I had a fabulous evening yesterday, listening to an insightful Indian Speaker along with some lovely company. While I was meeting and greeting known and unknown people at the event; I received plenty of beautiful complements on my look and especially on the Bindi I was wearing. So, I thought let me make it a subject of my next Blog Post and lets share what I’d like the world to know about Bindi!
You might know it as ‘Indian Beauty Spot’ or ‘Red Dot on the forehead’. It might be smaller in size but it has a profound reasoning behind it. Well, you already know what it could be translated into English; but most popularly its known as ‘Bindi’ in the Indian National Language: Hindi, and ‘Chanlo’ in my Regional Language: Gujarati. As we all know Bindi is related to Hinduism; let me take you on a little historical journey here and then come around the modern take on it.
History of Bindi
The word Bindi derived from a Sanskrit (one of the oldest Languages of the world) word: ‘Bindu’ meaning ‘point’, ‘drop’ or ‘dot’. The tradition of wearing a bindi dates back over 5,000 years; which is very evident from ancient temples where the idols and sculptures of Goddesses are adorned with a bindi.
“A woman’s beauty is multiplied 1,000 times when she wears a bindi”– Indian proverb
As if this 👆🏻reason wasn’t enough here I am mentioning various aspects of reasonings behind wearing this gorgeous little dot.
Traditional Significance :
Traditionally, Bindi is worn for all the auspicious occasions and ceremonies both by females and males; but the only difference when a male wears it is its called ‘Tilak’ and mostly, it might be a little longer in an upward stroke rather than in a round shape unlike a woman’s Bindi. When a woman wears a red bindi it shows that she is married; it symbolises her commitment to the long-life and well-being of her husband. But what I totally despise is, Widows in India are not supposed to wear bindi normally, but they are allowed to wear a black coloured one in Southern India, showing their loss. On a positive note, I believe such harsh social customs and traditions are abolishing for good. However, young girls are free to wear bindi of any color. Nowadays, we have an easier version as in ‘Stick on Bindi’ but traditionally Bindi used to be in form of paste made out of ‘Kumkum’ aka vermilion and water.
Spiritual Significance :
In Spiritual context a Bindi or Tilak is seen as a ‘Center of awakening and concentration’. The point right between our eyebrows, on our forehead is the point where the major nerves of the body meet. Apart from that this point is also known as the position of the sixth, and most important chakra. Known as the ajna chakra , this point signifies the point of awakening and the position of the third eye. It is believed that when this spot is stimulated it helps a person in a number of ways including making you calmer and helping beat anxiety. It is also believed that this point helps a person awaken to the world that cannot be seen by the two physical eyes. Also, Bindi is believed to have some health benefits due to some other ingredients used in making bindi paste like sandalwood, saffron and turmeric etc.
Let me clear it first that it might not be relatable for each and every Hindu though, especially in today’s busy lifestyle. In Hindu culture a Hindu takes a bath and prays every morning in order to
spend a fresh, positive day. However, it is impractical and senseless to sit in prayer the whole day. So when you leave the prayer room/ temple,you are supposed to carry some mark on your forehead, so that you carry the positivity and awakened vibe the whole day round. And if you see it on someone else’s forehead it will remind you of the purpose of your life and will prevent you from any wrongdoings.
Bindi is not just limited to South Asia or South East Asia now; its embraced as a fashion statement all over works. From Gwen Stephani in ‘Just A Girl’ to Kendall ans Kylie Jenner on Instagram or Selena Gomes in ‘Come and Get It’ Bindi has overcome all types of differences and has made Indian culture more interesting, understandable and adaptable for the rest of the world.
Well, as far as I am concerned, I like to wear a Bindi when I don an Indian attire; be it Sarree, Indian Dress, traditional attire called Chaniya Choli or sometimes even Indo-Western outfits! I wear it both in spiritual and modern context whenever I get a chance to wear it.
Enjoy the magic of Bindi; now that you know much about it!