Tilaka, aka: Tilakā; 14 Definition(s)


Tilaka means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit, Buddhism, Pali, Marathi. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Hinduism

Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

Tilaka (तिलक) refers to a type of ornament (ābharaṇa) for the foreherad (lalāṭa) to be worn by females, according to Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 23.

Tilaka (तिलक) also refers to an ornament for the cheeks (gaṇḍa or kapola) to be worn by females. Such ornaments for females should be used in cases of human females and celestial beings (gods and goddesses).

Ābharaṇa (‘ornaments’, eg., tilaka) is a category of alaṃkāra, or “decorations”, which in turn is a category of nepathya, or “costumes and make-up”, the perfection of which forms the main concern of the Āhāryābhinaya, or “extraneous representation”, a critical component for a successful dramatic play.

Source: Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra

Tilaka is one of the saṃyutta-hastāni (Twenty-seven combined Hands).

Source: archive.org: The mirror of gesture (abhinaya-darpana)

Tilaka (तिलक).—The tilaka on the forehead should be produced by many artistic touches, and by group of designs above the eyebrows should imitate flowers.

Source: archive.org: Natya Shastra
Natyashastra book cover
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Natyashastra (नाट्यशास्त्र, nāṭyaśāstra) refers to both the ancient Indian tradition (śāstra) of performing arts, (nāṭya, e.g., theatrics, drama, dance, music), as well as the name of a Sanskrit work dealing with these subjects. It also teaches the rules for composing dramatic plays (nataka) and poetic works (kavya).

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Vastushastra (architecture)

Tilaka (तिलक) refers to a type of temple (prāsāda) classified under the group named Miśraka, according to Samarāṅgaṇasūtradhāra chapter 56. The Miśraka group contains nine out of a sixty-four total prāsādas (temples) classified under four groups in this chapter. The Samarāṅgaṇasūtradhāra is an 11th-century encyclopedia dealing with various topics from the Vāstuśāstra.

Source: Wisdom Library: Vāstu-śāstra
Vastushastra book cover
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Vastushastra (वास्तुशास्त्र, vāstuśāstra) refers to the ancient Indian science (shastra) of architecture (vastu), dealing with topics such architecture, sculpture, town-building, fort building and various other constructions. Vastu also deals with the philosophy of the architectural relation with the cosmic universe.

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Chandas (prosody, study of Sanskrit metres)

Tilakā (तिलका) refers to one of the 130 varṇavṛttas (syllabo-quantitative verse) dealt with in the second chapter of the Vṛttamuktāvalī, ascribed to Durgādatta (19th century), author of eight Sanskrit work and patronised by Hindupati: an ancient king of the Bundela tribe (presently Bundelkhand of Uttar Pradesh). A Varṇavṛtta (eg., tilakā) refers to a type of classical Sanskrit metre depending on syllable count where the light-heavy patterns are fixed.

Source: Shodhganga: a concise history of Sanskrit Chanda literature
Chandas book cover
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Chandas (छन्दस्) refers to Sanskrit prosody and represents one of the six Vedangas (auxiliary disciplines belonging to the study of the Vedas). The science of prosody (chandas-shastra) focusses on the study of the poetic meters such as the commonly known twenty-six metres mentioned by Pingalas.

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General definition (in Hinduism)

Tilaka (तिलक).—Sacred clay markings placed on the forehead and other parts of the body to designate one as a follower of Viṣṇu, Rāma, Śiva, Vedic culture, etc.

Source: ISKCON Press: Glossary

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

Tilaka (तिलक) is the name of the caitya-tree under which the parents of Kunthu are often depicted in Jaina iconography, according to both the Śvetāmbara and Digambara tradition. The term caitya refers to “sacred shrine”, an important place of pelgrimage and meditation in Jainism. Sculptures with such caitya-trees generally shows a male and a female couple seated under a tree with the female having a child on her lap. Usually there is a seated Jina figure on top of the tree.

Kunthu is the seventeenth of twenty-four tīrthaṅkaras: enlightened beings who, having conquered saṃsāra (cycle of birth and death), leave a path behind for others to follow. His father is Sūra according to Śvetāmbara or Sūryasena according to Digambara and his mother is Śrī, according to the Ācāradinakara (14th century work on Jain conduct written by Vardhamāna Sūri).

Source: Wisdom Library: Jainism

Tilaka (तिलक) refers to a kind of tree (vṛkṣa) commonly found in the forests (vaṇa) of ancient India, mentioned in the Uvavāiya-sutta (sanksrit: Aupapātika-sūtra). Forests have been a significant part of the Indian economy since ancient days. They have been considered essential for economic development in as much as, besides bestowing many geographical advantages, they provide basic materials for building, furniture and various industries. The most important forest products are wood and timber which have been used by the mankind to fulfil his various needs—domestic, agricultural and industrial.

Different kinds of trees (eg., the Tilaka tree) provided firewood and timber. The latter was used for furniture, building materials, enclosures, staircases, pillars, agricultural purposes, e. g. for making ploughs, transportation e. g. for making carts, chariots, boats, ships, and for various industrial needs. Vaṇa-kamma was an occupation dealing in wood and in various otherforest products. Iṅgāla-kamma was another occupation which was concerned with preparing charcoal from firewood.

Source: archive.org: Economic Life In Ancient India (as depicted in Jain canonical literature)

Tilaka (तिलक) participated in the war between Rāma and Rāvaṇa, on the side of the latter, as mentioned in Svayambhūdeva’s Paumacariu (Padmacarita, Paumacariya or Rāmāyaṇapurāṇa) chapter 57ff. Svayambhū or Svayambhūdeva (8th or 9th century) was a Jain householder who probably lived in Karnataka. His work recounts the popular Rāma story as known from the older work Rāmāyaṇa (written by Vālmīki). Various chapters [mentioning Tilaka] are dedicated to the humongous battle whose armies (known as akṣauhiṇīs) consisted of millions of soldiers, horses and elephants, etc.

Source: archive.org: Een Kritische Studie Van Svayambhūdeva’s Paümacariu
General definition book cover
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Jainism is an Indian religion of Dharma whose doctrine revolves around harmlessness (ahimsa) towards every living being. The two major branches (Digambara and Svetambara) of Jainism stimulate self-control (or, shramana, ‘self-reliance’) and spiritual development through a path of peace for the soul to progess to the ultimate goal.

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Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

Tilaka in Pali glossary... « previous · [T] · next »

Tilaka, (tila+ka, from its resemblance to a sesame seed) 1. a spot, stain, mole, freckle M. I, 88; S. I, 170; VvA. 253; DhA. IV, 172 (°ṃ vā kālakaṃ vā adisvā).—2. a kind of tree Vv 67 (=bandhu-jīvaka-puppha-sadisa-pupphā ekā rukkha-jāti). (Page 304)

Source: Sutta: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary
Pali book cover
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Pali is the language of the Tipiṭaka, which is the sacred canon of Theravāda Buddhism and contains much of the Buddha’s speech. Closeley related to Sanskrit, both languages are used interchangeably between religions.

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Marathi-English dictionary

ṭiḷaka (टिळक).—m (tilaka S) The spot or line made with colored earths or unguents upon the forehead. It is considered either as an ornament or as a sectarial distinction. 2 fig. A term for any leading or eminent member of a family or community viewed as the grace or ornament of it. Ex. śiṣya ṭiḷakā sāṅgījati || tī āikā yēkāgra tū ||.

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ṭiḷakā (टिळका).—m (ṭiḷaka) A drop (of oil, ghee, milk, water); a glossy globule like a ṭiḷaka.

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tilaka (तिलक).—m (S) A mark made with colored earths or unguents upon the forehead; either as an ornament or as a sectarial distinction.

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

ṭiḷaka (टिळक).—m The spot or line made with coloured earths or unguents upon the forehead. A term for any leading or eminent member of a family or com- munity.

Source: DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English
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Marathi is an Indo-European language having over 70 million native speakers people in (predominantly) Maharashtra India. Marathi, like many other Indo-Aryan languages, evolved from early forms of Prakrit, which itself is a subset of Sanskrit, one of the most ancient languages of the world.

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Sanskrit-English dictionary

Tilaka (तिलक).—[til-kvun, tila ivārthe svalpe vā kan vā]

1) A species of tree with beautiful flowers; Rām.2.94.9; आक्रान्ता तिलकक्रियापि तिलकैर्लीनद्विरेफाञ्जनैः (ākrāntā tilakakriyāpi tilakairlīnadvirephāñjanaiḥ) M.3,5; न खलु शोभयति स्म वनस्थलीं न तिलकस्तिलकः प्रमदामिव (na khalu śobhayati sma vanasthalīṃ na tilakastilakaḥ pramadāmiva) R.9.41. Kālidāsa describes the beauty of this tree as being akin to that of the saffron-mark on the forehead of a woman. The name suggests a relation to tila. the sesame plant, Sesamum indicum Linn. Now this plant has got flowers that have got a very pretty appearance. It is a shrub and not a tree. It grows four to five feet in height. Its flower has five petals. The lower petal is the longest. In wild variety there is a promiment spot on the longest petal which is highly suggestive of the saffron-mark on the forehead of a woman.

2) A freckle or natural mark under the skin.

3) The sesamum tree.

-kaḥ, -kam 1 A mark made with sandalwood or unguents &c.; मुखे मधुश्री- स्तिलकं प्रकाश्य (mukhe madhuśrī- stilakaṃ prakāśya) Ku.3.3; कस्तूरिकातिलकमालि विधाय सायम् (kastūrikātilakamāli vidhāya sāyam) Bv.2.4;1.121.

2) The ornament of anything (used at the end of comp. in the sense of 'best', 'chief' or 'distinguished'); कुल° (kula°); जीवलोक° (jīvaloka°) Māl.9.21; यस्य न विपदि विषादः संपदि हर्षो रणे न भीरुत्वम् । तं भुवनत्रयतिलकं जनयति जननी सुतं विरलम् (yasya na vipadi viṣādaḥ saṃpadi harṣo raṇe na bhīrutvam | taṃ bhuvanatrayatilakaṃ janayati jananī sutaṃ viralam) || Pt.1.15.

3) The burden of a song (dhruvaka).

-kā A kind of necklace.

-kam 1 The bladder.

2) The right lung.

3) A kind of salt.

4) A kind of disease, the appearance of dark spots on the skin without any inflammation.

5) Alliteration.

Derivable forms: tilakaḥ (तिलकः).

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
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Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family. Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

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