Why do Indian men and women wear marks (tilak, pottu and the like) on the forehead?

So you ended up getting a mark on your forehead by hands of priest during a religious celebration or ceremony in western countries like USA ? And, before going to the office or shopping your top most step would be to wash out such mark also known as Tilak. Yes ! You have genuine reason to do that. The reason : As Indian or Hindu, most likely you don’t know how to explain it to others what this mark on your forehead means ? And you know just telling that it’s a religious thing doesn’t help convincing others. So do you really know what it really mean?
Tilak also an official word in English means : a distinctive spot of colored powder or paste worn on the forehead by Hindu men and women as a religious symbol.

The tilak 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 tilak 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 tilak 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 tilak and pottu cools the forehead, protects us and prevents energy loss.

The tilaka symbolizes the third eye, or mind’s eye, associated with many Hindu deities, and the idea of meditation and spiritual enlightenment. The red dot or “Tilak” of varying sizes represents the third eye. In the past, tilakas were usually worn by gods, priests, ascetics, or worshippers, but is now a common practice for most Hindus. The “Tilak” can express which Hindu tradition one follows. It( the Tilak) may be made with sandalwood paste, ashes (vibhuti), kumkum, sindhoor, clay, or other substances. The pastes are applied to the forehead and in some cases to the upper part of the head. And tilak comes in variety of shapes.

Man in TilakPramukh Swami Maharaj
Tilak comes in variety of shapes

Now you know the scientific meaning of Tilak , so be proud of following one of the biggest tradition of Hinduism, and forward this article to your friend ( specially the one living in foreign country) and help him/her undertstand that why Indian man and women proudly wear marks on the forehead.

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