In Hindu culture, applying tilak, Bhasma (sacred ash), or Chandan on the forehead is a very important daily religious ritual. It is a sign of auspiciousness. Chandan or sandalwood paste, kumkum, sindoor or vermillion, roli, vibhuti or as all can be used as TILAK. Lord Shiva devotees apply ash on forehead, on the other hand, Lord Vishnu devotees apply Sandalwood paste also known as chandan and the devotees of Devi apply kumkum or sindoor.
Applying the ’tilak’ is a very significant part of Hindu culture. It is an imminent part of Hindu rituals, all kind of pujas and religious ceremonies commence after applying the tilak. A tilak is applied on the forehead, it can be a dot between the eyebrows with the ring finger. But what is the significance of applying Tilak with different fingers:
Applying Tilak with RING finger or Anamika brings PEACE.
Sunrise is a very soothing time of the day. Total peace is experienced at this time. It is said that Surya or Sun is at the base of the ring finger. Therefore, applying Tilak with ring finger provides peace. Traditionally the ring finger is used to apply tilak on forehead. The area below the ring finger on the palm is referred to as Surya Kshetra or Surya Parvat. So by using the ring finger, the person brings a glow to one’s face – symbolically the energy of the Sun or Surya. This makes the person ready to face the day’s Karma. Additionally, it is also believed is that by using the ring finger, a person awakens the Agya Chakra on the forehead and this helps in awakening one’s intellect.
The ring finger should be used to put Tilak on the photos of Hindu Gods and Goddesses.
Applying Tilak with MIDDLE finger or Madhyama grants a LONG LIFE.
As per Hindu mythology, Saturn is at the base of the middle finger. The planet Saturn is known as the protector of life. Thus, applying Tilak with middle finger grants long life
Applying Tilak with THUMB or Angushtha gives STRENGTH.
According to Hindu mythology the planet Venus is at the base of the thumb. The planet Venus represents health, and hence the thumb is used for applying Tilak to men as it symbolizes health, strength, etc.
Applying Tilak with INDEX finger or Tarjani provides MOKSHA:
The base of the index finger is the planet Jupiter. A tilak is applied with index finger to a dead body as it provides Moksha to its spirit, as the planet Jupiter represents immortality. This is why applying Tilak with an index finger on other occasions is considered inauspicious. The right-hand index finger should be used for applying Tilak to the photos of the departed.
Tilak is usually applied at the place between the eyebrows known as Ajna Chakra. The application of Chandan or Sandalwood paste as Tilak has a very cooling effect and has great medicinal value. In the summertime, if one focuses on the Ajna Chakra, it provides a very soothing and cooling effect. The Tilak, if applied with ring finger and thumb is very beneficial to the person. Women typically should use ring finger for applying Bindi on their foreheads as well. Men and women should use rice mixed in Chandan for Tilak as it represents firmness or peace of the brain.
There are a total of 13 places on the human body where Tilak can be put, but the only forehead is considered as the noblest. According to vedic astrology, the house of Aries also known as Mesh Rashi is on the forehead. The Lord of this sign is Mars and its color is Red. This is the main significance of putting Sindoor or vermillion as Tilak on the forehead.