Significance of Bindi in Hindu Religion

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The Hindu Religion is a religion having numerous Customs out of which some are taken very seriously. Wearing Bindi seems to be one of them. I remember reading some time back that a mother in-law beat her daughter in-law blue and black because she forgot to put the bindi after bath. She was beaten because her mother in-law believed that by not wearing the Bindi the girl endangered her son’s life. Ridiculous isn’t it?

What is a Bindi?

A Bindi is an auspicious mark worn by women. The word Bindi is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Bindu’ which means a dot. A Bindi is called by different names in different languages of India. Thus, alternative names for bindi is Pottu in Tamil and Malayalam, Tilak in Hindi, Bottu or Tilakam in Telugu, Bottu or Tilaka in Kannada and Teep in Bengali.  Bindi is usually worn by women between their eyebrows on the forehead and is traditionally a symbol of Marriage. Married woman in Hindu Religion normally wear bindi made with Vermillion powder. Hindus consider Bindi as a symbol is of Goddess Parvati, the divine female energy and wearing it is believed to protect women and their husbands. There are even some customs among Hindus where the bindi is wiped of from the widow’s forehead and her bangles are broken and she is restricted from wearing it again. I don’t understand the logic behind that. I can understand if said that death is a natural phenomena and there can be limits to the protection offered by a Bindi. But my question is just because the husband died is it right to ask the woman to leave the things she loves like wearing a bindi, colorful cloths and bangles? Thank God! Gone are the days when widows were forced into their husband’s funeral pyre in a Hindu custom called ‘Sati’ and were burned alive. Thanks to Raja Ram Mohan Roy who raised his voice against this practice and also campaigned for rights for women, including the right for widows to remarry and the right for women to hold property.

However, Today a Bindi is worn by unmarried girls or children and even woman belonging to some other castes as well apart from married Hindu Woman. Some widows also are seen wearing Bindis these days. From a simple red dot on the forehead a bindi has become decorative and is now seen in all colors, shapes and designs.

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