Urdhva Pundra Tilak

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Udharva Marka, illustrated

Urdhva Pundra tilak or Udharva Marka is a yellow U mark on the forehead made with chandan and a red dot in the centre usually made out of kumkum (saffron) worn by members of the Swaminarayan Sampraday.[1][2] The yellow U mark signifies the Vishnu's feet, while the red dot signifies Lakshmi.[3][4] Urdhva Pundra tilak has been mentioned in the Shikshapatri and Brahmanda Purana.[3] The Urdhva pundra tilak is done during puja in the morning, and it is a commandment of Swaminarayan for all Swaminarayan followers.[1][5] Female only do the red dot with kumkum without the U mark.[6]

Application and Significance[edit]

The tilak or chandlo is done on chest and arms whilst chanting the mantras Vasudeva, Shankarsharna, Pradyumna and Aniruddha. According to the Brahmanda Purana, the colours and manner of application of the tilak are significant: "A black Tilak will derive peace; a red Tilak will bring obedience and control; a yellow one will bring wealth; one which is white will deliver devotion to Vishnu; a Tilak of correct size, marked using one’s fingers will offer the god’s support and blessing; a Tilak in the centre of the forehead will bring youth and long life; the Chandlo made using the third finger (Anamika) will deliver joy; and a bounded Tilak will ultimately bring salvation". The Tilak should be marked with the correct finger making sure that the nail of the finger does not come into use when marking.The mark is known as(by the Swaminarayan followers),a Tilak-Chandlo. They apply the mark every day during their puja;a ritual done in the morning after bathing and brushing teeth.[3] Instructions appear in the shikshapatri shlokas.

Importance and forms[edit]

The importance of tilak is mentioned in the Atharvana Upanisad, Maha Upanisad, Brahmanda Purana and Padma Purana among other scriptures. The Vaishnava Sampraday, Vallabha Sampraday, Madhva Sampradaya and the Gaudiya Sampraday too have their own form of the tilak.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Daily Pooja Guidelines (Male)". 
  2. ^ Raymond Brady Williams (2001). An introduction to Swaminarayan Hinduism. Cambridge University Press. Retrieved May 2, 2009.  Page 182
  3. ^ a b c "Shlok 52". 
  4. ^ Vijay Prakash Sharma (1998). The Sadhus and Indian Civilisation. Anmol Publications PVT. LTD. Retrieved May 2, 2009.  Page 77
  5. ^ Richard Burghart (1987). Hinduism in Great Britain. Tavistock Publications Ltd. Retrieved May 2, 2009.  Page 42
  6. ^ "Daily Pooja Guidelines (Female)". 
  7. ^ "On Tilak: Urdhva Pundra Vidhi". 

External links[edit]