Why I wear the mark (tilak) on my forehead
I usually wear tilak, a mark made with clay from the Ganges on my forehead. When people ask about it, sometimes I’m at a loss to explain in just a few words. Here is a more in-depth explanation:
First I’d like to note that people in general make huge efforts to conform to what society considers to be normal. People tend to avoid standing out for any reason. So we tend to dress similarly and get jobs to keep us busily active on the treadmill of materialism. The person who I respect the most in the world asked me to do this simple thing: wear this mark on my forehead. It is in appreciation of my spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada, that I wear tilak and doing this is more important to me than conforming to what is “normal”.
So what does tilak mean? The simple answer is that it is the mark of God. It indicates that the wearer is a follower of God, the Supreme Personality as opposed to the impersonal Energy of God. A person who wears Vaisnava tilak is marking his/her body as being a temple of God.
A godbrother recently pointed out to me that the image of Jesus on the Shroud of Turin shows that Jesus was wearing tilak. Here is a picture of the Shroud:
There are quite a few other, old images of Jesus showing him wearing tilak, particularly images from the Middle East.
I find that wearing tilak helps me to remember who I really am and that my purpose in life is to try to become the servant of the servant of God and to try to develop at least a little love for Him.