If you ask someone to draw a sketch of an Indian Girl, most probably they will draw any girly face and then draw a Bindi (sort of a red dot), on her forehead. 😀 In reality, if you go to any Indian city, you will be disappointed to see, that not every girl, wears this red dot on her forehead. 🙂
I couldn’t find out, who started this tradition of wearing Bindi? But, I do found out why it started, and what is it’s actual significance?
Now a days, mostly north Indians women wear Bindi as a symbol of their marital status. A Red Bindi is mostly worn by married women on their forehead. Widowed and unmarried women don’t wear Bindi. Even if they do, they wear a Black Bindi or Sandalwood Bindi. But, these customs are not followed religiously everywhere, and I think it’s for the best, because Bindi is not supposed to show your marital status or your fashion statement, but rather your spiritual self.
Before we go about exploring Bindi, lets first see the importance of place where we apply it. Bindi is applied at the center of the forehead just between the eyebrows. Why this place is important?
The position directly behind the center of forehead is of Ajna Chakra, the Sixth Chakra. This is also known as the position for the Third eye. Sixth Chakra is the highest chakra in our physical body. If you remember my several posts on Chakras, the highest Chakra, Seventh Chakra is rather placed in our outer body, also called as our spiritual body, just above our head. Thus our Sixth Chakra, Ajna Chakra, is the highest center of Spirituality in our physical body.
Sixth Chakra is for command, intuition, intelligence, as it represents mind, knowledge, and also connection between our physical self to spiritual self. Sometimes it is also referred as the gateway to attaining spiritual energy and Moksha.
In earlier times, when people used to pray, they used to awaken this Ajna Chakra, through their Kundalini Shakti. In a very simple term, during praying or more specifically Meditation, this place being the gateway for energy, becomes active, and as Kundalini passes through it, it becomes hot. Focusing on your Sixth Chakra also create headaches for some time. To calm this effect, and cool it, people started putting Kumkum and Sandalwood on their forehead, in the form of a Bindi or Tilak. Both of these have a cooling effect.
Now a days, it would be very rare if anyone has this capability to awaken their Kundalini Shakti to such a level as to took it to Ajna Chakra. But this practice of putting Kumkum and sandalwood Bindi, just before praying started based on this basic notion. Also, to show importance of this super dynamic place filled with heightened spirituality, we place a mark of respect and devotion. It is also a representation for the Third eye.
So more than Bindi, it’s the place where we apply Bindi, is of utmost importance. More power to our Ajna Chakra.
Keep watching this space because soon we will talk about significance of color in Bindi. Till then Happy Reading, Happy Learning. 🙂
Few weeks back, I took Marriage Blessings in a church (with the same husband of mine, of the last five years). Why? There is quite an interesting story behind it…. promise to post it in my next writeup.
It’s not a big deal if you want to read your marriage vows again, but if you are a Hindu by religion and do some function, that too, of marriage sort of, in a Church than it’s bound to raise many questions. Some of them were less of a question and more of statements, coming from family and friends. Like, have you changed your religion?, or, Is it done for some christian belief?, or, did you forgot abut your culture?, or, You are now totally in influence of western culture… and blah blah…..
Questioning is good, it makes your mind curious, and makes you look out for the right answer. I am reading about religion, specially Hindu, since childhood, now a days I have taken a fancy about other religions too and their stories, about their evolution and coming to existence. Reading about other religions has in fact made me more closer to understanding my own religion – Hindu Dharma.
First of all, Hindu is not a religion, it’s a Dharma. If you go into translation, then Dharma (Hindi/Sanskrit word) is translated as Religion in English. But, Dharma has a more broad meaning to it than just Religion. Dharma means to hold, to bear, to believe; to hold what you believe, to believe what is true, to believe what is right. Dharma means to hold on to your rightful beliefs and truth.
Hindu Dharma, Hinduism, or Sanatan Dharma as called popularly, actually speak of practices which are in harmony of nature, and manifestation of happiness and peace. When our Vedas and Upanishads speak of God, they do not talk of something which is out of reach and unimaginable. Bhaagvat and Shiv Puran when speak of, how God, or to say, super almighty came into existence and this universe is created, they say that God was always there, and he created man as his image. It also states that all the Devs and and Devis, resides in various forms in man’s body.
But, why say that Gods resides in your own body? Why are we going to temples then? When our Vedas say, that everything is created by God, and He is residing in everything and everyone. He is everywhere in everyone, then why are we looking outwards for him? Why are we not respecting others and ourselves too, as God is within all of us.
So, lets settle on the point that God is within you and me. But, does he resides in my American friend too? He is no Hindu. So maybe not my God, but the God that he believes in, maybe He is in him. But, does that mean that I should not respect him, as he has some other God? Wait, but it’s a God. Why take a Panga (make an issue), with any God? So, let’s respect all. Settled.
Now, coming to Church and temples. Hinduism is the oldest practices in this whole world, and the reason why it has survived for so long is mainly based on one of it’s founding principle of “Vasudeva Kutumbakam”, which states that entire world is actually a big family. Acceptance of all the things as they are, and grasping every good thing is the key behind this ever evolving religion.
In it’s entire history, Hinduism have not embarked on any other religion or belief, to impose itself. Over the years it has learnt to live with peace and harmony, with others. This is what it teaches us too. As long as Hindu Dharma is preaching the above, I feel proud to be one. I have always believed in respecting others beliefs and rituals and will proudly do so, always. This is My Dharma, My Religion.
I have read so many mysteries and thrillers, but most mysterious and thrilling stories are from our Religious notions. There is so much that we don’t know, still there is so much that we believe in. Believing in something which we don’t know fully, still we have full faith in our beliefs. I am writing this post cause my curious mind took me to a journey of some of the widely practiced religions and stories behind them.
I am ashamed to say that I knew so little about them, even right now, I am so unsure of my limited knowledge(rather say ignorance), but I am eager to learn.
For instance, I didn’t knew that three of the most popular religions, Christianity, Judaism and Islam, originated from one. But, I did knew that, Hinduism is considered as the oldest Religion and it has given birth to several most widely practiced other religions too, like Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. Most astounding fact being, that all these religions emerging from Hinduism are in accord and harmony (as far as I know).
The case is not same with Christinaism, Judaism, and Islam. They started from the same Abrahamic belief, and then along the way they distinguished themselves and took separate paths. A path which now seem, so extreme from each other that one can never imagine that their roots were in the very same area of Jerusalem.
A holy place captured and attacked so many times in history, and now surrounded by walls reaching the sky. A holy place which is the center point for the most controversial religious debates between three major Religions of the world. I wonder if God still resides there, enclosed in those walls.
This actually reminds me of my visit to disputed Ram temple site of Ayodhya,India. A place of worship and faith, surrounded by army and police, guarded in such a way, to make you feel like, distant from your own God. I read about and also watched some documentary on Jerusalem, and the only thought that came to my mind was, why can’t they all live in peace accepting each others Religion. What’s wrong if person of two religion wants to pray in a single place?
It strikes me, how I felt about the Ram Temple and Babri Masjid disorder. How would I feel, if I am praying their and at the same time my Muslim friend is offering his prayers too? Will it create more discord, or, it just won’t matter, as long as we both have a right to express our religious beliefs freely?
It’s too complicated, or maybe not. I am trying to understand, what need not require understanding. Religion is not meant to be interpreted. It’s for believing. It’s for practicing my beliefs, without hurting others. It should be about love and closeness with the Lord, and not about building walls. I believe in that.