The Great Power of Bhasma.
Trivikrama bowed to Sri Guru and asked. "Oh Guru, how did the Chandala get knowledge. and how did it vanish after the bath?"
Sri Guru said,"He received knowledge when I sprinkled Vibhuti, the sacred ashes on him. His knowledge disappeared when the ashes disappeared. One who applies Vibhuti will become pure and whole and get knowledge of Brahman." Then He narrated a story:
In Krithayuga there was a Mahayogi named Vamadeva. He used to apply Bhasma to His body. He was without pride and desire. Once He wandered into a forest named Krauncharanya. There a demon came to eat Him. But as He held Vamadeva, some bhasma on Vamadeva's body rubbed off onto his body. As a result, the demon's sins were washed away and he received enlightenment. "Oh, Trivikrama, one's sins are washed away on one's coming into contact with a person of good character and integrity."
The demon bowed to Vamadeva and prayed for redemption. Sri Guru asked the demon about him. The demon said,""Now I remember my 25 previous births, before which I was a king named Durjaya. I was a wicked king, harassed my citizens, including women, and drank alcohol. Due to all this I had to go to hell and become a ghost for a hundred years. Then I took birth as a dog, a jackal, and other animals. I was tired of all these births. Then I became a demon. Although I eat so many animals, I am still hungry. So I came to eat You. But the contact with Your body has washed my sins away. I have attained peace and acquired knowledge. Oh compassionate one, redeem me, and explain to me how I attained knowledge due to contact with the Bhasma on Your body."
Vamadeva said, "The power of Bhasma is great and limitless. You touched my body on which I had applied the sacred ashes." With these words he put the power of the Shiva mantra into the Bhasma and gave it to the demon to apply.
The demon said, "Oh Sri Jagadguru, I met You due to my good deeds in my previous birth. As a king I had built a water tank, and gave lands and cows to Brahmins,so now I have been rewarded. I have been purified." With these words he applied Bhasma to his body. On doing so he immediately got a heavenly body.
Vamadeva was an incarnation of Trimurthy (Dattatreya) in form of a Rishi. As Jagadguru He wandered from place to place to redeem humans. This demon bowed to Vamadeva and attained moksha. This was the story Sri Guru told to describe the glory of Bhasma.
The power of Bhasma is great. Even a demon was saved by it. But no Mantra is successful unless it is blessed by a Guru. That is why they say no salvation is possible without the Guru. He is the liberator and the protector.