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

Anand Hudli ahudli at gmail.com
Tue Jun 29 22:44:01 CDT 2010

There is a saying that the UrdhvapuNDra, tripuNDra, and tilaka should be
made with earth, ashes, and sandalwood paste respectively. (UrdhvapuNDraM
mR^idA kuryAt.h tripuNDraM bhasmanA sadA tilakaM vai dvijaH kuryAccandanena

The procedure of applying the tripuNDra mark is described in the
kAlAgnirudropaniShad. The Bhasma-jAbAla-upanishad, in the form of a dialog
between JAbAla  (BhusuNDa) and Shiva, also deals with the importance of
Bhasma (vibhUti) and the tripuNDra (the three horizontal lines) marks on the
forehead and  other parts of the body made with the bhasma. The bhasma is
itself  prepared as an end-result of a homa done with such materials as  cow
dung, etc. , the main mantra being "tryaMbakaM  yajAmahe ..." What remains
as ashes at the end of the homa is vibhUti or bhasma (ashes).   Thus one
says the mantra, "agniriti bhasma...". There are specific mantras that are
to be recited while invoking and applying the vibhuuti, such as "mAnastoke
..", "sadyojAtaM...", and "tryAyuShaM jamadagner...". The vibhUti is said
to  purify one, both  externally and internally.
The three lines of bhasma are symbolic. The first line stands for the
syllable A of the praNava, the Rig Veda, the Garhapatya agni, and so on. The
second line stands for the syllable U of the praNava, the Yajur Veda, the
dakShiNAgni, and so on. The third line stands for the M syllable of the
praNava, the sAma Veda, the AhavanIya agni, and so on.

 The significance of VibhUti and RudrAkShas is explained by upaniShad
Brahma Yogin, the commentator on all the 108 upaniShads.

  na hi svAjnalokasya sahasaa svajnAnamudeti tasya-ashuddhaantaratvAt.h

  Knowledge of the Atman does not dawn all of a sudden on a person who is
ignorant of the Atman. This is because such a person's mind is not pure.

    (upaniShad Brahma Yogin's commentary on the akShamAlikA up.)

  na hi ashuddhachittaM mantraarthapratyagabhinnabrahmavishhayaM bhavati

Brahman, which is nondifferent from the Inner Self and the purport of all
mantras, does not come within the range of an impure mind.

   (upanishhad Brahma Yogin's commentary on the akshhamaalikaa up.)

   chittashuddhir-vibhuuti-rudraakshadhaaraNaadR^ite na sambhavati iti

  Without vibhuuti and rudraakshha's, purification of the mind is
not possible.

  (upanishhad Brahma Yogin's commentary on the rudraakshhajaabaala up.)

 Therefore, the role played by vibhUti and rudrAkShas is to purify the mind
(chittashuddhi). This chittashuddhi is necessary for realization of the

Those who need to apply Gopichandana to mark the UrdhvapuNdra use the
ViShNu mantras, "ato devA ..." of the Rig Veda and apply the Gopichandana,
saying the names 12 of ViShNu- keshava, nArayaNa,mAdhava, etc. It is not
correct to find fault with either type of puNDra - tripuNDra or
UrdhvapuNDra. Let us heed the advice of the SmritimuktAphala in this regard:
तस्मादेकस्यैवेश्वरस्य सर्वदेवमयत्वाद्देवतान्तरनिन्दावर्जितैरेवेश्वर आराध्यः
शिवो विष्णुरन्यो वा देवः । पुण्ड्रमपि तत्तद्देवताप्रीतिकरं
पुण्ड्रान्तरनिन्दावर्जितैरेव धार्यम् ।

Therefore, (one) should worship the One God, Ishvara as Shiva, ViShNu, or
any other deity, without criticizing other deities, since only One
God appears as all deities. (In simlar fashion), each person should also
wear the puNDra mark that is pleasing to his deity without criticizing the
puNdra mark of others.


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