The tilak, the vermilion mark was first devised as an indication and symbol of that unknown world. It cannot be applied just anywhere, and only a person who can place his hand on the forehead and find the point, can tell you where to apply the tilak. There is no use in putting the tilak just anywhere, because the point is not in exactly the same place on everyone. The third eye is not found in the same place on everyone; it is somewhere above the middle of the two eyebrows on most people. If someone has meditated for a long time in his past lives and has had a small experience of samadhi, his third eye will be lower down. If no meditation has been done, the place on the forehead is higher up. It can be determined by the position of this point, what the state of your meditation was in your past life; it will indicate whether the state of samadhi ever happened to you in your past life. If it happened often, this point will have come down lower; it will be at the same level as your eyes – it cannot go lower than that. If this point has come in line with your eyes, then with just the smallest happening one can enter samadhi. In fact, the happening can be so small that it can appear to be insignificant. And so often we are surprised when someone appears to slip into samadhi without an apparent cause.
There is a story about a Zen nun…. She was returning with a pot of water on her head after fetching water from a well. The pot somehow fell, and in that falling the woman achieved samadhi, became enlightened. The incident seems so insignificant: the pot falls and breaks – and samadhi happens! There seems to be no logical connection.
There is another such event, this one in the life of Lao Tzu. He was sitting under a tree during autumn and the dry leaves of the tree were falling. Watching them, Lao Tzu became enlightened.
There is no relationship between enlightenment and leaves falling, but such things happen when, because of work done in past lives, your spiritual journey is almost completed and the third-eye point has moved down so that it is between your two eyes. Then any small happening will tip the scales, and that final small happening can be anything.
If the vermillion or sandal-paste mark is put just at the right spot, it indicates several things. Firstly, if your master has told you to wear a tilak on a particular spot, you will begin to experience something there. You may not have thought about this, but if you sit with closed eyes and someone closely points his finger at the spot between your two eyes, you will have the feeling that someone is pointing his finger at you. This is the perception of the third eye.
If the tilak is the same size as your third eye and it is put at just the right place, you will remember that place for twenty-four hours and forget the rest of the body. This remembering will make you more aware of the tilak and less of your body. Then a moment comes when nothing else is remembered about the body except the tilak. When that happens you will be able to open your third eye. In this practice, as you forget the body and just remember the tilak, your whole consciousness crystallizes and becomes focused on the third eye. The key that opens the third eye is focused consciousness. It is just like focusing the rays of the sun on a piece of paper with the help of a lens; you create enough heat to burn the paper. When those sunrays are concentrated, fire is produced. When consciousness remains spread all over the whole body, it is just doing the work of carrying on your life. But when it becomes totally focused on the third eye, the barrier to seeing with the third eye is burnt, and the door which allows you to see the inner sky is opened.