In Hindu rituals, applying Tilak or Tika on the forehead is considered very auspicious. We apply Tilak while thinking it as a part of our culture but do we have any idea about its significance?
Maha Upanishad, Atharva Upanishad, Puranas and Vedic Scriptures depict the significance of Tilak. There are cultures in Sanatan Dharma which state vitality, strength, and eternality come to the individuals who apply Tilak.
There are varieties of Tilak, depending on the God/Goddess you worship, or one’s caste, religious sect, etc.
Devotees of Lord Shiva:
Followers of Lord Shiva applies Vibhuti/Bhasm, which means ash and it is traditionally gathered from burnt woods from yajna, cow dung cake or incense sticks after prayer. It is believed that applying Bhasm/Vibhuti on one’s forehead brings glory, destroys evil and protects from ill health.
Devotees of Lord Vishnu:
Devotees of Lord Vishnu apply the paste of Sandalwood (Chandan) in U shape which extends out towards nose representing lotus feet of Lord Vishnu. Followers of Lord Vishnu apply this Tilak on their forehead. More than a religious mark the paste of Sandalwood (Chandan) is also known for its cooling impacts and curing headaches.
Devotees of Goddess Lakshmi:
It is said that applying Kumkum Tilak is compulsory for a married women as women are said to be “Ghar Ki Lakshmi.” Kumkum is turmeric powder, turned red by adding lime and usually worn in round form during prayers. The unpretentious scent produced by kumkum can pull in and radiate the Pavitrata of Deities. It is believed that a lady who wears kumkum is shielded from negative energies as kumkum transmits positive frequencies.
Now it is scientifically proven that applying tilak on the forehead is beneficial because tilak is worn in exactly the same place where the Ajna Chakra is i.e. the place of the third eye. Hence the benefits of applying Tilak are numerous.
- Cures mental stress, insomnia, etc very similar to Ayurvedic remedies like Shirodhara which focuses on dripping oil on the forehead. Similarly, application of sandalwood, vibhuti or kumkum tilak regularly, cures headaches and also offers instant relief from stress permanently.
- It is scientifically proven that application of Tilak clears sinuses. Medically the joint also has a nerve (trigeminal) that when squeezed clears sinuses by increasing the blood pressure to the nose.
- Applying a Tilak on the forehead also helps to get a wrinkle free and younger skin. The supratrochlear nerve which interfaces with a few filaments and muscles of eyes and skin is stimulated when mild pressure is applied to the center of the forehead. It diminishes dark circles by providing oxygen and boosting blood pressure, while the eyesight enhances and also skin becomes flawless.
- Use of Tilak boost immunity as GV 24.5, a point in accordance with acupressure is stimulated. The regular utility of tilak also keeps away infectious diseases. Sandalwood is used by numerous individuals in summer as cooling face packs. When applied on the forehead, where every facial nerve assembles, it keeps the body cool.
So now we know that applying tilak on the forehead is not just a cultural or spiritual belief but one with scientific background. In Hinduism, there are many rituals and customs which we follow because it is been taught but there is a reason behind every tradition, story, or a culture, that is important to understand.