Why we put Tilak on the forehead?
Without the worship of Sri Ganesh no work in
Sanatan Dharma should begin. Likewise,no religious work should
begin without a Tilak on the forehead.
Chandan or sandalpaste,Roli,Kumkum,Sindoor and
Sacred Ash or Vibhuti can also be used as Tilak.
Tilak is a mark of auspiciousness. It is put on the
forehead with sandal paste, sacred ashes or kumkum (red tumeric).
The devotees of Siva apply sacred ashes (Bhasma) on the forehead,
the devotees of Vishnu apply sandal paste (Chandan), and the
worshippers of Devi or Shakti apply Kumkum, a red tumeric
The scriptures say: "A forehead without a
Tilak, a woman without a husband, a Mantra the meaning of which
is not known while doing Japa (recitation), the head that does
not bend before holy personages, a heart without mercy, a house
without a well, a village without a temple, a country without a
river, a society without a leader, wealth that is not given away
in charity, a preceptor without a disciple, a country without
justice, a king without an able minister, a woman not obedient to
her husband, a well without water, a flower without smell, a soul
devoid of holiness, a field without rains, an intellect without
clearness, a disciple who does not consider his preceptor as a
form of God, a body devoid of health, a custom (Achar) without
purity, austerity devoid of fellow-feeling, speech in which truth
is not the basis, a country without good people, work without
wages, Sannyasa without renunciation, legs that have not
performed pilgrimages, determination unaided by Viveka or
discrimination, a knife which is blunt, a cow that does not give
milk, a spear without a point- all these are worthy of
condemnation. They exist for name´s sake only."
From this you can imagine the importance of Tilak
or the sacred mark.
Tilak is applied at the Ajna Chakra, the space
between the two eyebrows. It has a very cooling effect.
Application of sandal paste has great medicinal value, apart from
the spiritual influence. Application of sandal paste will nullify
the heating effect when you concentrate and meditate at the
Bhrumadhya. Tilak indicates the point at which the spiritual eye
opens. Lord Siva has a third eye at the Brumadhya. When he opens
the third eye, the three worlds are destroyed.
So also, when the third eye of the Jiva is opened,
the three kinds of afflictions - Adhyatmika, Adhidaivika and
Adhibhautika- are burnt to ashes. The three Karmas- Sanchita,
Prarabdha and Agami,- and also all the sins committed in the
countless previous births, are burnt. When you apply the Tilak,
you mentally imagine: "I am the one non-dual Brahman free
from all duality. May my eye of intuition open soon." You
should remember this every time you apply a Tilak.
There are various methods of applying Tilak. Saivas
apply three horizontal lines with the sacred ashes. The
vaishnavas apply three vertical lines (Tripundra) on the
forehead. When they apply Tilak, they say: "O Lord, protect
me from the evil effects of the Trigunatmika Maya which has
Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas as its binding cords."
Some Vaishnavas apply only one vertical line. Only
the method of application differs, but the significance is the
same in both the Vaishnavas and the Saivas.
The Tilak is used in various ways for different
Without the Tilak,Sandhya,Pooja,Deva Darshan,Tarpan
and other religious activities should not be performed.
There are thirteen places on the human body where
Tilak can be placed.However it is only on the forehead that it is
noble.The head is the summit of the body with the brain being the
axis of the entire body.
According to Hindu Astrology,Mesh Rasi or the House
of Aries is on the forehead.The Lord of Mesh is Mars and His
colour is Red.This is why Red Chandan and Sindoor is placed as
Tilak on the forehead.
The fingers used for applying Tilak are as
At the base of the little finger is Mecury,at the
base of the ring-finger is Sun,at the base of the middle finger
is Saturn,at the base of the index finger is Jupiter and at the
base of the thumb is Venus.
Perfect peace is experienced at Sunrise,Saturn is
the protector of lifespan,Jupiter represents immortality and
Venus represents health.Tilak applied with the ring-finger and
the thumb is very benifical.
In addition to this,the Sun represents
firmness,brilliance,honour,respect and faith.These are the
blessings achieved by applying Tilak with the ring-finger.Venus
gives lifeforce,health,is the creator of new life,the bestower of
gentility and politeness.This is achieved by applying Tilak with
Women should use the ring-finger for applying
Bindie with unbroken rice grains. Men should also use unbroken
rice grains(Akshat)mixed in red chandan and apply the Tilak with
The unbroken rice grains symbolises steadfastness
and firmness of the brain and is also a symbol of peace.
It is reffered to as Deva Dhanya----grains of the