[Advaita-l] !!! Doubt about Tripundra Dharana !!!

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Sat Jun 19 08:57:39 CDT 2010

On Fri, 18 Jun 2010, Kale Balkrishna wrote:

> Namaskar,
> I have a doubt regarding Tripundra Dharana.
> I have observed that Gopichandana is mixed into water befoer adding BHASMA
> for Tripundra Dharana.
> My question is ......
> Why gopichanda is mixed ? Gopichandana is usually used by Vaishnavas for
> applying Urdhvapundradharana.

One reason is rather mundane.  Bhasma especially the very pure kind, 
doesn't stay on for very long.  Mixing it with chandana helps it "stick."

I have also noticed that Marathi people or people from Marathi-influenced 
areas often wear a tilak made of chandan in a triple curved shape joined 
at the edges.  If you've seen a photo of Lokamanya Tilak that's what I 
mean.  I think the reason is there is an opinion of some 
dharmashastrakars (obviously not a universal one) that all Brahmanas 
regardless of sampradaya should wear tripundra and so Vaishnavas among 
them wear this kind rather than urdhvapundra.

> Why a Urdhvapundra is applied on forehead after applying Tripundra ?

A more philosophical reason is that the sadhaka may be trying to show the 
equality of Shiva and Vishnu.  Not many people do this and I think that 
while the idea is sound the practice is misguided.  Although Shaivas 
and Shaktas also wear tripundra and many (but not all) Smartas have 
Shivashakti as their ishtadevatas, Smartas are not Shaivas or Shaktas or 
Vaishnavas.  We worship all the Vedic deities and our use of the tripundra 
signifies that.

> According to Vaishnavites Urdhvapundra which they apply for 12 parts of body
> is to bring the Positive Energy from above Nabhi to the forehead. They claim
> that applying Tripundra in horizontal lines nullifies the positive energy
> reaching the Mastishka [forehead which is the home for brain]. They also
> claim that the Tripundradharis thats why apply one Urdhvapundra to keep this
> intact.

As Bhaskar noted most Tripundradharis don't do this.  Also, the 
significance of tripundra is different.  We say this words:

agnirIti bhasma | vAyUriti bhasma | jalamiti bhasma | sthalamiti bhasma | 
vyometi bhasma | sarvaMhava idam bhasma | mana etani chakShUMShi bhasmani |

"Fire is ash.  Air is ash.  Water is ash. Earth is ash. Aether is ash. 
Everything here indeed is ash.  My mind and these eyes are [also] ash."

When some combustible material is burned by fire, only ash -- its essence 
as it were -- remains.  When the triple-world of maya (represented by the 
three lines of bhasma) is burned by the fire of jnana, only Brahman its 
essence remains.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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