hare krsna 2 allI nvr put tilak on ma forehead bt nw i wanna do dat............can u plz tell me whts its significance nd y ppl belonging 2 hare-krsna movement do sm diff. kinda tilak????? nd ya 1 mor thing i wud also lyk 2 knw d method of dng d tilak as i dnt knw hw 2 do dat nd will it b good if i do it daily during ma college days?

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  • thanks a lot parishma mataji....................
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  • Volunteer

      Hare Krsna mataji.  The tilak is an external symbol of our surrender to Krishna, or to our object of worship. The shape and material used may differ according to the particular process of surrender the sampradaya follows.

    In the Sri Vaishnava sampradaya the tilak is made out of the white mud found in anthills. The scriptures tell us that the mud from the base of a Tulasi plant and the white mud from within the ant hill are both pure and best for making tilak. The Sri Vaishnavas will draw two lines representing the feet of Sri Narayana, and in the middle they will put a red line to represent Lakshmi Devi. The red line was originally made from a red stone found within the ant hill. The ants would usually make their ant hill on top of these red stones. When you rub the stone in water, a red color paint is formed. The category of Shakti is generally represented with the color red in all lines, both Vedic and Tantrik. Because the Sri Vaishnava sampradaya begins with Sri Lakshmi Devi, and because they approach Narayana only through Lakshmi, their tilak reflects this process of surrender. The tilaks of each sampradaya actually depict the siddhanta of the sampradaya.

    In the Vallabha sampradaya the tilak worn is generally a single vertical red line. This line represents Sri Yamuna Devi. The form of Krishna worshiped in the Vallabha line is Sri Nathji or Govardhana. The consort of the Govardhana hill is the river Yamuna. Their process of surrender goes through Sri Yamuna Devi.

    In the Madhva sampradaya the tilak is made out of Gopichandana mud from Dwaraka. Two vertical lines are made out of Gopichandana to represent the feet of Lord Krishna. This gopichandana tilak is nearly identical to that used in the Gaudiya sampradaya. In between a vertical black line is made from the daily coal of the yajna-kunda. In their sampradaya, the process of worship involved nitya-homa, or daily fire sacrifices to the Lord. The remnant coal of the puja was taken each day to mark the forehead. Underneath the black line, a yellow or red dot was put to indicate Lakshmi or Radha. Those who did not perform daily fire sacrifice would only put the simple gopichandana tilak.

    In the Gaudiya sampradaya the tilak is usually made out of the Gopichandana mud. Some lineages prefer to use the mud from Vrindavana. The main tilak is basically identical to the Madhva tilak. The slight difference arises due to the emphasis on nama-sankirtana, or the chanting of the Lord's names. In Sri Chaitanya's line, nama-sankirtana is the yajna to be performed in kali yuga, and not the daily fire sacrifice performed in the Madhva sampradaya. As such, the black line made from the ash of the fire sacrifice is not applied in the Gaudiya sampradaya. The second difference arises due to Sri Chaitanya's process of approaching the Lord. In the Gaudiya line one does not approach Srimati Radharani directly, but always indirectly through the servant. To indicate this, the red dot representing Radha is replaced with a tulasi leaf offered at the base of the Lord's feet. Only with the mercy of Tulasi Devi can we develop pure devotion to Sri Sri Radha and Krishna.

    In the scriptures there are very general descriptions of the procedure for applying tilak. For example it is mentioned that the tilak should be urdhva-pundra, or vertical lines; the body should be marked in twelve locations, etc. But these instructions are very general and leave a lot of the details to the acharyas. Even in a simple point, such as the location of the tilak, one person may interpret the 'shoulder' to start from the arm, where as another may interpret it to start higher up near the neck. This is actually the case in the two branches of the Sri Vaishna sampradaya.

    The actual design of the tilak will manifest either through divine revelation or through scientific study. An example of divine revelation is the Gaudiya lineage of Sri Shyamananda. Radharani revealed a portion of her broken bangle to Sri Shyamananda, which he used in applying tilak to his forehead. As a result, his followers apply a unique design of tilak from other branches of the Gaudiya sampradaya.

    In other cases, an acharya may scientifically analyze the sampradaya siddhanta and compare its compatibility with the tilak they wear. The external purpose of the tilak is to differentiate the followers of a sampradaya from other classes of philosophers, just as one branch of the armed forces wears a uniform to differentiate itself from the other branches. In such a case, the tilak may change when there occurs a shift or branching of the sampradaya due to philosophical views. The newly formed branch may re-analyze the tilak in connection with its siddhanta and make changes that fully reflect their process of surrender. Such is the case among the two branches of the Sri Vaishnava sampradaya. Due to a difference of opinion in regards to the process of surrender, two distinct tilaks emerged.

    In any case, the ultimate purpose of tilak is to sanctify oneself and mark the body as the temple of the Lord. The scriptures do not specify in detail the manner that this should be done, and as such it is the acharyas who crystalize the procedures while adhering to the general prescriptions given in the scriptures.


  • Volunteer
    :-) Jai Gurudev!!!
    we have to wear Tilak and Vaishnava clothes because Guru Maharaja loves it and He recommends it!
    m an engg. student and i do put on tilak and go to clg.....students tease me smetyms bt still some ask me the reason for the same and to those i xplain KCON...so its good, to put on the tilak and go to clg and offices 4 spreading the holy msg...
    HARI BOL...
  • Volunteer
    In India it is normal to wear dhoti and sari even to job places. so why not wear them? Let them laugh and show us with fingers. When Arjuna told that people will laugh at me if i kill my Guru, relatives in the future. But Krishna told that only fools will laugh, then why to bother to the opinion of fools?!
    Dog will howl but the caravan will continue its way. Krishna will protect us.
  • Volunteer
    Hare Krishna,


    You are very right mataji that when people see devotees wearing tilak and kanti mala, they remember Lord. I had a personal experience in July when I was in Pune for a Spiritual camp. It was around 4 in the morning and I was walking to temple for mangalarthi and was alone on that deserted street except for some stray dogs who were scared by seeing someone in dhothi kurtha and carrying a bead bag covering the hand!!! When I was mid way, I heard a vehicle coming from behind a very high speed and making a LOUD noise. It was couple of teen boys who had finished their night party or something and were returning back home... When they crossed me... they loudly chanted "Om Namo Narayana.... Om Namo Narayana".... I smiled and said Hare Krishna.... I hope and pray that those boys come back at that time soon to attend mangalarthi in temple. I was very happy for what I had done unintentionally.

    Coming to your point on freedom of religion in India, we must know that India today is not the same as it used to be. It has been strongly influenced by the western culture and mostly corrupted. People look at me strangely when I go out with dhothi-kurta and tilak. When I am wearing pant and shirt, no one even bothers to see. This was exactly the other way couple of decades back. The scenario in college is different. If people have seen us as a devotee since day one meaning wearing tilak and kanti mala, there is no problem. But, if we start it sometime in between, then they will ridicule you and make fun. This can cause more damage than good.
  • Volunteer
    Hare Krishna dear Devotees, please accept my humble obeisances! all glories to Srila Prabhupada!
    i wear Tilak here in India, and when people see me they say: "aaa Hare Krishna Hare Rama"
    also always in sari, seeing that also they say the same thing.

    But when i was in my country i used to wear water Tilak on the Forehead, with Chandan in other 11 places. Seeing in the neck and hands Tilak people used to tell me to clean the soup or something like that.

    Dear Dixa, wear Tilak and if possible Sari and only by Your clothes You can remind people about Hare Krishna! :-)
    And why not? You are in such like a wonderful country like INDIA!!! Freedom of religion!!! So glorify Krishna! And spiritual World!
    Good luck!
    Your servant,
    • hare Krsna mataji. Nicely said! Back in my previous university i used to wear tilak as I was proud to be a Vaishnava! Critisism was there but as time passed those critisism turned into respect. As i switch my course, I was very shy to wear tilak in public. As time pass, and after attending to one of Bhakti Vrajendra Maharaj's lecture in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia, it just struck to my sense! I realised that at the end of the day what ever is being done its just to please Krsna, not anyone else. At the same time I felt offended not only to Krsna and Srila Prabhupada, but also my own Guru maharaj, Jayapataka Swami! That's when I taught, why be shy in wearing tilak? After reading this article, it motivated me once again to wear tilak all the time and carry myself as a Vaishnavi. I am not sure how right i am, but I do assume that if I wear tilak n dress up as a devotee i am not only carrying the imej of my family, most importantly the imej of ISKCON. This motivates me more. as Srila Prabhupada says, 'Preaching through Example'. Haribol and thanks once again to Dixa mataji for this question and Maral mataji for such inspiring thought!  

  • @Sudheendra pr,
    very nicely explained.. :)
    Hari Bol!!
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