Why is Panduranga’s tilak round?

Satsang at The Ashram 
Shree Peetha Nilaya, 14 April 2019

Why is the tilak for Panduranga different? Paramahamsa Vishwananda reveals this mystery and explains the meaning behind it during a Satsang after the inauguration of the SPN Panduranga Mandir.


Jai Gurudev,

Why is the tilak for Panduranga different? Because He is Krishna and Panduranga is none other than Krishna, no? In the North, we talk about different aspects of Lord Krishna and the Panduranga Leela is the fourth aspect of Krishna. When Krishna did the Leela of Panduranga, He was not only Himself; in that aspect of Panduranga, Vitthala, there was also Shiva with Him. 

There is a Shivalingam on Panduranga’s head. This is because when Krishna was going to Rukmini to enact the Leela as Panduranga, He first went to Shiva and said, ‘I am going to incarnate to do that Leela now, so you come with Me also.’ And Shiva came on the top of Panduranga. That’s why for a very long time they didn’t know that Panduranga was Krishna. Even today, many believe that Vitthoba is Shiva. But in reality, no, He is Krishna. But because of the Shivalingam and because on His arm there is also Adhishesh, a Shesh Nag, a snake, on His ornaments, many people confuse Him. Of course, nowadays no, but in the 12th century it was confused. Same thing as Tirupati also, Balaji.

So, coming back to your question: that tilak represents Shiva. It’s very interesting, because very often Vaishnava and Saivite are separate, but in that aspect, no, because Shiva is the greatest bhakta of Krishna. There is no other one more devoted than Lord Shiva. That’s why it’s a Shivalingam, you see. That’s the yoni and the point is the ling itself. Which means His mind is always focused on His bhakta as the bhakta’s mind is always focused on the Lord Himself. That’s why He has that tilak.

Shiva is the greatest bhakta of Krishna...His mind is always focused on His bhakta as the bhakta’s mind is always focused on the Lord Himself.

Paramahamsa Vishwananda

This relationship is so amazing between Lord Shiva and Lord Krishna. From the beginning itself, you see clearly in the life of Krishna how important Lord Shiva was. When Krishna was born, He was swapped, you know. So, Krishna was with Yashoda, and all the aspects of the devas came to have a glimpse of Lord Krishna. And, of course, Lord Shiva also wanted to go and have the Darshan of Lord Krishna, but he decided he would not change His aspect; he would come just as he is. You’ve seen how Shiva is on the outside: matted hair, dark skin, with the snake and everything. So he came in that aspect and he said to mother Yashoda, ‘I want to have Darshan of your son.’ Seeing a sadhu there, mother Yashoda wanted to give some alms. But he said, ‘No, I don’t want anything, I have everything. By the way, Annapurna is my wife, so no food is missing. But what I really want is to have Darshan of your son.’

Already from the very beginning, when the demons were trying to kill Krishna, of course mother Yashoda was very protective of her child. So she said, ‘No, ask me for anything, and I will give it to you, but I will not let you see my son.’

So, Lord Shiva had come, but yet, due to Maya, they could not recognise him. Same thing, due to Maya, due to the mind being so obstructed by so many thoughts, one doesn’t perceive the Lord Himself. When will one perceive the Lord? When one’s mind is fully absorbed upon Him. So, when one’s mind is fully absorbed upon the Lord, then He is also thinking of you. You know, we say relationship – when you have a relationship with people, it may be one-sided, yes, but with Bhagavan it is not one-sided. It’s two-sided, because as you are thinking of Him, He is also thinking of you. The point is, that you sometimes think that you are so sincere when you are not, but He knows that sincerity. That’s why He places Lord Shiva on His forehead, because as much as Shiva is meditating, he is meditating only upon the Supreme Lord. And just as Lord Shiva is meditating upon the Supreme Lord Himself, so the Supreme Lord’s mind is on Lord Shiva. This is the relationship between the bhakta and Bhagavan.

All the saints here on the temple wall with Panduranga and Rukmini are the saints who have a personal relationship with Panduranga and Rukmini. You will notice that even though the Lord is wearing the Shiva tilak, the bhaktas don’t wear the same tilak. Even in Pandarpur or anywhere else, you will never see anybody wearing that tilak because no one is in that state. So, the Lord’s mind is with Shiva, but yet, the human mind has to be focused on the Feet of the Lord. You are not in the same state or the same stage of Lord Shiva. You may say, ‘Shivoham, Shivoham’, but you don’t become Shiva, you know. There are many who say, yes, ‘Shivoham, Shivoham’, and they think, “Yes, because I say, ‘Shivoham’ or, ‘So Ham’ or, ‘Aham Brahmasmi’, I am already fully realised.” It isn’t like that! 

Shiva is fully absorbed in the Lord. There is no doubt. There is not even a bit of ignorance inside of him. There is not a bit of, ‘Oh, yeah, my mind should not be upon the Lord Himself.’ No! But in people’s minds, yes. That’s why the mind of the devotee has to be focused upon the Feet of the Lord. That’s why no one wears the Panduranga tilak like Panduranga does; only He wears that aspect of tilak. Even the devotees of Panduranga don’t wear that tilak. They wear the Feet of the Lord. This is where the mind of a bhakta must be focusing: upon the Feet of the Beloved.