Putting on Tilaka

Srila Prabhupada putting on tilak

Putting on Tilaka

Tilaka is sometimes called the ornamentation of the spirit soul. The decoration, made by applying wet clay mixture, marks the body as a temple of Viṣṇu, the Supreme Lord. The Vaiṣṇava devotee marks his body in twelve places for sanctification and protection, and one who is wearing tilaka can at once be identified as a devotee of the Lord. Just as one can recognize that the strength of the government is behind a uniformed policeman, one can understand that the strength of God is behind a devotee marked with tilaka.

One should pour a little water into the palm of his/her left hand and rub gopī-candana (mud from Dvārakā) into it. When making tilaka the following mantra from the Uttara Khaṇḍa of the Padma Purāṇa should be chanted:

lalāṭe keśavaṁ dhyāyen nārāyaṇam athodare
vakṣaḥ-sthale mādhavaṁ tu govindaṁ kaṇṭha-kūpake

viṣṇuṁ ca dakṣiṇe kukṣau bāhau ca madhusūdanam
trivikramaṁ kandhare tu vāmanaṁ vāma-pārśvake

śrīdharaṁ vāma-bāhau tu hṛṣīkeśaṁ tu kandhare
pṛṣṭhe ca padmanābhaṁ ca kaṭyāṁ dāmodaraṁ nyaset

In Accordance with the above mentioned mantra one should now apply gopī-candana with the ball of the finger tip of the right ring finger, to make the tilaka markings on the twelve parts of the body. According to the brahmāṇḍa Purāṇa one should not use the fingernail to make the space in the middle of the tilaka. One should place a damp cloth over the finger and make the space with that.

When one marks the forehead with tilaka, he must remember Keśava. When one marks the lower abdomen, he must remember Nārāyaṇa. For the chest, one should remember Mādhava, and when marking the hollow of the neck one should remember Govinda. Lord Viṣṇu should be remembered while marking the right side of the belly, and Madhusūdana should be remembered when marking the right arm. Trivikrama should be remembered when marking the right shoulder, and Vāmana should be remembered when marking the left side of the belly. Śrīdhara should be remembered while marking the left arm, and Hṛṣīkeśa should be remembered when marking the left shoulder. Padmanābha and Dāmodara should be remembered when marking the back. [Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya 20.202, purport]

Tilak marks

click on image to enlarge

Forehead: Śrī Keśavāya namaḥ

Abdomen: Śrī Nārāyaṇāya namaḥ

Chest: Śrī Mādhavāya namaḥ

Throat: Śrī Govindāya namaḥ

Right waist: Śrī Viṣṇave namaḥ

Right forearm: Śrī Madhusūdanāya namaḥ

Right shoulder: Śrī Trivikramāya namaḥ

Left waist: Śrī Vāmanāya namaḥ

Left forearm: Śrī Śrīdharāya namaḥ

Left shoulder: Śrī Hṛṣīkeśāya namaḥ

Nape of neck: Śrī Padmanābhāya namaḥ

Lower back: Śrī Dāmodarāya namaḥ

Head: Śrī Vāsudevāya namaḥ

The śikhā area is not marked with tilaka; rather, after washing the right hand, wipe the remaining water on your śikhā while chanting oṁ vāsudevāya namaḥ.

Text pasted from; Causeless Mercy

Why Tilaka is worn
by Stephen Knapp

This compilation of information will explain what tilak is and why it is worn. As anyone who is familiar with the Vedic tradition knows, many of its followers wear marking on the foreheads. This is called tilak. Some tilak markings are made with ash, some with clay or soil, some are red dots with kum kum, or dyed rice flour, or red dots with additional applications like a few grains of rice stuck to it. Some tilak appears as three lines of ash going horizontally across the forehead that indicates one is a Shaivite, or a small triangle on the nose with a “V” shape rising vertically up on the forehead from between the eyebrows, which indicates one is a Vaishnava. This is a sign of the foot of Lord Vishnu, recited while chanting the name of Lord Vishnu.

There are different reasons why this is done and what they mean, but here is a description of why Vaishnavas wear their tilok, especially with Gopi-candana (or Gopi Chand). Gopi Candana is the soil that comes from a place not far from Dwaraka. The history is that this is the place where the gopis entered the river to leave their bodies after Lord Krishna left this planet to return to His spiritual abode. Thus, they also followed in this way. The mud that used to be the banks of that river is called Gopi-candana. Vaishnavas apply this mud while chanting the names of Vishnu in twelve places on the head, arms, chest and back. The process marks the body as a temple, purifies the body, and also acts as protection from evil influences, ghosts, etc. By seeing this tilok on ourselves or other devotees, it serves as a constant reminder of Lord Krishna. Tilak is also used in Deity worship, offered to the Deities and also used with lemon juice to polish brass deities.

The Glories of Gopī-candana Tilaka
Śrī Garga Saṁhitā, Canto Six, Chapter Fifteen
Translation by Kusakratha Dāsa

Text 15

Simply by hearing about Gopi-bhumi, which is so named because the gopīs resided there, one becomes free from the bondage of karma.

Text 16

In Gopi-bhumi gopi-candana was manifested from the gopīs’ cosmetics. A person who marks his limbs with gopi-candana tilaka attains the result of bathing in the Ganga.

Text 17

A person who daily wears gopi-candana tilaka attains the pious result of daily bathing in all sacred rivers.

Text 18

A person who daily wears gopi-candana tilaka attains the result of performing a thousand asvamedha-yajnas and a hundred rajasuya-yajnas. He attains the result of giving charity and following vows at all holy places. He attains the goal of life. Of this there is no doubt.

Text 19

Twice as sacred as the mud of the Ganga is the dust of Citrakuta. Ten times more sacred than that is the dust of Pancavati-tirtha.

Text 20

A hundred times more sacred is the dust of gopi-candana. Please know that gopi-candana is equal to the dust of Vṛndāvana.

Text 21

Even if in the past he has committed hundreds of sins, if a person wears gopi-candana tilaka, then Yamarāja cannot take him away. How, then, can Yamarāja’s messengers touch him?

Text 22

A sinner who daily wears gopi-candana tilaka goes to Lord Kṛṣṇa’s supreme abode, Goloka, which is beyond the world of matter.

Text 23

In Sindhu-desa there was a king named Dirghabahu. He was cruel and sinful and he was addicted to visiting prostitutes.

Text 24

While he was on the earth this cruel sinner murdered a hundred brāhmaṇas and ten pregnant women.

Text 25

One day he mounted a sindhu horse and went hunting. With a flood of arrows he accidentally killed a brown cow in that hunt.

Text 26

One day, greedy to get his kingdom, with a sharp sword his angry minister killed him in the forest.

Text 27

Seeing him fallen to the ground and dead, the Yamadutas came, bound him, and, joking as they went, took him to the city of Yamarāja.

Text 28

Seeing this sinner brought before him, powerful Yamarāja said to his scribe Citragupta, “What is the proper punishment for him?”

Text 29

Śrī Citragupta said: O great king, he should be thrown into eight million four hundred thousand hells for as long as the sun and the moon shine in the sky.

Text 30

On the earth he did not perform a single pious deed. He killed ten pregnant women. He killed a brown cow.

Text 31

He killed thousands of deer in the forest. He offended the demigods and the brāhmaṇas. He is a great sinner.

Texts 32 and 33

Sri Nārada said: Then, by Yamarāja’s order, the Yamadutas took that sinner and threw him into a terrible, eight-thousand mile wide cauldron of bubbling boiling oil in the hell of Kumbhipaka. The moment that sinner came to it, the boiling oil, which was as hot as the great fires at the time of cosmic devastation, suddenly became cool.

Text 34

O king of Videha, as Prahlāda was unhurt in the same situation, that sinner was not hurt by the boiling oil. Then the Yamadutas described that great wonder to noble-hearted Yamarāja.

Text 35

Yamarāja and Citragupta carefully reviewed the sinner’s case and concluded that while he was on the earth the sinner had not for a moment performed even a single pious deed.

Text 36

Then Vyasadeva arrived in that assembly. Bowing down before Him, and carefully worshiping Him, saintly and noble-hearted Yamaraja asked Vyasadeva the following question.

Text 37

Sri Yamaraja said: When a certain sinner, who had never performed even a single pious deed, was thrown into the terrible boiling oil of Kumbhipaka, the oil suddenly became cool. Because of this my mind is now tortured with doubts.

Text 39

Sri Vyasadeva said: O great king, the intelligent sages, who have studied all the scriptures, know that the ways of piety, sin, and spiritual progress are very subtle and difficult to understand.

Text 40

Somehow or other, by destiny, this sinner did perform a pious deed, and by that deed he became purified. O noble-hearted one, please hear the story of this.

Text 41

That sinner died in a place where from someone’s hand some gopi-candana from Dvaraka had accidentally fallen. Dying in gopi-candana, that sinner became purified.

Text 42

A person who wears gopi-candana tilaka attains a spiritual form like that of Lord Narayana. Simply by seeing him one becomes free of the sin of killing a brahmana.

Texts 43 and 44

Sri Narada said: Hearing this, Yamaraja, who understands the glories of gopi-candana, took the sinner, placed him on an airplane that goes anywhere one wishes, and sent him to Vaikuntha, which is above the worlds of matter. O king, thus I have described to you the glories of gopi-candana.

Text 45

One who hears this account of gopi-candana’s glories becomes exalted. He goes to the supreme abode of Lord Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Text pasted from; Stephen Knapp

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Ramananda
    Oct 09, 2013 @ 23:26:57

    Gopi chandan ki jaya. Thank you prabhus.


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