In the Padma Purana there is a statement describing how a Vaisnava should decorate his body with tilaka and beads

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"In the Padma Purāṇa there is a statement describing how a Vaiṣṇava should decorate his body with tilaka and beads"

Other Books by Srila Prabhupada

Nectar of Devotion

In the Padma Purāṇa there is a statement describing how a Vaiṣṇava should decorate his body with tilaka and beads: "Persons who put tulasī beads on the neck, who mark twelve places of their body as Viṣṇu temples with Viṣṇu's symbolic representations (the four items held in the four hands of Lord Viṣṇu—conch, mace, disk and lotus), and who have Viṣṇu tilaka on their forehead, are to be understood as the devotees of Lord Viṣṇu in this world.

There are three ways of dealing with such insults. If someone is heard blaspheming by words, one should be so expert that he can defeat the opposing party by argument. If he is unable to defeat the opposing party, then the next step is that he should not just stand there meekly, but should give up his life. The third process is followed if he is unable to execute the above-mentioned two processes, and this is that one must leave the place and go away. If a devotee does not do any of the above-mentioned three processes, he falls down from his position of devotion.

Tilaka, Tulasī Beads and Flower Garlands

In the Padma Purāṇa there is a statement describing how a Vaiṣṇava should decorate his body with tilaka and beads: "Persons who put tulasī beads on the neck, who mark twelve places of their body as Viṣṇu temples with Viṣṇu's symbolic representations (the four items held in the four hands of Lord Viṣṇu—conch, mace, disk and lotus), and who have Viṣṇu tilaka on their forehead, are to be understood as the devotees of Lord Viṣṇu in this world. Their presence makes the world purified, and anywhere they remain they make that place as good as Vaikuṇṭha."

A similar statement is in the Skanda Purāṇa, which says: "Persons who are decorated with tilaka or gopī-candana (a kind of clay resembling fuller's earth which is produced in certain quarters of Vṛndāvana), and who mark their bodies all over with the holy names of the Lord, and on whose neck and breast there are tulasī beads, are never approached by the Yama-dūtas." The Yama-dūtas are the constables of King Yama (the Lord of death), who punishes all sinful men. Vaiṣṇavas are never called for by such constables of Yamarāj. In the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, in the narration of Ajāmila's deliverance, it is said that Yamarāj gave clear instructions to his assistants not to approach the Vaiṣṇavas. Vaiṣṇavas are beyond the jurisdiction of Yamarāj's activities.

In the Padma Purāṇa it is also mentioned: "A person whose body is decorated with the pulp of sandalwood, with paintings of the holy name of the Lord, is delivered from all sinful reactions, and after his death he goes directly to Kṛṣṇa-loka to live in association with the Supreme Personality of Godhead."

The next instruction is that one should put on flower garlands which are offered to the Deity. In this connection, in the Eleventh Canto, 6th Chapter, 31st verse, of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Uddhava says to Kṛṣṇa, "My dear Kṛṣṇa, I have taken things which You have used and enjoyed, such as garlands of flowers, saintly articles, garments and ornaments, and I eat only the remnants of Your foodstuff because I am Your menial servant. So, therefore, I am sure that I shall not be attacked by the spell of material energy." The purport of this verse is that for any person who simply follows these rules and regulations of decorating the body with the marks of tilaka of gopī-candana or sandalwood pulp, and who puts on the garlands which were offered to Kṛṣṇa, there is no question of being conquered by the spell of material energy. At the time of death, there is no question of such a person being called by the constables of Yamarāj. Even if one does not accept all the Vaiṣṇava principles, but still takes the remnants of foodstuff offered to Kṛṣṇa, or Kṛṣṇa-prasādam, he will gradually become qualified to rise to the platform of a Vaiṣṇava.