refers to one of the five kinds of external marks of an ācārya (“Śaiva preceptor”), according to Nigamajñāna (Śaiva teacher of the 16th century) in his Śaivāgamaparibhāṣāmañjarī.

Source: Shodhganga: Iconographical representations of Śiva

Bhasma (भस्म) is the name of a deity who received the Yogajāgama from Sudhākhya through the mahānsambandha relation, according to the pratisaṃhitā theory of Āgama origin and relationship (sambandha). The yogaja-āgama, being part of the ten Śivabhedāgamas, refers to one of the twenty-eight Siddhāntāgamas: a classification of the Śaiva division of Śaivāgamas. The Śaivāgamas represent the wisdom that has come down from lord Śiva, received by Pārvatī and accepted by Viṣṇu.

Bhasma obtained the Yogajāgama from Sudhākhya who in turn obtained it from Sadāśiva through parasambandha. Bhasma in turn, transmitted it to Prabhu who then, through divya-sambandha, transmitted it to the Devas who, through divyādivya-sambandha, transmitted it to the Ṛṣis who finally, through adivya-sambandha, revealed the Yogajāgama to human beings (Manuṣya). (also see Anantaśambhu’s commentary on the Siddhāntasārāvali of Trilocanaśivācārya)

Shaivism book cover
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Shaiva (शैव, śaiva) or Shaivism (śaivism) represents a tradition of Hinduism worshiping Shiva as the supreme being. Closely related to Shaktism, Shaiva literature includes a range of scriptures, including Tantras, while the root of this tradition may be traced back to the ancient Vedas.

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Nirukta (Sanskrit etymology)

Source: Shiva Purana (nirukta)

Bhasma (भस्म) means “that which has controlled the essence of the whole universe”. (Bha=vṛddhi (flourishing essence). Sma=svayam. Manyate=‘considers his own’).

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Nirukta (निरुक्त) or “etymology” refers to the linguistic analysis of the Sanskrit language. This branch studies the interpretation of common and ancient words and explains them in their proper context. Nirukta is one of the six additional sciences (vedanga) to be studied along with the Vedas.

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Shaktism (Shakta philosophy)

Source: Google Books: Manthanabhairavatantram

Bhasma (भस्म) means “ashes”, according to the second recension of the Yogakhaṇḍa of the Manthānabhairavatantra, a vast sprawling work that belongs to a corpus of Tantric texts concerned with the worship of the goddess Kubjikā.—Accordingly, as the Goddess (i.e., Khageśī) said to the God (i.e., Bhairava), “[...] Being one who has matted hair, shaved head, (having a) topknot, carrying a skull, smeared with ashes [i.e., bhasma-guṇḍita] or wearing the five insignias—O god, (none of this) leads to accomplishment in the Kula tradition. (Even) a renouncer who does not bear the five insignias and is naked does not quickly achieve success in the western (transmission) of the House of the Yoginīs. This is forbidden and (so) all this is absent in the Kaula (teachings). O Maheśvara, as this is improper how can the Command be given to you?”.

Shaktism book cover
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Shakta (शाक्त, śākta) or Shaktism (śāktism) represents a tradition of Hinduism where the Goddess (Devi) is revered and worshipped. Shakta literature includes a range of scriptures, including various Agamas and Tantras, although its roots may be traced back to the Vedas.

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In Buddhism

Tibetan Buddhism (Vajrayana or tantric Buddhism)

Source: The Indian Buddhist Iconography

Bhasma (भस्म) refers to “ashes” and represents one of the five auspicious symbols of Nairātmā.—The Indian Museum image is the only image of this goddess [Nairātmā] which conforms to the description given in the sādhana. Here the goddess, in accordance with the Dhyāna, has a terrible appearance with canine teeth, garland of heads and three eyes rolling in anger. She stands on the corpse lying on its back, and dances in the ardhaparyaṅka attitude. Burning flames radiate from her person, and her hair rise upwards in the shape of a flame. She is decked in the five auspicious symbols, the kaṇṭhikā (torque), rucaka (bracelets), ratna (jewels), mekhalā (girdle), and bhasma (ashes) or the sūtra (sacred thread) in the form of a garland of heads. She bears the image of her sire Akṣobhya on her crown and carries the menacing kartri in the right hand. The left hand holding the kapāla is broken. The khaṭvāṅga, as usual, hangs from her left shoulder.

Tibetan Buddhism book cover
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Tibetan Buddhism includes schools such as Nyingma, Kadampa, Kagyu and Gelug. Their primary canon of literature is divided in two broad categories: The Kangyur, which consists of Buddha’s words, and the Tengyur, which includes commentaries from various sources. Esotericism and tantra techniques (vajrayāna) are collected indepently.

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Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

bhasma : (nt.) ashes.

Source: Sutta: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary

Bhasma, (n) (nt.) (cp. Vedic bhasman (adj.); Sk. bhasman (n.), originally ppr. of bhas to chew & thus n-stem. It has passed into the a-decl. in Pali, except in the Loc. bhasmani (S. I, 169). Etymologically & semantically bhasman is either “chewing” or “anything chewed (small),” thus meaning particle, dust, sand, etc. ; and bhas is another form of psā (cp. Sk. psā morsel of food, psāta hungry=P. chāta). Idg. *bhsā & *bhsam, represented in Gr. yw/xw to grind, yάmmos & yώxos sand; Lat. sabulum sand. The Dhtp 326 & Dhtm 452 explain bhas by bhasmīkaraṇa “reduce to ashes,” a pp. of it is bhasita; it also occurs in Sk. Loc. bhasi) ashes S. I, 169=Nd2 576 (Loc. bhasmani); Vv 8444; J. III, 426; Vism. 469 (in comparison).

Pali book cover
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Pali is the language of the Tipiṭaka, which is the sacred canon of Theravāda Buddhism and contains much of the Buddha’s speech. Closeley related to Sanskrit, both languages are used interchangeably between religions.

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Marathi-English dictionary

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

bhasma (भस्म).—n (S) Ashes. 2 Any metallic oxyde.

Source: DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English

bhasma (भस्म).—n Ashes. Any metallic oxide.

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Marathi is an Indo-European language having over 70 million native speakers people in (predominantly) Maharashtra India. Marathi, like many other Indo-Aryan languages, evolved from early forms of Prakrit, which itself is a subset of Sanskrit, one of the most ancient languages of the world.

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Sanskrit dictionary

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Bhasma (भस्म):—[from bhas] in [compound] for bhasman.

context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family (even English!). Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

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Hindi dictionary

Source: DDSA: A practical Hindi-English dictionary

Bhasma (भस्म) [Also spelled bhasm]:—(nf) ash, cinders, calx; ~[sāt] reduced to ashes, burnt to ashes;—[caḍhānā/ramānā/lagānā] to turn into an ascetic/a mendicant; —[honā] to be reduced to ashes; to be ruined.

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