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Hello I am hoping someone can put my curiosity to rest.

Now this might be an ignorant question but I have wondered about this for a long time without knowing who to ask.

When I worked in a shop about ten years ago a gentleman came in who I believe was a Hare Krishna. He appeared to be chanting under his breath and didn't speak to me directly at any point.

What he wanted to do was touch my forehead and mumble something (prayer?), his thumb might have had some sort of powder on it. Now since he didn't speak to me I didn't know what he was doing or why so jerked my head away and backed off. He simply continued to chant, turned around and left the shop without saying anything else.

My questions are 1) What is the significance of touching someone on the forehead like this? 2) Is it normal practice to do this without explaining what you're doing?

The reason I believe he was a Hare Krishna is mainly because of his style of dress. It is conceivable this is a wrong assumption but I don't believe so.

  • Sounds like opinion based. – Paṇḍyā May 2 '17 at 13:32
  • @Pandya Not opinion based. I will answer this tomorrow – Sarvabhouma May 2 '17 at 17:02
  • It is a normal practice only while you are in Temple. Priests will probably give u the prasadam by rubbing vibhuti or kumkuma etc in that manner on ur forehead. – Rickross May 2 '17 at 17:18
  • @SreeCharan Answering Wrt Sadari? – Yogi May 2 '17 at 18:35
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    Touching forehead is done for two reasons 1) bestow blessings, by a preist or an acharya, 2) to apply tilaka as a mark of respect to the person. It is certainly not a normal practice to do this without permission. If any stranger(other than qualified Vedantacharya or bramhin priests) is doing this to you, then it's probably a good idea to stop that person without a second thought. – Yogi May 2 '17 at 18:37

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