Significance of Tilak
Tilak is a mark of auspiciousness. It is put on the forehead with sandal paste, sacred ashes or kumkum (red turmeric). 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 turmeric powder.
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 the name’s sake only."
From this you can imagine the importance of Tilak or the sacred mark.
The Tilak covers the spot between the eyebrows, which connects to the Bhramanadi which is the seat of memory and thinking. 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 entire body emanates energy in the form of electromagnetic waves – the forehead and the subtle spot between the eyebrows especially so. That is why worry generates heat and causes a headache. The Tilak and pottu cools the forehead, protects us and prevents energy loss. Sometimes the entire forehead is covered with Chandan or Bhasma.
In yoga terms, it is called as Aajna Chakra (Brow Chakra). We know that the human body emits energy in the form of electromagnetic waves and especially the forehead and the subtle spot between the eyebrows. The imbalance in the body causes the energy to destabilize and causes worries and tension and hence headaches. The Tilak cools the forehead, protects us and prevents the loss of energy. Sometimes the entire forehead is covered with sandal wood or the holy ash. Moreover, one cannot be easily hypnotized when he/she is wearing these marks and also it acts as an acupressure point GV 24.5 (in acupressure terms) which is also a immune booster and potent point and when one regularly applies on this mark his immunity level never comes down easily. This point GV 24.5 along with CV 17 is also pressed during our prayer offerings when we fold our hands and bend our head down, thereby making the index and middle fingers touching the points and when we bring down our hand we touch the CV 17 with our thumbs. It also protects one from the other’s evil eyes because it neutralizes the negative thoughts of others when they see the face with Tilak, that is why young babies are put the black Kajal (a purified and medicated charcoal) on the side of their forehead and/or on cheeks and it is replaced by Kum Kum for adults. Anyone with strong meditative powers can control others evil eyes, hence he doesn’t require Kum Kum although he can wear it. The application of ash after bathing if seen carefully is on the whole of forehead and in all of the ashtaanga (eight limbs/joints) because this ash has the ability to suck out excess water hence protecting one from cold and sinus problems and has calcium in it so the limbs get calcium for stronger bone joints. When talking about calcium it is one of the main reasons of why Hindus are cremated and the men are asked to stay there till the body is fully burnt, because calcium is released and inhaling the smoke is good in a way for them. Men were chosen here because in those days they are the one who were bread earners and did labor work hence the joints and limbs wear off quicker than women.
Rasayan Shastra (Ayurvedic Alchemy) is one of the subjects in Asthanga Ayurveda. Mercury here is considered as a Maha dhathu (Main metal), we all know that mercury is a dangerous poison and its vapour is even more dangerous, but when processed under specific shodhana (purification) process it becomes pure and becomes a miraculous medicine. It is a great feeling to touch the Mercury after it is bound when purified. Parad Shivalinga that you find in Rameshwaram or a Ganesha statue or even beads is made from mercury after binding it. Please be aware that most of these are fake, don’t buy them unless you know the person from whom you are buying. Being a metal and a good conductor of energy while preparing the Shivalinga certain mantras are recited to charge up the lingam, just like chanting the mantras while installing a Mahameru or Sri Yantra at home after checking the correct Vaastu of the place. It is good to have a Parad Shivlinga at home. Once the shodhana process is completed, purified mercury is then converted to a Bhasma (calcinated) and according to the prescription and need it is added with different medicines. According to Rasayan Shastra there are around 64 different types of mercury and the purification process vary for different types. Sometimes more than one type of process can be administered to the Mercury. Hence,advice to anyone would be to bind the Mercury at home rather than buying the Bhasma and using it in the medicine as it is not accurately purified. Mercury binding is a very tedious process and very few Vaidya know this very accurately, Similarly we can also do the purification process of Gold, Silver, Copper, Bronze, Lead, Mica, Sulphur and convert them into a bhasma. Even diamond can be converted to bhasma and used as medicine for cancer, a strong aphrodisiac, body Rejuvenator by creating new cells. Mercury being considered as a Maha Dhathu is a most potent metal can cure any disorder and however old it may be. According to Ayurveda it is the best anti-ageing agent that one can use for remaining young and healthy. Interesting? Now in kum kum mercury in its pure compounded form is available as mercuric sulfide. Regularly using it will prevent the face from having wrinkles. Married women use this Vermillion on their Maang (top of forehead till the middle of the head) because it has those nerves that when activated reduces the stress and fatigue. Other ingredients like turmeric, camphor and lime powder and since turmeric is grown underground it has all the 18 nutrients of the earth (soil) and the important being iron, hence when applied of the forehead (middle of eyebrows) will regulate your body aura and eliminate negative energy and promote good health.
Below are some ways of how to identify original Kumkum.
1. Can be smelled from a small distance.
2. Very cold when touched
3. Very dry in nature
4. Blood red in colour.
Spiritual Significance :
The Tilak as we know is recognized as a religious mark mainly in our Sanathan Dharm (Hinduism) generally invokes a feeling of sanctity in the wearer and others seeing it. A white sandal wood Tilak mark signifies purity, a red kumkum mark signifies valour and is a blessing for victory as well. Turmeric can also be used as a tilak signifying prosperity. Sometimes black ash (Vibhuti) or charcoal mark is also used. The Vaishnava group of worshippers apply a sandal wood Tilak of the shape of "U,” Shaiva group of worshippers apply a (Vibhuthi – yagna/havan ash) in the tripundra (three horizontal lines), and worshippers of different goddesses use a red dot of kumkum, etc. The Tilak is applied after the prayers symbolizing that one should remember the Lord, his pious feeling pervade all his activities and he be righteous in his deeds and works well to remind these pointers even if one forgets to pray. Hence The Tilak is thus a blessing of the Lord and a protection against wrong tendencies and forces. Apart from that it also serves as a purpose of decoration and any woman wearing these marks will surely look more beautiful and attractive. Indian women body tone, structure is most suited for these bindi marks and jewels.
Hope you now understand why Sanathan Dharma shows the importance of having Tilak and other types of tilak marks in everyday life, there is mostly a scientific backend to a spiritual frontend. Sanathan Dharm is not about religion but more than that a way of life and how to pass it with harmony. If you read through carefully you can understand that how they deeply interconnected to each other.
Using plastic and reusable stickers is not very beneficial, even though it serves the purpose of decoration.
There are 12 types of Sri Tilaks
Sri Tilaka of Rewasa Gaddi
Srijiwarama ka Tilaka
Sri Janakraja Kishori Sharan Rasik Aliji ka Tilaka
Sri Rupkalajee ka Tilaka
Rupsarasji ka Tilaka
Ramasakheeji ka Tilaka
Kamanendu Mani ka Tilaka
Karunasindhuji ka Tilaka
Nimbarka ka Tilaka
Madhwa ka Tilaka