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Published on Mar 10, 2011
The vibhuti abishekam (i.e. ceremonial bath of an image of God) started with Swami pouring a liquid called panchamrita (ghee, milk, yoghurt, honey and sugar) over the silver statue of Shirdi Baba. The statue was then washed with water and then Swami wiped it dry. Professor Kasturi then held an empty pot over the statue and Swami pouring His hand into the pot. Lo and behold, streams of divine vibhuti (holy ash) poured from the pot over the silver statue in an unending flow which stopped only when Baba removed His hand from inside the pot. The flow started again as soon as His hand went in again. Beloved Swami, describing the value an use of vibhuti in our daily life, said: Vibhuti is very precious in a truly spiritual sense. It represents the burning of desires that agitate the mind and cause confusion. Regarding the use of vibhuti as the only treatment for sickness and injury, He said: Do not give importance to minor sickness and injury. In more serious matters it is best that prayer be made to Swami. This is important. What I materialize is the manifestation of divinity with potent significance as well as symbolism. It is symbolic of the cosmic, immortal and infinite nature of all forms of God, Atma or the spirit -- that is, what is left when everything worldly, transient and changeable has burnt away. In the first place it is symbolic of the life-death cycle in which everything ultimately reduces itself to ash. For dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. Ash or dust is the final condition of things. It cannot undergo any further changes. In the spiritual context it constitutes a warning to the receiver to give up desire, to burn all passions, attachments and temptations, and make oneself pure in thought, word and deed. It is in order to press home this lesson that I materialize ash (vibhuti) for those who come to me with love and devotion. Like other materializations, it also acts as a talisman, healing the sick, and giving protection to those who need it. It is the symbol of divinity. It is named vibhuti since it endows one with prosperity, Bhasma because it burns away all sins, Bhasitam because it increases one's spiritual splendor, Ksharam because it removes danger, and Raksha because it is an armour protecting against the machinations of evil spirits. This is how vibhuti is praised in the Brihad Jabala Upanishad.