As per ancient traditions of Hindus, both men and women wore the bindi or tilak on their forehead from childhood. Each time the face was washed, a fresh bindi replaced the one washed away. A bindi is a colored dot worn on the center of the forehead by Hindus and Jains. The word bindi comes from the Sanskrit word ‘bindu’ which appears in the hymn of Creation known as Nasadiya Sukta, the earliest know Sanskrit Text of the Rigveda. Bindu is dot/point at which Creation begins. It is also the sacred symbol of the Cosmos in its “Unmanifested State”. The bindi has historical and cultural value in the region of Greater India.
The bindi is applied at the point in between the two eyebrows. It has cosmetic value. It beautifies the face. In Hinduism, the color red represents honor, love, and prosperity. Hence red bindi is worn to symbolize these qualities. This point is the ‘ajna chakra’ or ‘agya chakra.’ It is the sixth and most powerful chakra in the human body. It governs the head, eyes, brain, pineal gland and pituitary gland. This chakra plays a major role in yogic meditation. In many meditation techniques, we focus on this point.
In the pranayama technique of Brahmari, meaning bee breath, we focused solely on opening up this chakra. Several yogic poses, including Balasana (Child’s Pose) and Ardha Pincha Mayurasana (Dolphin Pose), include touching our forehead to the ground in order to stimulate this chakra. In the pictures of Lord Shiva, we see His third eye at this point. It is the center of knowledge, intuition, awakening, and awareness.
As per the practice of acupressure, pressing this point of ajna chakra for a few seconds every day gives many health benefits. When we apply our bindi, we adjust it a little, then press it down firmly to ensure that it remains in place. Even if we do not wear it right on the third eye but place it a little higher, it has the same health benefits:
- It relieves headaches. When we press this point for a few seconds it relieves a headache almost instantly, as a number of key nerves and blood vessels converge at this point.
- It clears up our sinuses. The trigeminal nerve, which is responsible for sensation in the entire face, passes through this area. This nerve is the largest of the cranial nerves and it has three branches. Stimulating this nerve helps reduce the swelling and congestion in our sinuses.
- Improves vision and eye health. The supratrochlear nerve also passes through this area. This nerve is a branch of the frontal nerve, which in turn is a branch of the ophthalmic division of the trigeminal nerve. It is connected to all the muscles around the eyes, so stimulating this nerve improves vision and eye health.
- It keeps our skin young. The trigeminal nerve’s branches cover most of our entire face. Stimulating this nerve keeps our skin young and our facial muscles strong.
- It prevents depression. The trigeminal nerve is a key nerve to treat depression, epilepsy and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The medical community is researching ways to stimulate this nerve with very low -intensity electrical shocks in order to treat these problems. By pressing this nerve for a few seconds every day, we can prevent these conditions in the first place!
- It improves hearing. One of the nerves passing through this area also stimulates our cochlear. The cochlear is a part of the inner ear that is the key to our hearing.
- It relieves stress, eye strain, fatigue, and insomnia. When we are stressed out, our eyebrows and forehead get bunched up and become very tense. This region bears the brunt of our stress. Relaxing the brows and forehead can relieve stress to a great extent. Balasana (Child’s Pose) is considered to be one of the most relaxing yoga poses because it stimulates this area. Stimulating this area relieves us of stress, fatigue, and eye strain.
- It promotes restful sleep and a sense of happiness. Stimulating this point relaxes the face and body to the extent that it prevents insomnia and promotes restful sleep. This point is linked to the pineal gland, a tiny pea-sized gland in the brain that produces the hormones serotonin and melatonin. Melatonin is the sleep hormone, whereas serotonin is one of the hormones related to happiness. Stimulation of this point keeps us stress- free and happy.
- The pituitary gland is situated behind the Ajna Chakra. The p*itutary gland is the master gland and controls the function of all other glands in our body. When the pituitary gland is balanced and working, our body is in balance. Touching this area daily and stimulating it for few seconds helps to keep it working well.
- It boosts memory and concentration. Stimulating this point boosts memory and concentration.
- Improves intuition and awareness. The Ajna chakra is linked to intuition, creativity, spiritual awareness, visualization, wisdom, intellect, and understanding.
- Applying the kumkum between the brows protects a woman from the negative attacks of lust around her and she carries herself calmly without disturbance. There is a flow of divine consciousness from the kumkum which forms a protective sheath around the woman protecting her from all negativity.
- Application of kumkum on third eye protects the ajna chakra, vishuddhi chakra and sahasrara chakra from entry of negativity from outside.
- Application of kumkum prevents the calcification of third eye and helps third eye open and the channels of intuition strong.
Traditionally we apply either kumkum (a vermilion colored powder), sindhoor made of cinnabar (naturally occurring mercury sulfide), turmeric and lime , chandan/sandalwood or ash on our forehead.
Kumkum is made by mixing turmeric and lime. The lime changes the color of turmeric into red. This mixture is also one of the best remedies for a headache. It relaxes the muscles of the forehead and provides instant relief. This mixture is highly hygroscopic in nature (has the ability to absorb water) and therefore absorbs any ‘water’ or mucous logged in the head. It is antibacterial in nature and helps to keep infections at bay. The color red retains the positive energy of the body and has the capability to keep you strong, healthy and positive throughout the day.
Sindhoor works the same way.
Chandan is known for its cooling properties. It benefits the skin and cools the nerves below it. It keeps the mind calm and cools the entire system. The point of Ajna chakra is probably the most sensitive area with the highest convergence of nerves in our body. Therefore applying Chandan to it helps in cooling the nerves and relieve headaches caused due to excessive exposure to the sun. Ash is also used to apply a tilak or bindi. It has all the positive effects that kumkum and Chandan have.
Ash is created by burning specific woods and herbs while chanting mantras to enhance its positive effects on the body.
Wearing of the Bindi or Pottu or Tilak are not mere religious symbols. They lead to healing of body, mind and spirit and keep the body in balance.
Discussion about this post