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The Tilak

May 29, 2024

The tilak is a symbolic mark worn on the forehead, often representing religious affiliation or spiritual beliefs. Here are some of the different types of tilaks and their meanings

Vaishnava Tilak

  • Shape: Vertical lines resembling the letter "U"
  • Symbolism: The two vertical lines represent the footprint of Lord Vishnu or the conch shell, both revered symbols in Vaishnavism
  • Material: Usually made with sandalwood paste, turmeric or clay from holy rivers

Shaivita Tilak

  • Shape: Three horizontal lines on the forehead
  • Symbolism: The lines represent Shiva's threefold powers of will, knowledge and action. It also symbolizes ashes of cremation. The red dot/ line at the center represents Goddess Shakti.
  • Material: Often made with sacred ash (vibhuti) or sandalwood paste

Shakti Tilak

  • Shape: A red dot or a simple line
  • Symbolism: The red dot/ line signifies purity, prosperity and the divine feminine energy.
  • Material: Made with red turmeric powder (kumkum) or vermillion

Why on the forehead?

There exists seven major chakras (discs of subtle concentrated energy) that run along the center of the body. Each chakra relates to some aspect of a person's physical, emotional and psychological make up. The tilak is placed on the forehead between the eyebrows where the "ajna chakra" is located. "Ajna" means "to perceive" - to see things that a naked eye cannot see. This third eye helps on to focus inward on the Divine. Tilak is therefore placed on the "Ajna chakra" to invoke this Divine energy

Your body is a temple

Hindus believe that the Divine resides within all, and every person' body is a sacred temple of God. Therefore, the body should be treated as such.

All aspects of maintaining the health of the body - exercising, eating right and maintaining proper hygiene - should be viewed as a sacred activity.

Along with the tilak - which is also a sacred activity that helps a person to re-center his spiritual focus in a world full of distractions.



By - Cuddly Gurus - Celebrating and honoring great Hindu Icons

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