I am seeking some information on the origin of this practice involving applying bhasma (vibuthi), kumkum(am), tilakas (with sandal paste or others), namam / thiruman etc?
How did this originate? To my knowledge this does not have Vedic references (though I could be wrong), but are there Puranic references to all these? I think there may be some reference to Bhasma in Shiva oriented Puranas. I can take kumkum(am) more as a cultural practice, but what about Thiruman that Tamil Vaishnavas apply? It also has two different shapes - one like letter V and the other one like the letter Y (or U with a short vertical extension at the bottom)
Where can one find the origins of these symbols, and this tradition?
To add to this, it is one thing for the devotees and practitioners to wear them, but the practice also involves applying them to the deities.
- Lord Shiva is offered Bhasma
- Lord Vishnu is offered nama(m) / Thiruman (at least in the South Indian temples, though in the North the tradition varies)
Why so? What is the philosophical background for this?
Thanks in advance for any one who can provide a comprehensive account of this tradition.