In the spiritual context, bhasma symbolizes burning the ego to ashes in order to unite with the higher Self or the divine. It represents liberation from the limitations of mortal life and freedom from the cycle of reincarnation. It is also a reminder of the temporary nature of the physical body, which will one day return to ashes.
Also called vibhooti, bhasma is the sacred ash from the fire of a yogi or saint or from the sacrificial fire known as yajna in which special wood, herbs, grains, ghee and other items are offered as part of a worship ritual. Bhasma is thought to destroy sin and consume evil.