7 Feb 2012 - QA 12

Guruji, what is the significance of sindoor (vermillion)? I would like to know why is sindoor a symbol of marriage (suhaag)? It is often seen that women do not apply sindoor even after marriage. Why is that?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:

Yes! Where sindoor is applied is where the pituitary glands are located (Guruji says pointing to the center of his forehead); pineal or pituitary glands.
There are seven chakras or seven energy centers in our body. So, where the pituitary glands are located, when you apply sindoor, particularly the one with turmeric, on top of sandalwood – then the vibrations of it stimulate the whole body and the mind remains calm and centered. Especially women who are very emotional, it is said that by applying sindoor on the forehead, their mind remains calm.
And the second thing is, it is part of dressing up, it looks beautiful.

In this world, in all the ancient civilizations, whether you look at the tribal people of Australia, or the tribal people of Canada, or the ancient people of Africa, they all put something on their forehead. They all have some tradition of applying some kind of bindi on their foreheads. But in the Indian civilization this tradition has existed since ancient times. Even when someone comes, we apply tilak (dot of sindoor on the forehead), to indicate that the person is civilized, educated and cultured, and whose mind is calm and mature. It became a symbol of all of this.
The meaning of Haldi (turmeric) is that, without haldi, nothing can move forward for us. Anything good and auspicious happens, we have to use turmeric.
It is said that there is no other antioxidant like turmeric. It is a very good antioxidant. It stops many diseases from developing.

And another thing that a scientist told me – there are these very tiny mites on our forehead. Three kinds of mites are there – one near the eye brow, one in the middle of the forehead, and one in the upper part of the forehead, and each type has their fixed territory. The ones on the lower forehead will not go to the middle or the ones from the upper forehead region will not come down to the middle or lower part of forehead. So these small mites or bugs live on our bodies.

So men apply bhasma (ashes) on their forehead, and women apply haldi kumkum on top of sandalwood. By applying that, the point of the pituitary gland is also protected. This is the belief. It is applied on the Agya Chakra and has an effect on it.
Anyway, whatever it is, it is a symbol of the culture. Take it as this, and apply it.

Once when I had gone to Rajasthan, I met some women there who make bindis. It is their livelihood. Those women were telling me that since the past five to six years, their income had become one fourth of what it used to be. They make those small plastic ones (bindi).
So they were all very unhappy, all of those women, saying that, ‘See, before we used to be able to sell so much, but now we are not able to sell. Nobody applies them anymore.’
So I said, ‘No, no, I will tell everyone.’
I promised those women that I will tell all the women that they should apply (bindi), so that their means of living continues.
So since then I tell everyone who comes to me; I keep asking them to apply the bindi. What I had promised to them, that I will not allow their business to die; so I advise all women to buy and apply (bindi). Since then I keep telling everyone.