WHAT IS THE TILAK- CHANDLO? WHY DO IT ON THE FOREHEAD, ARMS AND CHEST?
In Indian culture, when a woman marries , in joy of getting a ggod husband –a guardian, she imprints a chandlo on her forehead. In the bhakti movements of Hinduism, god is the swami (guardian) of the bhakta.on being fortunate to have a guardian, the jubilant bhakta also imprints a chandlo on his forehead. The red chandlo is the auspicious (saubhagya) fortune sign of god.
The head is the pride of an individual.an individual’s personality lies in his thoughts and intellect. To show respect to other’s a man bows his head. To those whom he deeply reveres, he bows his head right down to their feet. The bhakta, surrenders his head- himself at the lotus feet of god.
So, a bhakta with loving feelings of sacrifice and surrender, symbolically imprints the “feet “(charan) of the swami on:
I.His forehead– so that god resides in his intellect for inspiring auspicious thoughts. The centre point of all nerves is the place between the two eyebrows on the forehead. The rishis have therefore ordained for tilak to be done on his central area of the head to protect it.
II.His upper arms, symbols of strength – that god resides in them to inspire the bhakta to perform righteous acts.
III.His chest-site of the heart – symbolic of life,so that god resides is in to inspire noble feelings.
In this way , for thoughts, feelings and karma to become auspicious, the tilak is imprinted on these four parts of the body. The tilak is also imprinted in these four positions in smruti-rememberance of the four vyuha forms of god, namely vasudev, sankarshan, aniruddha and pradyumna.(arthadeepika- tika bhashya).
This is the tilak of the bhakti sampradayas. Each has its own way of doing tilak. The material used is also varied. Some make use of ash, use red clay whilst many use sandalwood paste.in the swaminarayan sampradaya, the latter is used. The chandlo powder used to be made from lemon juice and turmeric powder. Today it is made from chemicals. But the natural form is also available in the market.
TILAK-CHANDLO IS THE FORTUNE SIGN OF HAVING MET GOD AND OF SURRENDERANCE TO HIM.