The forehead mark Tilak has a lot of significance in
India, as it is believed to be associated with good luck. Tilak is
applied on the space between the eyebrows, which is referred to as Ajna
Chakra. The Hindu symbol Tilak stands for victory, success and good
fortune. The tradition of applying Tilaka is being practiced since ages.
There are different kinds of tilak; some are made by using sandal paste,
while others use kumkum, sacred ashes (vibhuti) and turmeric. In many
Hindu families, Tilaka is worn on a daily basis, before stepping out of
house to ensure health and safety. While other people wear it on
specific religious occasions.
Significance of Tilak
There are different types of Tilak, each differing in
its significance. Tilak is worn on the Ajna Chakra, the centre of
forehead, on the space between the eyebrows. Tilak is applied on the
point at which the third eye or the spiritual eye is believed to open.
All the actions of humans are governed by this specific point.
Application of tilak is customary and infact, most of the Hindu
ceremonies begin with the application of tilak. Well, Tilak can be
made by using sandal paste, turmeric, kumkum or ashes. Depending on
the purpose for which Tilak is applied, the material is chosen for
preparing the sacred forehead mark.
Sandal: White sandal symbolizes purity,
calmness and tranquility
Kumkum: Red kumkum signifies power, vigor,
dynamism and stability
Turmeric: Saffron colored turmeric stands for
wealth, fortune, prosperity and opulence
Holy Ashes or Vibhuti: Vibhuti represents
dedication, devotion and commitment
Tilak can be applied in varied forms as a mark of
auspiciousness as well as blessing. Numerous mentions have been made
about Tilak in the ancient scriptures such as Vedas and Upanishads.
Rig Veda has given an elaborate description about the life of Goddess
Usha, the consort of Lord Surya. She is portrayed as wearing a red dot
on her forehead that signifies the rising sun.
Types of Tilak
As per the traditions of Hindus, there are varied kinds
of Tilak, each having its distinctive importance. Regarded as the sign
of good luck and prosperity, Tilak is applied on the forehead. The
forehead mark Tilak can be made by using sandal paste, turmeric, holy
ashes (Vibhuti) or kumkum. The worshippers of Lord Shiva called Saivites
apply tilaka made from the sacred ashes, since it symbolizes purity,
consecration and sanctification. They mostly draw three horizontal lines
known as tripundra.
The devotees of Lord Vishnu on the other hand wear tilak made from
sandalwood paste (Chandan). They usually draw it in the form of three
vertical lines. The worshippers of Shakti or Devi apply kumkum. Shaktas
usually draw a single vertical line. However, at times, their tilak is
in the form of a single dot. Apart from these, there are other types of
tilak such as the honorary tilakas consisting of Raj Tilak and Vir Tilak.
They are mostly drawn as a single vertical line in red color.
Raj tilak is applied when some eminent personalities are called upon to
grace a particular function or event. It was used in the bygone times
while throning kings. Vir Tilak is applied to those who come out
victoriously after winning in the battle field. Tilak is more often
applied using the index finger. In some customs, it is put on the
forehead with the thumb. After applying tilak, it is usually topped with
a few grains of rice.
Since times immemorial, women have been applying tilak on their
forehead, which is more popularly known as bindi. Women wear it for the
sake of adorning themselves. Thus, it is more of a beauty mark for women
in India. The traditional bindi was drawn as a single dot. However,
today, there is an amazing variety of bindis available in the market,
coming up in distinctive shapes and sizes. Married women wear another
tilak between the parting of the hair just above the forehead, which is
referred to as sindoor. It is an indication of the marital status.