Why Krishna wears a tilak that marks Tulasi and His own Feet?

Why Krishna wears a tilak that marks Tulasi and His own Feet?

A Girl devotee (Name hidden) asked like this:

“Hare Krishna!! Why vaishnav tilak is applied on lord Krishna as vaishnav tilak described as combination of lord’s lotus feet and tulsi leaf. Tulsi should be offered at lord’s lotus feet and why lotus feet remark is put on lord’s forehead? Would like to remain anonymous. Kindly solve my query… Thanks in advance from the bottom of my heart. Hare Krishna.”


Yes, You are right. Why Krishna wears a tilak?

TRUTH CAN BE ONLY ONE. But, the devotees have right to decorate Krishna as they feel and prefer, purely out of love.

Krishna can not wear all types of tilaks on His forehead at the same time.

Every sampradhaya has fixed wearing their pattern of tilaks as compulsory for an aspiring devotee. Even within the same sampradhaya, there are different types of tilak marks.

We should see that as their syllabus of devotional teaching.

Every school has different colours and patterns of dress as uniform dress codes.

This too should be seen like that.

Gaudiya vaishnava sampradhaya says that the top portion of the tilak is Krishna’s Lotus feet and the bottom portion is Tulasi devi.

These things are for the devotees only.  Not for Krishna or Narayana or Vishnu or Shiva.

Krishna does not require any symbols on His forehead.  He has plenty of auspicious symbols on His feet and palms even while coming to the earth.

However, some things are done to show our love on Krishna and to exhibit the auspiciousness of Krishna.

When we decorate Krishna, we apply tilak also on His forehead out of our love.

The Tilak mark of Gaudiya vaishnava sampradhya has Lotus feet of Krishna. Under His feet, Tulasi devi is drawn as a leaf like line.  Tulasi is at the feet of Krishna, not on the forehead.

So, the mark is correct, ie, tulasi at the lotus feet of Krishna.

No violations in this.

(Why do the Symbols of one Sampradhaya differ from others? KNOW HERE!)

Why Krishna wears a tilak?

The tilak mark on Krishna’s forehead is called VISHNU TILAK.

(i) The drawing of tilak on Krishna’s forhead is primarily to show His divinity.

By drawing a tilak on His forehead, we exhibit His divinity.

(ii) It also indicates How Krishna treats His devotees like Tulasi devi by giving a space on His forehead itself.

Of course, Tulasi devi will prefer to be at His feet.

But, Krishna treats His devotees more than Himself.

When Bhishma deva was waiting on the bed of nails during the Kurukshetra war, Krishna felt for him because Bhishma deva was a true follower and devotee of Krishna.

One day, Krishna was on dhyan during the late night.  Yudhishtra asked why Krishna should meditate when He Himself is the Supreme Lord and on whom He is meditating.

(What if my company objects Vaishnava Symbols like Tilak, Sikha and Kanthi mala (Tualsi mala) READ HERE!)

Krishna replied that He meditated for His devotees like Bhishma deva who sacrifice everything for Krishna.

Krishna may forgive any of our offenses against Krishna, but, He never forgives any offense we make towards His devotees/ vaishnavas.

Because, Krishna values His devotees more than Himself.

So, putting the symbol of Tulasi devi on His forehead will be accepted by Krishna because without Tulasi, Radha Krishna lilas can not be that much blissful and organized.

(iii) Moreover, we should see the collective symbol of Tulasi plus Feet of Krishna as a mark of surrender like Tulasi devi being under the feet of Krishna. Whenever a devotee sees this symbol of tilak on Krishna’s forehead, he will remember that he should surrender to Krishna at His Lotus Feet like Tulasi devi did to get the special love of Krishna.

It also denotes that Only through the mercy of another devotee (like Tulasi devi) we can awaken the Pure devotion to Radha and Krishna, or Krishna and Balarama.

So, this tilak on Krishna’s forehead can also be taken as a lesson to the devotees to teach how to surrender to Krishna through the devotees like  Tulasi.

(iv) See, there are two types of devotional rules:

(a) Primary (Unchanging) rules (Eg: Chanting, meditating, offering food, Applying a tilak, etc), and,

(b) Secondary or Sampradhaya Rules (Eg: Types of dhoties or clothing, Types of tilak mark, Types of  offering manthras, etc).

Putting a tilak is the Primary rule for all sampradhayas. Which Tilak you should wear, is the particular sampradhaya’s rule.

Chanting Lord’s names is the Primary rule.  What manthras to chant and how many times, etc, are the Particular Sampradhaya’s rules.

(HOW TO APPLY TILAKA ON OUR BODY (As Per Gaudiya Vaishnava Sampradhaya)? KNOW HERE!)

To be in the clothes that gives satvic appearance is the Primary rule. What type of clothers should be worn comes under particular sampradhaya rules.

Similarly, Putting a Tilak mark on Krishna’s forehead is the Primary Custom to exhibit Krishna’s divinity.   Putting a particular type of tilak on Krishna’s or devotee’s forehead comes under the particular sampradhaya rules that differs for every sampradhaya.

(v) Putting a tilak on Krishna’s forehead also beautifies the face of Krishna.  As per our scriptures, it is divine to apply a tilak mark on everyone’s forehead that shows that we are the devotee of a particular deity.

Can you imagine Tirumala Tirupati Balaji without Tilak?

Tilak paterns primarily teach us that we should surrender ourselves to the Lord like Tulasi devi and we should serve the Lord like Lakshmi devi who is always serving the Lord and also we should approach Krishna through pure devotees like Tulasi devi.

Hope you are clear now.


Author: RAJAN

RAJAN from Tamil Nadu, India, a Life Patron and an Initiated Devotee being in ISKCON for nearly three decades, serves anonymously to avoid Prominence and crowd as an insignificant, Humble and Neutral Servant for all the devotees of Krishna! He promotes Social media forums and this blog-website as e-satsangha (e-forums) blessed with Lakhs of followers, to give Spiritual Solutions for all the Material Problems of the devotees since 2011! He writes friendly and practical tips to practice devotion (i) without hurting the followers of other paths, (ii) without affecting the personal and career life, and (iii) without the blind, superstitious and ritualistic approach! He dedicates all the glories and credits to his Guru and Krishna.

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