Wearing a bindi is a popular culture among the Hindu women, especially if you go to South Asian countries such as India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Mauritius. Bindi is a distinct dot worn on the middle of the forehead, just above the in-between of eyes. The literal translation of bindi is “a drop, small particle or a dot.” And derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Bindu’. Over time, wearing a bindi has been incorporated in the new fashion statements as well, and many western celebrities can be seen wearing a bindi on their forehead.
Mostly, the red color is worn by women as bindi. However, they can be of different colours and of different pieces of jewellery. The color red is associated with the practice of sacrificing blood to appease Gods.
Ever since the ancient Aryan society, women normally wear a long vertically stretched mark on their forehead as a mark of wedlock. It is believed that it is the extension of the practice of wearing a bindi. When the women become a widow, she stops wearing the bindi too. It proves that it has a very deep cultural significance too.
The Sixth Chakra
Known as ajna (which means command), the sixth chakra is the area between the eyebrows and is considered to be the ground of wisdom. Tantric wisdom states that the energy of meditation rises from the base of the spine and it is through ajna the potent energy comes out. Bindi is supposed to seal that energy within the human body and even work as a controller of various level of concentration. Even creativity flows through the central point of the bindi.
Hindus believe that even humans have the third eye; two external physical eyes for the external world and one internal eye for focusing towards the God. Bindi is a constant reminder that this third eye exists and one must keep God as the centre of one’s thought.
Changing times have changing significances
Bindi is worn as a form of bodily decoration in the modern age. But there is a great importance associated with the ornamental mark. This point is considered to be a major nerve point in the human body since way back.
While bindi is a sign of marriage, it is also a holy sign of social status and institution of marriage among the Hindus. The women wearing a bindi is granted a place as “the guardian of family’s welfare and progeny”.
But modern women and men might not consider these symbols, and might just wear it as a beauty accessory. Moreover, there isn’t a gender limit in the modern day for Bindi either. Even men can wear a bindi as part of Hindu ritual or wedding or even in festive occasions. But tilaka, the long vertical mark on the forehead, is mostly limited to women in the modern age.
Back in the days, the red dot was made out of Tumeric powder and other local materials, but now days they are made of different materials. Women also wear jewellery in the location of ajna considering it to be a bindi, and is finally accepted among the Hindus too.
Single women are seen wearing black dots, while married women are seen wearing red ones. Also, women wear different coloured bindis to match with their dresses.
Before, the bindi had to be perfectly circled and shaped by hand, even though it was difficult to achieve that perfect roundness. Now, with growing sense of fashion in the Asian world too, bindis come in different shapes and designs. They can be studded with beads and glittering stones too.
Not just in South Asian countries, Bindi is popular in the western world too. You can see celebrities like Selena Gomez or Nicole Scherzinger wearing Bindi. This has become subject to controversies, however, stating that this is an act of cultural appropriation. Unfortunately, that is how the money world works.