Om represents the primordial and powerful sound symbol of the Supreme Being, present at the creation of the universe, the original sound that contains all other sounds, all words, all languages and all mantras (a series of sounds that can both protect and transform). It consists of 3 syllables: AUM. The mouth is open when we pronounce “A”, partially closed when we pronounce “U”, and totally closed when pronouncing “M”. So the 3 syllables AUM cover the whole spectrum of sound.
The marks worn on the forehead by Hindu men and women are a mark of auspiciousness. The materials used are sandalwood paste, sacred ashes or a red turmeric powder called kumkuma. The different sects apply the sacred marks (tilaka) in different shapes with different materials, but the significance is the same. The application is done at a point between the eyebrows, where the spiritual eye of intuition is located. It is done as a reminder to the seeker of his ultimate goal of Selfrealization.