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Talking about the Tilak--Preaching about the Point
By Late Shri Motilal Butani

During meditation, people focus their eyesight on the tip of their nose or at the centre of their eyebrows. While performing this act of concentration, a sort of energy is released between the eyebrows, which results in a pressure. Bindu helps increase one's concentration, reducing this pressure and further preventing radiation of energy from outside.

Bindu -a point, which is although a dimensionless entity mathematically, is a symbol of auspiciousness, all-seeing wisdom and awareness of the divine. It is meant for people of all ages. Men apply or have it applied on ceremonial occasions. It is a true and auspicious ornament of ladies of all ages, be they, married, unmarried, divorced or widowed, although at one time social customs did not permit widows to wear it. The application of a Bindu should be considered as a 'sacred spiritual ritual.' A Bindu also is a testimony of our ancient Vedic wisdom. In fact, no Puja or auspicious occasion, such as marriage is performed without having bindi applied on the forehead of all those involved.

What should be the colour of the 'tilak'? Although for women, it invariably tends to be in sync with the sari or dress they wear. However, from a religious point of view, it is recommended that bindu be either red or black, because the Ajna Chakra (the spiritual force, located at the centre between the eyebrows) is controlled by Ardhanarisvara (Siva in the form of 'Half female lord.') The male half is of dark blue colour. The female half clothed in a red sari, is pink in colour. According to our spiritual wisdom, these two colours, red or black, represent Siva/Shakti. The four great Rishis - Agni, Vayu, Aditya and Nagra - who wrote the four Vedas of Hinduism, chanted special mantras along with their disciples while preparing tilak from specific materials like chandan (sandalwood).

A thing of beauty is a joy forever. Bindi not only bestows permanent beauty to the body, but also emphasises the purity and piety - sanctity and chastity of the body and the mind. Another purpose of the tilak is to purge and purify the thoughts of the opponent or onlooker. Normally, when one sees straight into a women's eyes, the psychological effect is not desirable. This manipulation by sight is termed 'dosha' or 'drishti', meaning harmful sight. Therefore, one way of protecting oneself from this harmful sight is to divert it away. Bindu prevents the absorption of this influence. This is because you are actually meeting with Shiva's third eye, which is good for the seer, and one's evil thoughts evaporate for the time being just by seeing the Bindi.

The 'third eye' or the 'single eye' is the mystical eye in the forehead. It is called the 'all-seeing eye of God'. Study of the chakra (energy) system shows that there are seven charkas in our body. The sixth chakra is located at the third eye in the centre of the forehead where we apply tilak. It governs the brain, the nervous system, the ears, the nose and the left eye, which is considered to be the eye of the personality. It is very important, because it is through this centre that we understand our spiritual nature. It is seen as the colour indigo, a vibrant combination of the red and blue.

What makes a Bindi extremely significant is it's place on the face, which is a mirror of the soul. By wearing Bindi or Kumkum between the eyebrows, one is recognizing as well as representing the existence and the spirit of the Divine Mother of the Universe.

Further, in this area just above the nose on the forehead, called Bhrukuti in Sanskrit, is the Ajna Chakra (Kutasha Caitanya - clear consciousness). It represents intelligence, conscience, mind intellect, spiritual devotion and austerity. It is also the centre of decision-making. By wearing bindu everyday we symbolically activate this chakra (energy) in us. This sixth chakra, abode of bindi, is the only chakra exposed to or seen by other people. For this reason along with many others, it is given special significance.