There are quite a many aspects that complete an “Indian woman”. It is believed that, it is her parents whom she worships in the foremost stage of her life and then her husband turns to be the world to her, along with her kids, she gives birth too. And ultimately her life revolves around all these until she attains death.
She steps to the world as a daughter, and then is married to be a wife and her life completes when she gives birth to another life within her, to be a mother.
There is another aspect that has an equal significance on part of Indian women- is her “Solah Shringar” (16 components of beauty)!! It includes Bangles, Flowers, Mangal Sutra (made of black beads worn by married women), and Sindoor (Kumkum), Anklets, Toe ring, Nose pin, Bindi, Kajal, Earrings etc.
Among all these the significance of “Bindi” is what I have tried to elaborate today. It’s importance is less known to many of the people. What enhances the beauty and elegance of a woman? That’s a Bindi on her forehead centres her eyebrows. The custom of Bindi is basically followed among Hindus.
When asked basically what does a “Bindi” mean?
The dot applied on the forehead as a religious symbol. It represents divine sight and shows that one is a Hindu. For women, it is also a beauty accessory as well. This is the general answer usually given. The bindi is made of red powder (called sindur, traditionally made from powdered turmeric and fresh lime juice), sandal paste or cosmetics in the modern times.
The dot applied between the eyebrows or in the middle of the forehead is a sign that one is a “Hindu”. It is called the Bindi in the Hindi language, “Bindu” in Sanskrit language. In olden days, all Hindu men and women wore these marks on their forehead, and they also wore earrings. Today it is the women who are most faithful in wearing the Bindi.
Deep roots for this practice:
The dot or the “Bindi” has a mystical meaning. It represents the third eye of spiritual sight, which sees things, the physical eyes cannot see. Hindus seek to awaken their inner sight through yoga. The forehead dot is a reminder to use and cultivate this spiritual vision to perceive and better understand life’s inner workings—to see things not just physically, but with the “mind’s eye” as well.
In addition to the simple dot, there are many types of forehead marks, known as “tilaka” in Sanskrit. Each mark represents a particular sect or denomination of our vast religion. We have four major sects: Shaivism, Vaishnavism, Shaktism and Smartism. Vaishnava Hindus, for example, wear a v-shaped tilaka made of white clay. Elaborate tilakas are applied by Hindus mainly at religious events, though many apply the simple bindi, indicating they are Hindu, even in the general public.
Prominent aspect of an Indian woman:
The red bindi is generally a sign of marriage. It is believed that a bindi completes the “Solah Sringar” of a woman. A black bindi is often applied before marriage to ward off the evil eye. As an exotic fashion statement, the dot’s color complements the color of a lady’s sari. The bindi symbolizes dedication towards her husband or the resolve to the marital relationship.
For both boys and girls, men and women, the dot can be small or large depending on the circumstance, but should always be there when appropriate. Naturally, we don’t want to flaunt our religion in the face of others. We observe that many Christian men and women take off or conceal their cross in the corporate business world. Some communities and institutions disallow wearing religious symbols entirely.
Bindi – in the modern era:
Bindis are popular outside South Asia and Southeast Asia as well. They are sometimes applied purely for decorative purpose or style statement without any religious or cultural affiliation. Decorative and ornamental bindis were introduced to other parts of the world by South Asian immigrants. International celebrities such as Gwen Stefani, Julia Roberts, Madonna, Selena Gomez and many others have been seen wearing bindis. The appropriateness of such uses has been disputed. Reacting to Gomez’s appearance in her song, Come and Get It, Hindu leader Rajan Zed said that the bindi has religious significance and should not be used as a fashion accessory, but Indian actress Priyanka Chopra praised Gomez’s choice as “an embrace of Indian culture”.
The red bindi was followed in the ancient times. Whereas in the modern days, after the 20th century, there emerged different innovations to the forms of Bindi. Modern fusionists have changed the styles and forms of the Bindi along with the changing trends.
This tradition is somewhere fading away. Do not be ashamed to wear bindi on your forehead, may it be in any part of it. “Wear it proudly”. The forehead dot will distinguish you from all other people as a very special person, a Hindu, a knower of eternal truths. You will never be mistaken as belonging to another nationality or religion. The sacred forehead dot is an easy way of distinguishing Hindus from other religions across the world. And don’t be intimidated when people ask you what the dot means. Now you have a good amount of knowledge to give a good answer. It is not shameful but a part of pride.