Vibuthi - Thiruneeru
It is holy ash which Hindus put it across their forehead during or after prayers.
Thiruneeru which is an disinfectant when applied with the recitation of certain mantras has the ability to cure diseases.
The Thiruneeru has always been considered as having a certain sakti which manifest if it is applied with faith and the recitation of certain mantras.
When applied with devotion coupled with sincere practice, is said to be able to rid one of the fruits of his bad actions and acts as a purifier.
The healing powers of the Thiruneeru are legend. Saint Thirunaavukkarasar is one of those who was thus cured. Saint Thirunyanasambandhar has sung a lovely song about the qualities of the Thiruneeru.
All sages and wise men advice us to apply the thiruneeru at all times for it has the power to bring success.
It is also applied to concentrate our minds on good thoughts. It is to remind ourselves that we must ever strife to lead a godly life. The sakthi in thiruneeru is believed to be able to speed up the process of our own divinisation so that we become one pointed and finally reach God.
It must be noted that the ash cannot be reduced further by burning. No matter how long you burn it, it will remain ash. The use of the holy ash here is to remind man that God is eternal and unchanging in a sea of changing phenomena.All else changes; we change; but God remains the same and it is our duty and our inherent nature to seek to unite with the permanent. Every time he applies the thiruneeru, the devotee is reminded of the need to become more and more god conscious in his life so that finally he can have vision of God.
There is also another meaning: by applying the ash, man is reminded that he is not immoral and that one day he too will become ash. Therefore, he should not be egoistic or treat people badly.
He should do whatever good he can in the world and lead a divine life of service practising virtues like simplicity, humility, hospitality and honesty. He must be compassionate, loving and have devotion for God. He should realise that God gave him this life. Everything in the world is a creation of God. He should therefore not only be thankful and worship God with added devotion but should also act in consciousness of God.
Since he is mortal and may die at any time, it is therefore imperative that he try his best to achieve the goal of life which is having unitive knowledge of God or becoming one with God, thereby achieving immotality. He cannot put this off for he never knows when he will die so he must start on his God-ward journey now itself.
Normally, the Thiruneeru is picked up with three fingers of the fight hand and applied such that three lines form across the forehead.
This indicates the Trinity or the functions of Lord Shiva in his manifestation as Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra. Brahma is the Creator of all life, Vishnu is the Sustainer and Protector while Rudra dissolves everything back into its primal energy state from which Brahma again brings forth life.
This symbolic act is also an indicator of the play of the subatomic particles that are involved in a constant dance – called the Dance of Siva even by by some physicists – of creation, sustenance and destruction which gives us this universe of name and form.
This again reminds us that we come from God and must return to God.
Applying the Thiruneeru thus also represents an appeal to God to eradicate the three impurities of Aanavam, Maya and Karma from our life for only when we are free of these can we hope to achieve union with God.
While the prayer goes out to God, we have also to ralise this truth and endeavour to drop off the shackles of these three impurities.
It can therefore be seen from the above that the Thiruneeru is not applied simply for show or for fun. It has deep psychological meaning. We must always be conscious of this when applying the Thiruneeru to ensure max-mum benefit from our prayer and actions.