The small dots between the eyebrows are some of the most widely recognized cultural marks in the world, and carry with them a huge significance to the culture of India.
Earlier, people would either use chandan or kumkum as a bindi or tilak. It is now after the sticker bindis are available that the tilak tradition has nearly died. Small, black bindis for the South Indian community, big red bindis for Bengali women and bright bindis for Punjabis or the unmarried. This small patch of Indian tradition not only enhances a woman’s beauty but also has some reason behind it. The centre where the bindi is put is the centre of the nerves where they meet. According to tradition, the mark between the eyes represents the spiritual seat of consciousness is called the ‘Ajna Chakra’, this is the point of awakening and soothes the person and beats anxiety. It is also the position of the third eye. This is an extremely important part of the chakra system.
Surprisingly, bindis are worn not only in India, but also Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Southeast Asia, and Mauritius. Literally translated to “drop” or “small particle”, there are several variations of the decoration…from a paste to jewelry. Incredibly, this special mark has been used for almost 5,000 years, and is mentioned in India’s oldest text- the Rig Veda.
By concentrating and opening the spiritual center between the eyebrows, a practitioner can eventually learn how to exit their body at will. Though it is mainly worn by women, it was once far more sexless. From Vedic times (5,000 years ago), it was used to worship the intellect of both men and women to ensure that thoughts, speech, and action became pure. It’s thought that a strong intellect can help make spiritual decisions in life without fear.
Bindi, originally, was of spiritual significance & was genderless. In fact, they were primarily worn during times of meditation & by manner of smearing sandalwood paste on the site of the spiritual third eye so that when the paste dried, it would become itchy and the meditator's attention would be forced to the spiritual eye to aid in enlightenment.
TODAY's reason for why women wear Bindis is no more specific. Now, it really is merely a fashion statement, most commonly worn in convenient sticker form in every color & design imaginable.
With India’s increasing bend towards modernisation and moving away from the traditions and ethnic values, the importance of tilak has significantly decreased over the years. While on one hand it is being made a feminist issue, it is also receiving a fusion status in outer nations.