The 'Red dot' on the forehead is not always only red and nor is it always a dot. The dot is called 'Kumkum' or 'Bindi', and when worn by men it is called 'Tilak' (mark). Usually Hindu women, priests, monks and worshipers wear it. Men wear it on auspicious occasions such as Puja (ritual worship), or marriage, or Arati (waving of lights) on festive occasions such as on Bhaai-DJ, Karvaa Chaud or Paadwaa or Dasshera) or while embarking on, or upon return from a voyage or a campaign. It is also worn by Jains and Buddhists (even in China). Like all Hindu symbols,'red dot' has multiple meanings which are all valid at
the same time.
Not only women, but Hindu men also wear a dot on the forehead, indicating their third eye. The potty is a very auspicious symbol, reminding those who wear it of their spiritual heritage and ideals, wherever they may be. It also serves to identify a Hindu among the members of all other religions. Muslim girls often cover their face with a veil. Christian girls wear a cross. Jewish boys wear small leather cases holding scriptural passages. Men and women of a particular faith often wish to identify themselves to each other, and they do so by wearing religious symbols which generally are blessed in their temples, churches and synagogues. In many cases, a dot on the Hindu woman's forehead is similar to a beauty mark, just as European women used to wear a black dot on their cheek as a beauty mark. An unmarried girl wears a black dot, and a married girl a red one. Today, the dot's color complements the color of a lady's sari. "Wearing a dot on the forehead is largely a cultural symbol or a beauty symbol." The dot in the middle of the forehead of the Hindu woman is a beauty mark not unlike the beauty marks European and early American women used to wear on the cheek.
In the old days, Hindu men and women wore these marks, and they both also wore earrings. The dot has a mystical meaning, for it represents the Third Eye or spiritual sight which Hindus seek to awaken through yoga. Today, only the most traditional men observe this, but women continue to follow these traditions.
The red dot is called as Tilaka (symbol on the forehead or between the eyebrows)
The til aka (or talk) is a mark worn on the forehead and other parts of the body for spiritual reasons. Hindus traditionally wear til aka, in one form or another, as a mark of faith in a particular tradition. Hindus may wear til aka always or especially on religious occasions.
The shape of the til aka often represents devotion to a certain deity: dot denotes the god like dug.andNDome have 'U' shape for Vishnu, three horizontal lines for Shiva. Some Hindus meld both in an amalgam marker signifying Hari-Hara (Vishnu-Shiva).
To denote marriage and auspiciousness, married women today commonly wear on the forehead a decorative dot, or bind?.