PUTTING ON TILAKA - the ornamentation of the spirit soul

Putting on Tilaka
Srila Prabhupada - Putting on Tilaka
Tilaka is sometimes called the ornamentation of the spirit soul. The decoration, made by applying wet clay mixture, marks the body as a temple of Viṣṇu, the Supreme Lord. The Vaiṣṇava devotee marks his body in twelve places for sanctification and protection, and one who is wearing tilaka can at once be identified as a devotee of the Lord. Just as one can recognize that the strength of the government is behind a uniformed policeman, one can understand that the strength of God is behind a devotee marked with tilaka.

One should pour a little water into the palm of his/her left hand and rub gopī-candana (mud from Dvārakā) into it. When making tilaka the following mantra from the Uttara Khaṇḍa of the Padma Purāṇa should be chanted:

lalāṭe keśavaṁ dhyāyen nārāyaṇam athodare
vakṣaḥ-sthale mādhavaṁ tu govindaṁ kaṇṭha-kūpake
viṣṇuṁ ca dakṣiṇe kukṣau bāhau ca madhusūdanam
trivikramaṁ kandhare tu vāmanaṁ vāma-pārśvake
śrīdharaṁ vāma-bāhau tu hṛṣīkeśaṁ tu kandhare
pṛṣṭhe ca padmanābhaṁ ca kaṭyāṁ dāmodaraṁ nyaset
In Accordance with the avove mentioned mantra one should now apply gopī-candana with the ball of the finger tip of the right ring finger, to make the tilaka markings on the twelve parts of the body. According to the brahmāṇḍa Purāṇa one should not use the fingernail to make the space in the middle of the tilaka. One should place a damp cloth over the finger and make the space with that.

When one marks the forehead with tilaka, he must remember Keśava. When one marks the lower abdomen, he must remember Nārāyaṇa. For the chest, one should remember Mādhava, and when marking the hollow of the neck one should remember Govinda. Lord Viṣṇu should be remembered while marking the right side of the belly, and Madhusūdana should be remembered when marking the right arm. Trivikrama should be remembered when marking the right shoulder, and Vāmana should be remembered when marking the left side of the belly. Śrīdhara should be remembered while marking the left arm, and Hṛṣīkeśa should be remembered when marking the left shoulder. Padmanābha and Dāmodara should be remembered when marking the back.

The śikhā area is not marked with tilaka; rather, after washing the right hand, wipe the remaining water on your śikhā while chanting oṁ vāsudevāya namaḥ.

Tilaka Marking List
Forehead: Śrī Keśavāya namaḥ

Abdomen: Śrī Nārāyaṇāya namaḥ
Chest: Śrī Mādhavāya namaḥ
Throat: Śrī Govindāya namaḥ
Right waist: Śrī Viṣṇave namaḥ
Right forearm: Śrī Madhusūdanāya namaḥ
Right shoulder: Śrī Trivikramāya namaḥ
Left waist: Śrī Vāmanāya namaḥ
Left forearm: Śrī Śrīdharāya namaḥ
Left shoulder: Śrī Hṛṣīkeśāya namaḥ
Nape of neck: Śrī Padmanābhāya namaḥ
Lower back: Śrī Dāmodarāya namaḥ
Head: Śrī Vāsudevāya namaḥ

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