Q: What do you call the mark or gem on the foreheads of Indian women and how are they related to Hinduism?
A: The bindi is a type of beauty mark that Indian women wear on their foreheads. It has somewhat evolved from the colored marking that is put on the forehead called a tilak that can proclaim one’s spiritual devotion, and to some can symbolize the shakti or power of their god. This tilak is vermillion of vibhuti or a paste of sandalwood or even sometimes of clay. The placement of the tilak on the forehead between the eyes is to correspond to the sixth chakra or what some would call the third eye. Hindus believe there are seven major energy centers in the body, beginning at the base of the spine and working their way up to the top of the head. The sixth charka is on the forehead between the eyes, where the divine communicates to mankind. The bindi is mostly a mere beauty mark. It is commonly worn by married Hindu women.