Importance of Tilak

Importance of Tilak

Tilaka refers to the markings which are applied by the devotees on their bodies. This reminds the devotee that he and everyone is the eternal servant of Lord Sri Krishna. By wearing tilak not only does one identify one’s body as the temple of the Lord but one is also blessed by the auspicious protection of the Lord. The mark having a U- shape represents the lotus feet of Lord Vishnu, and the oval part represents the leaf of Tulasi Maharani. Tilaka is applied with the recitation of the names of the Lord. We apply tilak on twelve parts of the body, and the twelve names of the Lord are recited with each application.

Srila Prabhupada’s sayings in reference to Tilak:

“In Kali-yuga one can hardly acquire gold or jewelled ornaments, but the twelve tilaka marks on the body are sufficient as auspicious decorations to purify the body. “ SB 4.12.28 Purport

“I have no objection if members of the Society dress like nice American gentlemen; but in all circumstances a devotee cannot avoid tilaka, flag on head (shikha) and (tulasi) beads on the neck. These are the essential features of a Vaisnava." (SPL to Brahmananda, 14th October, 1967)

How to apply tilak?

  1. forehead: Om Keshavaya Namaha
  2. belly: Om Narayanaya Namaha
  3. chest: Om Madhavaya Namaha
  4. neck: Om Govindaya Namaha
  5. right belly: Om Vishnave Namaha
  6. right arm: Om Madhusudhanaya Namaha
  7. right shoulder: Om Trivikramaya Namaha
  8. left belly: Om Vamanaya Namaha
  9. left arm: Om Shridharaya Namaha
  10. left shoulder: Om Hrishikeshaya Namaha
  11. upperback: Om Padmanabhaya Namaha
  12. lower back: Om Damodaraya Namaha
  13. Apply the remaining chandan on your shikha as shown in number 13 by chanting om Vasudevay Namah.