Friday, January 22, 2010

Why do we wear marks on the forehead?



Radhekrishna to our Readers,

We took up the fifth question of our question-answer series in the previous post which was “Why do we wear marks (tilak, pottu and the like) on the forehead?”

Let us know more about the same in this post.

The marks are put on the foreheads depending on the caste as we have already mentioned. But the marks are also worn depending upon which deity is worshipped by the person.

For example, Vishnu worshippers apply a chandan tilak of the shape of "U,” Shiva worshippers a tripundra of bhasma, Devi worshippers a red dot of kumkum and so on).

However you all must be wondering as to what is the reason in the first place for wearing a mark today? The caste system is no longer prevalent now? So what exactly is the hidden science behind this act? What is the scientific reason behind wearing any mark? If it is worn just to show which God one worships then it can be said that there is no science in it but only an emotional reason.

However dear readers, it is not so. As we have already told in the past articles, there is Science in each and every ritual of Hinduism. This act is no exception.

The tilak/ mark covers 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. Sometimes the entire forehead is covered with chandan or bhasma.

It is observed nowadays that this ritual has lost its meaning and importance. We say this because people nowadays use plastic reusable "stick bindis". They are not very beneficial, even though they serve the purpose of decoration. Hopefully after reading this post, we can expect at least a few handful readers to put the old ritual back in practice.



Section II: Information about Indian herbs

In this post we will tell you about a very commonly used vegetable in day to day life by all of us. It is called as Gajar, Carrot in English and Daucus Carota in Latin.

1. The tuber is eaten either raw or cooked
2. It is also made into a halwa/pudding
3. It contains sugar, starch, iron, calcium and phosphorous
4. It also contains appreciable amounts of Vitamins A, B and C
5. It is a diuretic and aphrodisiac
6. Carrot has many other medicinal uses particularly for deficiency diseases


Sarvam Guruvaarpanam

Friday, January 08, 2010

Why do we wear marks on the forehead?



Dear Readers,

Radhekrishna to one and all! On this first issue of the year 2010 of our blog on Science and Hinduism, we wish all our readers a very happy new year. On every New Year we decide to buy something new, learn something new and do something new. We, the members of RKSS, through this blog wish to teach something new to our readers; the hidden meaning behind performing each ritual and routine among the Hindus.

In this post, we will see yet another question which is “Why do we wear marks (tilak, pottu and the like) on the forehead?”

In case you have observed quite a lot of Hindus wear a mark on their forehead. It could be a U-shaped mark, a slim, straight red coloured vertical line, three white horizontal lines and so on. Have you ever asked yourself or any third person the reason? In case you have not got the chance or the guts to do so, we will tell you why.

The tilak or pottu invokes a feeling of sanctity in the wearer and others. It is recognized as a religious mark. Its form and colour vary according to one’s caste, religious sect or the form of the Lord worshipped.

In earlier ages, the caste system prevailed in India. There were four castes namely Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Sudra. The castes were based on the profession of the person. The Brahmins were engaged in carrying out the yagnas, studying the Vedas etc. The Kshatriyas were protectors of the town/city. It was their responsibility to protect their subjects from outside infiltrators and ensure that their subjects are always content. The Vaishyas were the merchant class or the business class. Their responsibility was to make available whatever was needed by the people of the town/ city. They were accumulators of wealth. The last caste i.e. Sudras were responsible to provide all kinds of service to the first three classes.

The four castes (based on varna) - Brahmana, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Sudra - applied marks differently. The brahmin applied a white chandan mark signifying purity, as his profession was of a priestly or academic nature. The kshatriya applied a red kumkum mark signifying valour as he belonged to warrior races. The vaishya wore a yellow kesar or turmeric mark signifying prosperity as he was a businessman or trader devoted to creation of wealth. The sudra applied a black bhasma, kasturi or charcoal mark signifying service as he supported the work of the other three divisions.

… to be continued

Section II: Information about Indian herbs

In this post we will tell you about a fruit called as “Anjir”. It is known as Fig in English and Ficus Carica in Latin

1. It is a sweet delicious fruit with many medicinal properties
2. It is a nutritious and blood forming fruit
3. A few figs eaten after meals act as a laxative
4. It is good for cough and as an expectorant
5. It is a specific cure for inflammation of the spleen
6. It hastens the appearance of rash in cases of chicken-pox and small-pox

That concludes the topic for the fortnight. Till the next post, Radhekrishna!

Sarvam Guruvaarpanam


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