ost Hindus wear a mark on their foreheads, between the eyebrows. This point, known by various names such as Ajna Chakra, Third Eye, and Eye of Wisdom, is the most important psychic location
in the human body. According to ancient Hindu sages, red lead powder (sindoor) and sandalwood paste have cooling properties, and therefore using these substances on the forehead between the eyebrows cools the nerve center associated with this location, and consequently the mind becomes calm and quiet.

This central spot therefore is of tremendous importance and the putting of the coloured mark symbolizes the quest for the 'opening' of the third eye. It is the aim of yogis and devout Hindus to 'open' this third eye by

A roadside shop of Bindi Powder

constant meditation. The 'opening' of the third eye means the unification of the conscious and subconscious minds, the point where all elements of duality merge into one universal entity.

A tilak applied on this area is meant to invoke religious feelings and emotions of deep concentration
A Sadhu, applying Tilak on his forehead

and focus. This is recognized as a religious mark. All rites and ceremonies of the Hindus begin with a vermilion mark (tilak) topped with a few grains of rice placed on this spot with the index finger or the thumb. The same custom is followed in welcoming or bidding farewell to guests or relations.

The mark does not have any standard shape and form and is applied differently by members of different Hindu sects and  sub-sects.

It is applied as a red, yellow, or saffron 'U' by worshippers of Lord Vishnu. Worshippers of Lord Shiva apply it as three horizontal lines of ash (Bhasma), and the worshippers of Devi (Shakti) apply Kumkum - a red turmeric powder. When they apply Tilak, they say: "O Lord, protect me from the evil effects of the Trigunatmika Maya which has Satwa, Rajas and Tamas as its binding cords".

Men wear an elongated dot or tilak, while women wear a round dot or Bindi. Bindis are worn by women as a symbol of their wedding vows. Myth is that it protects the
wearer from the bad eye.

Round shaped Bindi on the forehead of a newly wedded Rajasthani girl

The custom has evolved now and both married and unmarried girls wear
bindi more as a fashion statement than for any pious reasons. These ready-made Bindis can be of any imaginable shape and colour to match the occasion!

Auspicious Colours   Mehndi   Celebrating Indian Tastes
Cricket Mania   India on Rails   The Hindu Marriage
Paan Chewing   Colourful Bazaars   Sadhus  
The Ganga   Indian Villages   The Holy Cow  
Jungle is calling   The Tilak   Kite Flying  
Traditional Wearing  



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