What is Chandan? What is the Meaning of Chandan? During different pujas and rituals, people often use a paste. Have you noticed? That is sandalwood. But do you ever pause and think, why do we do so? Well, at the end of the following excerpt, you would get the answer. You would understand the importance, the significance and benefits of Chandan and why is it such ancient practice.
What Is Chandan?
Amongst the many substances that one uses for tilak; Chandan and Ashtagandha, a powder of eight aromatic herbs, are the most satvik, pure and pious.
Where Does One Apply Chandan?
People use the paste of Chandan or sandalwood invariably to put a tilak, vermillion mark, on the forehead of the deity and devotees, and so on. One applies the Chandan tilak between the two eyebrows to activate the middle, invisible Nadi or channel. This in the language of yogic parlance goes with the name ‘Sushumna’. It is the spot where the centre for intellect and human thoughts lie. The right nostril or channel of a human being is known as the Pingala Nadi (the sun side). Whereas, the left one is known as Ida Nadi (the moon side).
When one activates the middle invisible nostril, channel or the Sushumna, a man can make leaps and bounds of spiritual progress.
The Right Spot For Applying Chandan
Putting a Chandan tilak at the appropriate spot on the forehead is important. Because only when you do so, it enlivens the Ajna chakra or the third-eye chakra which is the centre for human thoughts, sex and intellect. In medical terms, the Ajna chakra is the pineal gland. In fact, modern science too recognizes its association with human thoughts and sexual urges.
When one applies the Chandan tilak on the forehead of an idol, the right channel awakens. This thereby leads to attracting the deity’s divine elements from the surroundings. All in all, it will definitely enliven and charge the atmosphere for the good of those who attend the ritual.
Enhances One’s Spiritual Quotient
Did you know that the Chandan tilak has the power to augment one’s spirituality? And this is the reason why devout followers apply the paste of Chandan on their forehead, especially, on the Ajna chakra.
Ideally, one must prepare the paste using both hands. Because this activates one’s Shiva-Shakti elements present in the right and left sides of the nostrils. The union of the two divine elements is extremely conducive for the success of man.
Following The Ancient Wisdom
There are few beliefs as per the ancient wisdom. One is such that after death, the human mind remains alive for a few hours. And you would remain in awe to know that even modern science endorses this same view. And according to the rituals for last rites, before one carries the body to the cremation ground, one applies the Chandan on the forehead of the deceased. But remember that one prepares this paste using only the right hand.
People believe that such a paste charges the sun element of the Pingala Nadi. This thereby helps in activating the life force that is still left in the dead body. When one cremates the human body, it disintegrates into the five basic elements:- Panchabhootas of nature. To hasten the process of disintegration, people carry out kapala kriya or the splitting of the skull via the person performing the last rites. This is an extremely unique and scientific ritual that the Hindus perform.
Comparison With Respect To The Kings
In the olden days, people cremate the dead bodies of kings, the seers, saints and people like the Buddha and the poet Kalidasa only on pyres of sandalwood. In recent history, Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and even Indira Gandhi were cremated with Chandan wood. Because this is invariably pure and powerful, which helps in faster disintegration of a body.
On the other hand, those who cannot afford sandalwood place, then at least a few pieces of it will do. Make sure to place them on the pyre of the deceased for the same reason. After the death of a person, people garland his picture with a Chandan mala to receive his spiritual blessings.
The Consequences Of Adulterated And Unadulterated Chandan Paste
The benefits of Unadulterated Chandan are immense. It paste has satvik elements that help to augment one’s spirituality. However, when kumkum, turmeric powder, or saffron mixes up with Chandan paste, its satvik potency dilutes. Because at the end of the day, these three products are rajasik or passionate in their effects. Hence, this is more like adulteration with regards to the Chandan paste.
That is why saints and those who pursue a spiritual life apply only pure white Chandan paste on their forehead. Meaning, they only apply an unadulterated version of the Chandan paste. However, those who lead a worldly life may apply Chandan paste mixed with kumkum, turmeric, and/or saffron that gives them a twofold benefit. So it really depends on the individual and what are their needs.
Interestingly, the Parsis, in their Agyaris or fire temples burn pieces of Chandan wood only. In their faith too they consider Chandan as pious and sacred. This thereby helps in creating divine vibrations in the surroundings.