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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 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 names 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 KarmasSanchita, 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.

Tilaka refers to the markings which Vaisnava devotees apply to their bodies, to remind themselves and others that we are all eternal servants of Lord Krsna. The Ushaped mark represents the heel of Lord Visnu, and the oval part represents the Tulasi leaf. Tilaka is applied to twelve parts of the body, and the twelve names of the Lord are recited with each application. To apply tilaka, start with a little Ganges or Yamuna water (if you don't have any, get some water, and stirring it with your right middle finger, chant: ganga cha yamune chaiva godavari saravati narmade sindho kaveri jale 'smin sannidhim kuru "O Ganges, O Yamuna, O Godavari, O Saravati, O Narmada, O Sindhu, O Kaveri, please become present in this water." Put the water in your left hand, and rub the hard tilak into the water, creating a wet paste out of the clay. Begin by putting your ring finger of the right hand into the clay, and starting between the eyebrows, bring the finger straight up to the hairline, making two straight lines. It should look like a long, narrow U-shape. Then use some more tilak to make the Tulasi leaf on your nose, it should extend about 3/4 of the way down your nose. In Hinduism, the tilaka or tilak (Sanskrit tilaka )[1] is a mark worn on the forehead and other parts of the body. Tilaka may be worn on a daily basis or for special religious occasions only, depending on different customs.

Significance of tilaka
The tilaka is decorative and is also an identifying mark. Worn by a priest, ascetic, or worshiper it shows which Hindu tradition he follows. It may be made with sandalwood paste, ashes (vibhuti), kumkum, sindhoor, clay, or another substance. The pastes are applied to the forehead and in some cases to the upper part of the head. A hymn of the Rig Veda describes Lord Surya's wife, the goddess Usha (or dawn), as wearing a bright red dot on her forehead, symbolic of the rising sun. Tilakas are also discussed in the Vasudeva Upanishad. The word is pronounced "tilak" in Hindi, and is often written that way. In Nepal, Bihar and other regions, the tilak is called a tika(), and is a mixture of abir, a red powder, yoghurt, and grains of rice. Different Hindu traditions use different materials and shapes to make the tilaka.

Saivites typically use ashes and draw their tilakas as three horizontal lines (tripundra). Vaishnavas apply clay from a holy river or place (such as Vrindavan or the Yamuna river) which is sometimes mixed with sandalwood paste. They apply

the material in two vertical lines, which may be connected at the bottom, forming either a simple U shape or with an additional marking in the shape of a tulsi leaf. Their tilaka is called the urdhva-pundra. Ganapatya use red sandal paste (rakta candana).[2] Shaktas use kumkuma, or powdered red turmeric. They draw one vertical line or dot. Honorary tilakas (Raj Tilak and Vir Tilak): They are usually applied as a single vertical red line. Raj Tilak will be used while throning kings or inviting prominent personalities. Vir Tilak is used to anoint victors or leaders after a war or a game.

Hindu women have been using Tilaka for many millennia. The tilaka are worn as a beauty mark by women of all faiths, with no adherence of Hindu belief. They generally use dots (bindi) rather than the lines and larger marks worn by men. The term "Bindi" seems to be more often used for beauty marks. The bindi can vary from small to large. Sometimes the terms sindoor, kumkum, or kasturi are used, by reference to the material used to make the mark. Married Hindu women may also wear additional Tilaka between the parting of the hair above forehead. This mark serves to indicate marital status.