Through my yogic journey, I have had the opportunity to take initiations into different aspects of yoga. Through yoga we also learn different ways to bring a fuller connection to aspects of our practice. The “bindi” is one of the tools I was least familiar with, but now use fully in my practice. Most of us have seen Hindu women with the traditional red marking on the center of the forehead, and a big misconception is that this marking only signifies marriage.
The “bindi” is also applied to bring awareness and attention to the third eye. One of my favorite kirtan singers BhagavanDas says it best, “The bindi brings
full awareness to the third eye. People will look, you will see it when you look in the mirror, and this adds energy to your third eye.” Just to be completely honest, people will stare… especially if you are male and wearing this symbol. I personally feel most connected when I take a moment to apply it. It’s a very personal act of connection with the divine, a deep connection to the third eye center.
There are a couple of important reasons to wear it, and I’ll also talk about application in case any of you reading might want to take the bindi for a test drive:
One of the reasons I like wearing it is not just the significance of the third eye energy, but that it helps me to connect deeper to my spiritual path. When others stop and look, or even talk to me about the bindi it gives me a chance to share my journey with someone else. We live in a world where life is moving quickly, and little things like this catch people off guard and it slows them
down, causes them to stop, and connect for a moment. A bindi can be worn by both men and women. It is a connection to the divine, and in some ways is an outward representation of that connection. It focuses the energy into our intuitive center and helps us to focus.
The bindi is traditionally applied with sandalwood paste and kumkum powder. Sandalwood is important for many reasons. It’s fragrance has calming properties, and when applied to the forehead allows us to smell it, feel it and embrace it. We know that it is there, and the forehead is where we hold most of our worry, so it brings cooling to our “worry center”. The kumkum is the red powder that is applied on top of the sandalwood paste. You can easily find powders in different colors, and different methods of application. I’ll detail my personal process, and feel free to apply it as you see fit.
Some people just apply the adoration as a fashion statement, and where there might be nothing wrong with this, there are deeper energies present in simple actions. There are individuals that take yoga solely as a physical practice, but the spiritual aspect is inherent whether you want it or not. So just keep that in mind when connecting to practices that may have a latent spiritual symbolism.
You can use as a tool to focus your meditation, you can use it to build your connection to your intuition, and it can outwardly help you connect to your spiritual path.
1) I first take a moment to center myself and I call in my personal deity, guides and angels.
2) I apply a small amount of water to my left palm, and add a small amount of sandalwood powder then mix them with my left ring finger until a paste forms.
3) once the mixture has formed into a paste I take my right ring finger and apply it to the spot right above my nose, centered between the forehead. I apply it by making small circles, and its usually no bigger than the size of a nickel. While I apply it I usually say a mantra. This mantra penetrates into the third eye during the application process.
4) Now to apply the kumkum powder. What I have found best for getting the perfect little circle is to take the eraser end of a pencil, lightly tap the powder covering the eraser fully. Then take the eraser and press firmly into the center of your sandalwood past circle. I hold long enough for me to say the mantra one more time, then release.
Some people apply the bindi without the sandalwood, some use their finger when applying the kumkum, some use applicator kits, and there are many other ways of adorning oneself. The most important part is finding what works for you, and finding your reason for applying it.
Have fun with it. Even if you don’t find yourself drawn to using this spiritual tool, hopefully now you will have a deeper understanding of its meaning. Namaste!
Mahayogi Das CFT CSN MAT PAT