Back to Roots : 24 Tilak

Hinduism, or Hindu Mythology is profind and dotted with immense small and big things with much deper meaning.

It is observed and it’s an age old practice to apply Tilak in most Hindu rituals like Rakshabandhan, Diwali Puja, Holi, Thread Ceremony etc there is tradition of applying Tilak on the Maatha (forehead). In Hinduism, the TILAK is a mark worn usually on the forehead, sometimes other parts of the body such as neck, hand or chest. The Tilak invokes a feeling of sanctity in the wearer and others.

This term also refers to the Hindu ritual of marking someone’s forehead with a fragrant paste, such as of sandalwood or vermilion, as a welcome and expression of honour when they arrive.

Hindus use the Tilak ceremony, as a mark of honour and welcome to the guests, something special or someone special. It may also be used, for the same reason, to mark idols at the start of a Puja (worship), to mark a rock or tree before it is cut or removed from its original place for artisan work, or a new piece of property.

A tilak is applied on the forehead between the eye brows, this stimulates and emanates energy in the form of electromagnetic waves in the entire body..

It is a point, that needs to be calmed down. That is why worry generates heat and causes a headache. The Tilak on the forehead, protects us and prevents energy loss. Sometimes the entire forehead is covered with Chandan or Bhasma. Our ancestors, truly had the wisdom to live the life in its best form.

The space on the forehead between the eyebrows is the center of the brain’s thinking faculties. The Yogis call it the Ajna Chakra. It is also termed as Lord Shiva’s third eye as it is the abode of noble thoughts. Application of sandalwood paste or vermillion as a Tilak on the spot helps in nurturing the Ajna Chakra and the two adjacent glands. This also develops intellectual power, vitality and faculty of thinking. Therefore, application of Tilak is beneficial from both a scientific and spiritual point of view. That is why there is a custom in Hindus religion to apply Tilak before starting any auspicious task.

Significance

Chapter 2 of the Kalagni Rudra Upanishad, a Shaiva traditional text, explains the three lines of a Tilak as a reminder of various triads: three sacred fires, three syllables in Om, three gunas, three worlds, three types of atman (self), three powers in oneself, first three Vedas, three times of extraction of the Vedic drink Soma.

Traditions

Saivites typically mark their Tilak using vibhuti (ash) in three horizontal lines across the forehead. Along with the three horizontal lines, a bindu of sandalwood paste or a dot of red kumkum in the centre completes the Tilaka (tripundra).

Vaishnavas apply a Tilak with vermillion, clay, sandalwood paste (Chandan), or latter two mixed. They apply the material in two vertical lines, which may be connected at the bottom, forming a simple U shape, often with an additional vertical red marking in the shape of a tulsi leaf inside the U shape. Their tilaka is called the Urdhva Pundra. See also Srivaishnava Urdhva Pundra, the Srivaishnava tilak.

Ganapatya uses red sandal paste (rakta chandan).

Honourary tilakas (Raja tilak and Vira tilak are usually applied as a single vertical red line. Raja tilak will be used while enthroning kings or inviting prominent personalities. Vira tilak is used to anoint victors or leaders after a war or a game.

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