What are rules to put tilak on body ?


Staff member
Apr 28, 2019
Reaction score
Before applying tilaka, one should have taken bath and acamana, and be seated on an asana (sanctified seat). I may describe these aspects separately, if you wish.

There are different Vaisnava tilaka shapes; use the tilaka design of your own parivara (generally given by the guru at the time of diksa). There are also different varieties of tilaka clay. The sadhakas who are always seeking shelter at the feet of Sri Radha customarily apply tilaka with clay from Radha-kunda. The glory of her footdust may be remembered at the time of preparing the tilaka:

anArAdhya rAdhA-padAmbhoja-reNum
anAzritya vRndATavIM tat-padAGkAm |
asambhASya tad-bhAva-gambhIra-cittAn
kutaH zyAma-sindhau rasyasyAvagAhaH || ssps 1​

“When the dust of Radha’s lotus feet has gone unworshipped, when shelter of the forest of Vrinda decorated with her footprints has not been taken, when discussions with those who have a deep feeling for her have been missed... How shall one plunge himself in the Shyama-ocean of rasa?”

Drop water from the pancha-patra to your left palm, mixing in the sacred clay to prepare a suitable paste. You may mentally offer the prepared tilaka paste to your ista-deva before applying it yourself. Then, apply the twelve tilakas with your ring finger, beginning with forehead, as listed in the following section with the tilaka-mantras. Do not touch the tilaka with your nails. The tilaka on your palm becomes prasadi once you apply it – if you run out of tilaka, wash your hands and prepare a new mixture on a clean palm.

Then, write the names of your ishta-devas on your chest, arms and so forth. Names such as Radha, Krishna, Nitai and Gaura may be drawn in accordance with one’s own taste.

The method for applying tilaka was taught by Sriman Mahaprabhu to Sanatana Gosvami in the following words:

dvAdaza-tilaka-mantra ei dvAdaza nAma |
Acamane ei nAme sparzi tat-tat-sthAna || cc 2.20.202

“These twelve names are the mantras for the twelve tilakas. Saying them, touch their respective locations with sacred water.”

Having applied the tilakas, take sacred water into your hand and touch each of the twelve locations while chanting the corresponding mantra. The twelve mantras and the corresponding temples of the lord on the body read as follows (HBV 3.170-173):
  • lalaTe (forehead) - zrI-kezavAya namaH
  • udare (belly) - zrI-nArAyaNAya namaH
  • vakSaH-sthale (chest) - zrI-mAdhavAya namaH
  • kaNThe (throat) - zrI-govindAya namaH
  • dakSiNa-pArzve (right side) - zrI-viSNave namaH
  • dakSiNa-bAhute (right arm) - zrI-madhusUdanAya namaH
  • dakSiNa-skandhe (right shoulder) - zrI-trivikramAya namaH
  • vAma-pArzve (left side) - zrI-vAmanAya namaH
  • vAma-bAhute (left arm) - zrIdharAya namaH
  • vAma-skandhe (left shoulder) - zrI-hRSIkezAya namaH
  • pRSThe (upper back) - zrI-padmanAbhAya namaH
  • kaTite (lower back) - zrI-dAmodarAya namaH
The remaining tilaka is washed from the hand and the water is sprinkled on one’s head while saying the mantra, zrI-vAsudevAYa namaH. Do not return any left-over tilaka from your palm to the block or the container it was taken from.

Similar threads