The tilak – pottu – Bottu invokes a feeling of holiness in the user and the others. It is recognized as a religious mark. Its shape and color vary according to the caste, the religious sect or the form of the worshiped Lord.
In the past, the four castes (based on varna or color) – Brahmana, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Sudra – applied Tilak differently. The Brahmin applied a white Tilak of chandan which signifies purity, since his profession was priestly or academic in nature. The kshatriya applied a mark of red kumkum Tilak which means value since it belonged to the war races. The Vaishya wore a Tilak of yellow kesar or turmeric which meant prosperity because he was a businessman or a merchant dedicated to wealth creation. Sudra has applied a black bhasma, kasturi or coal signaling service to support the work of the other three divisions.
In addition, the followers of Vishnu apply a “U” shaped chandan tilak, Shiva worshipers, a Bhasma tripundra, devi devotees, a red kumkum dot, and so on.
The tilak covers the place between the eyebrows, which is the seat of memory and thought. He is known as Aajna Chakra in the language of Yoga. The tilak is applied with the prayer: “Let me remember the Lord, may this pious feeling permeate all my activities, be it just in my works.” Even when we temporarily forget this attitude of prayer, the mark on another reminds us of our determination. The tilak is therefore a blessing of the Lord and a protection against evil tendencies and forces.
The whole body emits energy in the form of electro magnetic waves, especially in the forehead and the subtle point between the eyebrows. This is why anxiety generates heat and causes headaches. The tilak and the pottu cool the forehead, protect us and prevent the loss of energy. Sometimes the whole forehead is covered with chandan or bhasma. The use of plastic adhesives “bindis” is not very beneficial, although it fulfills the function of decoration.