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Bhasmajabala Upanishat


[*This is 87th in order of 108 Upanishads.]

By R. A. Sastri


Om. Next, Bhusunda Jabala prostrated before the lord Siva, who is residing at the top of the Kailasa, who is the Essence of the Om, who is the great lord, who has the crescent moon on his forehead, whose eyes are the sun, the moon and the fire, who has the brightness equal to the light of unlimited suns and moons, who is clad with the tiger skin and has antelope in hand, who has besmeared himself the whole body with Bhasma, in whose forehead are shining the three lines drawn across by Bhasma, who has his five different faces filled with smile, who sits on the Virasana seat, who is immeasurable, having no beginning nor end, who is without parts, free from the qualities, who is calm, without attributes, or miseries, who is pronouncing the formula ‘Hum,; and ‘Phat,’ and even chanting the Siva names, who has gold in hand, whose form is gold with golden hue, who is the source of gold, who has no duality, who is the fourth, who is above Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra, who is the one and who is desired by all. Again he worshipped him frequently by Bhilva leaves, and Bhasma; adoring him with folded hands, he addressed him thus: O Lord, taking out the Essence of the Vedas, instruct me the rules of Tripundra, knowing which one, without depending on any other else, attains Salvation. Which are the materials of Bhasma? Which are the places where it should be applied? What are the mantras and how many of them should be chanted when applying it? Who are the aspirants for it? What are their observances? Please enlighten me, thy student, till I realize the Salvation!

2.    Next, the Supreme Compassionate Lord Paramesvara, looking at his retinue and the Devas replied:

3.    Before the Sun rise collecting pure cow-dung, one should deposit it in the Asvatha leaves and dry it by any means of the heat while chanting the mantra ‘Trayambaka’; he should kindle the fire according to the rules of one’s own Grihya Sutra, deposit in it the cow-dung chanting ‘Somaya Svaha’; next he should give in oblation the oil-seed mixed with ghee 1562 times. He should use in the ghee-oblation the Parna (Sami) leaf for spoon. By this he drives out the sin. The mantra to be used in the oblation is ‘Trayambaka’ only. At the end, by ‘Svishtakrit’ mantra he should perform the ‘Purvahuti’ (the finishing oblation). By this mantra only the offering of Bali should be performed in the eight quarters. By Bhasmagayatri (sadyojataya vidmahe, &c.) he should sprinkle water over it and remove the Bhasma to a golden, silver, copper or to an earthen vessel, and again sprinkling water over it reciting the Rudra mantras, he should deposit it in a pure place. Next, he should feed the Brahmanas. Thus, he becomes purified.

4.    He should handle the Bhasma reciting the mantras ‘manastoka’ and five ‘Sadyojata’ &c, and by bowing his head should adore it reciting the mantras. ‘Agni is Bhasma, Vayu is Bhasma, Water is Bhasma, Earth is Bhasma, Ether is Bhasma, the Devas are Bhasma, the Rishis are Bhasma, all this indeed is Bhasma, the pure and the purifier, I prostrate before it which immediately destroys all the sins.’

5.    He should keep it a little purified in his left palm, chanting the ‘Vamadeva’ mantra and sprinkle water over it pronouncing the mantra ‘Tryambaka’ and should mix it with water reciting the mantra ‘pure with pure.’ After the consecrating he should besmear it from foot to head, reciting the five Brahma Mantras.

6.    Next the application of the remaining Bhasma. Taking the Bhasma in hand chanting the mantra ‘Agner Bhusmasi’ (thou art come from the fire), draw across three lines in the head by the second, third and fourth fingers reciting the mantra ‘murdhanam’; he should draw the three lines across the forehead reciting the mantra ‘Trayambaka’; across the neck, reciting ‘Nilagriva’; across the right side of it, reciting ‘Trayayusham’; across the two cheeks, reciting ‘Vama’ and ‘Kalaya’; across the eyes reciting ‘Trilochana’; across the ears, reciting ‘Srunuvana’; across the mouth reciting ‘Prabruvama’; across the breast (heart) reciting ‘Atman’; across navel, reciting ‘Nabhi’; across the right arm reciting ‘Bhavaya’; across the middle of it, reciting ‘Rudraya’; across the wrist of it, reciting ‘Sarvaya’; across the hind-palm of it, reciting ‘Pasupataye’; across the left arm reciting ‘Ugraya’; across the middle of it, reciting ‘Agrevadhaya’; across the wrist of it, reciting ‘Durevadhaya’; across the hind-palm of it, reciting ‘Numohantre’; across the shoulders, reciting ‘Sankaraya’; thus respectively applying Bhasma, he should adore Siva reciting ‘Somaya’.

7.    Next washing his hands, he should drink that Bhasma water reciting ‘Apahpununtu’ (Let the water purify me). He should not throw down this water, certainly he should not do it.

8.    Thus he should observe this Bhasma Dharana carefully according to the ordinance, at the three times, - morning, noon and evening. Showing negligence causes one to fall.

9.    To the Brahmanas this is the only Dharma, certainly this is the only Dharma.

10.    He should neither eat food nor drink water nor do anything else without the preceding Bhasma Dharana. Giving up Bhasma Dharana by indifference, one should not recite the Gayatri, nor should one give oblation in the Sacred fire, nor perform oblations to the Devas, Rishis, and Pitris* [* When the Sruti ordains thus, many ignorantly perform Sraddha &c. without Bhasma Dharana.] and others. This is the eternal Dharma which destroys all the sins and causes one to attain salvation. This is the Eternal Dharma for the four classes of Brahmanas - Brahmacharin, Householder, Forest dweller, and Sanyasin. If they do not observe this, they incur Sin.

11.    If a Brahmana does not observe this by chance, he becomes purified by fasting for a day, repeating the Gayatri, one hundred and eight times, standing in the water.

12.    If a sanyasin does not observe the Bhasma Dharana once by indifference, he is purified by repeating Pranava twelve thousand times, fasting a day. Otherwise, Indra sends the Sanyasins to the wolves.

13.    If the Bhasma becomes scarce, one can obtain it from a Brahmana’s holy hearth or from anywhere else and should use it after consecration.

14.    Studying this in the morning removes the sin committed during the night; also removes one from the sin of committing theft of gold.

15.    In the noon, after finishing the midday prayer till the end of Upastana ceremony, the recitation of this, facing the Sun, with concentration, removes the sin of tasting the spirituous liquor; likewise, it removes the sin of the theft of gold, of killing a Brahmana, cows, horses, teacher and parents.

16.    If one repeats this at the three occasions (morning &c), he acquires the virtue of studying all the Vedas and of bathing in all the holy waters. Always, recitation of this gives one his full life, makes him the possessor of plenty of kin and wealth and leads him to the world of Prajapati (after death).

17.    Therefore one should repeat this Upanishat constantly. Thus says the Lord Samba Sadasiva.


Next, Bhusunda Jabala with adoration addressed Samba Mahadeva again.

2.    What is that which a Brahmana should observe daily, and neglecting which he incurs sin? Who is to be worshipped? Who is to be meditated upon? Who is to be remembered? How to be meditated upon? Where to reside? Reply to me concisely.

3.    He answered: before the Sun-rise, finishing the calls of nature, one should bathe, reciting the Rudrasuktas. Next, he should wear a fresh cloth.

4.    To remove the sin, he should meditate upon the rising sun. Besmearing with the Bhasma the whole body, he should adorn himself with Tripundra in the designated places by white Bhasma, and with white Rudraksha beads. In this there is no discrimination. Some say one should wear in the head a garland of forty beads, one or three in the tuft of the hair, twelve in the ears, thirty-two around the neck, sixteen in each arm, twelve in each wrists, and six in each thumb.

5.    Next, he should perform the daily Sandhya, wearing the munja grass in hands.

6.    He should perform Homa in the Sacred fire reciting the mantras ‘Agner Jyotis’ &c.

7.    Next, the worship of the Siva-linga at the three Sandhyas (morning &c). Sitting on the munja grass seat he should meditate on me alone who is with Uma, who is sitting on the sacred bull, with golden arms, with golden colour and form, who is the remover of the noose of the Pasus (the ignorant Jivas), who is the Purusha, with blue and yellow line, whose seed is drawn up, who has a peculiar eye, who has all forms with a thousand eyes, thousand faces, thousand feet, and many arms, who is all Atman, who is one without the second, who has no attributes nor actions, who is calm, who is the good, imperishable and unchangeable, who is the father of Hari and Brahma, and who is incomprehensible having no beginning nor end.

8.    He should bath me reciting the Rudra-Suktas and worship me with white Bhasma and fresh or old three-pointed bilva leaves. In this there is no deliberation. He should prepare all the necessities of the worship. Next, the offering of the food. Then comes the repetition of Rudradhyaya eleven times. One recitation of it leads one to infinity. Next, comes the recitation of the six or eight-syllabled Siva-Mantra one should pronounce ‘om’ first, ‘namah’; next, and last the three-syllabled word ‘Sivaya’. ‘O’ first, ‘namah’ next, and the five syllabled ‘Mahadeva’ last. (Thus are the six and eight syllabled mantras). There is not one mantra equal to these for crossing (the ocean of Samsara). This five-syllabled one (excluding Om) is called Taraka (resuer).

9.    (Question) Which is the Saiva Mantra called Saiva Taraka?

10.    (Answer)    This (Taraka five-syllabled) mantra is imparted to the Saiva Jivas at avimulta. This Saiva Mantra alone rescues one (from the trans migratory life) and indicates Brahman.

11.    I, Soma, am Brahman; I Soma (with Uma), am Vayu; I Soma, am that which is pervading through all. I am the creator of the senses. I, Soma, am the creator of the Earth. I, Soma, am the creator of the Fire, the Sun, Indra, Vishnu, the Moon, the Devas and all the worlds – Bhuh, Bhuvah, Suvah, and others.

12.    I, Soma, am the creator of various worlds, past, present and future. I, Rudra the great seer transcending all, see the Brahma and other created beings. I am the Rudra who is in the fire, water, and in the herbs and who has entered all the worlds. I am alone the Self, and the inner self. I am the Brahman Light. There is none except me. I am alone Supreme, transcending all. Knowing me alone one attains immortality and crosses misery. Realizing me alone drives out the pain of Samsara. Hence I am Rudra (the remover of pain). I am the Supreme goal of all and many-formed. One should worship realizing ‘That all being proceed from me,’ the created beings live by me and enter into me in the end; I am alone praised by the Devas and other beings. Out of fear of me, the wind blows, the Sun rises. Out of fear of me, the fire and Indra do (their allotted functions). I am the supporter and protector of all beings. I am earth, I am water, light, wind, time, quarters, I am the Atman, and in me everything is established. The knower of Brahman reaches the Supreme. Let there be O Sadasiva, to me, Om, Brahman, Siva. I have no eyes but have eyes on all sides; I have no ears, but have ears everywhere. I have no feet, hands, faces, but have feet, hands and faces everywhere. I am supported by Knowledge alone and my form is of Vidya and Vidya only. I am the lord of all and immortal. Thus realizing me, one is freed from the bondage of Samsara. Therefore I am the remover of the noose of the Pasus. The Pasus of the Deva and human groups, with concentrated mind, are making effort to reach me only. They who reach me never come back (to the worldly life), never come back.

13.    Taking abode in Kasi which is on the trident (of Siva), all enter me only after death. Just as the oblations given in the blazing fire (without attachment for the result) do not send down the sacrifice, so after casting away this body which is the refuge of worms, he never gets again this sort of body.

14.    This is the teaching. This is the instruction. This is the Supreme Dharma.

15.    One should not at any time fall from the truth; so also from besmearing oneself with Bhasma, Tripundra Dharana and Rudraksha. One should not at any time show negligence of my worship.

16.    One should not answer the calls of nature in the precincts of the shrine of Gods.

17.    One should not show indifference to observe penances. The observation of the above (rules) is the real penance, the real penance.

18.    They who desire Salvation should not give up Kasi, they should not do it, I am the redeemer of those who live in avimukta. There is not a place superior to avimukta, certainly there is not.

19.    There are four places in Kasi; of them antargriha (inner-abode) is better; Avimukta is the best.

20.    In it there are five places; of them, the Sivagara in the center is the best. In the east of it is the Aisvara Sthana. In the south is Vichalana Sthana. In the west is Vairagya Sthana. In the north is Jnana Sthana. In the center of them I reside in the shape of the Jyotir Linga, who is untainted, unchangeable, who has neither beginning nor end, who is to be known by all the Vedas and Vedantas, who is beyond definition, and explanations, who never swerves from his own nature, who wished by all, who has no second, who is the support of all, who is himself unsupported, who is imperceptible, and who is daily worshipped by Brahma, Vishnu, Indra and other Superior Devas.

21.    He alone is called a worshipper of me, who worships this Linga.

22.    The Sun, the Moon and the Fire do not brighten the Linga. It is Self-shining and resides here assuming the name Visvesvara pervading through Patala. I amit. I am really worshipped by one who worships me there by three-pointed fresh Bilva leaves, with one mind, dedicating his life and all other actions to me alone, adoring his body with Rudraksha garlands and Bhasma.

23.    Him alone, who worships me with wholeheartedness, taking refuge in me and ever devoted to my worship, I accept; him alone, free from the bondage of Samsara.

24.    One should worship the Visvesvara Linga daily, bathing it reciting the Rudra Suktas, he should take in the consecrated water three times. He is freed from the sin of great crimes. He never undergoes misery and is free from the bondage of Samsara.

25.    Without worshipping me one should not eat food, nor fruits nor anything else. If he does eat, he is the eater of the vital fluid. If he does drink water, he swallows the putrefied matter.

26.    By indifference having neglected my worship once, if one takes his food or feeds others, he should, having got himself shaved, take in the Panchagavya (a mixture of the five products namely, cow’s milk, cow’s curd, cow’s ghee, cow’s urine and cow-dung), fasting the previous day. He should bath in the water reciting Rudra Suktas and chant the Rudradhyaya three times, looking at the Sun with meditation. Thus the defaulter should undergo the bathing ceremony chanting the Rudra Mantras. In the end feeding the Brahmanas, he becomes purified. If he does not perform this expiation he, after death, undergoes the miseries of hell.

27.    One should take his food after worshipping me, the Visvesvara, by leaves, fruits or anything else.

28.    Bathing me, who is in the form of Siva Linga by Kapila’s (brown coloured cow) milk, chanting the Rudra-Sukta, one becomes purified from the sin of Brahmanicide. Bathing me by Kapila’s curd, he is purified from the sin of tasting the spirituous liquor. Bathing me by Kapila’s ghee, he is purified from the sin of having intercourse with the wife of one’s own teacher. Bathing me by white sugar, he is purified from the sin of killing all the beings. Bathing me by milk and other above mentioned articles, he obtains all the desired objects.

29.    Thus each article should consist of one hundred big measures. One becomes freed from the bondage of samsara by worshipping me with one thousand of big measures of the above articles.

30.    One should bath me only, who is the form of Siva-linga, during the ardra constellations, full-moon and new-moon days, vyatipata, eclipse-times, and the beginning days of the months, and worship me with rice grains mixed with Yava and oil-seeds and with Bilva leaves, offering scents prepared by the ghee of Kapila cow, and gandhasara powder; and also light; he should offer food and other edibles mixed with ghee and flowers with prayers. Thus with earnestness, worshipping me, he attains my equality (Sayujya).

31.    One, desirous of attaining Chandra-loka, should worship me with one hundred big measures of unbroken rice, and he reaches the chandraloka.

32.    Worshipping me with the same measure of oil-seeds, one, desirous of attaining Vayu-loka, reaches the same loka.

33.    Worshipping me with the same measure of black gram, one, desirous of Varuna-loka, reaches it.

34.    Worshipping me with the same measure of Yava grains, one, desirous of Surya-loka, reaches it.

35.    Worshipping me with the above mentioned articles of double the quantity, one, desirous of attaining heaven, reaches the same.

36.    One, desirous of reaching Brahmaloka worshipping me with four times the quantity of the above articles, attains the same.

37.    Worshipping me with the above articles of one hundred measures in quantity, one, desirous of my world, reaches it, after crossing the Brahma Kosa (the veil of Brhaman, i.e. Vijnanamaya), where death has no place for him. There is not a world superior to that of mine, obtaining which one does not feel misery, one does not return to this world, certainly does not return.

38.    The Yogins and other perfected Siddhas think on me who is in the form of Linga and worship me. The Sacrificers worship me only. Me only, the Devas, the Upanishats with their supplements and Itihasa praise.

39.    There is nothing except me. I am, indeed, all. Everything is established in me. Therefore one should worship me daily at Kasi, with earnestness.

40.    There the retinue of Rudra with fierce faces and heads, possessed of different weapons, forms and emblems, besmeared themselves with holy ashes and wearing the Rudraksha garlands, meditate on me always with folded hands.

41.    There, in the eastern quarter Brahma with folded hands, is worshipping me day and night.

42.    In the southern quarter, Vishnu, resting his folded hands on his head, worships me. In the western quarter, Indra with bending limbs worships me. In the northern quarter the devotees of Uma, wearing the golden ornaments and golden apparels, worship me.

43.    Me only, worship the Devas with their four forms.

44.    In the southern quarters, the abode of Salvation is called ‘mukti mantapa’ (the abode of liberation). Many a Rudra retinue guards it jealously with weapons, driving out the sins of the devotees.

45.    There, the Rishis, Sambhavas, Pasupatas, and Maha Saivas recite the five-syllabled mantra of Siva, which is the crest-jewel of the Vedas, added with the Taraka Pranava, and remain blissfully.

46.    There is a seat made of jewels. Sitting on it, I bring the devotees of mine, who have cast the mortal coils which are the food of worms, at Kasi, and seat them on my lap and smoothly touch their limbs which are besmeared with the holy ashes and are decked with Rudraksha garlands. I impart to them the Taraka Siva Mantra, telling, ‘let there be no more birth and death to them.’ Then they, becoming liberated, enter me, with the body of wisdom (Vijnanamaya), and never come back to this world, like the oblations thrown into the blazing fire.

47.    In this place alone to attain Salvation, this five-syllabled Siva mantra is imparted. This is the only seat of Salvation. This is the Om. They, who dedicate all their actions to me and whose minds are entered in me, alone get my form but no others. This is Brahmavidya.

48.    They, who are desirous of Salvation, should live in Kasi only, possessed of knowledge and strength; they should meditate on me alone. I am the wisdom-abode of Brahman, with four walls which death never enters, and which Brahma, Indra, Agni, Varuna and others never realize. I am immersed in golden hue, I am embraced with Uma, I am equal to the brightness of crores of the moons, I have the moon in my crown, my eyes are the sin, the moon and the fire, my body is besmeared with the holy ashes, and I am the good and they involve in me alone, having been freed from bondage and sin.

49.    They who lead their life otherwise at Kasi, answering the calls of nature, living on begging, giving up the Bhasma application, without wearing the Rudraksha garlands, not observing the Somavara vow, without keeping the sacred fire and Visvesvara worships, without reciting the Panchakshara mantra and giving up the worship of Bhairava, meet, after their death at Kasi, with terrible and fearful torments in hell of various kinds. After the purification they reach me ultimately.

50.    They who pollute the Antargriha with their vital seed and urine are said to undergo the sin of propitiating their Pitris with the same.

51.    Nilalohita Bhairava, seeing the evil doer at death, throws him at the group of weapons and also at the blazing fire, altars and other places.

52.    Therefore one should lead his life at Kasi, which is in the form of Linga, very carefully, should lead his life there very carefully. Thus says the Upanishat.

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