Tilaka—A Mark Of Auspiciousness
- Tilaka is a mark of auspiciousness. It is put on the forehead with sandal paste, sacred ashes or Kumkuma.
- Tilaka is applied at the Ajna Chakra, the space between the two eyebrows. It has a very cooling effect. Application of sandal paste has great medicinal value, apart from the spiritual influence.
- Application of sandal paste will nullify the heating effect when you concentrate and meditate.
- Tilaka indicates the point at which the spiritual eye opens.
The Tuft—Its Utility And Significance
- Brahmins (Brahmanas) as well as the other castes grow Choti or Sikha, a tuft of hair.
- It protects the brain from any sudden stroke and keeps it cool. The heat of the sun does not affect the head directly.
- The tuft is most scientific as well as religious. Any religious act should be performed after tying the tuft.
- The tuft of hair has a salutary effect on the essential parts of the brain and the central nervous system.
Significance Of The Sacred Thread
- Wearing the sacred thread is a very holy and sacred ceremony amongst the Hindus.
- Those who worship God at the three Sandhyas and repeat the Gayatri holding the Brahma knot of the sacred thread, derive immense strength and power.
- The sacred thread is a great power for the worshiper who leads a regulated life devoted to the worship of God.
Achamana And Prokshana
- Achamana is sipping water three times, repeating the Names of the Lord. Prokshana is sprinkling water over one’s body for the sake of purity, when a bath is not possible. This is for internal as well as external purity.
- One becomes pure by doing Achamana after he answers calls of nature, after walking in the streets, just before taking food and after food, and after a bath.
- This reminds you of the Lord now and then. Every act, every ritual, every symbol has a deep philosophical importance. They help you in changing the mental substance from Rajas and Tamas to Sattva.
- They give you an opportunity to think of God frequently.
Offering Food To God
- Before sitting for food, the place is purified, a seat is put and in a leaf the articles of food are served. Before taking the food, a little water is sprinkled
- This repetition purifies the food. Then a little water is sipped.
- According to science as well as medicine, a little water, if drunk before the food is taken, is highly beneficial.
- The person who takes the food offers it to the deities who dwell in the body in the form of Prana, Apana, etc. He does not eat for himself. The physical body is not the eater. It is the Pancha Prana that takes the food. Thus, taking food also can be converted into an act of Yoga or sacrifice.
Bells, Lights, Dhupa, Camphor And Sandal Paste Bells are rung in temples while doing Puja, to shut out the external sounds and to make the mind inward and concentrated.
- Lights are waved before the Deity. This denotes that the Lord is Jyotis-Svarupa. He is all-light.
- Dhupa or scented sticks are burnt before the Deity. The smoke spreads the whole room. It acts as a disinfectant.
- Burning of Dhupa denotes that the Lord is all-pervading and that He fills the whole universe by His living presence. It is to remind this fact that Dhupa is burnt.
- Burning of camphor denotes that the individual ego melts like the camphor and the Jivatman becomes one with the supreme Light of lights.
- The sandal paste reminds the devotee that he should, in his difficulties, be as patient as the sandal. Sandal emanates sweet odour when it is rubbed on a hard surface and made into a paste. So also the devotee should not murmur when difficulties arise, but on the other hand, remain cheerful and happy and emanate sweetness and gentleness like the sandal.
- Though the sandalwood is crushed and made into a paste, it silently wears out emanating only very sweet odour. One should not wish evil even to his enemy.
Prasada—Its Sacredness And Glory
- Prasada is that which gives peace. Prasada is the sacred food offering of the Lord.
- The devotee offers these according to his ability and position in life, thereby denoting that the whole wealth of the world belongs to the Lord.
- Prasada have the power to change entirely the outlook of a man’s life. They have the power to cure diseases and even bring back to life dead persons.
- There had been ever so many instances in the past in this holy land of ours which bear witness to the potency and efficacy of Prasada.
- Prasada destroys all pains and sins. It is an antidote for misery, pain and anxiety.