Before I tell you about the vermillion or sandal paste mark, I would like to tell you about two events. It will make things easier for you to understand. Both of them are historical facts.
In 1888 a person named Ramanujan was born in a poor Brahmin family in South India. He became a very famous mathematician. Ramanujan was not even a matriculate and had no training or guidance from anyone. No sooner was the problem put to him verbally than Ramanujan began to reply, without any time gap for thinking. It proved that Ramanujan was not replying through the medium of the mind.
Whenever he began to look into any mathematical problem something began to happen in the middle space between his two eyebrows. Both his eyeballs turned upwards, centering on that middle space. In Yoga, that space is described as the third eye spot. It is called the third eye because if that eye becomes activated it is possible to see events and scenes of some different world in their entirety. There is a space between the two eyebrows where there is a small aperture, which sometimes opens – as in the case of Ramanujan. His eyes rose to his third eye while solving a problem. No Western mathematicians have been able to understand this phenomenon.
I will tell you about another event in connection with the vermillion mark, so that you will be able to understand its relationship to the third eye.
Edgar Cayce died in 1945. Forty years before that, in 1905, he fell sick, became unconscious and remained in a coma for three days. The doctors had lost all hope and said that they could not find any way to bring him back to consciousness. On the evening of the third day, Cayce suddenly started speaking even though he was in a coma. He said that he had fallen from a tree, that his backbone was injured, and that was why he was unconscious. He suggested some herbal medicine, which he should be given to drink and said that he then should recover within twelve hours.
This event in Edgar Cayce’s life was the beginning of a rare happening. Edgar Cayce became an expert in suggesting medicines for incurable diseases; he cured about thirty thousand people during his life. Cayce himself was not able to explain how he could do this. He could only say that whenever he closed his eyes to look for some treatment, both his eyes turned upwards as if pulled towards the middle of his two eyebrows. His eyes became fixed there and he forgot everything; he only remembered that after a certain point he forgot everything about this life, and until that point, the treatment would not come to him.
When we are in deep sleep, then our eyes are drawn upwards in proportion to the depth of sleep. The deeper you are in sleep, the higher are your eyes; the lower the eyes, the greater is their movement. If your eyes are moving very rapidly under their eyelids you are having a very eventful dream. Now this has been scientifically proved by through experiments – that ”rapid eye movement, REM,” indicates a fast-moving dream. The lower the eyes, the greater the REM; as the eyes go higher, the REM is reduced. When the REM is zero, sleep is at its deepest. Then the eyes remain steady between the two eyebrows.
Yoga says that in deep sleep we reach the same state that we reach in samadhi. The place where the eyes become fixed is the same in deep sleep and in samadhi.
The tilak – the vermillion mark – was first devised as an indication and symbol of that unknown world. It cannot be applied just anywhere, and only a person who can place his hand on the forehead and find the spot can tell you where to apply the tilak. There is no use in putting the tilak just anywhere, because the spot is not in exactly the same place on everyone. The third eye is not found in the same place on everyone; it is somewhere above the middle of the two eyebrows on most people. If someone has meditated for a long time in his past lives and has had a small experience of samadhi, his third eye will be lower down. If no meditation has been done that place is higher up on the forehead. From the position of that spot, it can be determined what the state of your meditation was in your past life; it will indicate whether any state of samadhi happened to you in your past life. If it happened often, the spot would have come down lower; it would be at the same level as your eyes – it can’t go lower than that. If that spot has come in line with your eyes, then with just a small push one can enter samadhi. In fact the push can be irrelevant; so, many times when someone goes into samadhi without any apparent cause we are surprised.
If the sandal paste mark or tilak is put just at the right spot, it indicates several things. Firstly, if your master has told you to put a tilak on a particular spot, you will begin to experience something there. You may not have thought about this, but if you sit with closed eyes and someone puts his finger on the spot between your two eyes, you will have the feeling that someone is pointing his finger at you. This is the experience of the third eye.
If the tilak is the same size as your third eye and it is put at just the right spot, you will remember that spot for twenty-four hours and forget the rest of the body. Then a moment comes when nothing else is remembered about the body except that tilak. When that happens you will be able to open your third eye. In this practice connected with the tilak, in which you forget the body and just remember the tilak, your whole consciousness crystalizes and becomes focused on the third eye. It is just like focusing the rays of the sun on a piece of paper with the help of a lens; you create enough heat to burn the paper.
When those sun rays are concentrated, fire is produced. When consciousness remains spread all over the whole body, it is just doing the work of carrying on your life. But when it becomes totally focused on the third eye, the barrier to seeing with the third eye is burnt, and the door which allows you to see the inner sky is opened.
So the first use of the tilak is to show you the right spot on the body so that you remember it twenty-four hours a day. Another use of the tilak is to make it easier for the master to see the spot without having to put his hand on your forehead to see your progress – because as the place moves downwards, you will put the tilak a little lower. Each day you have to feel the spot and move the tilak to it, to where you feel the presence of the third eye.
Let us understand it this way…. All of us have a sex center, and it is easier to understand through the sex center because we are all aware of it; we are not very aware of the agya chakra. All our desires in life are born in the sex center. As long as the sex center is not activated, there is no sexual desire. However, every child is born with the capacity for sex and the entire mechanism for fulfilling sexual desire.
The desire for sex, however, does not arise until the sex center becomes active. As long as that center is inactive, even though the necessary equipment for sex is complete in the body, sexual desire is not aroused. When one reaches the age of thirteen or fourteen, that center becomes active. We know this center because we are not activating it but it becomes activated by nature. If the situation were otherwise, very few people would become aware of it. Have you ever wondered that if just a thought of sex passes through your mind, the whole reproductive system becomes active. The thought arises in the mind – far away from the sex center, but the thought activates the sex center immediately. Every idea or thought about sex is sucked by the sex center towards it.
The third eye center is the center of willpower. Let us understand what its function is. People whose agya chakra is not activated in this life will remain slaves in thousands of ways. Without this center there is no freedom. We know about political and economic freedom, but these freedoms are not real – because a person who has no willpower, whose agya chakra is not activated, will always remain a slave in one way or another. He does not have the power to command himself; his body and senses command him.
But as soon as this center of willpower becomes active, the body stops giving orders and instead it starts to obey; the whole arrangement is reversed. If such a person asks his blood to stop flowing, it will; if he asks his heart to stop beating, it will. He can ask his pulse to stop throbbing and it will. Such a person becomes the master of his body, mind and senses. But without the activation of the agya chakra, he cannot be. The more you remember this center, the more you become the master of yourself.
Many experiments have been done in Yoga to awaken this center. If a person tries to remember this center every now and then, there will be great results. If a tilak is put there, your attention is drawn there repeatedly. As soon as the tilak is put on, the spot becomes set apart from the rest of your body. That spot is very sensitive, and if the tilak is on the right spot you will have to remember it. It is possibly the most sensitive spot in the body.
There are methods for marking this sensitive spot. After hundreds of experiments, sandalwood paste was chosen. There is a sort of resonance between sandalwood paste and the sensitivity of the agya chakra and if applied on that spot the paste deepens its sensitivity. Not just any substance can be used; some other substances, in fact, can badly damage the sensitivity of that spot.
If the agya chakra can become sensitive and be activated, it will bring about an increased integrity and dignity in you. You will begin to be more integrated, whole; everything inside you ceases to be separate and divided and you become whole.
India is the only country in which an attempt has been made to activate the woman’s agya chakra. This is only because it was felt that unless the agya chakra is activated, the woman will not be able to make any progress in spiritual life; she cannot make any progress in meditative practices without will power – that has to be made stable and strong. But it is necessary to make her agya chakra strong in a different way, because if it is done in the usual way, the same way as for a man, it will reduce her femininity and she will begin to develop the qualities of a man.
So the tika was invariably and firmly associated with a woman’s husband. This association was needed because if it was just applied independently, it would increase a woman’s independence and make her self-sufficient. And the more independent she became, the more her delicateness, her beauty and flexibility would be destroyed. There is a tenderness and softness in her seeking help from others, but if she became independent she wouldn’t be able to avoid become hard and rigid. So it was thought that to make her strong directly would damage her femininity, it would create problems in her being a mother; it would make it difficult for her to surrender. Hence an effort was made to connect her will with that of her husband. This was helpful in two ways. Her femininity would not be affected but her will center would still become activated.
Let us understand it this way: the agya chakra cannot go against the person who it is associated with. If it is connected with the will of a religious master, it cannot go against him. If it is connected with a woman’s husband, she can never go against him either. If a tika is put on the right spot of a woman’s forehead, with its deep association with her husband, she will be able to follow him, but she will be powerful against the rest of the world.
An Indian woman wears a tika: it makes her deeply suggestible. She remains open only to her husband and closed to everyone else. This happens only because of this tika. She will hear anything her husband may quietly say to her but will not feel willing even to listen to any one else’s loud command. Her agya chakra is connected with her husband.
As soon as the husband dies the tika has to be removed because now she is not to follow anybody. People have no idea about the scientific approach regarding the tika; they think that because a woman has become a widow, the tika is removed. But there was a reason for removing it. Now she will have to live like any man for the rest of her life; and the more independent she becomes, the better it will be. Even the slightest area of vulnerability which might cause her to follow someone has to be closed.
This tika experiment was very deep. But it has to be on the right spot and of the right material and put on correctly; otherwise, it is absurd. If the tika is only decorative it has no value. Then it is only a formality. So when the tika is applied for the first time, it is done with ceremony, with a fixed ritual. Only if it is done that way will it be beneficial and not otherwise.
I will tell you a few more things about the agya chakra, which will be useful. The line drawn upwards from the agya chakra divides the brain in two, right and left. The brain begins at that line, and lies an inch deep. It has been observed that half our brain is not utilized; the most intelligent people among us – our geniuses – also use barely half of the brain and the remaining half is unused and undeveloped. Scientists and the psychologists are puzzled as to why this is so.
Yoga maintains that this half of the brain becomes active only after the agya chakra is activated. Half of the brain is connected with the centers below the agya chakra, and the other half is connected with the centers above the agya chakra. When the centers below the agya chakra are working, the left side of the brain is utilized. When the centers above it begin to work, the right side of the brain is activated. As long as there is no experience of the activities of that other half there can be no conception of it.
In Sweden a man fell from a train. When he was taken to the hospital, he began hearing the programs which were being broadcast on radio stations within a ten-mile radius around him. This incident made one thing clear – that the ear has a great potential. It may be possible by the turn of this century to use our ears to listen to broadcasts directly.
A similar incident happened during the second world war. A man was wounded and became unconscious. When he became conscious, he began to see stars in the sky – during the daytime. The stars that that wounded man saw exist during the day but they cannot be seen. But that man saw them! What happened to his eyes? They developed some extraordinary capacity; that incident revealed the potential of the eyes. It indicated that there is dormant potential in our eyes of which we are not aware – all our senses have much dormant potential.
Just a few minutes ago I was telling you that half of the brain usually remains unused and becomes active only when the agya chakra becomes active. That is the insight of Yoga. Such insights have not just come to light from recent experience, but have been known for at least twenty thousand years. We have the illusion that ours is the first civilization, but many human civilizations happened earlier and have vanished. Many times before us man reached the same or higher heights of scientific progress, but those civilizations were destroyed.
Yoga has maintained for twenty thousand years that if you want to know what there is beyond this worldly life you have to activate that half of the brain, which has been dormant and inactive. If you want to know anything about the absolute, that which is beyond matter, that other half of the brain will have to be activated. The door to that half of the brain is where we apply the tilak – the place of the agya chakra. That spot is the outward location and it corresponds to the inner center, which is about one and a half inches deep inside the forehead. That deep point, that center, gives an insight, which is beyond the world of matter and of desire.
Just as in India the tilak was devised, in Tibet they devised methods of actually surgically operating on that spot to reach the agya chakra. Tibetans have made a lot of effort to find the third eye, more than any other civilization. In fact all of Tibet’s sciences and understanding about life in its various aspects is based on the understanding of the third eye.
Earlier I told you about Edgar Cayce who gave prescriptions while in a trance. He was the only such case in America, but in Tibet, people would ask for medical advice only from those who were able to go into a trance, samadhi. Tibetans tried to reach the agya chakra surgically, by breaking it open from the outside. But reaching that place surgically is quite different from reaching it internally, through Yoga practices as has been done in India. When the half brain is activated internally through Yoga practices, it is activated because of the development of consciousness. Opening the center from the outside – without any refining or purifying of consciousness – creates a danger of misusing the achievements of that half of the brain after it is activated, because the man remains the same. His consciousness is not transformed from within through meditation. What is needed is a change in consciousness through meditation.
If the half-mind is activated without that inner transformation, then the person who becomes capable of seeing beyond a wall, beyond outer earthly obstructions, he can make people obey him, he might order you to do something that is wrong, to benefit himself.
External operations could have been done in India also, but Indians never attempted to do them, because the practitioners of Yoga know that if consciousness is not transformed from within, it is dangerous to activate such powers and put them in the hands of people who might misuse them. So the transformation of the consciousness is necessary before new powers are activated.
India did not try to experiment with physical instruments, but tried to concentrate and focus the total energy on the agya chakra from within so that the third eye would open by the very force of that surging energy. It is a great discipline to bring the flow of consciousness up to the third eye; the mind has to be elevated to high levels of discipline. Normally, the mind gravitates downwards; in fact our mind normally flows towards the sex center. Whatever we may be doing – earning money, increasing our status, anything – in a subtle way, it is our desire for sex that is the motivating force.
You may wonder why I have been telling you all this in relation to the tilak. A tilak was put on every child’s forehead when he did not understand anything about it. But as he grew up and came to understand such things, the child would figure out the mystery of the tilak. Until then, just a hint about the right spot was given. Whenever the child’s consciousness was capable, he could make use of that mark. It does not matter if out of one hundred people only one is able to use the tilak; that one is enough. If it only made one person aware of the tilak and the third-eye center, it had served its purpose.
There is so much value placed on the tilak that on all special occasions such as a marriage or a victory, the tilak is applied. Have you ever stop to wonder why the tilak is applied on every occasion of respect and honor? It is because of the law of association. Our mind is very interesting. It wants to forget the moments of misery and wants to remember the moments of happiness. That is why the mind forgets all events that brought unhappiness and remembers only the moments that gave happiness. That is why we always feel that the past was happy. An old man always thinks that he was happy in his childhood.
There was a strong reason to associate the tilak with one’s moments of happiness. Whenever there is a happy event, let a tilak be put on your forehead. Both the happy event and the tilak will be remembered through association. Here it is necessary to know a little about the law of association.
The tilak has become associated with happiness. Whenever a happy event occurred, a tilak was used; so the tilak and happiness gradually became so associated that the tilak could never be forgotten. So whenever you become happy, you will first remember the agya chakra. We always like to remember happy moments, and whether we were really happy or not, we live in happy memories. Even small happiness’s are exaggerated; we magnify the happy events and minimize the unhappy ones.
If the tilak is associated with happiness, as the happiness is magnified, so also is the tilak. With this happening frequently the happiness is associated with the agya chakra. When this happens, understand that you have made use of happiness for opening the third eye. We can use this stream of happiness to activate the agya chakra. The more we activate it from different directions, the more helpful it is.
Those countries which have not used the tilak have not known what the third eye is. Countries which had even a slight inkling of the third eye have made use of the tilak.
I will tell you a few more things about this third-eye spot. You may have noticed that whenever you are anxious there is a pressure on your third eye. Because of that your forehead contracts and wrinkles are formed. The tension builds up just on the spot where the tilak is placed. Those who are continuously tense and constantly thinking and reflecting, invariably indicate the location of the spot by the pressure, which they feel on their forehead.
People who have worked hard on the third eye in their past lives have, at the time of birth, a sort of tilak on the forehead right at the third-eye spot. That spot appears slightly worn, just as if a tilak had been there. If you touch that spot on the forehead with your finger it will feel a little swollen – just there, where in past lives a tilak was worn. Behind a tilak or tika is hidden the third eye.
There was a small experiment carried out by hypnotists…. Charcot, in France, was a great psychologist who worked on the subject of influencing a person by focusing his eyes on the other’s forehead. If someone is walking in front of you, and you fix your eyes on the back of his head, approximately at the level of his third-eye spot, you will find that within a few seconds that person will turn to look around behind him. If you continue this experiment for a few days, and after that if you mentally give him some suggestions, he will carry them out.
Try to understand: If you do this experiment for some time, you will be surprised at the results. From the back the distance to the third-eye spot is longer, but from the front the distance is only one and a half inches. From the front the results are more surprising….
Those who experiment in shaktipat, transmitting spiritual energy, are able to do so through the agya chakra. If some saint or sadhu makes you sit in front of him with your eyes closed, you might think that he is doing something – he is only fixing his eyes on this spot on your forehead and mentally giving you a suggestion. If he says, ”There is bright light within you,” you will feel that there is light inside you. But that light does not remain with you; as soon as you are away from him it vanishes. Sometimes that illusion of light may persist for two or three days, and then it dies out. It is not really shaktipat, but only a small experiment on your agya chakra. The third eye is a unique gift, and there are innumerable uses of it.