The Significance of Tilak

Applying Tilak on the forehead is a very important ritual in Hindu tradition. Beyond being a very significant religious gesture and holding an aesthetic appeal, application of Tilak has a very deep spiritual meaning as well. It is believed to awaken our higher consciousness and connect us to the divine energies during rituals, prayers, poojas and meditations.

Tilak is a small mark applied on the forehead and represents the Ajna Chakra or the Third eye Chakra, which is considered to be the eye of intuition. Ajna means to ‘perceive’ or ‘command’, and the Ajna Chakra helps us discern information that otherwise cannot be perceived through the physical eye. The Third Eye is spiritually a very powerful part of our being and helps us focus on our inner Divine. Therefore, the Tilak is placed on the Ajna Chakra to invoke the Divine and act as a reminder of the ultimate life goal i.e. Awakening.

Tilak also represents the religious preference/religious group of an individual in Hinduism. Different colours and forms of Tilak worn by a person denotes which God or Goddess she/he worships. Although wearing a Tilak stretches far beyond just religious connotations and can be worn by anyone who is on a spiritual journey irrespective of her/his religious beliefs.

Tilak is a paste made of either ash, sandalwood, clay, turmeric or vermillion (Kumkum).

Different kinds of Tilaks and their significance:

  • Sandalwood or Chandan Tilak

Sandalwood has a very cooling and soothing effect when applied as a tilak. Chandan Tilak helps in controlling negative thoughts, gives relief from headaches and overall helps in reducing stress levels. It also helps in improving our concentration while elevating our spiritual experience.

  • Turmeric or Haldi Tilak

Turmeric Tilak, when worn, helps in building our confidence and focus. If one has a tendency of leaving tasks incomplete, applying Haldi Tilak can help in balancing the energies that bring about resolve and determination. While having anti-bacterial properties and being great for the skin, Haldi tilak is also very soothing when applied.

  • Vermillion or Kumkum Tilak

The vibrant red colour of the Kumkum Tilak represents the Goddess Shakti. This tilak provides energy and inner confidence to face life’s challenges. Applying this Tilak also makes us more action oriented and brings much needed vitality while also awakening our psychic powers.

  • Saffron or Kesar Tilak

Saffron is considered auspicious and when applied as tilak it promotes wisdom, clarity, intellect and vision. Kesar Tilak is also considered to bring wealth, prosperity, opulence as it represents planet Jupiter or ‘Guru’. Applying this Tilak is also believed to strengthen our fate.

  • Orange or Chendoor Tilak

A paste of Chandan (sandalwood) and sindoor (vermillion) makes Chendoor, an orange-coloured Tilak that represents the devotees of Lord Hanuman. Application of this Tilak gives us strong leadership qualities and activates our will power.

  • Ash or Vibhuti Tilak

The word Vibhuti means ‘glory’ or ‘greatness’ and Vibhuti is the sacred ash derived from burning wood in Yagnas or Havans (sacrificial fires). Vibhuti Tilak symbolises dissolving of ego and detachment from the material world. It is also believed to protect the wearer from negative/evil energies and enhances our receptivity to the higher energies while strengthening our connect to the inner Divine. Vibhuti is also quite a powerful symbol of the mortal nature of human beings and that there is no higher truth than the truth of nothingness.

Author: Aumtara