Tilak Chandalo

Q.: The Tilak, the mark on the forehead is said to be Urdhva Pundra. What is the meaning of Urdhva Pundra?
A.: Pundra means a lotus. Here it means the lotus-feet of Shree Hari. Urdhva means upward. The lotus- feet of Shree Hari looked from the heel looks like a lotus with five petals. The Tilak mark is therefore the symbol or the imprint of the lotus-feet of Shree Hari.

Q.: Why is the Urdhva Pundra Tilak applied primarily on the forehead?
A.: Because it is the place of Agnya Chakra, the commanding center of spiritual power.

Q.: Should we have this Tilak mark for the whole day and everyday?
A.: Certainly, but if not possible due to adverse circumstances, you should have Tilak mark every morning during ceremonial worship or when you go to a holy meeting or when you go to the temple or when there is a religious program or when you go to pay your respects to H. H. The Acharya Shree.

When the saints were harassed and tortured by adversaries, Shree Hari had Himself ordered the saints not to have Tilak mark for the time being.

Q.: Who shouldn't have complete Tilak mark?
A.: Those who are "Sachchhudra" and do jobs such as carrying the excreta, cleaning native toilets or skinning dead animals should have only the red mark on the forehead. (Shikshapatri Slok No. 45)

Q.: What happens if Tilak mark is completely omitted?
A.: The scriptures declare that without Tilak mark japa, homa, charities, study of religious books are sheer waste of time.

Q.: What is the significance of the shape of Tilak?
A.: The vertical lines pointing upwards show that Tilak mark leads upward finally to Akshardham. In this U-shape Shree Hari live so it is the Symbol of Akshardham. The red mark is the symbol of Lakshmiji (spiritual prosperity) living in the heart of Shree Hari.

Q.: Why should we use sandal-paste and saffron for Tilak mark?
A.: Sandal-paste is created from the fragrant perspiration of Shree Hari, while saffron is created by His red lips-according to Shree Lakshmi-Narayan Samhita.

Q.: What are the benefits of having this Tilak mark?
A.: It protects you from worldly bondage, leads to external spiritual liberation, the body remains as holy as the temple of God. It burns off the mountains of sins. The bearer gets the merits of Puja at all the holy places, of constructing wells, gardens, dharmashalas etc. for public welfare of having done great charities, of performing all yoga techniques.

Q.: Who has standardized out Tilak mark?
A.: Shree Hari Himself has standardized the Tilak mark. The saints and the followers of Shree Hari formerly belonged to different sects. Each of these ten sects had their own specific design of the Tilak mark. The thickness and length of the lines varied and the location, dimension and shape of the circular Chandraka inside also varied. To bring uniformity Shree Hari Himself made a standard Tilak mark on the forehead of Nityanand Swami and asked all the followers to follow this specification. Since then the uniformity of Tilak mark is maintained.

Q.: If the Tilak mark is rubbed out during the day, should we do it again?
A.: Not necessarily, but you may if you so desire and if it's convenient.

Q.: Why Gopichandan (a particular yellowish mud) may be used?
A.: It is sanctified by the Gopies. It is the cheapest material easily available near Dwarika.

Swaminarayan Sampraday - Tilak Chandalo