The Tilak is not merely a beauty–enhancing mark, or a sign of religiosity. Hindu cultural traditions have given a significant place to wisdom in life. Life’s journey is guided by wisdom, which leads us through evolution of life towards salvation. If a man loses everything in his life but has his wisdom, he can recreate everything he has lost.

In Gayatri Mantra we chant, “May my Wisdom be enlightened and purified”. The worship that has been revered in the Vedas is symbolized in the Tilak. The seat of wisdom is the head and since the forehead is its front part, we worship wisdom by placing the Tilak on the forehead.

A Tilak is the ‘third eye’ in a manner of speaking. It is a divine eye which when ‘opened’ by divine knowledge shows the way to self–realization. Lord Shiva destroyed Kamadeva with his third eye, so too, we may destroy our desires and evil elements by striving for knowledge. Disclaimer: The views expressed in this write up are entirely my own