tilaka

Encyclopedia

tilaka

("mark"), in Hinduism, a mark generally made on the forehead, indicating a man's sectarian affiliation. The marks are made by hand or with a metal stamp, using ash from a sacrificial fire, sandalwood paste, turmeric, cow dung, clay, charcoal, or red lead. Among some cults the mark is made on 2, 5, 12, or 32 parts of the body as well as on the forehead. Among Saivas (followers of Siva), the tilak usually takes the form of three horizontal parallel lines across the forehead, with or without a red dot. Sometimes a crescent moon or trident denotes a Saiva. Among Vaishnavas (followers of Vishnu), the many tilak variations follow a general pattern of two or more vertical lines resembling the letter U and representing the foot of Vishnu, with or without a central line or dot

Learn more about tilaka with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source
Explore Dictionary.com
Previous Definition: tilak
Next Definition: tilapia
Words Near: tilaka
More from Thesaurus.com
Synonyms and Antonyms for tilaka
More from Reference.com
Search for articles containing tilaka
More from Dictionary.com Translator
Dictionary.com Word FAQs

Dictionary.com presents 366 FAQs, incorporating some of the frequently asked questions from the past with newer queries.

Related Searches
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature