Why do we wear marks (tilak, bindi, chandan, kumkum, bhasma and the like) on the forehead?

womenwisdom
womenwisdom / 3 yrs ago /
  0

The mark on forehead invokes a feeling of sanctity in the wearer and others. It is recognized as a religious mark. Its form and colour vary according to one’s caste, religious sect or the form of the Lord worshipped.

In earlier times, the four castes (based on varna or colour) - Brahmana, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Sudra - applied marks differently. The brahmin applied a white chandan mark signifying purity, as his profession was of a priestly or academic nature. The kshatriya applied a red kumkum mark signifying valour as he belonged to warrior races. The vaishya wore a yellow kesar or turmeric mark signifying prosperity as he was a businessman or trader devoted to creation of wealth. The sudra applied a black bhasma, kasturi or charcoal mark signifying service as he supported the work of the other three divisions. Also Vishnu worshippers apply a chandan mark on forehead of the shape of "U,” Shiva worshippers applied holy ash in the form three horizontal lines, Devi worshippers a red dot of kumkum and so on. The mark on forehead cover the spot between the eyebrows, which is the seat of memory and thinking. It is known as the Aajna Chakra in the language of Yoga.

The mark on forehead is applied with the prayer - "May I remember the Lord. May this pious feeling pervade all my activities. May I be righteous in my deeds.” Even when we temporarily forget this prayerful attitude the mark on another reminds us of our resolve.

The mark on forehead is thus a blessing of the Lord and a protection against wrong tendencies and forces. 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 mark on forehead cools the forehead, protects us and prevents energy loss. Sometimes the entire forehead is covered with chandan or bhasma. Using plastic reusable "stick bindis" is not very beneficial, even though it serves the purpose of decoration.

Of all the marks, bhasma or holy ash is something special. But why?

The ash of any burnt object is not regarded as holy ash. Bhasma (the holy ash) is the ash from the Yagna(sacrificial fire) where special wood along with ghee and other herbs is offered as worship of the Lord. Or the deity is worshipped by pouring ash as abhisheka and is then distributed as bhasma.

Bhasma is generally applied on the forehead. Some apply it on certain parts of the body like the upper arms, chest etc. Some ascetics rub it all over the body. Many consume a pinch of it each time they receive it.

The word bhasma means, "that by which our sins are destroyed and the Lord is remembered.” Bha implied bhartsanam ("to destroy") and sma implies smaranam ("to remember"). The application of bhasma therefore signifies destruction of the evil and remembrance of the divine. Bhasma is called vibhuti (which means "glory") as it gives glory to one who applies it and raksha (which means a source of protection) as it protects the wearer from ill health and evil, by purifying him or her.

Yagna (offering of oblations into the fire with sacred chants) signifies the offering or surrender of the ego and egocentric desires into the flame of knowledge or a noble and selfless cause. The consequent ash signifies the purity of the mind, which results from such actions.

Also the fire of knowledge burns the oblation and wood signifying ignorance and inertia respectively. The ash we apply indicates that we should burn false identification with the body and become free of the limitations of birth and death. This is not to be misconstrued as a morose reminder of death but as a powerful pointer towards the fact that time and tide wait for none.

Bhasma is specially associated with Lord Shiva who applies it all over His body. Shiva devotes apply bhasma as a tripundra. When applied with a red spot at the center, the mark symbolizes Shiva-Shakti (the unity of energy and matter that creates the entire seen and unseen universe).

Tryambakam yajaamahe

Sugandhim pushtivardhanam

Urvaa rukamiva bhandhanaan

Mrytyor muksheeyamaa amrutaat
"We worship the three-eyed Lord Shiva who nourishes and spread fragrance in our lives. May He free us from the shackles of sorrow, change and death – effortlessly, like the fall of a rip brinjal from its stem."

It has immense health benefits also as per Ayurvedic terms if it is a real bhasma obtained from yagna, where Gold, ornaments and many herbs are incinerated.





Contest Entries (40)

Sheetal
My Balcony....the little unwind retreat.
 Just imagine yourself relaxing on a couch, watching a beautiful lake, clear skies and a lot of greenery around...Doesn''t it sound nice Well, I had a beautiful lake-view already set for me. What
2 hrs ago
Doon Web
Gift A Tree - Plant A Tree India
 In last few hundred years the human development was rapid, we developed and adopted new ways of living, we built sky scrapers, we manufactured vehicles and electronics appliances and so on. All
5 hrs ago
PrabuC
Chocolate Vertical Garden !!!!!!!
 This Chocolate Vertical Gardene is an eco friendly adaptive practices at home. We dont have enough space for inhouse gardening So we have decided to adapt this and it looks like " A plant from
6 hrs ago
Disha Mishra Dubey
My Rainbow Garden
 Hello dear friends. I am Disha, a blogger, freelancer, artist, crafter and I love gardening too. I blog over at Design Decor & Disha. This is my first post here and I would love to share some
6 hrs ago
kannan
My teeny tiny terrace garden
 The idea of setting up a terrace garden came about one day when me and my dad where trying to figure out a ways to reduce the heat inside our house. Since we recently whitewashed our house we had
6 hrs ago
AMRITA B.
Bloom and Grow!
 Question” What kind of people give up their own comfortable flat in an apartment block full of friends to move into a rented accommodation Your choices are:A) Crazy PeopleB) Money minded
24 hrs ago
MAHAVEER
home in garden new generation step
 The flower garden is among the guidelines on how to liven up your property and to give it some "curb appeal" It is utilized by those that decorate properties for sale. The flower garden designs
1 day ago
shanthini
Fibreclay Pots
 Fibreclay Pots - The space of welcoming beloved neighbors, friends, and family.Lightweight and manufactured from a mix of clay and synthetic fiber, the deep zinc finish of these pots sits as a
1 day ago
Sonali
My Balcony Garden
 This is our second balcony in our home. Here we have flowering plants and a Narthangai (Citron/Bitter orange) tree. Below are the images of my balcony garden.I hope you all liked my Garden. Happy
5 days ago
Sonali
Our Tiny Garden Retreat
 My Grand father and my father, both of them are very passionate about gardening. We had an empty terrace space void of any kind of plants. Then one day my dad along with my grandfather, decided
5 days ago
Encourage The Contestants
by commenting on their post

Inside Outside Contest! ×